BMW 3 history
The first true BMW design was an ohv 788cc four-cylinder in 1931. Other versions with 845cc and, in 1933, the first six-cylinder BMW an 1173cc Fritz Feidler design-followed. The 1490cc six-cylinder developing 34 bhp was built also as a two-seater 40 bhp sports car and, from 1936 onwards, a 1911cc six-cylinder was made. Most famous version was the 328, developing 80 bhp at 4500 rpm, which won many races with drivers including Prince Bira and Dick Seaman. The last pre-war model was a 3485cc six-cylinder touring car with 90bhp at 3500 rpm. In England BMW cars were sold by Frazer Nash and also raced under the Frazer Nash name.
As a result of the war BMW lost the Eisenach works, but bought the Glas car works at Dingolfing in 1966 they also built a new factory there. The first post-war car was the 501 with a 1971cc six-cylinder engine, built from 1952 onwards. Improved versions-and also a 2077cc model followed. A V-8 appeared in 1954; first with 2580cc, later with 3168cc and up to 160 bhp at 5600 rpm. Using modified 246cc single-cylinder ohv motorcycle engines, from 1955, BMW built the Italian Isetta bubble cars under license. There was also a 298cc model and a 582cc BMW-Isetta, which used an ohv flat-twin of BMW's own manufacture. New small cars with 697cc flat-twin engines appeared on the market in 1959. They saved BMW during a depression, when even motorcycle sales slumped.