SOLD 10/21

1934 BMW
319 Cabriolet

Bring a Trailer Auction Preview: Attractive and rare 319 Cabriolet. Strong running rally event veteran

  • VIN57016
  • Exterior ColorGray
  • Interior ColorBlack leather
  • Mileage73492 Kilometers (TMU)
  • Engine2.0L Bristol 328 Straight 6-cylinder
  • Transmission4-Speed manual
  • StatusSold
  • StockFJ2522


Walkaround video:

Driving video:

1934 BMW 319 Sports Cabriolet

Chassis No. – 57016
Exterior Color – Silver
Interior Color – Black leather
Engine – 2.0 Bristol 328 in-line 6 cylinder
Transmission – 4-speed manual transmission
Current Kilometers – 73,492 kms (TMU)
Current Owner – Purchased in 1990

General Overview

Having established production for the first 300 series cars in the early 1930s, BMW embarked on the 319, a variant of the earlier 315 which overlapped production in 1935. Handsome cars with excellent build quality and robust six-cylinder engines, though made in limited numbers, these early cars made a big impression on a wide range of European clientele who quickly learned that BMW offered both performance and touring elegance in their cars – a feature that continues to be a big part of their contemporary offerings nearly a century later.

This very rare example (both in original numbers and as surviving examples today) has many unique distinctions to offer an enthusiast seeking a desirable pre-war open car with capable road manners and comfortable driving traits. Having been a personal favorite of premier west coast BMW collector Jim Smith, this car was one of several BMWs that Smith personally raced, rallied, and showed all over the world. Best known for his exemplary pre-war BMWs, his personal collection numbered more than a dozen rare and most desirable models ever built. Not content with his cars being beautifully restored and limited to static concours events, Smith made sure his cars could stand up to the rigors of events like the Great American Race, Colorado Grand, California Mille, and other historic distance rallies for vintage cars, many of which Jim delighted in driving himself, often accompanied by fortunate friends or family members as copilots.

According to experts at BMW Group Classic, Munich, Germany, the internal registry for pre-war BMW models indicates that this car was officially entered into the registry by BMW Works as a BMW 319 Sportkabriolett (Sports Cabriolet). Though not entered as a special bodied car when new, at some point in the history of the car, the grille, front fenders, and fascia were modified, taking on a unique and very well-executed design. Though the modification to the front of the car is not attributed to a specific design house or constructor, the nose and front fenders reflect the later series BMW 328. The wheels and wheel covers are also not typical to a traditional 319, though appear to be later series BMW wheels. Although these modifications are very well done and create a visually distinctive appearance to the car, the origin, date of revision, and motivations behind these changes remains a mystery still today.

Originally delivered to BMW Dealer Jakobi in Nurnberg, July 14, 1936, it is believed that the car spent most of its early life in Europe before import to the US. Previous owners J. Tom Jafek and later Dick Shafer, who acquired the car in 1981, as well as Richard Cook Jr., 1987, had retained the car in pieces, possibly disassembled for restoration as early as the 1970s. In 1990 Jim Smith purchased the car from Cook who was then living in Smyrna, FL. Smith himself, being both a skilled restorer and recognized BMW expert, dispatched his full attention towards a two-year ground up restoration addressing every aspect of the car including a comprehensive engine rebuild by experts at Crowther Racing Engines who carefully rebuilt the 2.0 Liter Bristol 328 series engine, which is documented with detailed specifications, engine dimensions and tolerances, dyno test results, cam timing instructions, and various reference drawings. Additionally, the gearbox, electrical, brakes, suspension, body, chassis, interior, and paint were addressed by other specialty shops in the Northern California region. Upon completion, Smith drove the car in a wide range of events, proudly showing it in the US and Europe including completing several events listed below.

1992 California Mille
1992 La Carrera Real, New Mexico
1992 “People’s Choice” Art and Automobile Concours d’Elegance, San Francisco
1993 BMW Octoberfest Sears Point Raceway
1995 1st West Coast BMW CCA Club Race, Thunder Hill Motorsports Park, Willows, CA
2005 Colorado Holiday #3
2013 Legends of the Autobahn Octoberfest

In 2017 the car was serviced at Road Rockets, Sonoma, CA. The front and rear brake wheel cylinders were rebuilt, new flex lines installed at all four corners, the brake shoes adjusted or resurfaced as needed, the master cylinder was replaced, and all lines purged and filled with silicone brake fluid. The carburetors were adjusted, timing set, a faulty center carb pump replaced, points lubricated, and a new battery installed.

In July 2021 the car was inspected, draining the fuel, installing a new fuel filter, new spark plugs, the primary ignition circuit repaired, valve lash adjusted, and a warm compression test was performed (148/145/145/150/150/150). In August 2021 the cylinder head fasteners were retorqued, carburetors removed, valve covers cleaned and resealed, new heat insulating gaskets fabricated, carbs serviced, choke operation improved, throttle linkage adjusted, ignition distributor repaired and adjusted, timing and dwell adjusted, and idle speeds set.

General Condition

Today this BMW 319 Cabriolet offers handsome cosmetics reflective of the older rally event-focused restoration that still retains quality finishes and appropriate luster befitting a car that can be enjoyable used. The paint is glossy and properly detailed but shows a few road chips commonly found on cars that have been used in tours or events much as this car has. The overall finish is very pleasing, particularly the dark silver hue which enhances the clean and sophisticated cabriolet body, proud twin kidney grill, and headlights blended into the front fenders. The front view is particularly refined and balanced, indicating the coachwork changes were very well thought out. The body panels are generally well aligned in character with the overall restoration, while the central hinged hood panels display fit that is typical of 30s era construction. The rocker panels and trim are properly contoured to the body, and the doors shut with positive closure. The round trunk lid is cleverly hinged on the side, allowing for easier access to the spare tire stored in this area.

Outfitted with matching body color stamped steel wheels, center hubcaps, and period correct tires, the car has both an elegant presence and the sporting profile reminiscent of 1930s era BMW competition cars. The convertible profile is clean and refined with gracefully arched disappearing side glass, no vent windows, and a distinct roaster-like stance while benefiting from a full convertible top. The beautifully tapered rear fenders and trunk elongates the lines of the car in a very graceful way. The overall body design is handsome, very well-tailored, and every bit as elegant when compared to any of the competitively constructed coachbuilt bodies of the period.

The interior presents as a comfortable and usable touring car with finishes that have only modestly aged since the restoration was completed. The door panels, leather seats, and side panels have a high-quality, properly preserved appearance. The dashboard is finished in matching body color and the doors topped with wood accents, and the banjo-type steering wheel finished in ivory color, matching the switches and knobs on the dash. The dashboard features clean and nicely detailed instruments with good color and contrast, consisting of a mix of some newer gauges flanking an original speedometer. The convertible top is stowed in a canvas wrapped bustle propped above the seats on an articulating top armature which can be raised and lowered manually. When the black canvas top is fixed to the windshield header, the fit is taut and the profile quite satisfying. Unlike many cabriolet designs that can often appear upright and dowdy, this roofline delivers a sweeping forward angle with a small rear glass window giving it a distinct sporty impression when it accelerates away. A small, carpeted storage area behind the seats can be used to hold overnight bags.

Under the hood, the engine bay has been restored with generally period correct finishes in keeping with original BMWs of this era. The engine is an uprated 2.0 Liter Bristol unit typically found in the 328 series but very fitting especially for touring use. The undercarriage is consistent with the restoration quality on the exterior of the car showing clean and dry components that have benefitted from proper care and attention in the years after the restoration was completed.

The car performs very well under general road conditions with delightful driving manners, impressive acceleration from the in-line six-cylinder engine, and comfortable driving manners, particularly for touring events. Given the long-term ownership, expertise, and resources at hand for BMW expert Jim Smith, it’s clear that his selection of this car, restoration, and continued use in events and shows supports the wonderful driving experience this car offers to anyone seeking an elegant and sporting prewar automobile.

Items Included with the Car

The car is offered with copies of period restoration photos, receipts for various mechanical services both past and current, a shop manual, and tonneau cover.

The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.

Inquire About This Car

Fantasy Junction  •  510-653-7555  •  1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608