Coupé conceals a racing rarity

The history has begun to emerge of a BMW 328 racer with a post-war Veritas rebuild that was unearthed in a barn in the farm town of Villisca, Iowa, two years ago. The car was locked away in December 1971 by a local corn farmer, who towed it inside with a tractor then left it untouched for 45 years.


When the farmer tipped off workshop owner Dereck Freshour about the car, he was interested immediately. Despite not knowing what the coupé was, Freshour and high-school buddy Heath Rodney, who owns a number of Harley- Davidson dealerships, agreed to buy it. Once they had pulled the car out, the 1966 registration told them that it was a 1950 BMW-Veritas.

1950 BMW-Veritas

1950 BMW-Veritas

Veritas authority Jim Profitt found out that the 328 wore chassis number 85031, and the next step was to contact BMW Classic, which eventually certified it as the real deal. The car’s fascinating history began in May 1937, as one of 61 lightweight 328 racers. It was at Le Mans that year, entered by the NSKK (National Socialist Motor Corps), and a few months later it was in the UK, where it was raced by Prince Bira. It was also entered on the 1938 Mille Miglia, finishing 11th overall. After that the history gets a little blurred, but it is thought to have been converted by Ernst Loof of Veritas in 1950, with a body by Autenrieth of Darmstadt.

The car came to the USA in 1957 with an Air Force soldier who was stationed in Germany, and it had just one further owner before being sold to the Iowa farmer. With its past unravelled, Freshour and Rodney faced the difficult decision of how to tackle the rebuild. After much deliberation, they decided to restore it to factory lightweight spec, and will place the as-found coupé body on a rolling chassis.

1950 BMW-Veritas

1950 BMW-Veritas / Elegant BMW-Veritas was unearthed in an Iowa barn after languishing for more than 45 years, and boasts a fascinating history. Clockwise from above left: classic cross-pushrod ‘six’; Autenrieth body will be removed and kept in ‘as found’ state; Bira in the 328 at the 1937 RAC TT.

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