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*Please note that this vehicle is titled 1938.
Single Family Ownership for 75 Years | Fascinating Unrestored Example with Matching-Numbers EngineMajor General Edward B. Giller and Family, Albuquerque, New Mexico (acquired in 1945)
With a strong yet lightweight tubular chassis, BMW’s legendary 328 was cloaked in purposeful aluminum bodywork and its engine featured a crossflow cylinder head, hemispherical combustion chambers, and three Solex carburetors. Delivering the performance of a twin-cam engine, this elegant design endowed the 328 with excellent power and reliability. The 328 emerged victorious at its racing debut at the Nürburgring in 1936, won its class at the 1938 Mille Miglia and Le Mans in 1939, and won the Mille Miglia outright in 1940. With over 200 victories, the 328 remained competitive well into the 1950s.
According to correspondence with BMW Group Classic, this fascinating 328, originally finished in white over a red leather interior, was first delivered to the BMW dealer Automag in Munich on June 7, 1937. It was purchased in Germany in 1945 by a US Army Air Corps pilot, named Edward B. Giller, who was stationed there shortly before the end of the war and later became a major general in the US Air Force.
General Giller, born in 1918, grew up on an Illinois farm and earned his pilot’s license as a young man, soon thereafter beginning his long career in the Army Air Corps. During WWII, he served with the 55th Fighter Group and became Commander of the 343rd Fighter Squadron. He participated in the European Air Offensive Campaign in Normandy, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe, mostly flying P-51 Mustangs, and after the war was decorated with more than eight medals.
While stationed on a US base in Germany in 1945, General Giller learned of this car. He purchased it from another American officer, perhaps using his coveted flight jacket to sweeten the deal, according to his daughter. He then had the Army paint shop respray the car Olive Drab, paint a star on the door, and add numbers on the hood so he could obtain free gasoline on base. Copies of three incredible photographs remain in the car’s file showing how the 328 looked at that time.
When Giller was sent home to the US later in 1945, the car was shipped to the East Coast. His wife met him there and they drove the BMW across the country to Oregon, where she had been working during the war as an airline stewardess. He then decided to get advanced degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois. As it was their only car, the Gillers drove the 328 back across the country, from Oregon to Illinois, while his wife was pregnant with their first child.
In 1950, Giller moved to Washington, D.C. area, where he worked on the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project as an executive of the Weapons Effects Division and the chief of the Radar Branch. In 1954, he and his wife moved to New Mexico to work at Kirtland Air Force Base and again the car accompanied them to be used as a consistent daily driver. In 1959, they moved back to Washington, D.C., taking the car, and Giller held many more prestigious military positions before retiring as Major General in 1972. He stayed in the field, however, focusing on issues of nuclear nonproliferation. While working at the Pentagon, Giller would casually drive the 328 on nice days.
General Giller’s family, which still owns the car today, has many wonderful memories of the BMW, and one of his daughters fondly recalls that she and her dad would go for donuts in it every Sunday morning. While some restoration has been performed over the years, including an early engine rebuild, paint, and interior work, the family states that the car has never been comprehensively taken apart and restored. According to correspondence on file from BMW Group Classic, the 328 also retains its matching-numbers engine. The Giller family notes that the 328 was always a running and driving car up until the last five years or so, and that their dad drove it until very late in life, when his health no longer allowed. While White Post Restorations of Virginia recently attended to the brakes and fuel system to get the car driving again, further mechanical attention may be required prior to regular road use.
Accompanied by a knock-off hammer, jack, manuals, and numerous spare parts, this is a remarkable and extremely rare opportunity to acquire a BMW 328 with a fascinating history that has remained in single family ownership for 75 years.