Tow Car – 1973 BMW 3.0S

There are some interesting parallels between Lexus’ entry into the luxury car market back in 1989 and BMW’s return to the luxury car market in the late 1960s. Lexus was accused of copying Mercedes with their LS400, and while that was not an unfair criticism in terms of style, Lexus far exceeded Mercedes in other areas and forced them to improve their product, though arguably compromising some other Mercedes strengths. Looking at BMW’s E3 series of luxury sedans, you could argue that when they styled them in the mid-1960s, they took a good look at Mercedes’ W108 sedans and adapted that design with BMW styling cues (and more importantly, driving characteristics). Let’s check out this 1973 BMW 3.0S for sale for $2400 in Hubbard, OR.

1973 BMW 3.0S right front

Polaris silver on red is a classic color scheme – very elegant, and not really available in modern cars. Imagine this Mercedes W108 with a pointed BMW nose instead – it would be a stretch to say they copied, but the influence is clearly there. This particular BMW is missing its rear passenger door trim, and does show some minor body damage and rust. Tires look to be modern and aggressive, which is pretty remarkable given the low availability of performance tires in old-car sizes.

1973 BMW 3.0S rear

Rust is what you’d expect in any older dry-state BMW – at the door bottoms, and at the leading edges of the hood and trunk lid. There’s some minor parking-speed damage too, including a tweaked bumper, but for a driver-level car it’s not too bad. Paint looks decent, while the missing plate brings up questions about its status, both from registration and how-long-was-it-parked perspectives. Note the fuel filler hidden behind the license plate, a feature which seems to have entirely disappeared from modern cars.

1973 BMW 3.0S engine

The car is said to have only 41,000 miles, but that’s a 5-digit odometer, so make of that what you will. The engine should benefit from the two new Weber carburetors, and it’s nice the installer used the factory air filter box to keep things original looking. Distributor cap and plug wires look new too, and everything looks quite clean for a driver. Air conditioning hardware seems to remain in place, so if you can plan on a full a/c service, it should help on days where the temperature is above or below 70 degrees. The car is said to run and drive well.

1973 BMW 3.0S interior

Here’s that lovely red interior. While the Bavaria was the base-model 2500 with a 3.0-liter engine for North America, the 3.0S was a loaded top-of-the-line car. The leather seats look nicely aged – showing signs of use, but with no tears or deep cracks (though the driver’s seat belt is covering the outside bolster). Carpeting looks decent too, though the driver’s side section appears to be coming up. Three-point belts are nice in a car this age, but these look rather limp and will probably need an update. As E9 and E10 BMWs have attracted more attention from the market, so the E3s have caught some more eyes, and this looks to be a fair deal in that context.


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