Being There

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Saturday, June 17, 1939

A sunny day here at Circuit de la Sarthe. Swarmed about by adoring French and foreign spectators alike, the sleek blue “Tank” of Jean Bugatti’s design is on hand again, this year as a supercharged 3.3-liter driven by Jean-Pierre Wimille and Pierre Veyron. Fresh from Milan, the white 2-liter BMW Touring coupe has Prince Max zu Schaumburg-Lippe and Fritz Hans Wenscher poised to drive. There are also two open 328s, one with Ralph Roese and Paul Heinemann, the other with Willi Briem and Rudolf Scholz.

Sunday, June 18, 1939

It was glory today at Le Mans for the BMWs. Averaging 82.53 mph over 1,976 miles, the 328 Touring coupe won its class and scored fifth overall behind the winning Bugatti, a Delage and two Lagondas. A well-earned victory for the Bavarians.

Saturday, August 12, 1939

The summer is almost gone, and so much has happened since Le Mans! The crisis over Danzig, the Reich’s demands on Poland, Nazi U-boats sighted in the North Atlantic, Polish troops on guard at their borders. Hitler and Stalin have become strange bedfellows in their non-aggression treaty—and Europe is mobilized for the inevitable.

In a blow to France and all of motor-racing, Jean Bugatti was killed last evening while testing his Le Mans-winning “Tank” on a closed section of road near the factory at Molsheim. He tried to avoid a postman on a bicycle, lost control of the race car and hit a tree.

Sunday, September 3, 1939

Just as he did in Prague six months earlier, the Nazi führer has now sent his invading army into Poland, leaving England and France no rational choice but to declare war on Germany.

Also from Issue 95

  • E92 335is Coupe road test
  • F01 750i xDrive road test
  • Not for U.S. F11 5 Series Touring
  • Active Autowerke E90, E92 M3s
  • Hamann X6 Tycoon Evo M
  • Mark David’s E30 325is
  • Jack Croul’s 328 at Mille Miglia
  • BMW NA’s ex-Polak 2002ti racer
  • Bimmerfest 2010
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