Did the gearbox on your BMW 328 take a turn for the worse at the Mille Miglia? For owners of collector cars wearing the BMW logo, BMW Group Classic should be among the first phone calls to make in the search for replacement parts. The current range on offer through its affiliated BMW Classic Center comprises some 40,000 components and is steadily expanding. The most recent addition to the catalogue is an authentically reproduced Hurth gearbox for your BMW 328 sports car.
Manufactured between 1936 and 1940, a total of 464 units of the BMW 328 were produced. It is not known how many have survived, but based on their appearances at classic events one may assume a substantial number are still around today. Owners of this open-top vintage sports car typically share the desire of many classic enthusiasts to possess a car that is as original as possible and in the best possible condition.
Before the remanufacture of the original Hurth gearbox, complete original gearboxes were previously unavailable for the BMW 328. Frequently synchro gearboxes from other manufacturers were used instead, although they differed from the Hurth gearbox in key details, particularly regarding their configuration – they did not share the original pattern of non-synchronised first and second gear and gears three and four with cone synchronisation. A partnership between BMW Group Classic and automotive supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG has now come up with a solution. Indeed, for the specialists based on Lake Constance in southwest Germany there was a historic precedent for this collaboration: in the 1990s ZF took over a company division of the original gearbox suppliers Hurth.
And so the experts from BMW Group Classic and ZF have followed in the footsteps of their historic predecessors in several ways. Together they completed the most complex project to date in the field of component remanufacturing for classic BMW automobiles. Providing guidance for the authentic new edition of the gearbox were original transmissions from vehicles in the BMW Group Classic collection and contemporary construction drawings held in Eisenach’s city archives. As the original gearbox had been repeatedly modified, a number of variants and construction plans had to be analysed and compared. Barring a few details such as optimised materials used in current production and a reinforced bearing for the second gear, the ‘new-old’ gearbox now fully complies with the factory status in the later production period of the BMW 328.
The entire development and production process was carried out in close consultation with the FIA (Federation International Automobile) and FIVA, the international body representing classic vehicle clubs, both of whom confirmed the authenticity of the gearbox. The sanction of these institutions is important especially for gaining entry to official events. The first prototypes of the new-old gearbox already demonstrated their reliability in the 2012 Mille Miglia, the famed classic car rally held annually in Italy.
A production run of 55 units of this faithfully reproduced component are now on offer to owners of a BMW 328 who might be seeking such a replacement. Sales of the replica gearboxes, which are manufactured by ZF, are available exclusively through the BMW Classic Center. Overall, this project sustainably corroborates the BMW Group Classic claim that original core components can and should be used in classic automobiles. For fans of historic vehicles, the BMW Classic Center offers a comprehensive range of products and services, from spare parts all the way to full restoration. Through the remanufacture of close-to-original components – for the legendary BMW 328 as well as numerous other models – vital work will continue to be done in the future to preserve such automotive rarities.