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:
- 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?
- 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.
- The seller claims that the car would pass certification on both electrical and mechanical.
- 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