What differences are there between US and European E9s?

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There are many significant differences between US and Euro E9's, surprisingly most of which have little to do with the drivetrain.


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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Markos

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This includes some overlapping content that has more to do with production years and less to do with euro vs US. Perhaps break down by:

drivetrain
chasssis
interior
lighting
 

dang

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This includes some overlapping content that has more to do with production years and less to do with euro vs US. Perhaps break down by:

drivetrain
chasssis
interior
lighting
Are you volunteering?
 

Markos

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@dang & @HB Chris - I took a stab at this. Removed subjective commentary about '74 bumpers ruining the lines of the E9, etc. Categorized by buckets above and added a lot of content. Fact-check if you can, along with all other observing parties. :)
 

HB Chris

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Markos, I think all US 2800CS had international symbols on the vent controls, 3.0CS is in English. Also, 2800CS did not have any lettering on the A/C panel

The tall horn pads have all been on UK/Aussie coupes that I have seen.

I made minor changes to lighting.
 

Luis A.

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Regarding windows, I think all cars WW had rear power windows. It was the front windows that were optionally power windows, for OUS cars, with decorative plates covering the front window switch openings.

Euro cars did have 3-point front seat retractable belts with a simple ceiling mounted hook around the area where the B pillar would be, to hang the belt buckle when not in use.
 

Luis A.

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Another couple of finer points.

I’ve never seen an Italian market car from the period, BMW or otherwise, that had a rear fog light. For this reason I don’t believe that was a requirement in Italy.

One of the Scandinavian countries, either Sweden or Norway required the headlamp wipe wash system at the time.

A few years ago at Techno Classica, I saw a well preserved E3, a 3.0 Li , from Switzerland which had the US style, larger, front turn signal lenses. When chatting with the club member he either mentioned that some people replaced the lenses for safety and/or that some countries required those larger lenses, I don’t recall which.
 

Markos

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Markos, I think all US 2800CS had international symbols on the vent controls, 3.0CS is in English. Also, 2800CS did not have any lettering on the A/C panel

The tall horn pads have all been on UK/Aussie coupes that I have seen.

I made minor changes to lighting.
Cool! Edit as needed. The part about the symbols on the heater was from the old text. I mentioned the 4x changes to the heater console in the what changed thread, but just a brainstorming response. My 2800CS has symbols and I also thought it was an early thing as such.

Symbols
Text
Text backlit
one other right?

Regarding windows, I think all cars WW had rear power windows. It was the front windows that were optionally power windows, for OUS cars, with decorative plates covering the front window switch openings.

Euro cars did have 3-point front seat retractable belts with a simple ceiling mounted hook around the area where the B pillar would be, to hang the belt buckle when not in use.
Thanks Luis. I pulled the seatbelt stuff from the original text. I almost want to leave it out since it is so subjective. UK CSL’s have excellent 3 point harnesses IMO. Seatbelts, radios, etc. seem hard to tackle.
 

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Regarding windows, I think all cars WW had rear power windows. It was the front windows that were optionally power windows, for OUS cars, with decorative plates covering the front window switch openings.
That is my understanding. I don’t know if it worth mentioning that there are far more euro cars with manual front windows.

You revived a thought however. The 2.5 CS is euro only. It has fixed rear windows. Also a manual steering box. I don’t think any US E9’s
short of the CSL had manual steering. E3’s
did though.
 

CSteve

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That is my understanding. I don’t know if it worth mentioning that there are far more euro cars with manual front windows.

You revived a thought however. The 2.5 CS is euro only. It has fixed rear windows. Also a manual steering box. I don’t think any US E9’s
short of the CSL had manual steering. E3’s
did though.
My Italian delivery 3.0CS, confirmed by BMW, has the rear fog light and three point seatbelts. Not the Hangman style.
 
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