WORLD War II ended in 1945, but just a few months later, deep in the Black Forest, the BMW lads were back at work.
One would think the priority would be to build a kind of utilitarian buggy to traverse the bomb-rutted roads of Europe, but nein, what emerged in 1946 was a beautifully crafted racing car.
Proudly bearing the roundel of the Bayerische Motoren Werke, or BMW for short, the one-off Formula 2 was being prepared for the 1947 racing season.Post-war Beemer a screamer
Motor racing folk were deprived of any form of motorsport from the start of hostilities in 1939 to 1945, so they wasted no time in getting back into action.
The FIA governing body of the day issued a set of regulations for the new Formula 2 class stipulating a maximum engine size of 2000cc, unsupercharged, in an attempt to limit costs.
In the UK, US, the British Commonwealth and other parts of the world, enthusiasts used Ford, MG, Riley and whatever else was available as donor engines, while the majority of Euro-built racing cars used the well-proven pre-war BMW engines and gearboxes or Italian power plants such as Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Maserati.
Whether this particular BMW was actually raced in 1947/8 is not clear. There’s no mention of it in early reports which features a very similarly styled, and also BMW-powered, Veritas, as well as a smattering of other single seaters.
Because the 326/7 and 328 BMWs were among the quickest in Europe before the war, they were the automatic choice of donor for many of Germany’s 2.0-litre specials from 1946 onward.
Racing records of the time are somewhat sketchy, but the dominant drivers were Hermann Holbein, Egon Brusch, Helmut Polensky, Alex von Falkenhausen and Ernst Loof, all of them driving ‘specials’ — but not the car from the BMW plant, where most of them had previously worked.
The sole pictures of it in use are from recent times, running in regularity or commemorative events.
This BMW Formula 2 had the straight-six 2.0-litre running gear of the pre-war BMW 326 and 327, with the power upped to 90bhp via a sportier camshaft and trio of 32mm Webers.
The front suspension was also ex-326/7 front axle with rack and pinion steering and the rear axle was from a 327 with a 326 diff and a leaf sprung rear axle.
It boasted adjustable hydraulic shock absorbers and transmission was by a four-speed Hurth gearbox, as used in the 326/7 cars.