Winfield BMW 745i

Winfield BMW 745i and Tony Viana celebration


There was a double celebration at FMM on Sunday 8 October when a group of overseas and local BMW International club members visited FMM to view the museum’s exhibits and sample some of the L’Ormarins wines. A surprise for the visitors took place when Paolo Cavalieri performed a couple of demonstration laps around the quadrangle in the legendary Winfield BMW 745i that won the 1985 Group One Modified Saloon Car Championship in the hands of Tony Viana.

Earlier in the day, FMM workshop manager Lorenzo Farella received a painting of this unique BMW presented to the museum by Paolo and Alec Ceprnich, a BMW technician who runs Evolution 2 Motorsport that restored and maintains the car for Paolo.

The previous day, Paolo had raced the car in the Access Auto Classic Car event at the Power Series meeting at Killarney Raceway, finishing third but only after a slight coming-together with another competitor in an early-lap multi-car melee in Turn 2 caused some slight damage to the left-hand side of the car. The large crowd was certainly thrilled at the sight and sound of the distinctive red-and-white liveried Beemer.

Originally built by Viana and Kobus van der Walt, the 745i is powered by an M88 3,6-litre version of BMW’s immortal straight-6 engine as used in the M1 sports car and measured at the Reef, the twin-cam 24-valve motor pumps out 262 kW at the rear wheels. Peak revs are 7 200. The gearbox is a Getrag close-ratio five-speed with dog-leg first. Together with upgraded brakes and suspension, the 745i stands out as a prime example of successful race car innovation that South Africa has produced over many years.