Along with their companion models, the E3 chassis BMW sedans have experienced a recent increase in value, and those of us who hunt around in the high 3-figure and low 4-figure priced cars have seen them move out of reach. So it’s a pleasure to see one of these cars show up at a reasonable price, and one that’s pretty decent looking at that. In the context of the E9 coupes, these are not attractive cars, but they have that 1960s/1970s European look that might trigger the “hey, interesting car!” idiot light to go on in your head. And interesting they are, with respectable power from a straight six that’s hopefully had its overheating and fueling issues sorted by a previous owner, decent handling and a comfortable, if spartan interior as you’d expect from a European luxury sedan of the period. Take a close look at this 1973 BMW Bavaria for sale for $600 in Berkeley, CA.
Dark blue is a great color for these large sedans, and the factory alloys have often been snatched by an E9 coupe-owning vulture. With those wheels and a set of round fog lamps on the front bumper, these definitely look the part of the 2002tii’s big brother. You’ll also notice a missing turn signal lens, something bumpy – or a reflection of something – just under the front window, and what is probably paint oxidation disguised by rain. While the car is listed as a 1974, that would have had the large impact bumpers, and looking at this car’s smog check history by its plate number shows the plate corresponds to a 1973 BMW 3.0S that last passed a test in 1996 (what you’d expect since this car is now exempt).
The interior looks pretty good – is that factory style fabric on the seats? Of course, the interior is probably not original since it’s got blue seats and tan door panels, but at this price it works just fine, and it doesn’t clash. Unfortunately, the car is an automatic, but conversions are possible and again, at this price point it’s an acceptable compromise for something that’s not a sports car. The dash does show some cracks, but overall things look clean and complete in here.
There are a few chips and scratches visible here, and the trunk button/lock is missing, along with the belt line trim on the front fender. You should probably expect some rust in the usual old-car areas (though the seller says “no rust”), but overall it presents quite well. So what’s the catch? Well, it doesn’t run, in spite of a carburetor fix being done by the seller, and needs a new battery. Also, the car is said to have been a “gift” but the seller has no title for it. So if you’re willing to do a little research at the DMV, and ask the seller some pointed questions, this one might actually be a break-even proposition.