The Concorso d’Eleganza, held each year on the banks of Italy’s Lake Como, is so classy and stunning it makes most other concours look like county fair rod runs. This year’s event is no exception, and the focus is on European concept cars from the past.
Of all the fine cars slated to appear, the one that caught our attention was the voluptuous BMW 328 Kamm Coupé. Appearing alongside such stunning automotive sculptures as the Spada TS Codatronca, a Bentley Continental Flying Star and the wild Frazer-Nash Namir hybrid supercar, the Kamm Coupé is notable for both its groundbreaking design and its racing heritage.
BMW says the car, which raced in the famed Mille Miglia in 1940, “represents a seamless blend of function and aesthetic allure.” We’d have to agree — the car, like the Ferrari 250 SWB Berlinetta or Porsche 550 Coupé, is an example of form and function meeting in complete harmony.
The Kamm Coupé was one of five cars BMW entered in the grueling 1,000-mile race through Italy. It is believed to be the first automobile to use the so-called Kammback design, named for German auto engineer Wunibald Kamm, with a streamlined body and abruptly tapered tail. Although the BMWs took first, third, fifth and sixth in the race, the Kamm Coupé didn’t finish.
The car survived the Second World War and remained in Germany, owned by former BMW racing director Ernst Loof. Financial difficulties forced him to let the Kamm Coupé go, and following an accident in the early 1950s the car was consigned to the scrapheap. BMW has since the mid-1990s been rebuilding the car using documents from the racing group archive as well as information from private collectors and computer calculations carried out in the BMW development department.
“We’ve come up against some major technical challenges, had many discussions and racked up countless hours of research, but when you see the car for the first time you can sense the passion and professionalism invested by all those involved – both all those years ago and today,” said Karl Baumer, Director of BMW Group Classic.
Photos: BMW. BMW didn’t provide any of the restored car.