The BMW 328 today.
Of the 464 examples of the BMW 328 ever built, only around 200 have survived, some 120 of which are in Germany. Many still take part in historical races to this day. And cars from BMW Classic’s own collection can regularly be found in the thick of the action – often with illustrious figures at the wheel. Indeed, in 2003 Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustav teamed with Prince Leopold of Bavaria for the reborn Mille Miglia – now run as a regularity test – in a BMW 328 Touring Roadster.
2004 saw a very special victory added to the more than 200 race wins achieved by the BMW 328 into the 1950s, the famous old sports car writing Mille Miglia history all over again. Giuliano Cané and his co-driver and wife Lucia Galliani lined up in the winning car from 1940, the BMW 328 Touring Coupé, and promptly pulled off the enviable trick of adding victory in the modern Mille Miglia to its success over 60 years before. And that made the BMW 328 Touring Coupé the first car to back up its success in the original Mille Miglia with glory in its historical reincarnation.
Then, in 2010 – exactly 70 years after winning the 1940 Mille Miglia – the BMW 328 Touring Coupé did it all over again. Again it was Giuliano Cané and Lucia Galliani who steered the Coupé majestically through the numerous stages and swept along the 1,000 miles through Italy without a single technical hitch. Enzo Ciravolo and Maria Leitner added the icing to the cake of BMW’s success by finishing third in a standard BMW 328 in another instance of Mille Miglia history repeating itself; 70 years ago BMW had also claimed third place.
To be reminded of just how potent the 1940 cars still are today, you need only witness their journey to Italy for the event. There is not a transporter or trailer in sight; instead, just as they did 70 years ago, they travel from Munich to Brescia on their own power. And even more impressively, they complete the journey on a single tank of fuel; then, as now, the engines were not only powerful but also efficient. The drivers and cars can encounter a wide variety of weather conditions en route to Brescia and during the event itself, but nothing can dampen the spirits of the drivers and cars alike. Whether they’re basking in 27 degrees Celsius on the Adriatic or shivering just above freezing in the snow and mist of Monte Terminillo, the teams experience everything the Italian climate can throw at them. And today, just as they did back then, they power to victory in sumptuous style.