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BMW cars archive - the 1930's

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BMW cars archive - 1920's
BMW cars archive - 1930's
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The BMW 3/15 gave way to the BMW 3/20 in 1933. The BMW 3/20 and its derivatives were the first homegrown BMW designs from Max Fritz, who had long chafed under making the Austin-licensed 3/15. The United States and most of western Europe were gripped by the Depression, but the German economy was looking up. As the Nazis began suppressing political opposition and asserting German nationalism, job proliferated, and the government intervened to rein in the inflation that had whipsawed the economy since the end of the Great War. By 1934, BMW had achieved $82 million in sales from aero engines, motorcycles and cars and had 13.000 employees.

Autobahns were being built, and BMW's engineers saw an emerging opportunity to build more substantial touring cars for the growing class.

The BMW 303 was the six-cylinder model, and it came with lots of innovations. In 1934 BMW introduced the 325/1, a two-passanger sports car. It was followed by the BMW 326 saloon, the first BMW to challenge Mercedes-Benz in the saloon segment. The BMW 328 was introduced in 1936 and it was the car, more than any other, that defined the prewar BMW and established the company's reputation for both engineering under the hood and exterior design.

By the end of the 1930s, it was clear that BMW, though not well-known outside of Germany except among car cognoscenti, was beginning to hatch a credible alternative if not yet a full-blown rivalry to the much more established Mercedes. But car production stopped in 1939, as Hitler needed a first-class airplane and airplane engine manufacturer.

Source: David Kiley - Driven

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