Affordable Supercar:

1973 BMW 3.0 CSi
Sunroof Coupe!

Please wait a few moments while our high-resolution photos load.

Largely hand-built by Karosseriewerke Karmann for the Bavarian Motor Works (BMW), the E9 has been an iconic car, almost since its inception. More powerful than a contemporary Porsche 911S, yet as luxurious as a Mercedes Sonderklasse Coupe, the Bimmer was clearly a car for the well-heeled.

Mouse Over the Photos to Enlarge.

Its most powerful variant, the 3.0 CSi -- boasting 200 DIN horsepower thanks to a 9.5:1 compression ratio and Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection -- was never offered for sale in the United States. BMW just felt that a car capable of going almost triple the 55mph speed limit would simply not sell here, especially not during the first gas crisis.

Finding a surviving Euro CSi anywhere today is no easy task. Rare to begin with, most of these supercars have been ravaged by the dreaded tin worm, suffered from deferred maintenance and "restorations" of questionable quality. The survival rate of the E9 series cars is very low, indeed.

The 1973 BMW 3.0 CSi Coupe featured here, VIN *2254349*, one of only 2,741 such cars built that year, was imported from Germany to the United States when it was almost new. It has resided in the Golden State for the past forty-plus years and still proudly features its original blue-and-yellow California license plates.

A stack of documents accompanying the car gives inside in some of its service history.

Rust is the biggest enemy of the E9. Luckily, this long-time Californian has not suffered from major corrosion, and its solid, unmolested undercarriage and original floors are living proof. And, yes, we did inspect the vulnerable A-pillars, going so far as to crawl underneath the dash with a flashlight. They are rust free, too!

An original Fjordbluemetallic car, the older finish shows lots of fading and plenty of imperfections, but no major dents, dings or scratches. With its intact, accident free coachwork and perfect shut lines (hood and door gaps), the car would be a perfect candidate for a straight-forward respray.
The factory-installed electric sunroof, a very desirable option, opens and closes smoothly.

The 200hp inline-6 is as healthy as the proverbial ox. It runs smoothly like a Singer sewing machine, doesn't smoke, leak, or emit any untoward noises. As the car had been sitting unused in an elderly Gentleman's garage for quite a number of years, we performed a good tune-up and installed a fresh fuel pump.

According to documents included with the car, the engine was rebuilt in 1993, and the car has been driven just 20K miles since. The brake system was refurbished in 2003.

As a driver of a modern jellybean car where you can't see the corners of the body because you are looking through mail-slot-sized windows, you'll be pleasantly surprised how bright and airy this Bertone-designed, glass house cockpit is. The dash is a non-nonsense wooden board with clearly readable, circular gauges. Everything you need, nothing you don't, all with an ambience of solid German craftmanship.

All of the VDO gauges work, except for the clock, which only shows the correct time twice per day.
Notice 240km/h speedometer and 8,000 rpm tach with 6,400 rpm redline!

The individual bucket seats are complete and quite comfortable, but the black leather seat covers have clearly seen better days.

The same holds true for the rear seats. The California sun can be merciless!

The E9 is a very attractive car from any angle. Note a few isolated bubbles above the left taillight.

The large trunk is very clean. Vinyl-covered divider panels are beautifully preserved.

Stripped trunk confirms that everything is healthy back here, even the spare tire well.

Thursday, September 28th, turned out to be another fabulous day here in our small mission town. We fired up the Bimmer and headed for the hills.
Note the car's correct 14" FPS alloy wheels, a rare sight in this age of ubiquitous 17" rims!

The 44-year-old runs and drives very well. Steering is tight, clutch feels great, brakes anchor the car with authority. We can't promise that handling won't improve from replacing a few rubber bushings, but we experienced nothing that suggested deeply worn suspension components, and that includes shocks and struts.

E9 Coupes, especially the 3.0 CSi variant, have enjoyed a healthy -- and well-deserved -- boost in value lately. Selling prices of $60,000 to $90,000 are not unusual, making this car a great choice for somebody who would like to save money in return for sweat equity.

With its fuel-injected engine, manual transmission, power sunroof, great color combination, mechanical fitness, and decent "bones," we feel this original CSi represents a rare opportunity for a diehard BMW enthusiast.

It's the ORIGINAL "Ultimate Driving Machine!"


We sold this rare BMW in October of 2017.

Back to Californiaclassix' Hall of Fame or Home.