Offered for sale is a beautifully restored 1938 BMW 327 Sport Cabriolet Hot Rod powered by a GM ZZ4 5.7L 350ci crate engine and a three speed automatic transmission. While unconfirmed, the lore accompanying the car is that it was a literal spoil of war, found by a U.S. Army officer in the barn of a German officer and shipped back to the United States in crates. It remained unrestored until the late 1970s, at which point it was put back together by a master restorer outside of Cleveland, Ohio.
It was subsequently acquired by an executive at one of the world’s largest corporations, and it would remain in his and his wife’s care for the ensuing 31 years, during which time he became that corporation’s CEO. In 1999, the car’s engine was replaced with the current 5.7L crate engine, installed by a retired NASCAR mechanic at his shop in Minneapolis. The car would eventually make its way out to California when the owners acquired a vacation home in Santa Barbara. The car was titled here and therefore assigned a California VIN, garaged and used sparingly over the last 17 years, driven a mere 395 miles during that period.
It comes as no surprise then, that the car’s cosmetic condition is effectively as clean as when it was first restored in the 1970s. The gorgeous pastel yellow finish is deep, lustrous and consistent, marred by only the most insignificant of imperfections and cloaking an entirely straight and solid original body, modified only slightly from the gorgeous lines originally created by the coachbuilder. The chassis too was only slightly modified – necessary to sufficiently support the 5.7L power plant – and giving the car a much meaner stance than a factory 328 Sport Cabriolet, especially when considering the wider custom wheels, which are wrapped in Michelin Pilot 225x55x16 tires with plenty of remaining tread.
There are no dings or dents, no glaring paint imperfections, and the chrome, glass and rubber are all in spectacular condition. It truly appears as though the car was restored a year or two ago, not 35+. The car’s interior is equally as clean, the seats, carpets and interior panels showing effectively no wear whatsoever and the dash impeccable. The car’s soft-top shows very little – if any – wear and is easy to operate manually. The car’s engine compartment is tidy and the undercarriage is entirely solid and free of rust, evidence of its 35+ years of
Mechanically the car is fantastic. When the determination was made to put it on the market, we had a specialist go through the car mechanically and ensure it was fully serviced. A new fuel tank was fabricated, the fuel pump was replaced and everything was confirmed to be turn-key. The 5.7L 350ci engine starts effortlessly, idles consistently and emits an ominous low rumble through the car’s custom side exhaust pipes. The car pulls strongly and smoothly through each of the transmission’s gears and is an absolute blast from behind the wheel, a head-turner whether tooling through town or bombing down the highway.
This is an incredible opportunity to acquire a stunningly beautiful, truly one-off BMW 327 Sport Cabriolet resto-mod, exceptionally well restored, mechanically strong and entirely unique. BMW 327 Sport Cabriolets are incredibly rare and ceaselessly elegant, reflected in their continuing appreciation. Factory stock examples have sold for more than $300k, and while obviously more original, they certainly aren’t as fun or reliable, sporting a small 1.9L, 55hp I6 engine and utilizing parts that are unsurprisingly nearly impossible to source. This gorgeous example offers all of the amazing looks while ensuring that its next owner can truly enjoy the car on the road. Priced reasonably when compared to factory correct examples, it will undoubtedly provide its next owner the same pride of ownership its current owners have enjoyed for the last three plus decades.