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How can I find more information about my e9?

BMW Classic maintains records on all the coupes produced, so if you can get the VIN you can email them and they can tell you a bit about the car. They can usually tell you when the car was made, when it was delivered to the exporter, what kind it originally was, (i/L/carbed) and the original color. The original color can also usually be found on a tag on the left side door jamb, on the side closest to the engine bay. It says "Karmann" and has the paint code on it. Also, although this is somewhat rare to find now, coupes were supposed to have a build sheet attached to the back of the rear seats. The build sheet detailed what options were built into the car, the date produced, and a host of other info.

info.grouparchiv@bwmgroup.com.
 
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What are common issues withe the e9?

Mechanically, the cars are very durable, although the M30 can be prone to blowing head gaskets. This is largely due to the lack of cooling on the stock E9 for hot climates. The car was designed for the far more moderate European climate, hence the trouble with high ambient heat. It is possible to somewhat remedy this by upgrading the original fan and the original fan clutch. The original fan is a 5 blade design, which can be easily replaced with a 9 blade design if the fan clutch is also updated. Recoring the radiator is another option that is very helpful. Other than that, the most common failure point is the body. Again, rust is a coupe killer.
 
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Will it cost a mint to restore my e9?

The mechanicals for the car are still available from BMW or are (for the most part) interchangeable with a later car, with that part still being made by BMW. Unfortunately, the mechanicals are the easy part. If you find a coupe with no drivetrain but a perfect body and interior for less than 15k, you got a deal. The entire drivetrain can be had from wreckers across the world for about $2,000 USD if you utilize used components. Many of interior pieces are almost all no longer available (NLA), so items that need replacing may require a parts car or a very expensive phone call to one of the few E9 wreckers around the world. Body panels are similar. Many body panels now are taken from parts cars, so they can have their share of dings before it ever gets on the car. As long as the body and interior are kept in good condition, the car will run pretty much forever.

The M30 has been known to go for more than 300k miles between rebuilds. Aside from periodic (15k) valve adjustments, the engine is pretty darn bulletproof. Timing chains typically last the life of the engine, and hardly ever need to be replaced.
 
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How are e9 values looking?

Edit: 08/2020 - E9 values are very fluid, but have seen positive growth since 2008 that would rival the best investments in your financial portfolio. This is evident and almost humorous by revisiting forum classified ads from 5-10 years ago. What hasn't changed is the overall spectrum of available e9 vehicles has not changed. Given the dynamic nature of the market, it is recommended that you review recent sales. BringATrailer maintains a scatter plot that shows where their vehicles land. Keep in mind that auction prices reflect demand as well as the caveats of human behavior. Numerous cars sold on BaT exceed that prices of private sales, given the condition of the vehicle.


(last updated in 2020)

Prices for E9 coupes vary from $5k to more than $500k, so it can be a challenge figuring out if a coupe is priced correctly. The deciding factor is usually how solid the chassis is in regards to rust. Here's a quick reference for what to expect in the different price ranges:

$15k and below: A rust bucket and possibly considered a parts car. They're getting really hard to find.

$15k to $25k: A rust bucket but might be worth fixing. Hard to find, will need extensive sheet metal work and take lots of $$'s!

$25k to $40k: Daily driver range but will still have rust issues. These cars are typically good looking cars and get lots of positive attention while on the road, although they still need to be inspected very carefully for rust problems. There are a good number of cars out there on the market owned by people that don't know much about them but had the money to buy one. You may find rust issues that they didn't know about or chose to ignore thinking it wasn't a big deal.

$40k to $60k: Cars in this range used to be very nice but the market has changed and these will still have issues to address. Inspection might find a small crack in the dash, a split seams or two in the seats and a few imperfections in the paint, but for the most part the car should be well sorted out. There should be few signs of rust problems on the car. You might also expect to see signs of rust repair in the past. If so, try to gauge how well the work was done. If the car has been repainted in the past (most have), ask how long ago the job was done. If the paint was done over three or four years prior to inspection, bad repairs would start showing problems. A fairly new paint job might not show poor rust repair work until a couple years after you buy the car.

$60k to $90k: Little problems to speak of. Some may have modifications done to the drivetrain, which if done correctly and tastefully, does not adversely affect the value of the car. In some cases it can increase value if its a popular upgrade. Keep in mind, BMW's in general are popular cars for enthusiasts to modify and the E9 coupe is no exception.

$90k to $140k: Fully restored or exceptional specimens. Rarely original, but highly maintained or restored to a high degree

CSL's: Once considered a fancy CS, but now they sit in a league of their own. Driver quality CSL’s exceed $100k, nicely restored CSL's have sell at auction for well over $175k - $300k. Lightweight CSL’s and Batmobiles sell for upwards of $300K - $500k. While visually similar to a standard CS, the CSL is different in many ways that exceed modern definitions of a sport model. CSL’s were construction with a different gauge of metal, which reduced their GVW. Most were fitted with aluminum hoods, trunks, door skins, door hinges, and headlight access covers. The CSL also came equipped with Scheel racing buckets and a CSL-only leather Petri wheel. Numerous other weight saving tactics were employed on the CSL.
 
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Where should I look for an e9 purchase?

More often than not, coupes can be found in the normal places. https://www.ebay.com and https://www.bringatrailer.com are the usual starting points, a variety of classic car trader sites and craigslist.com is becoming more and more popular. However, one of the best places to find a coupe is in the classifieds section of this site. The majority of the owners are knowledgable about coupes and generally take better care of them.
 
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What is the difference between a euro e9 and a US e9?

There are many significant differences between US and Euro E9's, surprisingly most of which have little to do with the drivetrain. Fans of euro cars often look to the bumpers for clues on the initial target market. An important note for e9's, all vehicles prior to 1973 had the same bumper and body, regardless of origin. The kickoff of diving board bumpers on BMW's, Mercedes, or volvo "commando" bumpers began in 1974 with US NTHSA safety requirements.

Chassis:
  • US cars received 2.5 mph spec bumpers in 1973. These bumpers looks visually similar to euro/pre-73 bumpers, with added reinforcement and modified rubber
  • US cars received 5 mph spec bumpers in 1974. These bumpers are made of aluminum and are visually similar to E12/E28 bumpers, a stark contrast from early/euro cars
  • US cars received structural reinforcements in 1974. These changes included triangulation in the trunk rearward of the wheel well structure
  • US cars have DOT-required aluminum spacers sandwiched between the inner fender (strut tower) and the strut. Raises the height approximately 3/4" to meet sealed beam lighting requirement
  • European-spec (unknown-origin) cars have pronounced horn pads, approximately 4-5 times thicker than a standard horn pad
  • European-spec (UK) cars have a RHD configuration
  • European-spec (UK) cars have dual brake boosters and associated mounts
  • European-spec (UK) cars have a RHD steering rack & pinion configuration
  • European-spec (UK) cars sometimes include a faux-convertible vinyl roof veneer
  • European-spec (UK) cars have a RHD collapsible steering column. Expanded mesh buffer between lower portion of (lower) steering column and upper portion of (lower) steering column

Drivetrain:
  • European-spec 3.0 CS E9's came with higher compression motors, approximately 9:1, compared to 8:1 in the US (2800 CS exception).
  • US cars > 73 have additional smog equipment, such as an EGR system, something that was not present on the European-spec E9's

Interior:
  • European-spec cars have heater vent controls in international symbols or German, English in US-spec cars beginning with the 3.0CS
  • European-spec cars have metric gauges, with a speedometer that reaches 240 km/h. US spec cars have a speedometer that reaches 150 mp/h
  • European-spec cars have a lap-belt only, possible exceptions include 3-point harness options in the UK
  • European-spec cars may have German labels on switches and knobs
  • US-spec cars received fasten seat belt lights atop of the dash on/after 1973
  • European-spec (UK) cars have a wooden grab handle, similar to that found on the 2000 CS (US-spec, European-spec)
  • European-spec (UK) cars have a dashboard binnacle that is slightly more chubby than LHD units
  • European-spec cars usually include cloth or embossed vinyl seats with leather optional, almost all US coupes have leather
  • European-spec cars rarely include AC
  • European-spec cars often include manual front windows, versus power front windows in US-spec cars.

Lighting:
  • European-spec cars have dual-H1 headlamps with integrated parking (city) light, versus US sealed beams with parking lights being part of the turn signal light
  • European-spec cars may have optional headlamp washers/wipers installed
  • European-spec (Italian) cars have white/amber front signals, versus solid amber signals found in all other countries
  • European-spec (French) cars have yellow headlight lenses
  • European-spec (French) cars have amber reverse lights
  • European-spec cars have front turn signal lenses that are more streamlined, approximately 3/4" less pronounced than US equivalents
  • US-spec cars have front orange reflectors and rear illuminated red side indicator lights
  • European-spec cars are often equipped with a single integrated rear fog light, immediately to the right of the driver's side tail lamp
 
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How much were coupes new and what did they come with?

The car had a base price of ~$10k US when launched and the base model had quite a few options from the start. The price eventually reached $16k US in 1974. Buyers could add several nice options, including:
  • Leather seats
  • Air Conditioning
  • Sunroof (later motorized)
  • Power windows (later standard, rears always power, fronts could be manual)
  • Radio, typically Blaupunkt or Becker (dealer installed)
  • Limited Slip Differential (25% lockup)
  • Metallic paint
  • Most US coupes were fully optioned, aside from the Limited Slip Differential.
Standard features on US coupes were:
  • Exhaust Emission Control Systems
  • Steel belted radial tires
  • Alloy wheels
  • Front and Rear Stabilizers
  • Tinted Glass
  • Electric Rear Windows
  • Power Steering
  • Power Disc Brakes
  • Tachometer
  • Heated Rear Window
 
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How long were coupes produced and how many were made?

The production run lasted from December1968 to mid 1975. The body started as the 2800CS and ended with the 2.5CS. Approximately 30,565 E9s were made over the entire production run. Official US cars came entirely through Max Hoffman, as there was no BMW NA until January 1975. Official US models were made from 1970 to 1974 and number 3,724 units, 1,167 2800CS and 2,557 3.0CS for the combined US and North American market.

VIN and Production numbers are listed here: https://e9coupe.com/forum/threads/e9-vin-production-range-how-to-find-your-vin.34716/
 
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What models were available?

There were several versions of coupes using the E9 chassis: 2800CS, 3.0CS, 3.0CSi, 3.0CSL and 2500CS. The numbers denote the displacement of the engine (2800=2.8L, 3.0=3.0L, etc) and all cars share the same basic engine (M30) which is a single overhead cam straight six with displacements varying from 2.5 to 3.153 liters not including factory prepared race cars. CS means "Coupe-Sport". The other letters, or lack of letters, indicate what kind of CS it is. A regular CS designation, without any additional letters, uses two down-draft Zenith carbs. A CS with an "i" after it is a fuel injected version, only officially sold outside the US. They run on an analog fuel injection system called D-Jet. A 3.0CSL is a lightweight version of the original coupe, with aluminum doors, hood, and trunk, as well as thinner steel for the rest of the body, manual steering, plexiglass windows, no bumpers, and a special interior. All these factors made the original CSLs weigh in at barely 2500lbs. However, since most customers didn't want a 10k$ car without these things, most CSLs have what is known as the "city pack", which includes just about everything that was removed, but keeps the aluminum trunk and hood, as well as the interior. Even with everything added again, the "city pack" CSL weighs in at about 2800lbs.
 
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What does e9 mean anyway?

The BMW 3.0CS/i/L, 2800CS, and the 2500CS all share the same body style. BMW names its models based on the body. This particular chassis has the designation E9. So, to cover all the possible models, this kind of car is usually referred to as an E9.
 
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Very early 2800 CS had invisible rear screen demist wiring in the clear glass. Probably using up the 2000CS stock. My fatherś Jan 69 car had this. Wish I had not changed to green glass in 1983.
The front and rear emblems were enamel för the same reason.
And the front ashtray was above the large map/glove compartment
No head rests until 1970 or 71. I still have those seats in the car.
Grey, long, old style seat belts, perhaps dealer installed in Sweden.
 

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Thank you Peder. We could have an entire list of changes to euro coupes, it was hard enough to capture just US changes. I have never seen the the large ashtray but saw it in the parts book, would love to see a pic of one. The first 2800CS were built in Sep 1969 for us so probably arrived in Oct and of course we all got seatbelts and headrests as well as the green glass.
 

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How can I find more information about my e9?

BMW Classic maintains records on all the coupes produced, so if you can get the VIN you can email them and they can tell you a bit about the car. They can usually tell you when the car was made, when it was delivered to the exporter, what kind it originally was, (i/L/carbed) and the original color. The original color can also usually be found on a tag on the left side door jamb, on the side closest to the engine bay. It says "Karmann" and has the paint code on it. Also, although this is somewhat rare to find now, coupes were supposed to have a build sheet attached to the back of the rear seats. The build sheet detailed what options were built into the car, the date produced, and a host of other info.

info.grouparchiv@bwmgroup.com.
Thanks for the tip.
 
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