Solid Barn Find E9: 1973 BMW 3.0CS

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

If you follow the sale history of project-grade BMW E9 coupes, you’ll likely notice these cars attract rust like fleas to a dog. On the flip side, when one is seemingly solid, bidders do not hesitate to throw down real money for these pretty coupes. Check out this 1973 model here on eBay where bidding is already over $20K with two days left. 

Wearing one of my favorite colors on a Neue Klasse car, this Amazon Green 3.0CS resided in New York before the owner relocated to South Carolina, at which point it began a long hibernation. Thankfully, that time spent up north seemed to avoid regular exposure to salt and slop. As an earlier example, it wears the far prettier slim chrome bumpers and retains consistent shut lines and paint depth from end to end.

The seller does disclose evidence of prior repair to the floorboards, so rust has crept in at some point. He also notes the left rear floor drain plug area displays some crustiness, but that overall, this car is sold in all the right ways – the shock towers, rockers and trunk floor are all in good shape. The interior similarly presents well, with no major tears or stains. The dash is also said to remain uncracked, but you will have to source a new shift knob.

Underneath, the overall solidness of this car continues to impress, with only bald tires and some surface rust on the exhaust as major concerns. BMWs of all eras will need a complete suspension refresh if left in this condition, and the engine will need untold amounts of work, too – it currently turns freely by hand but doesn’t run. Still, the biggest obstacle to owning one of these is battling the tin worm, and this example seems solid enough to make the numbers work.

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    These, it seemed, were the envy of all 2002 owners, that couldn’t quite afford the 3.0 CS. A 2002 on steroids, as it were. A friend bought a new 2002 in ’73, and really wanted one of these, but had to “settle” for a 2002, which was still a very nice car. I’d have to think parts for any BMW would break the bank. I wouldn’t touch this with a 10 foot pole.

    2+
    • Greg

      That’s funny Howard! The only BMW I’ve ever owned was a 1972 2002, and I’ve always wanted one of these 3.0’s. But my 2002 was a hell of a car! White with a navy blue interior, 4 speed and sunroof. Outside of routine maintenance, didn’t have to put a dime into it. Now even those are going north in price!

      1+
      • Howard A Member

        Hi Greg, the 2002 was the sports sedan to have in the 70’s. My friend’s was a ’73 Tii, orange, black interior, 4 speed. The thing that amazed me about that car, everything just seemed right, design, function. ( not like the MGB, which I loved, but why did they put that there?) I had my ’71 MGB at the time, and that BMW ate my poor MG for lunch. But we had fun cruising on twisty roads. The BMW was not without fault, however. He drove it kind of hard, but that car should have been able to take it. Early on, 2nd gear synchro began to grind, he had it repaired, but at about 35K, it began using oil, little at 1st, but more and more, and by then, 2nd gear was beginning to grind again ( while the trusty old MGB chugged on and on) He was getting married and traded the BMW on a mini-van.

        1+
  2. Joe Nose

    Oh, the rust that awaits upon removing the wings…sediment = sentiment.

    3+
  3. Alfie

    I’m taken aback by the exterior colour. It’s fantastic.

    2+
  4. Sam Sharp

    Also known as a “poor man’s DB-5.” A serious sports coupe.

    1+
  5. AMXSTEVE

    rust=a bottomless wallet on these

    0
  6. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    Agree with those who caution about rust. Like most cars of the ’70s, rust protection was just about always external, on the exposed undersides of the car.

    But these coupes tend to rust from the inside, so they car be very rusty inside even tho looking good outside. You wouldn’t know until you tried replacing body panels.

    I don’t know whether an expert on these coupes can tell without removing panels, but I would not consider buying without expert advice. And altho this car is in Atlanta it was in New York in the ’80s and still wears a N.Y. plate. Be very careful and assume the worst until proven wrong.

    1+
  7. newfieldscarnut

    Iconic styling … This is on my before I die wish list .

    1+
  8. Bullethead

    I’ve owned several E9’s and at one time a pair of the predecessor 2000CS coupes. They rust if you sweat near them… kept one on the road for years through liberal applications of Ospho and POR15. But they’re quite refined, fun to drive and easy to maintain mechanically. Either buy the best you can afford, or know where rust lurks when inspecting a resto candidate. Parts aren’t hard to get but trim and some interior bits are ridiculously expensive. The two we’ve kept for more than twenty years (both ’72, a CSL and a Euro 3.0 w/sunroof) are dependable and beautiful, glad we got them when they were affordable.

    This car will swallow $$$ even with minimal tinworm. Good luck to the buyer.

    3+
  9. Bob

    I own a couple of 633 CSIs, and a 635 CSI, and the reason I am crazy about them, is they are such a stylishl and beautifully engineered car and so much fun to drive. I have also owned 2002s, and they handle more like a sports car than the big coupes.
    There is no question that rust can be an issue, but I don’t think they were any better or worse than any other car of that period.
    The beauty of the BMWs, is that they are so well engineered.

    1+
  10. Ian Sights

    There’s been quite a lot of discussion about this car on e9coupe.com. It has a fair load of mold as evidenced by the photos of the door panels. One of the forum members has seen the car in person and declined to enter it as the smell was too strong for him. Everything will need attention since it’s been sitting for so long. It will be an involved project to get into top shape, so it’s hard to balance that need against the current bid price, for most anyway.

    1+
  11. Andy

    I have owned mine since college..25 years now…these cars were made with Eastern european steel sourced from melted down ww2 tanks…the poor quality means that unless in a museum these cars will still rust…the trick is not to go overboard on your resto and accept the car for what it is..the ultimate driving machine

    4+
  12. olddavid

    Like a 1961 B-body GM hardtop coupe, these have those beautiful little A and C pillars. I’m guessing that this will seem well bought in ten years, but I wouldn’t touch it today. I’m with Bob on the 6’s. Decent value for the dollar and flexible enough to be either corner carver or luxo-cruiser. It might be my aversion to German cars showing, so what do I know?

    0

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