These days we admire new electric cars with retro leanings like the VW ID. Buzz, the upcoming Renault 5 or the Microlino. But even in the past few decades, brands have been keen to rummage around in their own past. So does BMW, where various “Homage” studies were created between 2008 and 2016. The M1 Homage was followed in 2011 by the 328 Homage to celebrate the original’s 75th birthday.
The BMW 328 is considered the most successful and most beautiful sports car of the 1930s. The winning vehicle, the BMW 328 Touring Coupé, still holds the record for the highest average speed on the Mille Miglia circuit today. At the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2011, the one-off BMW 328 Hommage caused a stir.
In order to transfer the lightweight design concept of the BMW 328 to the present day, large parts of the exterior and interior of the 328 Homage are made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). While aluminum and magnesium were still the materials of choice back then, CFRP was used for the new edition: the high-strength fiber fabric is lighter than aluminum and even more stable. Wherever the material has been used on the 328 Hommage, it is visible.
The contemporary implementation of the original vehicle character is also reflected in the choice of other materials in and on the vehicle. Fine leather, matt and high-gloss black polished aluminum and the CFRP interior are intended to visualize the pure and reduced roadster character of the sports car of the time in the BMW 328 Hommage.
The vehicle also features numerous details from motor racing and alludes to the very successful motorsport career of the BMW 328. The vehicle’s premiere in 1936 did not take place at a motor show, but on the race track. In its first race, the 328 outclassed all of the much more powerful competition and dominated the racetracks of Europe in the years that followed.
The strong wedge shape accelerates the vehicle even when stationary, the scoops behind the seats pick up the lines from the bonnet and continue them dynamically to the rear. The structure of the CFRP mats gives the vehicle visual depth, while the diagonal lines of the CFRP weave further underscore the dynamic design language of the roadster. The carbon structure is clearly visible due to the concise weaving and optically underlines the idea of lightweight construction.
Like the first test vehicles of the BMW 328, with which the model celebrated its successful debut on the racetrack in 1936 and was able to record numerous other successes, the 328 Homage has no doors. Then as now, deep cuts allow access to the interior of the vehicle.
The very wide and flat front has a strong three-dimensional design. When viewed from the front, the CFRP bonnet appears to stretch around the vehicle from above. Further surfaces arise under the bonnet, they embed the prominent kidney grille at the top and bottom, fold around it and form the air inlets next to it.
Openings and large air inlets create a visual lightness in the front and at the same time show the high air requirement of the powerful three-liter six-cylinder engine. Three-dimensional grilles in the openings at the front connect the headlights and kidney grille, the three-dimensional grille structure sets a dynamic accent.
The vertical double kidney evokes the slim, vertical kidney design of the BMW models of the time. In the BMW 328 Hommage, the upright kidney grille is dynamically integrated into the flat silhouette. From the front, on the other hand, it can be seen as an upright kidney. Behind the kidney bars, black, horizontal slats prevent the view into the engine compartment, as in the 328 75 years ago.
The rear picks up on the design language of the front design. Similar to the front, parts of the side wall form the framework for the design elements that appear to protrude from the rear. Between them sit two very clear and reduced rear lights in the L-shape typical of BMW.
There are many details in the exterior design of the BMW 328 Hommage that are reminiscent of the successful racing history of the BMW 328. For example, the slightly asymmetrical windscreen has a recess in the middle, reminiscent of the windscreen design of the racing cars of the time. At the same time, it also shows the areas for pilot and co-pilot. In addition, four wide leather straps run across the bonnet, appearing to dip under the side shoulder surface and continue on the side.
On the scoop behind the driver, a large, silver “75” in silver and small lettering below it illustrate the reason for the BMW 328 Homage. In addition, the attached fuel filler neck protrudes from the right side as a striking detail.
The large, prominently displayed individual round headlights of the BMW 328 Hommage are reminiscent of the headlights of the BMW 328 that were integrated into the fenders for the first time. Through the special handling of the material, with openings and free-floating elements, the surfaces and levels create the all-round feeling of lightness.
The prominent rev counter is the only round instrument that dominates the spartan instrumentation. Based on the cockpit of the BMW 328, the instrument cluster only shows the oil temperature, oil pressure and water temperature in addition to the engine speed, as is typical for a sports car. To the right of the rev counter, indicator lights and a shift point display complete the instrument cluster. The housing frame is black chrome.
The puristic instrument cluster is complemented by the so-called tripmaster. Two iPhones in special holders on the instrument panel of the BMW 328 Homage assume additional display functions for the driver and front passenger. They are integrated into the self-supporting structure of the passenger layer and, like the instrument cluster, are housed in an aluminum housing.
In addition to the instrumentation and the trip master, the interior of the BMW 328 Hommage also features other motorsport themes. In addition to the reduction to the bare essentials to save weight, the BMW 328 Hommage also has 4-point belts, ergonomic seat shells and the “bone”, a kind of emergency stop for the vehicle electronics between the two seats.