If understated style is your thing, and you like the look of a sixties or seventies Mercedes, but don’t want to sacrifice sportiness, the 1968-77 E3-series of BMW sedans is worth a closer look. Packing a 2.8-liter M30 six cylinder with 168hp and 174 lb.-ft. of torque, the E3 nearly matched the W115 Mercedes in size, while having sharper performance. Let’s take a look at this 1970 BMW 2800 for sale for $3000 in Edmonds, WA.
Sahara Beige is not the most exciting color for this car, though it certainly has its fans among BMW lovers. At any rate, it’s right for the period, and maybe an upgrade to the wheels would liven it up a bit. Note the 2800 grill badge – model designations in the grill were more typical for European-market cars, but the side marker and mph speedometer suggest this is a US-market car. Interestingly, the car has an early 1990s California front plate – perhaps issues with the car kept the owner from registering it in Washington?
Either way, the car does appear to be in pretty good, original condition, with no obvious rusting from the limited selection of pictures. The seller acknowledges rusting rear fenders, but says the car is otherwise solid, and recommends paint and restoration. However, it doesn’t look so far gone that it might not be usable as a driving project. There is no picture of the engine, but the seller says the car won’t idle well and the carburetors need attention, without specifying if they are the original Solexes or upgraded Webers. It’s been driven around his property monthly for years, and brakes are said to be good, while the alternator has a short.
The interior looks pretty decent and complete, with a nice wood-rim steering wheel, but the leather seats are aged and show some cracking. While the trunk lid appears to have an “Automatic” badge, there’s no sign of that inside the car, even on the instrument cluster where you’d expect the PRNDL indicator. What is visible of the rear seat from exterior pictures looks pretty decent too – no major tears on the top of the backrest.
Here’s a shot of one of the fenders – definitely rusty, but far from disastrous, as long as the structure behind them isn’t compromised. It’s nice to see original hubcaps on steel wheels here – many of these have suffered upgrades to wheels off BMWs 20-30 years its junior, though, as mentioned above, an upgrade to something period-correct might make this beige car a little more exciting to look at. As a complete, running car, it looks like it would be fun to sort this one out mechanically and then see where you go from there.