Four doors, three pedals, new here: German E3 owner

Christoph

New Member
Messages
14
Reaction score
20
Location
Germany
Hello all,
thank you for letting me be a member on <e9coupe.com>. I am a German and live in the centre/west of Germany. My flat is tiny but it has two boxes in the underground car park, so much for focus. One is for the 1976 3.0 S in Taiga Metallic, the other for my battered Alpinweiß II everyday E34.
As a member of the BMW E3 Limousinen Club I like to learn about classic BMW and their owners outside Germany, too. Our club is German-based and active in several European countries, but we certainly can't ignore that 10 % of all E3 went to North America. Another 4000 were assembled in South Africa, and some others were shipped to Australia, New Zealand or South America. The E3 is a global car.
Probably I won't post much but read a lot because I feel people here have a great understanding of their cars. Also I know very little about the American classic car world, and US and ECE cars are not quite the same in many respects.
The E9, too, are great cars, if the E3 didn't exist, I might really love them. I talk a lot to E9 people, especially CSL owners, and also to 02 people. We are all crazy in the same way.
Last autumn I bought the remains of two 2800, one 1969, one 1970, without much thinking. The younger car is a complete wreck, but we are currently trying to rebuild the older one. At the moment I still believe it is possible. It is invaluable here to have some E9 guys by my side. They always keep their calm, maybe because they are so used to disasters of any kind, particularly rust.
Best white & blue wishes to everybody,
Christoph
 

E3-3.0Si

Active Member
Messages
117
Reaction score
56
Location
London, United Kingdom
Hello all,
thank you for letting me be a member on <e9coupe.com>. I am a German and live in the centre/west of Germany. My flat is tiny but it has two boxes in the underground car park, so much for focus. One is for the 1976 3.0 S in Taiga Metallic, the other for my battered Alpinweiß II everyday E34.
As a member of the BMW E3 Limousinen Club I like to learn about classic BMW and their owners outside Germany, too. Our club is German-based and active in several European countries, but we certainly can't ignore that 10 % of all E3 went to North America. Another 4000 were assembled in South Africa, and some others were shipped to Australia, New Zealand or South America. The E3 is a global car.
Probably I won't post much but read a lot because I feel people here have a great understanding of their cars. Also I know very little about the American classic car world, and US and ECE cars are not quite the same in many respects.
The E9, too, are great cars, if the E3 didn't exist, I might really love them. I talk a lot to E9 people, especially CSL owners, and also to 02 people. We are all crazy in the same way.
Last autumn I bought the remains of two 2800, one 1969, one 1970, without much thinking. The younger car is a complete wreck, but we are currently trying to rebuild the older one. At the moment I still believe it is possible. It is invaluable here to have some E9 guys by my side. They always keep their calm, maybe because they are so used to disasters of any kind, particularly rust.
Best white & blue wishes to everybody,
Christoph
Christoph! Finally, you've joined us here. Welcome :)
 

Ohmess

I wanna DRIVE!
Site Donor
Messages
3,645
Reaction score
1,395
Location
Aiken, SC
Hello Christoph and welcome. Given that you indicate you know little of US car culture, allow me to provide to you a little information on us, from the perspective of an e9 owner. We Americans tend to more readily modify our cars and in many cases we prefer modified cars. These modifications fall into several different categories.

First, many of us will compare the US specific changes to our cars and adopt European parts where the US changes were not an improvement. An example of this would be the changes BMW made to the suspensions of US spec cars to raise the headlight height to meet US rules. Reversion to the European specification is common.

Another type of modificaiton is to take BMW refinements of items introduced in our cars and retrofit them. A good example of this is the replacement of the starters that originally came with our coupes with fixed magnet starters that BMW designed for later versions of our cars. The fixed magnet starters are much more efficient and start the car more readily, so we find these preferable even though they are not original. Alternators with integrated voltage regulators are another example. And included in this category is the replacement of the original motor with a later version of the BMW M30.

Then there are the changes to incorporate alternatives that were available for our cars. Removing the automatic transmission in favor of a four (or five) speed falls into this category, as does the addition of air conditioning.

Some modifications are also made to mimic features from racing versions of our cars. Alpina wheels are very popular here, and you will see numerous cars with three Weber sidedraft carburetors as well.

In all of these cases, we do not consider these changes to be an affront to BMW designers despite the fact that when these changes are made our cars are no longer original.
 

Dick Steinkamp

Well-Known Member
Site Donor
Messages
1,138
Reaction score
1,078
Location
Bellingham, WA
I'd add one more modification category to @Ohmess 's list that would apply far more to E3 owners than E9 owners. That is to lower the car and to install bigger diameter wheels (18"+) and low profile tires...along with other changes like removing the beltline moldings to update the car to fit current trends.

bagged-bavaria-impul-silhouette.jpg


139008366_10158830156122349_6924669864730798792_n.jpg


Here in the US, the Bavaria has been the "red haired stepchild" of vintage BMWs. Not much of a following. Prices have been "give away" low. For a young person wanting a low priced BMW, a Bavaria is a realistic alternative. They can buy it cheap and inexpensively change a few things to fit with the popular car culture.

This seems to be changing here, however. Perhaps the E3 is being recognized as a milestone BMW finally? As you can see from this chart of E3 sales, prices have been historically low...


Screen Shot 2021-07-19 at 11.30.12 AM.png


Recent sales, however of nice to very nice stock appearing E3s have done very well...




There is hope. :)
 
Last edited:

Christoph

New Member
Messages
14
Reaction score
20
Location
Germany
Hello Christoph and welcome. Given that you indicate you know little of US car culture, allow me to provide to you a little information on us, from the perspective of an e9 owner. We Americans tend to more readily modify our cars and in many cases we prefer modified cars. These modifications fall into several different categories.

First, many of us will compare the US specific changes to our cars and adopt European parts where the US changes were not an improvement. An example of this would be the changes BMW made to the suspensions of US spec cars to raise the headlight height to meet US rules. Reversion to the European specification is common.

Another type of modificaiton is to take BMW refinements of items introduced in our cars and retrofit them. A good example of this is the replacement of the starters that originally came with our coupes with fixed magnet starters that BMW designed for later versions of our cars. The fixed magnet starters are much more efficient and start the car more readily, so we find these preferable even though they are not original. Alternators with integrated voltage regulators are another example. And included in this category is the replacement of the original motor with a later version of the BMW M30.

Then there are the changes to incorporate alternatives that were available for our cars. Removing the automatic transmission in favor of a four (or five) speed falls into this category, as does the addition of air conditioning.

Some modifications are also made to mimic features from racing versions of our cars. Alpina wheels are very popular here, and you will see numerous cars with three Weber sidedraft carburetors as well.

In all of these cases, we do not consider these changes to be an affront to BMW designers despite the fact that when these changes are made our cars are no longer original.
Thank you so much for helping me with this. May be a long reply as well.

In Germany, people also modify their cars, some secretly, some overtly. Our club, the BMW E3 Limousinen Club (I don't want to stress that), naturally has to keep an eye on originality. That's what we're here for. It does not mean our members' cars are all stock. They aren't. But there are reasons not to change too much. The cars have to fit the legal regulations for classic cars or they are not accepted as such. Which means huge tax and no access to most cities. In some countries (e.g. France, Switzerland, Austria) authorities are very strict and modifications are hardly possible at all. In others (e.g. Netherlands, Great Britain, Sweden) it seems they are more liberal than the Germans. The other reason: If you want to sell your car, 9.5 out of 10 potential buyers prefer an unmodified car over any custom machine, no matter how good it may be.

So you de-Federalise your cars. You are lucky that you are allowed to. In Europe they also do it, mostly on re-imported US -Porsche and the likes.

Later ancillaries are common here, too. Lots of people use electronic ignition or electric radiator fans. It adds to the driveability. Later engines are a complex topic. Matching ones are always desireable when in good order. A lot of cars, however, got a works repl't engine (Tauschtriebwerk), during their first lives. People killed engines so easily in the Seventies. Later, E3 were cheap used cars; when the engine went bust, you could always get another from the local scrapyard. Today, people try to keep their engines where possbile. The original you only have once.

A surprisingly high number of US E3 came with four-speed boxes, the E9 I'd have to look up. My idea was these cars were very expensive and not something common North American citizens would have bought. Conversions to manual we also have, I know about 16 or 20 E3. Italians hardly ever bought automatic E3 when new, most others did. They are difficult to resell today. Five-speed boxes are often seen and really expensive these days. Thanks to the climate a/c is rare except for Italian cars (Spanish and Portuguese cars are even rarer than a/c). It is not loved because of weight and unequal air distribution. People sometimes just remove it without regrets.

Wheels! Discussions can last all night. The 3x2 Weber setup, I've learned, is only useful if you make substantial changes inside the head first. We have one Alpina B2S replica, there seem to be more amongst the Coupés. Anyway, changing carbs can be a good idea as specialists for the Zenith get fewer every year. Motorsport items, too, are mostly an E9 thing, widebody cars, Alpina conversions, CSL replicas, etc. Only in Great Britain the E3 was used for serious racing so us E3 drivers are excluded from that, in a way.

So much for comparing. Very happy for the insights you gave me.
 

Christoph

New Member
Messages
14
Reaction score
20
Location
Germany
I'd add one more modification category to @Ohmess 's list that would apply far more to E3 owners than E9 owners. That is to lower the car and to install bigger diameter wheels (18"+) and low profile tires...along with other changes like removing the beltline moldings to update the car to fit current trends.

Here in the US, the Bavaria has been the "red haired stepchild" of vintage BMWs. Not much of a following. Prices have been "give away" low. For a young person wanting a low priced BMW, a Bavaria is a realistic alternative. They can buy it cheap and inexpensively change a few things to fit with the popular car culture.

This seems to be changing here, however. Perhaps the E3 is being recognized as a milestone BMW finally? As you can see from this chart of E3 sales, prices have been historically low...


Recent sales, however of nice to very nice stock appearing E3s have done very well...




There is hope. :)
Dick,

what a pleasure to meet you again. Those pictures are disturbing to the purist, but funny to look at, anyway. There seems to be a similar scene in Northern Europe (Scandinavia & Finland). No matter what car, it has to be very low.

Is it possible that the big saloon cars of any marque or age are always the least loved ones? Four doors and a fixed roof must be serious disadvantages. It's the same for Daimler-Benz, Opel or Ford, at least in Germany. An E3 owner from Italy said, nobody there wants four-door classics. Even good cars don't sell or only to foreign countries.

Right you are, there is hope. I followed only the silver 3.0 S on BaT that eventually went to South America. Thought it a very nice car. Maybe people now start looking at the E3 because most can't afford E9 anymore. Around here, some 3.0 CSi owners stopped using their cars, fear of damage, fear of theft, I don't know. Next, they need a classic BMW they can actually drive without worries. Some turn to the E3. Nice, not real enthusiasts, but they keep one more car running, which is good.

In recent years two big gaps in the price range showed up. One you may know, the other should be a Euro phenomenon. One: Good cars, original or restored, went quite expensive compared to ten years ago, whereas even average ones haven't moved a bit. On the other hand, car parts or donor cars are sometimes asked indecent prices. The other: Prices for 3.0 Si D-Jetronic and 3.3 Li went through the roof, followed, but not that fast, by 3.0 Si L-Jetronic and 3.3 L. All other models remained relatively stable, i.e. increased slowly over 10-12 years.

In times before these, the E3-Club went to 3-5 fairs and several driving events every year. Nearly every time someone showed up with: "I want to buy an Si or an Li", and made me say: "Glad you like to have an E3". Then I started praising the 2500: smoothest engine of all. feels incredibly light, most spontaneous response, agile, high-revving... Some club colleagues mentioned all kinds of difficulties: no workshops, no spares, engine trouble, rust everywhere... Maybe it was the wrong strategy but we felt we had to prevent these people from buying the wrong car (and the cars from being owned by the wrong people).

At the Techno-Classica in 2018 BMW celebrated "50 years E3 & E9". They put up a huge banner over our cars that read: "The 7 Series before we called it 7 Series". We almost had tears in our eyes.
 

Dick Steinkamp

Well-Known Member
Site Donor
Messages
1,138
Reaction score
1,078
Location
Bellingham, WA
Christoph,
First of all thanks for your correspondence and help when I was in the early stages of my Bavaria restoration. It was much appreciated! I have finished (are they ever finished?) that car, and I'm enjoying driving it now.

I agree that the "slammed" E3s and those with other severe modifications are not attractive to me....but I did changes to my cars when I was a young man that older people thought not only ugly, but also stupid. :oops: There are too many ways to enjoy the old car hobby to limit it to only the ways I enjoy it.

The long wheelbase E3s were not popular here. I'm sure there were some privately imported from Europe, but I have never seen one in the wild. Maybe others on the forum have?

Glad to see you on this forum and to have your input. You are famous for your knowledge of these cars. We need more E3 talk here! :)
 
Last edited:

Christoph

New Member
Messages
14
Reaction score
20
Location
Germany
OCCoupe owned a Nachtblau 3.3Li and sold it two years ago to someone in the LA area.
Really? There is a long one in America? That would be a most interesting car. Do you know more? Nachtblau 040 was never available for anything except the Coupés, so the car might be repainted. Or maybe it was Arktisblau 045 which is not much lighter.

Thinking of a proper reply full of speculations about the long E3 and North America.
 

Christoph

New Member
Messages
14
Reaction score
20
Location
Germany
For sure. Anthrazitgrau 055 first appeared in the German 74/feb colour card. A rare colour, the Italians ordered some, in Germany hardly anybody did, not even on the 3.3 Li. Hard to believe for today's youth. A/C was one of the very few options for the 3.3 Li. Absence of a/c may most probably mean it is not an Italian car, either.
 
Top