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1973 BMW (E9) 3.0 CS

1973 BMW (E9) 3.0 CS

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Details

Price: SOLD

Mileage: Unknown Miles

Engine: M30 Inline 6-Cylinder Engine

Transmission: 4-Speed Manual Transmission

Exterior color: Polaris Silver Metallic Exterior (042)

Interior: Blue Cloth Interior

Additional features:

Recaro Sport Seats

Power Windows

14” Basketweave Wheels

Bridgestone Weather Force Tires

Maryland / Colorado Car

Background

1973 BMW (E9) 3.0 CS exterior photo

The legendary E9 coupe was one of the most significant models in BMW history. It marked a turning point for BMW that saw its transformation from a struggling German marque to a dominant force in both the luxury sedan market and motorsport with the genesis of BMW M with the 3.0 CSL. The CS stood for sport coupe, and offered an athletic alternative to Mercedes, without compromising luxury. The E9 was an evolution of the Berton-influenced “new-class” coupes and can thank its graceful lines to Wilhelm Hofmeister. Regarded as one of the most beautiful BMWs ever, the Karmann-built coachwork had purpose underlying its design. The long hood housed a 3-liter engine that propelled the coupe confidently well beyond 120 miles per hour, thanks in part to its relatively light 3100 pound weight. BMW described the E9 in terms of formal attire; “The missing B-pillar and small window posts accentuate its light weight, but conceal, as in the case of a true gentleman, what is hidden beneath the sheet metal tuxedo.” An advanced Macpherson / rear semi-trailing arm suspension allowed handling that was unmatched by the E9’s contemporaries. This contributed to the 3.0 CSL’s domination of both the European Touring Car Championship and DTM predecessor Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft. The same group of engineers responsible for the 3.0 CSL’s success went on to become BMW M GmbH.

Summary

 exterior photo

This 1973 3.0 CS Polaris Silver Metallic over blue cloth interior came to us on consignment from a previous owner. He owned it for several years in the 1990s and then sold it to his girlfriend’s father who used it as his regular driver in Maryland ever since. We just brought it back to Colorado and are offering it as a running and driving project, or it would make a great parts car. It does run, but I’m not sure how far I would drive it. We have taken it on several local trips, but no prolonged drives. There is a video of it on our website if you are reading this elsewhere. The biggest issue is rust. E9s are notorious for rusting from the inside out and several decades in Maryland have not helped this one. The rust doesn’t appear to be structural, but it is pervasive. It has affected not only the body panels and undercarriage, but also the hard brake and fuel lines which I would replace at a minimum. The fuel lines are actively leaking. That said, the body is visually presentable from a distance, and everyone who has stopped by the hangar has complimented the car. The interior is also in fair condition with the desirable Recaro seats, although the driver’s base is torn. Most of the factory equipment is present including a largely complete toolkit. It comes with a thick folder of receipts and records going back several decades and E9 guides and manuals. As it sits, this E9 is a blank canvas: you could roll the dice and make a driver out of it, you can restore it, or it can live on in another E9 as a parts car. I would be very tempted to replace the hard fuel and brake lines and just drive it!

Exterior

1973 BMW (E9) 3.0 CS exterior photo

The Polaris Silver paint itself is in good condition; there are no glaring chips, nicks, or scratches, and no clearcoat lifting. The underlying rust is the main issue, with lots of bubbling. The worst areas being the lower edges of the fenders, wheel arches, doors, and the trunk lid (all are documented on our website if you are reading this elsewhere). The bumpers, window and belt-line trim, rubber seals, and chrome-work are intact and in good condition. The grills and kidneys are also in good shape. The crosshatch headlights, indicator, and brake light lenses are in good condition and crack-free. The windshield glass has minor pitting, but is crack-free, and the side window and rear glass are in good shape. The wiper arms are in excellent shape. The wheels are in fair shape and the tires have adequate tread remaining, but I would replace them if I were going to make a driver out of the car.

Interior

 interior photo

Overall the cloth interior is fair shape. There are no odors. The carpet has some minor staining and tears. There is evidence of past rodent visits, but no infestation or smell—and I am a bloodhound when it comes to sniffing that out. The dashboard itself is crack-free, but the wooden inlays do have lots of spider cracks. The instrument cluster is functional and in good shape, but the wood is notably aged. The steering wheel leather is heavily creased with one worn-through area at the three o’clock position. The center console, HVAC controls, and radio are in good shape. A Kenwood tape deck from the ‘80s is installed and it sounds good. The power windows work with the exception of the right rear window, but all at an ominously slow pace. The driver’s front seat has torn fabric on the seat bottom and outside bolster. The passenger seat fabric is loose and wrinkled, but it has no tears. The rear seat cloth is presentable, with one tear on the left rear seat cushion. The door cards are presentable, but the wooden trim is in poor shape. There is light staining on the headliner and heavy staining on the rear parcel shelf. The trunk latch is extremely finicky, requiring multiple attempts to get it to close and latch. The trunk floor panels are present, as is most of the toolkit, but the tools are rusty.

Mechanical

 engine photo

We have only done local trips with the E9, but it seems like a mechanically decent car. It would be foolish to expect that it does not require some mechanical restoration if you were to make a driver out of it. And if you have any experience with E9s, then you know that can be a deep rabbit hole to jump down. That said, the car has benefited from regular use and good mechanical stewardship, and comes with lots of documentation. As it sits, I would not drive this across country, but I would drive it locally—but I have a AAA Platinum membership! I would recommend bringing a trailer unless it is a short local drive. On the open road, it pulls smoothly and does not seem to have running issues, although it idles high. The clutch take up feels good and it shifts smoothly. The suspension feels aged, but functional and the brakes function as well—however, not likely for much longer, as the brake lines are rusty. The hard fuel lines are actively leaking. The overriding impression the E9 has given me is how well built these cars were. BMW was different company in the 1970s, hungry and fanatic about quality—the polar opposite of the throwaway modern BMW. The E9 is a tribute to that, and I would really like to see this one go to a good home and live on in some form.