New(ish) e9 owner intro and request for advice

brainguts

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Howdy partners,

A few months ago I came into possession of a beautiful 74 3.0 CS. It was my great uncles who passed away. He was the original purchaser of the vehicle and drove it till 1992 when it was stored away in a steel hangar under a cover on his farm in Missouri. We weren't particularly close so I never even knew this was in the family until I traveled there to assist my grandmother in settling his estate.

I am no expert on these vehicles by any means but it seems to be an all original vehicle in great condition. The odometer reads 39k miles which is backed up by the fact that the interior is pristine and my uncle being a very meticulous person made a log book of all of his gas fill-ups, the last one being ~70 miles before it was permanently parked in 1992. I even found the original window sticker, original manuals and the tool kit is complete! Never seen that on a BMW before personally.

The only real flaws I see in the vehicle besides having sat for the last 30 years is the hood seems to be a slightly different shade and lines up sort of strangely and the seat foam feels like it is disintegrating when I sit in the vehicle. I see no rust anywhere, though I haven't been very thorough in my inspection. I haven't done much besides load the car into an enclosed trailer and haul it from MO to AZ and there it has sat for about 6 months.

I have a few questions about what to do next. I have seen that these cars can be particularly valuable, sometimes in the $100k+ range which is kind of scary to me. If this car has the potential of being worth that much I don't think I would want to keep it because I would never be able to enjoy it knowing something could happen to it. It does have some sentimental value but I would rather someone with the resources to care for it better have it. That being said I doubt it is worth a terrible amount in non-running condition. I am a competent hobbyist mechanic (I have done things like valve stem seal replacement on my e60 550i without the fancy tool, currently doing a jdm ej20x swap into my legacy outback done swaps before) but I am sort of afraid to touch this if it is worth a large sum. Would it be better to sell this as is? A true barn-find time capsule? Would a non licensed mechanic reviving this vehicle bring down the value in some way? I just need a little guidance.

Oh and the reason it was parked as far as I know is that the clutch is not functioning. When depressed the pedal goes to the floor and does not return. Also I found an old chilton manual with the clutch section bookmarked though my great uncle was not a very mechanically inclined man.

Thanks for reading my essay!

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Bmachine

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A few thoughts:

First, wow indeed. A really cool barn find. And everything original, manual transmission with only 39k miles is awesome.

Second, those $100k numbers are for cars that are in top top condition or have been restored to very high standards. It costs lots of money to get them to that state. Often enough, the seller is lucky to break even. In and out of itself, a US ‘74 is not a highly sought after model.

Third, these cars are approaching half a century and no matter how well they were taken care of up to 30 years ago, they will require either a good amount of money or a lot of passion and time to be able to provide the rewards they are capable of.

One immediate thought would be that if you are not inclined to devote the time and money to properly bring it to fully enjoyable for many years, then just get it in running condition and offer it here first and then on Bring a Trailer second.
 
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Markos

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Greeting @brainguts,

My condolences for your loss. Your great uncle left you a true barn find. Once inspected, detailed and operational, it is safe to presume that it would command at least $80K. As a low mileage original car, $100K seems easily obtainable. @Bmachine raises a good point about restored cars driving the numbers, but it is quite feasible that your car does not need an expensive restoration. The '74 models generally aren't as sought after as the models with delicate bumpers, but precedence has been set. There are some six figure big bumpered '74 sales on BaT. Yours is in a common, but elegant Fjord color. Part of the detailing process should be cleaning up and respraying the engine bay. This can be done effectively with the motor in, but ensure that you don't get overspray.

As far as keeping and driving, that's what insurance is for. If you sell it, I'm confident that it will get driven. Given how original your car is, I highly recommend that you consult with the forum, or a seasoned '74 e9 expert before performing any work. If you do intend to sell, it is in your best interest to make precise changes and updates to the car. That includes things like buying the correct battery, tires, etc.

It looks like you had some rodents in the engine bay. They don't seem to like old e9 wiring as much as new soy insulated wiring, but it will need to be gone through IMO. It is reasonable to assume that you will be able to flush the motor and fire it up. There are plenty of tricks to do this for the first time in years. Thankfully, AZ has a rich old car scene. You can get some references here, but if you lack any BMW resources, the same guy that can bring a 289 back to life can probably get the m30 going. That's getting it started. Adjusting the valves etc. may be a different person.

Other than that, @HB Chris may have some questions or picture requests for factory sticker placement or wiring, toolkit details, etc. He has been documenting this stuff for the forum and original examples are always a great benchmark. Note to Chris, this car has a plastic coolant tank and a four bar grille. Was the flashlight a factory '74 option?

Lastly, the US 3.0CS Vin's ran to 4310393, so your VIN is about 60 cars away from the last US car (not factoring auto trans). That isn't of any particular value, but interesting to know where it sits.

 
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brainguts

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A few thoughts:

First, wow indeed. A really cool barn find. And everything original, manual transmission with only 39k miles is awesome.

Second, those $100k numbers are for cars that are in top top condition or have been restored to very high standards. It costs lots of money to get them to that state. Often enough the seller is lucky to break even. In and out of itself, a US ‘74 is not a highly sought after model.

Third, these cars are approaching half a century and no matter how well they were taken care of up to 30 years ago, they will require either a good amount of money or a lot of passion and time to be able to provide the rewards they are capable of.

One immediate thought would be that if you are not inclined to devote the time and money to properly bring it to fully enjoyable for many years, then just get it in running condition and offer it here first and then on Bring a Trailer second.
I have no problem devoting time energy and money to getting it up and going again and I am pretty sure I have the necessary skills I am just scared of working on something so potentially valuable. Thank you for your advice!
 

brainguts

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Greeting @brainguts,

My condolences for your loss. Your great uncle left you a true barn find. Once inspected, detailed and operational, it is safe to presume that it would command at least $80K. As a low mileage original car, $100K seems easily obtainable. @Bmachine raises a good point about restored cars driving the numbers, but it is quite feasible that your car does not need an expensive restoration. The '74 models generally aren't as sought after as the models with delicate bumpers, but precedence has been set. There are some six figure big bumpered '74 sales on BaT. Yours is in a common, but elegant Fjord color. Part of the detailing process should be cleaning up and respraying the engine bay. This can be done effectively with the motor in, but ensure that you don't get overspray.

As far as keeping and driving, that's what insurance is for. If you sell it, I'm confident that it will get driven. Given how original your car is, I highly recommend that you consult with the forum, or a seasoned '74 e9 expert before performing any work. If you do intend to sell, it is in your best interest to make precise changes and updates to the car. That includes things like buying the correct battery, tires, etc.

It looks like you had some rodents in the engine bay. They don't seem to like old e9 wiring as much as new soy insulated wiring, but it will need to be gone through IMO. It is reasonable to assume that you will be able to flush the motor and fire it up. There are plenty of tricks to do this for the first time in years. Thankfully, AZ has a rich old car scene. You can get some references here, but if you lack any BMW resources, the same guy that can bring a 289 back to life can probably get the m30 going. That's getting it started. Adjusting the valves etc. may be a different person.

Other than that, @HB Chris may have some questions or picture requests for factory sticker placement or wiring, toolkit details, etc. He has been documenting this stuff for the forum and original examples are always a great benchmark. Note to Chris, this car has a plastic coolant tank and a four bar grille. Was the flashlight a factory '74 option?

Lastly, the US 3.0CS Vin's ran to 4310393, so your VIN is about 60 cars away from the last US car (not factoring auto trans). That isn't of any particular value, but interesting to know where it sits.

I figure it doesn't need much restoration I assume I will have to replace anything that is rubber of course but as far as I knew it ran just need to find some seat foam but upholstery stuff really isn't my thing.

There are some rodent leavings in the engine bay but as far as I can see no chewing went on and miraculously I don't see any evidence of them being inside the vehicle which is a blessing to be sure.

If you look at the picture of the window sticker it says flashlight was one of the options (just realized it was on another sheet attaching that to this post.) Doubt it still works though.

I think you guys may have given me the confidence to do some work on it, don't worry I am a pretty meticulous person and I will make sure to do things right or not at all, I have been working on cars for like 10 years or so pretty in depth (I'm 32) and I think I can do it. I sure would love to hear it run!
 

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Markos

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I figure it doesn't need much restoration I assume I will have to replace anything that is rubber of course but as far as I knew it ran just need to find some seat foam but upholstery stuff really isn't my thing.

There are some rodent leavings in the engine bay but as far as I can see no chewing went on and miraculously I don't see any evidence of them being inside the vehicle which is a blessing to be sure.

If you look at the picture of the window sticker it says flashlight was one of the options (just realized it was on another sheet attaching that to this post.) Doubt it still works though.

I think you guys may have given me the confidence to do some work on it, don't worry I am a pretty meticulous person and I will make sure to do things right or not at all, I have been working on cars for like 10 years or so pretty in depth (I'm 32) and I think I can do it. I sure would love to hear it run!
Cool. For what it's worth, it costs about $2,000 - $2,500 to replace all the rubber on a coupe. Like many of our FAQ's this is a WIP, but take a look here:

You will want to get a white BMW battery. I think they are still Exide but I'm not sure. @sfdon and @HB Chris surely know the exact battery to buy. I have a group 47 in my car.
 

Dick Steinkamp

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This is a VERY special car. If you are going to resell it, IMHO the money is going to be in the originality. I'd change as little as possible. I would disagree with @Markos and would not repaint the engine compartment (or any other parts or areas). Much better to have it a shade shabby than pretty but not original. I think you will be surprised how it will clean up with some disassembly, elbow grease, and the right cleaners that won't damage the decals or other delicate surfaces. I would not replace the door rubber or other rubber parts. Reproduction parts are often not quite like the originals and don't fit the same. When you start "upgrading" parts, it's a slippery slope. Let the next owner decide if he is going to change out original parts. My guess is that most won't. Cars like this are only original once. It is very rare to find one like this that is truly a time capsule. You loose a big part of your possible buyer pool by taking away the originality factor.

Having a good upholstery shop restuff the seats won't show. Detailing the exterior, polishing the paint is not detracting from the originality. When you buy tires, buy the original size and manufacturer from one of the vintage car tire dealers. Clean the undercarriage, but don't detail it.

Replace the clutch disc, clutch cover, throw out bearing, pilot bearing. Check the flywheel to insure it doesn't need surfacing.

Be thorough before you try to start it. After sitting for 30 years you will have to go completely through the fuel system. The tank has to be removed and boiled out by a radiator shop. The carbs need to be disassembled and cleaned. Same with the fuel pump. Blow out the hard fuel lines. Flush the cooling system. Remove the rad and have a shop rod it out and pressure test it. Do not let them paint it. I'd violate my own advice and I'd change out the soft fuel lines and the soft brake lines and the soft line from the clutch input cylinder to the output cylinder, as well as coolant hoses. Turn the engine over by hand with the valve cover off and the plugs out. Make sure all valves are going up and down. The ignition points are probably corroded by now. I would just clean them in place. The fewer things you change before starting the car the easier it will be to diagnose a no start condition. Change the oil and filter. Crank the engine with the plugs out until you see good oil pressure on a gauge before connecting the ignition.

Rebuild the brake calipers and input cylinder (rebuild...don't buy new parts). Same with the clutch input cylinder and output cylinder.

You'll find many items that don't look like new. Resit the urge to change them.
 

day66

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Excellent advice - on the face of it this is a wonderfully original time capsule and if it were mine I’d concentrate on a sympathetic recommissioning and thorough clean.
 

dang

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Yeah, all could think of was "Wow!" and then let it sink in a bit. The low mileage original car with a great story could bring numbers like Markos mentioned, but, these cars are very fun to drive and I think you should clean it up, get it roadworthy, get insurance and enjoy it for a while before deciding anything.

As far as the clutch goes. 39k miles probably means you have leaking hydraulics versus bad mechanicals. You'd want to go through all the hydraulics anyway so that will probably fix it.
 

brainguts

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Cool. For what it's worth, it costs about $2,000 - $2,500 to replace all the rubber on a coupe. Like many of our FAQ's this is a WIP, but take a look here:

You will want to get a white BMW battery. I think they are still Exide but I'm not sure. @sfdon and @HB Chris surely know the exact battery to buy. I have a group 47 in my car.
When I mentioned replacing rubber I mainly meant hoses and seals for the engine. All of the weatherstripping and what not seems intact and suprisingly supple. In fact I went and opened the hood to poke around a bit and most of the hoses seem nice and supple still as well. I mainly work on modern era vehicles and that things that are 10 years old don't seem to hold up as good.
 

brainguts

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This is a VERY special car. If you are going to resell it, IMHO the money is going to be in the originality. I'd change as little as possible. I would disagree with @Markos and would not repaint the engine compartment (or any other parts or areas). Much better to have it a shade shabby than pretty but not original. I think you will be surprised how it will clean up with some disassembly, elbow grease, and the right cleaners that won't damage the decals or other delicate surfaces. I would not replace the door rubber or other rubber parts. Reproduction parts are often not quite like the originals and don't fit the same. When you start "upgrading" parts, it's a slippery slope. Let the next owner decide if he is going to change out original parts. My guess is that most won't. Cars like this are only original once. It is very rare to find one like this that is truly a time capsule. You loose a big part of your possible buyer pool by taking away the originality factor.

Having a good upholstery shop restuff the seats won't show. Detailing the exterior, polishing the paint is not detracting from the originality. When you buy tires, buy the original size and manufacturer from one of the vintage car tire dealers. Clean the undercarriage, but don't detail it.

Replace the clutch disc, clutch cover, throw out bearing, pilot bearing. Check the flywheel to insure it doesn't need surfacing.

Be thorough before you try to start it. After sitting for 30 years you will have to go completely through the fuel system. The tank has to be removed and boiled out by a radiator shop. The carbs need to be disassembled and cleaned. Same with the fuel pump. Blow out the hard fuel lines. Flush the cooling system. Remove the rad and have a shop rod it out and pressure test it. Do not let them paint it. I'd violate my own advice and I'd change out the soft fuel lines and the soft brake lines and the soft line from the clutch input cylinder to the output cylinder, as well as coolant hoses. Turn the engine over by hand with the valve cover off and the plugs out. Make sure all valves are going up and down. The ignition points are probably corroded by now. I would just clean them in place. The fewer things you change before starting the car the easier it will be to diagnose a no start condition. Change the oil and filter. Crank the engine with the plugs out until you see good oil pressure on a gauge before connecting the ignition.

Rebuild the brake calipers and input cylinder (rebuild...don't buy new parts). Same with the clutch input cylinder and output cylinder.

You'll find many items that don't look like new. Resit the urge to change them.
I don't think the engine bay needs repainting anyways. There is just a bunch of rodent dirt on it, the only "bad" area looks to be the battery tray with some surface rust but if you knock on it seems very solid. The engine bay definitely needs a lot of elbow grease and cleaning though I am afraid to ruin any of the decals inside some are already starting to peel a little bit. I am not planning on doing any upgrades or changing the originality at all if I can avoid it.

I think the tires on the car ARE the original tires by the way...

Why do you think the clutch needs to be replaced? is that something that would need to be done at 39k or do you think it needs to be done due to age?

Thankfully the fuel tank is empty but I do plan on cleaning the entire system before starting the car. I do have a decent amount of knowledge about reviving a car that has been sitting a long time (though not this long.) Thats mainly why I have been putting this off.
 

HB Chris

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Our 51K mile 2800 that sat for 34 years with a bit of gas in the tank fired up just fine after I rebuilt the seized motor so I would skip dropping the tank. Absolutely replace fuel hoses, vacuum hoses, all coolant hoses and rubber brake hoses and flush the brake/clutch fluid. It sounds like you have the skills to do this and it will be very rewarding. Don’t let anyone give you a lowball offer either! You have a very rare gem that just needs a bit of love. If you eventually decide to sell ask for advice here first, you will get honest answers. And welcome to our Forum!

(And the flashlight is standard in all 74 coupes but it probably won’t work)

Chris
 

Dick Steinkamp

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I don't think the engine bay needs repainting anyways. There is just a bunch of rodent dirt on it, the only "bad" area looks to be the battery tray with some surface rust but if you knock on it seems very solid. The engine bay definitely needs a lot of elbow grease and cleaning though I am afraid to ruin any of the decals inside some are already starting to peel a little bit. I am not planning on doing any upgrades or changing the originality at all if I can avoid it.

I think the tires on the car ARE the original tires by the way...
Maybe still with Rheine air ;)
Why do you think the clutch needs to be replaced? is that something that would need to be done at 39k or do you think it needs to be done due to age?
Dang corrected me in post 11. It is more likely that the hydraulics just went away from age (same as the brakes)
Thankfully the fuel tank is empty but I do plan on cleaning the entire system before starting the car. I do have a decent amount of knowledge about reviving a car that has been sitting a long time (though not this long.) Thats mainly why I have been putting this off.
 

brainguts

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Carbs look clean and not gummed up. The linkage seems to be stuck though, you cant work it by hand and the pedal doesn't seem to want to move either.

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a look through the oil cap, looks brand new to me.

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authentic bmw oil filter, pretty neat

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Radiator looks new to me?

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Inner fender shot, no visible rust and when I knock on it it seems solid. I really think there is pretty much zero rust on this car.

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Just another interior shot can't mention enough how pristine it is no cracks everything seems in working order just a little corrosion on the chrome trim pieces should be able to polish those out.

I'll keep you guys updated along the way and post pictures if you want or if its getting spammy I can stop :)
 

brainguts

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Our 51K mile 2800 that sat for 34 years with a bit of gas in the tank fired up just fine after I rebuilt the seized motor so I would skip dropping the tank. Absolutely replace fuel hoses, vacuum hoses, all coolant hoses and rubber brake hoses and flush the brake/clutch fluid. It sounds like you have the skills to do this and it will be very rewarding. Don’t let anyone give you a lowball offer either! You have a very rare gem that just needs a bit of love. If you eventually decide to sell ask for advice here first, you will get honest answers. And welcome to our Forum!

(And the flashlight is standard in all 74 coupes but it probably won’t work)

Chris
I took the fuel cap off and there was some crusty stuff on it but it seems like my uncle had the forethought to drain all the fuel out before he parked it because as far as I can tell its bone dry.

I plan on changing all of the fluids for sure but like I said earlier a lot of the hoses seem nice and supple and strong. Brakes lines are a good idea though for sure I know the can swell and deteriorate internally and what not definitely a safety issue.

I certainly won't be entertaining any lowball offers and will for sure ask here first thats why I am here for advice!


Another question though where do you guys get your replacement wear and tear parts? like hoses and say if I needed a master cylinder or something, or like oil/air/fuel filters?
 
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