The winter of my discontent… (and a BMW 3.0CS) NOT viewed, 01/16/2015


January in Canada is a cruel month… the caribou huddle together for warmth, the beavers hibernate in their frigid lodges, the polar bears shiver unimpressively for the tourists, but worst of all, sellers of classic cars bundle their treasures into hidden garages and vaults, not to be seen again until spring breathes her welcome balmy warmth to dispel the layers of snow and bitter cold.

So yes. No test drives recently – and none in the immediate offing.Why did I start to search for cars in the autumn??? At the time, I thought I was clever, catching all those sellers of their convertibles when no one wanted them (picture me rubbing my fingers together , á la Mr Burns, saying “Yeeeeesssssss” with an evil leer). Seemed clever in October, but perhaps less so now.

Interestingly, no one is interested in selling a convertible in January. Sigh.

Pathetic, really, because I would BUY one.

So, I have been reduced to “viewing” cars without the possibility of rolling their pampered treads out onto the salt encrusted thoroughfares of Toronto. I sympathize completely except for the inconvenience that this causes me in my search.

There’s a tiny glimmer of hope though… this weekend, as I expect to be viewing (and perhaps even starting, but not driving) two Alfa spiders: one, a 1976, the other a 1972 – for sale by the same private seller – more on this as it happens. In the meantime, I offer for your consideration a 1973 BMW 3.0CS.

The good news and the bad news at the same time: it’s in my price range. This car has been on sale for some seven months and started at around $20k (CDN), but has since been reduced to $17k. I have NOT seen the car, and the seller, in spite of having sent me some 70 photos of the car has not, after a couple of weeks of conversation, (and queries into my whereabouts and status as a purchaser) actually offered to let me view the car. There may be excellent reasons for this, but this does little to ameliorate my impatience. In the meantime, I will comment on the photos I have seen. $17k worries me though. Seems on one hand to be too cheap – and worries me on the other that it will ultimately be too expensive.

The car looks good, if worn. There is no evident rust (and rust is a real concern with these cars), but there are also no shots of the underside. The car is white with a navy blue interior that looks like vinyl. The interior is decent, though there are tiny rips in the seat, but in general it, like the exterior, looks more in need of a detailing then a restoration. The body is white, but some of the photos show reflections that suggest either a “complicated” reflection, or more likely, some imprecise surfacing (bodywork) in either the wing or door panels. Chrome is good, but appears to be lightly pitted. The engine bay is under represented with only a couple of photos (seemingly taken with a phone, judging by the relative “blurriness” of the shots) that show a correct engine that looks tired and in need of detailing, but nothing worse. Sadly, the engine bay does not exhibit its regular paint, but shows black protective goop (good, and bad, I suppose).

The body looks good except for the missing front bumper (the seller says he removed it because he thinks it looks better without, but he has it), and, oddly, on the boot, the Marque descriptors are misplaced (see drawing) – the “name should read “3.0CS” on the boot, on the right hand side – strangely this one shows “CS” on the left and “3.0” on the right. Not a big deal, but to restore it to its proper alignment, bodywork would need to be done. The car has the “North American sidelights which would ideally be removed at some point.

Lastly, this is a 4 speed, not a 5.

I really do like this car, in spite of the fact that it is not a convertible (which I want), but I also worry about it thus:

  1. These are rare. I can’t remember the last time I saw one on the streets – the last one I saw in the flesh was in the BMW Museum in Munich, four years ago. Parts? Community? Service?
  2. The seller claims new, professionally installed floorpans, but doesn’t say whether they are the proper dual floorpans. He suggests, though doesn’t promise, that otherwise the car is rust free.
  3. The seller claims that the car would pass certification on both electrical and mechanical.
  4. The seller has (after two weeks of email) not yet given me any information that would lead me to actually VIEW the car and has offered no reason as to why this is the case.

I am not slagging the seller – he may just be a very busy guy. But, every night I come home and check my email to see if there has been an offer for me to actually view the car or a reason why I cannot until spring. Neither email has been in the offing.

It IS the winter of my discontent…

NOTE: I’ve just noticed that the drawing has the word “bodywork” pointing to the door and wing panel… this should actually be “bodywork?”. Cheers – B


8 thoughts on “The winter of my discontent… (and a BMW 3.0CS) NOT viewed, 01/16/2015”

  1. I really enjoyed reading through your classic car search blog.
    It is your excellent illustrations that set this blog apart. Kudos.

    I have a 1959 Karmann Ghia convertible that I’ve owned and loved for many years. It doesn’t have the cache of the Italian sportscars, nor the power. But it’s fun, stylish, parts are cheap, and it’s fairly easy to double the stock power with an affordable engine swap and dual carbs.
    The best year is 1967 because of the blade bumpers and front disc brakes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dean – thanks for the compliment!

      I actually looked at a Karmann Ghia about 9 months ago, before I started the blog, but sadly, it was over-priced and a rust bucket (sigh). Do love the Karmann Ghia – and agree – the 67s are beautiful. I like the Type 3s, too but they don’t come up often… if I do see a K-G convertible that appears I’ll cover it… but they’re thin on the ground right now in my part of the world.

      Thanks again! Cheers – Bruce


  2. The BMW 3.0CS is an unbelievable great car. I know, as I have one. Having said that, I can really, really almost guarantee that the one you are trying to look at is not the one you should get. How? Too many obvious clues, many of which you mentioned. And, they can’t be fixed without money-lots of it. Much more than what you could/want to buy this one for. A good CS takes good money, simple but true. But, good money does not guarantee a good CS.

    Second, a good Jaguar XJC is wonderful too! Yes, I also have one. Now here, finding a good old series XJ is entirely possible. They are really great. I’ve driven both my CS and XJC across country and back over the last two years, each time over 3500 miles, each time completely trouble free. I also drive each now regularly in only good weather.

    Cheers and enjoy your search. Obviously great sketches and blog.


    1. Hi John – I’m deeply envious – a 3.0CS AND an XJC? Wow. You own the two loveliest coupes ever built (as far as I’m concerned). Yeah – I figured the CS is unlikely to be what I want (well, this one) but it’s always worth a look… hope springs eternal! But I do walk into these situations with my eyes wide open and my wallet tightly clenched. 🙂

      Thanks for your comments! Cheers – Bruce


      1. Bruce
        Obviously, I couldn’t agree more with you on these two choices:) I specifically set out looking for both of them awhile ago. I actually was trying to decide which of the two I wanted most. After finding potential ones of both- and searching/looking-at many candidates, I finally drove across country to look at both. I looked at the XJC one in Washington state, then drove down to San Diego to inspect the 3.0 CS. On the way back then to Ohio, I made my mine up to get the CS, and never regretted the decision.

        But, I still wanted a XJC! They are so different and also both so great in looks, design, and driving. So the search continued… About two years later, I found the perfect XJC and knew it almost immediately. I have never regretted this decision either.

        But, I still love almost all the vintage stuff, especially the British and Germain and Italian, etc 🙂

        BTW, please don’t take my first comment on being careful on the CS as being arrogant or thinking I know everything on these. I certainly don’t and didn’t mean to sound that way. It’s obvious that you have done lots of homework. I like to use others “advice” as just another piece, but first satisfy my own desires. So good luck! I’ll be interested to perhaps someday reading what you wind up with. Then on to the next


      2. Hi John – Trust me – didn’t see your comment as “arrogant” – I appreciate all comments and advice about classics. I know a decent amount, but there is always lots more to learn, so I do appreciate any advice or feedback, especially from someone like you, who obviously knows the cars.

        Thanks again – ! Cheers – Bruce


  3. After owning a 3.0CS I would advise looking it over as carefully (if not more so) as you would an old Alfa. The front fenders are guranteed rust traps and not cheap to replace. Ditto for the floors. These were real coach built cars and it showed in the body work. The 3 liter motors also were known head gasket digesters, so have a real good look. I traded mine for a bevel drive Ducati 900SS but that’s another story…


    1. Thanks – always appreciate the advice – especially from someone who’s had personal experience.

      Interestingly, the guy who’s selling this hasn’t gotten back to me since I sent him some pointed questions about the quality of the body and frame viz rust.

      I figured one of these was going to outstrip my budget, but it’s hard not to hope! Anyway – seems like I’m not going to hear from this guy again – which might not be bad news…

      Thanks for the message – love the 900s! (used to have several 1982 750 and 1100 Katanas… )


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