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BMW 3.0CS

jazzcatjazzcat Posts: 6
edited March 10 in BMW
I am interested in getting a 72 BMW 3.0CSI or CS.
I am not mechanically inclined, and I was
wondering if it is feasible for a person such as
myself to keep such an old car that would be likely
to need frequent repairs. How difficult would it
be to find a competent mechanic for this car? (I
live in the San Francisco Bay Area). How expensive
would the repairs be? Are parts for this car
expensive and hard to find? (I would imagine so.)
Would it be likely to break down frequently?

I know very little about these issues. I would
greatly appreciate feedback from those who have
experience is keeping older Bimmers. Thanks!!
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Comments

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,806
    Yes, I can give you some good info on these cars.

    They are quite sturdy and living in the Bay Area offers you lots of talented people to take care of this car.

    Your major difficulties with this car will be

    a) detection of rust....it's THERE, believe me, either hidden or obvious, so when you shop for this type of car be sure you find out where it is or was and how it was fixed (bondo, welding, replacement panels). Any car with rust on the front strut tower supports or rear suspension pinnings should be rejected out of hand. You will also find rust in the lower doors, rocker panels, and rear quarter panels behind the rear wheels.

    b) coping with dreadful carburetors. Whatever you have on that engine, if they aren't Webers (a conversion) you'll have erratic idling and stumbling on acceleration. So think about this type of conversion and the cost involved.

    c) possible overheating. In the Bay Area, this is not such an issue, but having the radiator cleaned out thoroughly and all new hoses put on would be a very good idea.

    Parts are not outrageous, if we're talking about mechanical parts. I'm sure body parts and trim would cost and arm and a leg because at this point in time there's only two ways to get such parts...re-make them (expensive) or find someone who's been hoarding them (also expensive).

    Last of all, keep in mind that the market for these coupes is not very strong, in fact quite stagnant. Some proud owners are rather unrealistic about their real value, but in fact anywhere from $8,500 to $12,000 should buy very , very nice cars. If you pay more than that, it will be a decade before you can resell at those higher prices...I'm not sure why exactly the price of these lovely cars is so depressed, but the facts are quite clear on the matter, so shop wisely.

    MODERATOR

  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    This is a car I've carried a torch for since they were current, but I'd heard that they're a bear to maintain.
  • JettamanJettaman Posts: 6
    How about a 1971 2800CS ?? This is the predecessor of the 3.0. My parents own one that they bought new. It hasn't been driven for the past 8 years, so not sure of its mechanical condition, but was running fine before it was parked. 71,000km (not miles) -- car was bought in U.S., shipped to Europe when the family moved there and thus converted to km, shipped back to U.S. three years later but never returned speedo to miles.
  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    What's your question?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,806
    We've addressed this question in Jettaman's duplicate post on the subject, but I ballparked it, as is, at around $5,000.

    MODERATOR

  • jazzcatjazzcat Posts: 6
    Mr Shiftright, thanks for the helpful info!
  • pure911pure911 Posts: 40
    what is the most troublesome part of this car?
    other than routine maintainence, what else do they require (over another other BMW)?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,806
    The carburation will drive you kind of crazy, so that's why you often find Webers on these coupes...the big bugaboo is really the rust factor...it's almost unheard of to find one that doesn't have some rust, visible or no, somewhere on the car.

    I'm not sure why the car isn't stronger in the collector market...it's kind of catch-22...no one wants to spend a lot on the cars because they don't bring big money, and yet the only way to bring big money is to have increased interest from collectors in the first place.

    I think they'll come up in time, though.

    MODERATOR

  • pure911pure911 Posts: 40
    i saw a 1972 3.0cs with 80k and what seemed like owners that took good care of it for $11,000...

    does that sound right? what should I ask about (other than the usual)? where should I check for rust?

    a side note: wouldn't Weber's give better performance than the stock Bimmer carb's.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,806
    The price sounds in the ballpark, yes.

    Rust appears everywhere, but certainly in the rockers, front quarters where the fenders meet the door, rear quarters and top of the shock towers in the engine compartment. Also put the car on a lift...if there's rust where the suspension in attached to the body, walk away from the car.

    webers may or may not increase performance--they don't always, or sometimes they do but at a big cost in fuel consumption. With MGs for instance, using Webers over SUs gives you a gain of maybe 4 horsepower at the very high rpm limit...hardly worth the trouble for all the expense.

    In the case of the 3.0s Solexes or Zeniths or whatever the hell is on there, the use of Webers improves the driveability and reliability, which is not a problem with SUs.

    MODERATOR

  • bubukittybubukitty Posts: 96
    The price you mention sounds right if the car is in good condition, has no (or minor) rust bubbles in the body panels and has been mostly rebuilt. A printine 3.0cs that is cosmetically and mechanically perfect can run to the mid-teens in price. A nice 3.0csl (lightweight) can run in low to mid twentys in price. I had a 1973 3.0cs for five years and sold it about 1 1/2 years ago and regret it now (needed something more practical for work and lots of hard driving). I was also a member of the CS Register (for owners of 2800 and 3.0 coupes) and highly recommend anyone with a coupe or who buys one to join. There is a great quarterly news letter with a price guide, maintenance tips, classifieds, articles, good repair shop references etc. I loved my coupe, and think they are one of the most beautiful designs ever. Mine was Polaris (silver) with a maroon interior, with a four speed, A/C and sunroof. I sold mine for $12,500. It was in excellent mechanical (mostly rebuilt) and cosmetic shape. Had a few minor rust bubbles in a couple of body panels, but no frame rust. This is on a California car from new, so beware of rust as Mr. Shiftright said. Rust is the biggest bane of these old coupes, and even if you repair it all and repaint the car, it will eventually pop up again unless it is never driven in the rain. Karmann (which built these cars for BMW), did not rust proof the cars and the interior panels trap moisture and the cars rust from the inside out. If you are interested in a coupe, go over the car and check for rust very carefully. Beware especially of gray market coupes (3.0 csi). The i in csi stands for fuel injection, which is a nice feature of the european coupes and these cars have greater horsepower than U.S. versions, but the rust factor is a real problem here. Also, if you have a choice between a 2800 and 3.0 CS, you should probably opt for the 3.0. The 3.0 is a little more powerful and has disc brakes at the rear while the 2800 has drums. If the car has the stock Zenith carbs, you should put on Webers. I had the Zeniths on mine for four years and hated them. The gas mileage and driveablility suffered. At the time, Webers were not smog legal in California (legal now due to the car's age) but I put them on anyway and the car was transformed! Gas mileage shot up about 2-3 MPG and it drove like a dream, with no more stumbling and hard starting. Worth the price if you keep the car for awhile (about $1,000 p&l). Unfortunately, I sold my car a year after putting them on so the new owner gets the benefit. The coupes are a delight to drive and so many people would come up to me to talk about the car. It is a true classic. I recommend the car to anyone interested. Mine was reliable and pretty practical as well. The only really expensive part items will be those that are unique to the coupe (body and interior trim mostly). The mechanical parts are the same as those that came on the 3.0 S and Bavaria sedans. Go get one and enjoy it! I know I will eventually get one again. I have owned many cars over the years and my coupe is still the favorite.
  • pure911pure911 Posts: 40
    okay found another ad in a BMW magazine what do you think:

    1973 3.0CSi Malaga (what color is this?)/ dk.blue leather. 4speed, 70K miles, PW, extensive work to motor/drivetrain, body and interior; car is OEM except Nardi wheel(!!) and Blaupunkt/MDQuart stereo; 99% rust free; "fastidious owner who painfully must seel a rar, beautiful and 'hastle free' coupe. over $25k invested; $15,000."


    SOUND GOOD???
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,806
    Hard to say, but sounds pretty good on paper...I'd say somewhat overpriced for the market, but then it's really not fair until one looks at the car in person, and, after all, it is only the ASKING price...but for $15k it had better be spectacular. The term '99%" rust troubles me, because the rust you see is the tip of the iceberg...rust never sleeps and is often impossible to arrest completely without some radical action.

    So I'd say a very close chassis inspection and some dickering on the price is in order on this one, and it would be interesting to know as well where that $25K investment went exactly. I presume the owner is including what he/she paid for the car in that $25K.

    Certainly worth checking out.

    MODERATOR

  • pure911pure911 Posts: 40
    "...and it would be interesting to know as well
    where that $25K investment went exactly. I presume the owner is including what he/she paid for the car in that $25K. "

    i would think so...

    the info on the rust is helpfull...
    the only problem is that the owner is near me, but the car is not...so it might be a pain to see
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,806
    Well, it's not the type of car you buy on the blind, since rust is a serious issue with these automobiles.

    MODERATOR

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,806
    Actually, that reminded me of a court case I attended where a 3.0 was so badly rusted in the front shock towers that when the car hit a bump, it popped open the front hood. The buyer sued for fraud against the seller, but lost, as is usually the case with a used car purchase. Buyer beware.

    MODERATOR

  • bubukittybubukitty Posts: 96
    Sounds like the $15,000 is on the high side as Mr. Shiftright said. By the way, I believe the Malaga color is maroon. Coupes look nice in this color. I also wonder where the $25k went! (it probably does include the initial investment in the car). Since the car is a 3.0 csi, that means it is a gray market import with fuel injection (vs. the standard Zenith carbs). The FI coupes pump out about 200 h.p. while the stock carb engines make 180 h.p. The power benefit is nice but the rust situation needs to be carefully looked at. I would check it out yourself and also take it to a BMW specialist that works on the older cars and have them do a thorough diagnostic (usually run $100+ but worth it). A good shop will do a complete check of the chassis and the rest of the car for rust gremlins and a compression and leak down test for the engine and check the rest of the mechanical components to make sure the car is sound. It is well worth the investment as you can use it as a tool to negotiate the price down if you still like the car. Based on the current market, at least here in CA, the car is worth $12-$13k if perfectin every way. If less than stellar, probably $8,000 to $11,000. Good luck.
  • pure911pure911 Posts: 40
    i cant believe BMW never brought the csi model to the U.S.! Are you sure??
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,806
    Yes, he is correct...the injected version was not imported.

    MODERATOR

  • pure911pure911 Posts: 40
    why do these cars rust so much?
    what can be done to ameliorate this problem??? Undercoating, constant high pressure washes of the undercarriage?
  • pure911pure911 Posts: 40
    oh, and thanks for the info bubukitty!
  • pure911pure911 Posts: 40
    the other car I am investigating is a 3.0cs

    it has had two main modifications (for the better it seems) (1) It had an engine rebuild and the owner put in Schrick cam and Weber carb's with K&N air filters...

    have you heard of a Schrick cam, I plan on asking a BMW expert when I go look at the car.

    (2) fat sway bars and new springs. The fat sway bars sound good...it will surely tighten up the handling and it's good to know the springs are new and not sagging from age...(right?)

    I have seen pictures of this one and it looks in very good condition... again the rust issue I will check out...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,806
    I think some 60s cars rust more than others due to how they are designed and bolted or welded together. Some cars just have these wonderful water and crude traps built in that are natural depositories for rust. Obviously, this BMW model was one of the worst for that.

    There's no stopping rust once it's in there, and if it's a 3.0CS it's in there somewhere...the only possible exception would be a car that was preserved in a hothouse somewhere or a car that was "stripped and dipped" ...with the formerly rusted body being dunked in a hot tank...even that causes problems, since the solvents get trapped in the body and can leak out onto the newly restored chassis and paint.

    As for the modifications you mentioned, they sound great, although this is a car you'd want to drive first...sometimes if the springs and sway bar bushing are the unforgiving type, you can get a great handling but miserable-riding car.

    MODERATOR

  • pure911pure911 Posts: 40
    does the rust problem mean that I would ahve to put away the car once the first snow fall came? that would stink... Coating the frame and sheet metal in zinc and anti-corrosive stuff would be great if I was doing a COMPLETE restoration...

    ah...can one buy any classic car without having to have such trouble?! I dont mind the extra maintanence a classic requires, its the idea that the car will rust no matter what I do...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,806
    It's insidious...rust often forms between the layers of sheet metal that is pressed together.

    But what you do is what all 3.0CS owners do...just keep cutting it out and fixing it as it appears...sometimes you can find a car where it's pretty localized...bottom of door frames and front and rear quarters are most likely...if you can find one where it hasn't attacked the suspension points (where suspension meets body), you're better off than most 3.0 owners...just grind and fill, grind and fill every couple of years...no big deal, really, since the car is going to be a driver anyway. In the UK, they treat rust like we treat oil changes, they're used to it. In the US collectors are rust-pansies.

    So I guess what I'm saying is that there is "rust" as in surface or "cosmetic" rust, and then there is "structural rust", which is deadly and to be avoided at all costs.

    MODERATOR

  • pure911pure911 Posts: 40
    humm....the rust issue may make me reconsider this car...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,806
    Not meant to discourage, only to sober one up prior to purchase. Best to get a car like that on a lift, go over it with a magnet, and look for things like tar smeared on floorpans...a sure sign of a German rust-trap.

    MODERATOR

  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    'Naval Jelly' (no jokes please) is great stuff for slowing down the progress of rust. It won't stop it but it can make it much more manageable, assuming that it's minor to begin with.

    If you can remove all the totally oxidized material prior to each application, that helps. A sandblaster is best, but that requires that the parts be accessible and that you have access to such a tool. Failing that, a wire brush is ok; preferably powered, but even just reaching into a door panel or rocker panel and scrubbing it with a hand brush is better than nothing.

    If you can get at both sides of the rust spot, obviously that's going to make a big difference, but again, if only one side is accessible, that's still a lot better than doing nothing.

    PS
    I have a serious weakness for 3.0 CS's. Maybe you can find one on the net that's spent its whole life in the desert southwest. If that happens all you have to do is move to where the car is (you wouldn't want to move such a car into a salty, wet environment) and install a late-model BMW 5-speed. And you gotta give me a ride.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,806
    Good suggestions, but I personally wouldn't sand-blast rust because you end up "peening" over the rust (like capping it with metal while sandblasting) and trapping it. Dunking it in chemicals is 'mo betta but then of course you have the possible problem of trapped chemicals in the body....oh, man...

    I know where there's one in Boulder, Colorado that's pretty good...been sitting for a few years, minor rust only, blue, stickshift, sun roof, ran pretty well last time I drove it...e-mail me if interested...it'll be $5K or less...I think you could drag it home and make a car out of it.

    MODERATOR

  • bubukittybubukitty Posts: 96
    Been off this site for awhile. Glad the info was helpful. Did you check out that 3.0cs with the schrick cam and sway bars? As Mr. Shiftright said, make sure you give the car an extensive test drive. I had fat sway bars and Koni schocks and lowering springs on a '86 535i. The combination made the car miserable to drive though it looked great! Sway bars alone won't make it too bad, but it still could be a bit of a rough ride. My '73 3.0cs had stock suspension, but the stock wheels were replaced by 15" BBS style basketweave wheels from a later model (early '90's) 535i. It made the car look fantastic and the handling was superb. The webers/K&N filters on the car are a good thing. Not sure about the cam. Hopefully the guy who owned it wasn't Mr. Boy Racer with the modifications he made, and didn't beat the hell out of the car.

    Again, the csi was never legally imported. Any in the U.S. are gray market. Beware the difficulty in finding fuel injection parts and the mentioned rust demons. Regarding rust, there is not much you can do. Karmann (as in Karmann-Ghia) is a specialty coach works in Germany, and they hand assembled all of the 3.0 cs's for BMW. There was not rust proofing used by Karmann, and the interior seams and panels (the way they are formed) tend to trap water, thus as water sits in the cavities, it rusts the car from the inside out. Best to avoid any East Coast cars, unless it was never driven in rain and snow. The salt doesn't help things! Best to find a southwest/west coast car. My coupe, even though in California its whole life, had some minor cosmetic rust. It is just part of the deal in owning a coupe. But it is worthwhile. I am sorry I sold mine. I loved it. It is one of the most beautifully designed automibiles (in my opinion at least). Timeless lines. A couple of suggestions.....Join the BMW CS Register if you are seriously interested in buying a coupe. I belonged to it when I had my coupe and there are lots of classified ads of members selling their cars (beside great tech tips and articles). Many of the member cars are fanatically maintained. The CS Register has a web site too, though I do not remember it. Check out the BMWNA web site. There may be a link. Also call Carl Nelson at LaJolla Independent BMW (San Diego). He specializes in coupes and is involved in the CS Register and the Coupefest each year at the Monterey Historic races. He probably has leads on a good car. Also try Peter Sliskovich "The Coupe King". He's a Dr. in S.Calif who restores coupes and sells them. He's a good guy and reputable and has the best cars you'll see at Coupefest. Hope your search is fruitful!
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