A question was asked in the E30 bimmerforums today about converting a 4 door E30 into a cabriolet. I have had this post as a draft for a long time, and I thought this might be an opportunity to put the 4 door cabriolet in a bit of an historical perspective. Baur was one of the companies doing this work over 75 years ago!
If you thought that the 4 door E30 Baur cabriolet pictured above was a first..... you would be wrong! BMW's first 4 door cabriolet was actually built over 75 years ago! The BMW 326 (1936-41) was the first 4 door made by BMW. It came as a sedan and it also came in both a 2-door and a 4-door cabriolet version. It was customized by Baur and Reutter, and also by a number of other coach builders.
You can just see the handle on the rear door in this picture. This may have been a police car.
"Cornerstone - the 326
Fritz Fiedler and chief designer Alfred Böning started work on the 326 in late 1934, designing for it a rigid platform-type chassis with box-section elements. The existing BMW front suspension was redesigned, its transverse leaf spring mounted above instead of below the frame and with torsion-bar springs for the read axle. Four-wheel hydraulic brakes became standard for the first time on a BMW and the steering was by rack and pinion.
The 326 was BMW's first four-door saloon and Peter Schimanowski's styling gave it a remarkably modern appearance. Its most striking feature was the front end, with enveloping wings and a grille which blended smoothly into the front panel. This grille, derived from earlier BMW designs, is the true ancestor of today's famous twin-kidney grille."
------------- see: http://www.unixnerd.demon.co.uk/history.html#326
The 326 : the colums below refer to the build dates, engine size. # of cyl , horsepower and # built, respectively.
|1936-41||1971||6||50||box section platform chassis, independent front suspension, rear axle with torsion-bar springs||113||4-door saloon, 2-door or 4-door cabriolet||15,936|