The Best BMW 335

1940 BMW 335 Four-Door Cabriolet by Autenrieth

For sale at Fantasy Junction | Emeryville, California

Photo – Fantasy Junction

The modern BMW 335 is a six-cylinder car and a member of BMW’s 3-Series lineup. It’s a popular model, but it sits sort of near the bottom of the BMW range. But in 1940 the 335 was as good as it got (unless you hopped up to the sports car-only 328). Introduced in 1939, this model didn’t really get a fair shot with the war about to break out. It was produced into 1941 before passenger car production was halted.

This car is powered by a 90 horsepower, 3.5-liter straight-six (hey look at that, BMW’s model name numbering system used to make sense!). Top speed, dependent on body style, was up to 90 mph. This model could be had as a four-door sedan, two-door cabriolet, or, as you see here, a stately four-door cabriolet.

It seems like Mercedes-Benz (and even Horch to a lesser extent) always gets all of the spotlight when it comes to these Reich-era open-top Autobahn cruisers. Pre-war, BMW rarely enters the conversation unless you’re talking about the 328. Part of the reason is scarcity. Only 415 examples of the 335 were built. Only five four-door cabriolets still exist (of the 40 built by this coachbuilder). Compare that to some of the Mercedes survival numbers and it’s easy to see why the Benzes always show up in films.

This example was restored in 2007 and it still looks fresh. You have to wonder who was in a position to buy such an extravagant car in 1939 and what life it lived during the war. It was brought to the U.S. by a member of the military and it remained here pretty much ever since. This car marked a high point for BMW that they wouldn’t equal for quite some time. It’s currently for sale in California for $495,000. Click here for more info.

Hagemann-Sutton Special

1959 Hagemann-Sutton Special

For sale at Fantasy Junction | Emeryville, California

Photo - Fantasy Junction

Photo – Fantasy Junction

Ah, the great American road-racing specials of the 1950s – the golden era of American road racing. The Hagemann-Sutton Special was one such car. It was built by Jack Hagemann in California at the request of a racer named Wally Taylor who was unable to secure a brand new Scarab.

Hagemann started building the car, but Taylor couldn’t afford to complete it. So he had and a chassis and engine. It wasn’t until 1978 that he would acquire a body – one built in the 1950s by Jack Sutton. It was originally fitted to a customized Talbot-Lago. In the 1980s, the chassis, body, and engine combination found their way to another racer, Butch Gilbert, who restored the car in 2005.

The original 283 Chevy V-8 was bored and stroked to 5.4-liters. It’s a great car to take vintage racing and to the Monterey Historics in particular. It is for sale for $650,000. Click here for more info.

Avia III

1956 Avia III

For Sale at Fantasy Junction | Emeryville, California

Photo - Fantasy Junction

Photo – Fantasy Junction

Avia is a Czech company that is still in the auto business. They were founded in 1919 and had become part of Skoda by 1928. They built aircraft beginning in 1920 and throughout WWII. After WWII, the company was nationalized and aircraft production ceased. By the 1960s, they had launched heavy vehicle production under their own name (after years of producing trucks for other brands).

Between 1956 and 1957, Avia experimented with cars, building between 12 and 15 light cars. One was a streamliner – the car you see here. And it was raced in hillclimbs in period by designer and Avia employee Miroslav Jurca, who had built the Avia cars as an after-hours project. This car uses a 750cc BMW twin making 15 horsepower. The body is lightweight aluminium.

This car lived incorrectly for years as a BMW-Veritas until Jurca’s grandson correctly identified the car after it had been presented at Pebble Beach. The car has since been completely restored and has seen track time at events like the Monterey Historics. Only two Avia road cars still survive, as heavy truck production continues to this day. This is the only Avia streamliner. It is for sale in California for $325,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold, Mecum Monterey 2014, high bid of $185,000.

Swallow Doretti

1954 Swallow Doretti

For Sale at Fantasy Junction | Emeryville, California via Gstaad, Switzerland

1954 Swallow Doretti

So what’s with the location above, you ask? The car is located in Switzerland, currently, but is being sold by Fantasy Junction in California. So if you swing by the dealership in Emeryville wanting to check this car out, they will just send you down the street… to Switzerland. No big deal.

The Doretti was the only model manufactured by Swallow – a subsidiary of Tube Investments Group. The name Swallow came from Swallow Coachbuilding Co Ltd – which is the same company that spawned off Jaguar. Jaguar sold off the coachbuilding aspect of their business in 1945. When Tube Investments took over, they put the Doretti into production.

Based on the Triumph TR2, the car uses the same 2.0-liter straight-four making 90 horsepower. The body is unmistakably 1950s-vintage British. Performance was good, the car capable of 100 mph and a 0-60 time of 12.3 seconds. It cost about £200 more than a TR2. Only 276 were built before Jaguar, who was a significantly larger player in the British auto industry at that time, complained that the car’s production was driving the cost of materials up, and Tube Investments being an automotive supplier, shut it down before their customers got mad (more or less). In a way Jaguar was responsible for this car’s birth and death. This one has been in the same ownership for over 30 years. It is for sale for $62,500. Click here for more info.