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The Quail Auction / 1936 BMW 319 Four-Window Cabriolet Chassis no. 57546 Engine no. 57546

Lot 36
1936 BMW 319 Four-Window Cabriolet
19 August 2022, 11:00 PDT
Carmel, Quail Lodge & Golf Club

Lot to be sold without reserve

US$60,000 - US$80,000

Ask about this lot

1936 BMW 319 Four-Window Cabriolet
Chassis no. 57546
Engine no. 57546

1,898cc OHV Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Single Downdraft Carburetor
45 BHP at 3,750 RPM
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
Front Independent Suspension - Live Rear Axle
4-Wheel Mechanical Drum Brakes

*One of BMW's earliest inline 6-cylinder models
*Charming Cabriolet coachwork
*Documented with period registrations and restoration photos
*Extremely rare prewar BMW tourer


In 1933 BMW introduced the 303, its first model to feature the iconic kidney-shaped grille, and the first to be equipped with an inline 6-cylinder engine. Eventually regarded as BMW's hallmark, this early inline-six displaced 1,182 cc, and was a development of the prior 3/20's inline 4-cylinder unit (itself an extension of the motor the company had licensed from Austin).

Within two years, the 303 was phased out and replaced by two similar models with larger 6-cylinder engines. The 1.5-liter BMW 315 arrived in 1934, joined a year later by the 1.9-liter 319, the company's most powerful car yet. Offered in several body styles, the 319 was produced in a total quantity of 6,646 examples through 1937, of which approximately 2,066 were bodied as 4-window cabriolets with rear seats, though very few are known to exist today.


Chassis no. 57546 is a lovely example of the early Bayerische Motoren Werke product. Though the car's prewar history is not documented, by the early 1950s it had been exported to Guatemala. Period Guatemalan records reflect the BMW was purchased in May 1956 by Ernesto Johan Pira Snepels, but it is unclear how long he retained possession. In October 1987, the Cabriolet was acquired by a Guatemalan BMW dealer named Arne Rainer Sapper Cordua, and he sold the car in 1989 to a well-known local collector and sports car racing participant.

In 1991, a restoration was conducted that is documented with a handful of photo prints, and around this time the car was exported to the United States for display and potential sale. During the following years, the BMW was displayed at the Auto Collections in Las Vegas, and in 2011 it was sent to China for exhibition at the Shanghai Auto Museum.

Believed to feature its original matching-numbers engine and 4-speed gearbox, this rare early BMW cabriolet still benefits from the 1990s restoration, which recently has been refreshed by the consignor's in-house specialists. The little BMW is finished in a charming two-tone paint combination with matching disc wheels and abounds in fascinating period details like the early kidney-shaped grille and circular propeller logo. Sure to be welcomed at regional Concours d'elegance or BMW events, this remarkable 319 merits the attention of prewar specialists and German car enthusiasts, offering a unique complement to any collection.

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