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Polaris E9: 1972 BMW 3.0 CSI


Over the last few years, the classic BMW E9 has been appearing with increasing regularity as a project car going for big bucks. Unfortunately, more often than not, they are the lower-spec U.S. models suffering from the classic E9 rust issues. This example here on eBay suffers from rust ailments in a big way, but it’s a European-spec 3.0CSI, sporting a more powerful engine and improved styling. Combined with its desirable non-sunroof configuration, and you’ll start to see why someone might tackle this mega-project. Thanks to fellow writer Jamie for spotting this find!


The seller notes he is selling his project to finance house construction. He bought it from an owner in Georgia who let it rot for years; not much has changed. Although it’s indoors, the CSI suffers from the catastrophic rust that overtakes many classic E9s. The floors need total replacement, and the interior is quite rough, no doubt thanks to a passenger window that went missing before the seller acquired it. Assume the interior will need to be completely reupholstered, along with new carpets and door panels. That will happen only after you replace the floors. The seller has somewhat haphazardly torn the interior apart, but claims he has all the components and fasteners safely stored.


The CSI’s engine is where the value proposition starts to shift. Fuel injected with higher compression and about 20 more bhp on tap than the standard 3.0CS, this car was likely a jewel to drive when new. Unfortunately, we don’t even know to what extent the engine will need to be rebuilt, but you can absolutely determine that the engine bay is loaded with corrosion. The firewall may be suffering from similar issues as well, as it can be a weak spot in BMWs of this vintage. Take a look at the body seal line along the perimeter of the engine bay – that’s going to require some real work to put right.


The nose of the car was also banged up at one point in time, and both the hood and trunk suffer from rust issues as well. The desirable slim European bumpers are nice to see, especially since they aren’t coated in orange flakes. There’s no doubt this is one of the more desirable BMWs for sale today, but it will take a serious amount of work and financial investment to bring it back. But doesn’t that beautiful side profile, accented by the iconic hofmeister kink, deserve to race past slower vehicles once more? Let us know in the comments below.


  1. Keith

    This was a very nice car back in the day but it’s going to require a lot of work. At least it has more sheet metal than some of the Porsche 356s I’ve seen.

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  2. Bob Salter

    It’s Done when factoring current market values. Few have the skill set and patience to take this apart and fix it. When you see rust in the usual places there will be hidden structural rust in box sections you cannot easily access. I liked the quote about parts are becoming cheaper? Not the trim.

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  3. Rando

    Wow. Crappy. I have a friend who was collecting 3.0 coupes in the 80s. Even had the 19th one ever built according to vin. I helped him maintain the fleet. There were like 16 3.0 coupes, a few 2002s, a 2002tii turbo, 1600 convertibles, and a 62 grand prix with 421 tripower I think. None of his cars were ever this bad. Not sure this one is really worth doing much with.

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  4. randy

    Of all of the old Bimmers, this is my favorite body style. I’ll pass it along to some Bmw Buds of mine.

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  5. Dolphin Member

    I suppose some of the neglected old Porsches that we’ve seen lately might be worth restoring given the spike up in their values, assuming there’s enough metal left in them, but these CS coupes just don’t have the large number of fans out there with bulging wallets to justify the very high cost of restoring them when they are as bad as this one is. Bob is right—-these were designed and built in the dark ages of car design as far as rust protection is concerned. The fact that it’s a stalled project that has been partly take apart is the least of it. Pay more and get an unrusty one.

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  6. todb

    I guess you’ve never seen the rust around one of these with sunroofs. Easier to cut the roof off and weld on another one.

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  7. Tundra/BMW Guy

    I researched what these look like restored or when new. They don’t do much for me either in this condition or restored/new condition. I guess maybe its allure is in the performance and handling characteristics because as looks go, it is pretty boring. That is only MY opinion! This is coming from a BMW owner! I love mine, performance, handling, and the looks are beautiful! So maybe I am predisposed to mine but I admittedly have seen many other BMW’s that look far better than mine. This just doesn’t happen to be one of them. Just my 1/2¢ worth.

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