Daddy of the mod­ern BMW 3 Series

The 335 was BMW’s first at­tempt to chal­lenge Mercedes-Benz’s dom­i­nance over the lux­ury au­to­mo­bile mar­ket

Rutherglen Reformer - - Drivetime - Ian John­son

There is no doubt that the BMW 3 Series is one of the finest sports sa­loons to reach the mod­ern mar­ket­place and it owes its de­vel­op­ment to a very smart ‘3’ Series that was pro­duced just be­fore the start of the Sec­ond World War.

Based on the suc­cess­ful BMW 326 model, the new car, dubbed 335 fea­tured a longer chas­sis in or­der to ac­com­mo­date a larger more pow­er­ful 3.5-litre 6-cylin­der en­gine. This was one of the live-wires of the Ger­man au­to­mo­tive arena and could ac­cel­er­ate up to 90mph.

At the time, BMW was learn­ing fast about the ben­e­fits of torque and the 335 could reach its high­est per­for­mance at just 3,500rpm.

Sadly, like some other au­to­mo­tive rarities, it was launched in 1939 as its home coun­try en­tered into hos­til­i­ties and the car only at­tained 400-odd units be­fore pro­duc­tion ceased.

Even so, it was made in four­door sa­loon and two- door cabri­o­let styles and re­mains one of the best Ger­man cars of its time.

It came about due to the suc­cess of the 326 which led BMW to make a spir­ited chal­lenge to the com­mer­cial dom­i­nance of MercedesBenz and the com­pany drove con­fi­dently up­mar­ket.

The 335 sus­tained BMW’s rep­u­ta­tion for in­no­va­tion, be­ing the first car to of­fer a four-speed gear­box with syn­chro­mesh on all ra­tios. Strangely, a pro­to­type 335 was first pre­sented at Lon­don in 1938, the car hav­ing been branded for th­ese pur­poses as a Frazer Nash, due to close busi­ness links be­tween the two com­pa­nies. The 335’s de­sign was led by Fritz Fiedler who would work later for Frazer Nash’s suc­ces­sor com­pany in Lon­don.

In­ter­est­ing to note that that this early BMW sports sa­loon had such close links with Bri­tain which loves the lat­est 3 Series so much.

DAS AUTO The first pro­to­type 335 was launched at Lon­don in 1938

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