The acquisition of the Dixi works at Eisenach in 1928 provided BMW, hitherto a manufacturer of aero engines and motorcycles, with a foothold in motor manufacturing. Dixi's built-under-license version of the Austin Seven was gradually developed and improved, ending up with swing-axle suspension and overhead valves, and then in 1933 came the first true BMW - the six-cylinder 303. The latter adopted a twin-tube frame and abandoned the rear swing axles in favour of a conventional live axle, while up front there was a superior transverse-leaf independent suspension and rack-and-pinion steering. These features, along with the four-bearing, overhead-valve engine, would provide the basis for the more powerful and sportingly inclined models to follow. Introduced in 1938, the 327 sports-tourer used the shortened, boxed, ladder-type chassis of the 326 saloon, shared by the 320, but with semi-elliptic rear springing in place of torsion bars. The gearbox was a Hurth four-speed manual unit with freewheel between 1st and 2nd gears, enabling clutch-less gear changes at low speeds, while there were hydraulic brakes all round. BMW's pushrod six had by now been enlarged to 1,971cc and developed around 55bhp in the 327, which could also be ordered with the 328 sports car's 80bhp unit at extra cost.
After WW2, BMW's factory at Eisenach ended up behind the Iron Curtain but rather than strip it bare - their usual treatment of valuable German assets - the occupying Russians chose to restart production of pre-war designs. Both cars and motorcycles were made bearing BMW's distinctive blue and white quartered emblem until a successful legal action in 1950 saw the Munich firm successfully reassert its rights to the trademark. As a result, the Eastern Bloc offshoot adopted the name 'EMW' (Eisenacher Motoren Werke) and changed the blue sections of its badge to red. As its name suggests, the EMW 327 was a continuation of the pre-war BMW 327 coupé and cabriolet, and was virtually identical to its ancestor apart from having front-hinged doors. Production continued until 1956 when the company, now known as VEB Automobilwerk Eisenach, dropped its old BMW-based models and began manufacturing the new Wartburg.
The beautiful EMW 327 Cabriolet offered here was in long term ownership for some 31 years before being acquired for the collection belonging to the Federation Hellenique Des Vehicules D'Epoque automobile museum in Nafplias, Greece. A matching numbers example, the car recently underwent a restoration including a re-spray in two-tone grey/silver and an interior re-trim in blue leather, undertaken by London-based specialists. In addition, the engine was overhauled by LT Classics, also of London, together with the suspension, steering and brakes, while the original instruments were reconditioned, the electrics rewired, and a new hood and hood bag made. There are restoration bills in the history file totalling over £41,000, and the car also comes with a current MoT certificate and a V5C document. A wonderful opportunity to acquire one of these rare and charismatic German sports cars.