As the owner of a geriatric, but otherwise well maintained car, you know that getting parts can be a bitch. Depending on company policy, ex-factory supply of parts can cease after 12, or, if you are the lucky customer of a more dedicated maker, 15 years after the end of regular production. BMW now goes against that trend and offers parts for a car that went out of style 73 years ago.
Manufactured between 1936 and 1940, the BMW 328 ranked as a dream sports car in its days and remained a dream for most. With a total run of just 464 units, it was a rarity even during its production years. A substantial number is still around today. Most suffered from the unavailability of the original Hurth gearbox, which led to the use of synchro gearboxes from other manufacturers and the committing of a cardinal sin amongst collectors: A departure from the true original.
73 years after production of the 328 stopped, BMW Classic and supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG laid up a small production run of 55 gearboxes. According to BMW Classic spokesman Stefan Behr, the units are not remanufactured, but new: “What’s special – apart from the technical complexity – is the fact that the parts are approved by FIVA and FIA. Cars with the unit may start in races sanctioned by these bodies,” Behr said.
Through optimized materials and a reinforced bearing for the second gear, the “new-old” gearbox is even better than the original, but it complies faithfully with the factory status in the later production period of the BMW 328. The first prototypes of the new-old gearbox already demonstrated their reliability in the 2012 Mille Miglia, the world’s best-known classic car race.
The gearbox joins a growing catalog of some 40,000 parts maintained by BMW Classic as replacements for the many BMW collector’s items out there. Other makers pay homage to heritage in glossy brochures and glitzy museums, BMW actually keeps history alive.
BMW does not only have an open ear for the needs of owners of their historic cars, it also is receptive to questions of TTAC’s commentariat. Asked a few times what the gearbox would cost, and countering the rumor spread by Cjmadura that its $50,000 , Herr Behr revealed that the price of the gearbox is “19,748.33 EUR, in Germany, including VAT.” That would translate to $25,755.34, or only half of what Cjmadura figured.