ICONIC BMW SPORTS SEDAN FOR SALE

The BMW 318i Sports Sedan raced by Allan Grice and Jim Richards is up for sale in the United States. Pic: an1images.com / Marshall Hornby

A BMW factory-built 320i Turbo raced in Australia by Allan Grice and Jim Richards has gone on the market in the United States.

Originally built by BMW Motorsport in 1978, chassis E21-R4-05 was campaigned by the factory squad in that year’s World Championship of Makes and driven by late Formula 1 hero Ronnie Peterson and legendary German star Hans Stuck, before being sold to IMSA racer Jim Busby to campaign in America in 1979.

The car then came to Australia in early 1980 and was modified to suit Sports Sedan regulations for Allan Grice to race, replacing the Craven Mild squad’s multiple title-winning Chevrolet Corvair.

The BMW carried Craven Mild colours in 1980; here Grice charges through the final corner at Calder’s ASSC round. Pic: an1images.com / Ian Smith

The reigning champion started the season at Oran Park in a Holden Torana while waiting for the new car to arrive, while delays sourcing engine parts left the BMW sidelined from Round 2 at Winton.

Grice finally debuted the car at the third round at Amaroo Park, piloting it to wins at Lakeside and Adelaide International Raceway on the way to second in points.

This car didn’t race in 1981, Grice instead wheeling a locally-built BMW in JPS colours prior to his split with Frank Gardner at the end of the year.

Richards at the 1983 Australian Grand Prix meeting, his last start in the car – note the RaceCam unit! Pic: an1images.com / Dale Rodgers

The adoption of new GT rules for 1982 allowed the car to be returned closer to its IMSA trim, but it only made sporadic appearances with new driver Jim Richards at the wheel.

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Richards then campaigned it throughout 1983 – headlined by involvement in the spectacular start-line crash at AIR – before it was sold by the team, passing through several racers’ hands as it continued to be a mainstay of GT and Sports Sedan racing through the end of the decade.

Rob Burns (#7) pilots the BMW on the opening lap of the Sports Sedan race at Winton’s ATCC round in 1989. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

The car was eventually sold to the United States in the early 1990s for a restoration to its IMSA specifications but sat in pieces until it was purchased by Cory Muensterman in 1998.

The Californian slowly and meticulously restored the car, sourcing parts from around the world and eventually enlisting Busby’s help in 2015.

The car was restored in time for BMW’s 100th anniversary celebrations at the 2016 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Pic: Racecarsdirect

Completed in time for BMW’s 100th anniversary celebrations at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca in 2016, Busby had the honour of turning the car’s first laps after its restoration.

Listed on Racecarsdirect, the car comes with an extensive array of parts and spares – including a pair of doors that still wear the car’s last racing livery from its time in Australia.

Will Dale is V8 Sleuth's Head of Content - Digital. He began his media career as a breakfast radio newsreader before joining SPEED TV Australia and FOX SPORTS Australia in 2012 as its Digital Editorial Lead - Motorsport, covering all forms of motorsport both in Australia and internationally. He became part of the V8 Sleuth team in 2018.