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Cheap Luxury: 1972 BMW Bavaria


There are cars in this world that you want to love. Whether it’s because of deep brand devotion or a childhood memory, they seem like they deserve to be restored and enjoyed. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s just impossible to justify the commitment unless it is the only car that can bring you happiness. For me, vehicles like this 1972 BMW Bavaria here on eBay are exactly this: certainly a car that deserves a fate better than being parted out, but hard for me to ever want to raise my hand as a potential suitor for its restoration. 


And why is that? Taking a look at this interior reveals an attractive dash, seating surfaces and a cockpit in the finest German tradition: uncluttered and driver-oriented. Unfortunately, that automatic is going to eliminate a lot of the justifications for why you’d want to own one of these machines in the first place. While Bavarias are appreciated by certain members of the BMW faithful, it remains on the bench of emerging German classics that have enjoyed a nice uptick in value, despite the infrequency with which you see them today.


The familiar BMW straight-six is a wonderful motor, sure to provide many years of steady highway travel. In the case of the Bavaria, it’s likely of the better attributes of the car (though I also find the looks to be quite handsome). The car supposedly only has 54,000 miles on the clock after years of long-term storage, and while that has kept the interior largely preserved, rust is still creeping into various places on the body. Given the low values of these big sedans, you’ll likely be upside down quickly once you begin attempting bodywork.


But to that last point, if you love the Bavaria, the amount of money needed to fix its ill won’t matter. There are some prominent members of the BMW Car Club of America who pilot Bavarias and seem to enjoy every moment they soak in behind the wheel. For me, there are too many other models that get my blood pumping and even more choices to be had if you want to own one with the right transmission. This car does have one bid on a no-reserve auction, so hopefully we’ll see it cleaned up and sorted sooner than later.



  1. Avatar photo rdc

    I agree, it is hard to justify doing much of anything to these cars that need a lot of work as the values are not likely to appreciate. However, if you can find one really preserved or sorted out it might be an excellent buy if this is a car you have a special interest.

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  2. Avatar photo van

    These cars had a mushy ride
    Take the Bavarian badge and put it on a new Bimmer, throw the rest away

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  3. Avatar photo Another Bob

    Don’t even think about buying a rusty Bavaria. Great cars, but the rust free ones in Arizona or California or Oregon are a grand more.

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    • Avatar photo Horse Radish

      Now there is a very sensible comment of the likes of which we could use more of.
      BUT everybody wants the cheapest and they shun the shipping.
      The result is: rust free cars in California get crushed (ask me how I know) and the rusty ones elsewhere get saved…..

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  4. Avatar photo Rando

    A friend had several of these in the late 80s. Had a BUNCH of 3.0 coupes, a few 2002s and 1600s, a Turbo Tii. A collector. All sold off now. I got to drive a bunch of them for various reasons. Nice rides. I think all of his had alloys. he wanted to sell me a nice gold Bavaria, but it was a bit higher than the Audi Fox I ended up with. The Bavaria would have been cheaper after about 3 months. Fox was nothing but trouble. Wish I woulda bought the BMW instead.

    This one has different wheel covers on each side. Not pretty. And yes it is pretty rough. That spare looks like an American wheel. Never seen a euro steelie like that, but haven’t seen a lot of spares. Does it fit? The twin carbs were apparently hard to sync and keep right. You needed to know “a guy”. We had a “guy” in town that was tops with them when he was sober. That was the issue. Shame.

    I’d love to have an old BMW and a wheel barrow or two of cash to throw at it…

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  5. Avatar photo Rick

    For whatever reason these old 4 door BMWs just dont go for very much, this one has a pretty clean interior but it looks beat up. IMHO it’s worth about $2K max, and that’s if it has no issues w/ the motor or tranny, because if that automatic goes out, it becomes a parts car

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  6. Avatar photo Dave Wright

    I owned a Forrest green Bavaria 3.0 with gold BBS mags, a saddle leather interior and 4 speed when I lived in Europe. I am not sure of the year but it must have been a little newer because it was injected. It was a wonderful car. I also had a 3,0 CSI that was probably the best car I ever owned. Actually, I am not a huge BMW fan ( prefer Mercedes) but these and the 2002 series were as good as they get. I did work on the carbureted version too. The carbs are not difficult to sync but you need a Unisync tool, it can’t be done by ear. I sold my Bavaria when I bought my first 6.3 Mercedes, never regretted it but the BMW was really nice.

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  7. Avatar photo jim s

    seller has 5 cars for sale on ebay, all have rust. looks like a lot of good parts on this one which might keep a lot of other BMW’s on the road. i wonder what model 4cyl BMW’s that 6 cyl motor would fit in? interesting find.

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  8. Avatar photo Rando

    Rick’s right. If anything big goes out or isn’t working, it ain’t gonna be cheap to fix. And you’ll have to find it elsewhere. I doubt BMW has any old parts for these on the shelves.

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    • Avatar photo Bobsmyuncle

      Parts aren’t a problem.

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  9. Avatar photo Horse Radish

    Beware : USED CAR DEALER
    There is a reason why this ‘dude’ has NOT gussied up this poor puppy.

    These were as rust prone as the Coupes (E9s), But with the downside of poor appreciation.
    Those globs of Bondo that popped off the hood on this one should be a clear sign from ‘whoever’….
    Front diver’s floor is rusted through and the passenger side rocker panels are ‘done’ too.
    The thick undercoating is holding the ‘whole thing’ together..

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    • Avatar photo Bobsmyuncle

      I’m confused if the seller ISN’T trying to hide problems why would that elicit a warning?

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  10. Avatar photo Jubjub

    Yeah, be cooler if it was four speed.

    Not as scuzzy underneath as I was expecting.

    That’s the right spare to this car too.

    I’d feel ok giving a grand or so for it. With some tinkering it could probably make a decent driver.

    Do something about the hood and those 318 wheelcovers. It’d look better with the bare steelies cleaned up. Few things I loathe more than cheesy plastic wheelcovers.

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