Ex-Denis Flather - 'Best in Show' London Concours 2017
Completed on 20th October 1937, this wonderful example was first owned by gentleman racer Denis Flather. Based in Sheffield and a steel merchant by trade, Flather raced the car extensively and commanded considerable respect behind the wheel.
Denis’ father had been a founding member of the Sheffield Motor Club, and, having grown up around cars himself, founded the British Trials and Rally Drivers’ Association. Organising multiple forms of competition, he also acted as the President of the association for many years. Alongside the 328, he also built and raced 500cc Formula 3 racing cars or ‘Flather Specials’ as they were known. Alongside his competition exploits, he also found time to act as chairman for BRM in their early days and actively involve himself in the RAC Competitions Committee.
In 1949, Flather sold the BMW and after passing through several owners in quick succession, it was sold to the penultimate keeper on 22nd January 1950 with whom it would remain with for 70 years until June 2022.
Throughout that time ‘GML 185’ has affectionately been known as Zoë as mentioned in the accompanying three-volume history file. Zoë was regularly toured abroad and in 1950 was driven to both the 24hr Le Mans and the French Grand Prix at Reims-Geux.
Competition was evidently instilled in the car from the start and the racing continued; Hill climbs were common practice, as well as multiple volumes of The Land’s End Trial, Exeter Trial and Edinburgh classic reliability trials. The 328 was then used as an everyday car between 1952 and 1970.
Having spent a good number of years off the road, Zoë was treated to a comprehensive nut and bolt restoration by renowned specialists Thornley Kelham Ltd over a two year period culminating in 2017. Throughout the restoration, Mr John Giles, founder and past director of TT Workshops was extensively consulted to ensure the car conformed to factory specification as closely as possible. Considering the cars almost unparalled history of spirited use, every effort was made at the restoration to ensure that "Zoe" could continue this legacy and that she would become one of the finest driving 328s on the road. This fabulous restoration was comprehensively documented and photographed, and then summarised in a lengthy article in Classic Car magazine as well as an accompanying hardback photo album.
Upon completion, 'GML 185' won the 'Best in Show' award, presented by Octane magazine, at the 2017 London Concours held at the Honourable Artillery Company's headquarters, and was subsequently displayed in the Royal Automobile Club on Pall Mall.
Further works have since been carried out by Patrick Blakeney-Edwards on behalf of the current owner; David Cottingham, the co-founder of DK Engineering. Accompanied by its three-volume history file, a wealth of pre-restoration spare parts, extensive literature, Zoë is ready to be viewed at our showrooms outside London immediately.
Generally regarded as one of the very few pre-war models that drives like a post-war car, the Frazer-Nash BMW 328 is eligible for all the most important historic events including the Mille Miglia, Nürburgring Oldtimer GP, and Le Mans Historic.
The major components within the spares package are listed below:
Original cylinder block, original body shell, original steering shaft flexible disc, original petrol tank, 3 cylinder heads (2 used, 1 new but holed in exhaust port), 2 crankshafts, 4 brake drums, 2 rocker shafts, 4 original flexible oil cooler pipes, 2 half shafts with bolts, 4 original hydraulic brake wheel cylinders, 1 original brake master cylinder unit, 2 small wood floorboards, 2 larger wooden floorboards, 1 piston with con rod, 2 rear shock absorber brackets, 2 drilled rear spring vertical guides, 2 windscreen glasses (original), chromed spare windscreen wipers, 1 conrod, metal plug lead conduit, 3 carburettors, 6 pistons, SU fuel pump, original fuse box, camshaft driving chain, 1 red rear reflector, 1 orange rear reflector (original), 1 new radiator grille, 1 original ZF gearbox complete – requires rebuild, 1 original ZF gearbox modified – in pieces, clutch fork, 2 wheels, full interior removed during restoration, 2 bulkheads, 2 6-volt horns.