Up, Up, Up and Away – 1974 BMW Bavaria

For quite a long time, BMW’s E3 series of sedans (2500, 2800, 3.0Si and Bavaria) soldiered on in the shadow of their more famous E10 2002 and E9 coupe siblings, and they were a hidden secret in the BMW community. But it seems the internet does not conceal much, and those who own and sell their E3s are waking up to the possibility that they should sell for more money than in the past. So while these are still not as desirable, the way Alfa Berlinas are less desirable than Giulia sedans, they have gained value in the same way. Of course, with diligent searching you can still find what appear to be decent drivers at a fair price. Check out this 1974 BMW Bavaria for sale for $3999 in Burien, WA.

1974 BMW Bavaria left side

Okay, it’s not cheap, and based on the listing pictures alone this car might have been $2500 a year ago (contributing factors being the rubber bumpers and automatic), but there are no glaring faults and the car gives the impression of a driver. The body looks decent from this side, though it’s hard to say without detail shots showing the quality of the paint job. Accumulated dirt in some of the nooks and crannies suggests it’s not a recent repaint, but there doesn’t appear to be significant overspray.

1974 BMW Bavaria interior 2

The car is said to run and drive, with no noticeable rust, and to be an excellent foundation for a Bavaria. That last detail is confusing – are they suggesting a project? It’s certainly a much better foundation for a Bavaria than, say, a Dodge Dart. There is no good single shot of the interior, but this detail image shows a decent, complete center console with air conditioning vents and a period radio.

1974 BMW Bavaria interior

Front seats are somewhat worn and need new padding and upholstery, while the rears are good, as are the door panels. White on blue is a classic BMW color combination, and works really well here. The car is offered with nearly all its original tools, hubcaps, books, and fuel log, indicating that it had an obsessive owner at some point in its past. The E39 540i wheels on the car actually look good here, much more than on the car they originally came with.

1974 BMW Bavaria engine

It’s said to still need tuning, which explains the absence of the air filters on the original Solex carburettors. Some will say the automatic is a deal-breaker, but if you have a non-manual spouse or a disability, this might be the thing for you, and if that’s the case, make sure to check the transmission fluid is red. For the rest of us, this might be a good place for a 5-speed from a 1980s car, perhaps together with its fuel injected engine. In the new world of car prices, does this seem fairly priced to you?


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