1973 BMW 3.0CS: Taking It Personally

1973 BMW 3.0CS

In my opinion, there are some cars that should be put back together the exact way they came apart. If you’re restoring certain classics, there’s a way to do things that keeps them intact for the next generation to learn from. I feel that way about the classic BMW CS, a quickly-appreciating Bavarian icon that in this instance, a 1973 example listed here on eBay for $49,500, may need to be dialed back a few steps to demand the asking price. The modern wheels on aggressive rubber are a few years too new for my taste, as is the Momo steering wheel. Thankfully, the original 14 inch wheels are included; hopefully, so is the factory, bus-like steering wheel. And the lack of an original tool kit really is a kick in the teeth considering how those little pieces tend to complete a car like this. So tell me – am I being overly critical or would you want this car 100% factory correct for $50,000 big ones?


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  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    Jeff, I feel that way about every car.

  2. Rich

    Absolutely love these cars. One of the most beautiful cars ever made.

    • Russell

      I’m with Rich. This is absolutely my favorite car. So beautiful. I had a chance to buy one from my uncle for $10,000 in about 1990. It needed interior leather work and a few bumps fixed on the outside and I didn’t have much money, so I turned it down. A few years later I saw a perfect specimen parked under a shady tree at a winery in Bordeaux. I regret not buying my uncle’s car every time I see one.

  3. RayT Member

    While the five-speed conversion enhances the car — probably — the other changes are, fortunately, easily reversible. It would take careful inspection, though, to verify the quality of the repaint and upholstery. They look okay in the photos, but one would want to make sure they are as nice up close.

    This is certainly one of the nicest cars BMW has built: beautiful, quick and (at least as it left the factory) a jewel quality-wise. If it were truly original, it might be worth the asking price.

    But I’m a bit leery of “personalized” cars, even if the changes are only cosmetic. These were cars that just begged to be used, and that’s a mixed blessing.

  4. John

    Great car. I think the Momo wheel works. At lot of effort and expense in restoring. Likely at $35k …. Certainly not $50.

  5. James g

    Definitely needs the original steering wheel or a period correct momo or aftermarket wheel from the same time period of the car

  6. Monty MaGill

    It is the little details that tell you if a job has been done correctly and whether or not you should pay big $ for it. Look at the driver’s seat back and the puckers in the leather. Look at the driver’s head rest and the LARGE puckers in that…. then look at the minor puckers in the passengers head rest… this guy made a fairly passable resto-mod car. It is not a worthy candidate for big dollars unless a person is just dying to have this particular year and model BMW. The car is not a pristine example of the model. It is this individual’s personal project, finished to HIS tastes… a good looking job, but not a “significant” auto, nor an example of craftsmanship / workmanship. I’d pass it by.

    • rdc

      I agree with you on this car. It is a nice driver that could be a candidate to be fully restored at some point. Why is the tool kit missing?

  7. JW454

    Well, I look at it a little differently. What someone else does to their car is their business. I don’t want anyone telling me what to do with my car so I won’t say anything about what anyone else does to theirs. There are countries where any modification to your car is illegal. That’s not where I want to live. While I’ve seen cars that the owner made changes that I would never even consider, I feel he has the right to make them. If people didn’t start making changes to factory issued vehicles the car culture would have never reached the level it has.

    Example; if no one ever built a 1934 Ford Highboy fenderless roadster, do you think Chrysler would have ever built the Prowler.

  8. rdc

    One of my favorite BMWS. Just love the roofline. Those back seats are so graceful. These wheels (1995) are nice and do not seem too modern IMO. :) That said my 1934 has the stock 15″ wheels so…

    Anyone have an image of the original wheels?

  9. Tirefriar

    I agree with Monty, the devil is in details. I would imagine these came with a radiator fan shroud, uncertain about the rear seat (I know that the stitched roundel was not part of the origial design )))), the trunk floor (looks like it has undercoating on it – weren’t they simply painted? I’m also not sure if this is a two stage paint, single stage would be more period correct ( I could be off here).

    I don’t believe that the seller’s personal tastes are in question here, just that the sale price does not correspond to the market value of this car. BTW, if anyone is not happy with this iteration and wants to start from scratch, there’s a blue one on Hemmings for $8k that will need a ground up resto but it does run. For the ultimate purist there’s also a fully restored one with 30k miles in NY for ONLY $80k. Realistically, the way this market is heading buying this car may make sense in the long run if the seller is willing to negotiate somewhat on the price…

  10. MH

    You would have to be totally out of your mind to spend 50K on a car like this!!!

    • Tirefriar

      Maybe a little nuts, but not totally out of your mind ;)
      To get a better grip on the prices for the E9 check out the latest Hemmings listings. DD condition cars are at average of $35k. This car is not THAT far off so as not to be able to bring it back to a mor palletable condition. I definitely agree that a dark wood rimmed Nardi would fit the bill much better and take away some of the revulsion.

      • rdc

        Revulsion regarding the steering wheel seems a bit strong. :)

  11. Sean Smith

    I have no problem with the wheels and tires. Maybe a more period correct wooden Nardi wheel would be less jarring.

  12. cory

    I do wonder if the tranny swap affected the value. Nothing wrong with it, just curious if the big money buyers are as concerned with these changes as buyers of other makes tend to be.

  13. John M

    Yes, a high price for this “good” resto job. But out of your mind to pay this much? Uh, I have regrettably said that same thing to myself too many times in the past. 10-15 years ago I cringed at people paying 20K for a Porsche 356 and said “your crazy” to pay that much for a glorified VW. Now one has to cough up that much for a basket case 356. The “collector market” doesn’t always make sense. Once something takes on the collector label, the sky is the limit. If you pass on this very fine example of a 3.0CS, it may very well come back to haunt you in 10 years when you can’t find one for less than 100K. Just sayin….

  14. Dolphin Member

    These 3.0s are some of the most desirable cars from the early ’70s. Most of us have missed our chance for a Ferrari Daytona or GTC. This is our chance for one of the next best. I like the design and fit / finish almost as much as the Ferraris, and this nice California car is WAY cheaper than they are. But compared to them, this is really just a nice cruiser, so you get less, but pay way less money for it.

    The video is amateurish but does the job of showing that the engine runs well, sounds right with no bad noises, and even that the A/C turns on and runs.

    I think Tirefriar and John M are right. The price is high but none of us is going to turn the clock back, so you deal with that reality by making an offer if you want the car, or don’t. Like any great vintage car these will continue to appreciate. Personally I would much prefer to have this car than some of its period competitors that cost more and ride and sound like something agricultural.

    The sheet metal and mechanicals on these cars are not cheap to R&R, so if you want one you need to factor in the benefits of not having to fix this car. That’s based on the evidence so far, but pay up for a real expert to look it over thoroughly first. You might get info that some things aren’t original, which I think is likely, and then use it in negotiating.

    The stuff that needs fixing (seat leather, wheels, tools) is minor and dirt cheap compared to everything else you might need to be concerned about with this car. Get the best upholsterer in town to take in the leather. Scour the BMW sites and Ebay for tools and the right steering wheel. Looks like the proper wheels do come with the car. I would keep the 5-speed and just drive it. Let the next guy worry about that is he wants to, but I wouldn’t.

  15. BenG

    Pretty car and color combination. Steering wheel is an easy fix. Needs a thorough PPI as rust is always an issue with these cars, particularly at the shock mounts. Price is just an ask. Make him an offer – it’s only worth what the next buyer is willing to pay.

  16. Horse Radish

    Factory, ALWAYS.

    This guy thinks he did somebody a favor by modifying it to his taste, but WHO is he to decide for the next guy ?
    So , tell him to take those (5) ‘silly’ wheels off and deduct the retail price he paid off the top and then we’ll talk.

    My guess this thing has bigger issues underneath, if you ask me, seeing it’s been offered with photos sitting in that same driveway for a couple of months now………

    ….namely rust and too high an asking price.

  17. rdc

    These are not silly wheels. They are 16″ BMW wheels.

  18. John

    Someone thought it was worth it — its sold.

  19. Woodie Man

    Heres my story. In mid nineties I had the opportunity to buy a sunroof 1973 3.9 original 5 speed ( I think it was a 5 speed) for $11,000.00. Absolutely mint. Like the cheap dummy I am, I passed. Grrrrrrr. Check the shock towers on these.

    • John M

      I have a dozen stories like that, such as the nice 356 Super 90 convertible I test drove in 1978 for $3,500. Yea, I passed on it and bought a Ford pickup instead. Still eats at me.

  20. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    $1,500.00 car, if it runs. The rest is speculation.

    • rdc

      I take it you do not like BMWs or is it just this model? :)

      • Tirefriar

        I think Bob is recounting his E9 experience from 35 yo when responding to a barn find ad ;)

      • BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

        rdc, one of my favorites ! What I grew up noticing 1st. I work in auto service, when I look at a car I see a maintenance schedule & what repairs may be necessary. Take this BMW & subtract what will be necessary to drive the car as if it were new & then decide on a price. & don’t forget to add in the deterioration of its structural integrity which at this point in time may exceed its mechanical & trim integrity.

  21. rdc

    Bob, Thanks. I see your point of view now.

    • BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

      rdc, & that’s why we have so much fun discussing these things. After decades working with cars in service my ‘plus vs. minus’ skills far exceed my emotional skills.

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