1974 BMW 3.0CS

Ah, the internet. As I often say to my history students, back in the ancient times people actually had to go to a library to look up facts. Take production data, for example. Let’s say you wanted to know how many of a particular model were made. Well, you could phone the manufacturer, which probably wouldn’t get you anywhere. You might head to a knowledgeable dealer, but they’d probably lose interest as soon as it became clear you weren’t there to actually buy anything. You could write the manufacturer and hope for a correspondence back – probably in a few months. Or, if you were quite rich, you could hop on a plane and head to the company’s headquarters, hoping to be allowed in to the archives. But now, on a seemingly daily basis, more information is added to the nebula which is the internet. Some of it is true, some of it is false, and some is misinterpreted. As I say to my students, know your source. If you’re relying on the NBC Nightly News for your facts, for example, you might find that Brian Williams hand-built this E9 himself. Too soon?


Year: 1974
Model: 3.0CS
Engine: 3.0 liter inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 37,090 mi
Price: $79,900 Buy It Now

1974 BMW 3.0 CS 3.0cs

Calling all enthusiasts for this sexy and powerful 1974 BMW 3.0CS. Take pleasure in the quick shifting from the Manual transmission paired with this high output engine. Delivering a breathtaking amount of torque, this vehicle deserves a passionate owner! Pick up your friends and hit the road in this spirited and fun-loving 3.0 CS. You’ve earned this – stop by Prestige BMW located at 985 Rt 17 South, Ramsey, NJ 07446 to make this car yours today! No haggle, no hassle.

Please call Freddy with any questions


The seller of this quite lovely looking Polaris Silver Metallic (057) E9, for example. Off the bat, if you read the headline and believed what was written, you’d think this was one of 267 3.0CSs produced. Here’s where the interpretation of information comes in. Why? Well, if you look at the same table that this seller looked at (I’m pretty sure, via Wikipedia), then the source seems credible – it’s from the E9 forum. However, some careful math will show that no less than 10,679 3.0CSs were produced in manual and automatic. Maybe only a few hundred were manual, then? No, 5,823 were 4-speed cars. Where are they getting 267 from, then? Well, they took the European production data quickly from the chart for the 1974 model year. What’s wrong with that is that this is appears to be a U.S. bound car, and therefore looking farther down the list you’d find it was one of 375, not 267, for the 1974 model year. Well, it’s still rare, just not as rare as claimed – and what’s the big deal anyway? And it doesn’t have U.S. bumpers, so maybe you’re wrong, Carter? Well, more careful digging on the actual E9 production data – rather than relying on the lifted Wiki data reveals the true nature of this car – serial number 4310277 falls in the middle of 4310001 – 4310393 – one of the U.S. bound 3.0CSs made between 1974 and 1975. It has some lovely Alpina details added in, miles are quite low and overall condition looks to be really very good; though admittedly it appears that the beauty is mostly skin deep since the engine bay doesn’t appear as nice as the exterior. More careful digging reveals some notes on the E9 board about the car that aren’t hugely flattering; notes of a poor paint job, early bumpers retrofitted and broken trim pieces; none of this information or photos of this appear on the seller’s site. Further, in various other listings of the car, the seller describes it as a rare Alpina Edition – which there appears to be no evidence of outside of some fitted details. Is the car misrepresented, as such? To some degree, I think it is. It’s lovely, but it’s not as described and some not-particularly time consuming searching in the right spots revealed quickly that this car was not what the dealer claimed it was.

That said, it’s still a great looking example. However, is it a $80,000 example? That would be the best part of $25,000 over current Concours market value according the Hagerty – and while very nicely presented, this car is not condition 1. Unfortunately, I think the seller is hoping for someone who doesn’t look into what the car actually is and plunks down the deposit without looking too closely. In reality, this is likely no more than $40,000 example of the lovely E9 with some great looking Alpina details. Considering how easily the information is obtained to undo the seller’s claims, one would think that a careful – and honest – seller would only choose to represent the car as it is, rather than making false claims about it’s heritage.


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  1. Justin Credible

    Very diligent research. Thanks. And it looks like the seller is an authorized BMW dealer.

  2. when you start asking numbers like this especially for iconic E9’s the conoscienti will come out and find fault where it may lie….to buy something like this with-out a marque specialist with you invites bad results…
    IF this car was EXACTLY as presented…without the stories, blemishes etc. it may very well be worth 60 to 70k to the right person….even among E9 followers you have a difference of opinion when it comes to originality and its importance…the only thing they agree on 100% is that these were notorious rust buckets…

  3. Welcome to the new Wild West, complete with greedy carpetbaggers chasing lots of stupid money. Buyer beware.

  4. Hello All,
    I can speak accurately regarding this car as I am the one who sold it to the BMW dealer. The miles are accurate although the documents confirming the history and miles were never delivered as promised by the reportedly second owner.
    As some of you might know, I have been in the automotive business for over 40 years and am first and foremost a true enthusiast.
    I have also probably sold more E9’s than anyone in the country in the past five years. I have been responsible or overseen at least 15 total restorations on these cars.
    I sold the car to my friend as it was delivered by BMW in 1974. It was one of 393 Four Speed Manual Gearbox E9’s imported between 1/74 and 12/75. It was within the last 150 E9’s ever imported by BMW NA. It is one of most probably less than 100 factory Silver cars imported in that last year. So, looking at it that way, it is indeed a rare car. Furthermore, after close inspection, the car was never exposed to foul weather and is as best I can tell without pulling off the fenders, a true rust free car! It still has it’s original engine and four speed transmission.
    The gentleman who bought it is a principal in the BMW dealership as well of many of the other stores that they own. He is also a vintage car racer and a TRUE enthusiast with a huge collection including a CSL Batmobile that I helped him acquire.
    When he bought it from me three years ago, he asked me what I would do to the car if it were mine. I suggested a conversion to the earlier smaller bumpers and we all know why, I suggested Carl Nelson lowering springs and fresh Bilstein shocks. The interior while completely original was showing it’s age due to the disintegration of the horse hair seat stuffing and drying, aging leather. I suggested new carpets and a freshening of the front and rear seats. I believe the wood is still in excellent original condition with no major damage at all.
    It is a stand up car with no issues at all. It has been repainted once in it’s lifetime and it has since been wet sanded and shows very well.
    Unfortunately, he is too busy to get involved in the daily details of selling each and every car.
    He delegated that responsibility to a new salesman and basically threw him with the wolfs.
    I noticed when I saw it on e Bay that he mentioned that it was an Alpina Car and I called him immediately and suggested that he correct that misinformation. That’s why the ad was pulled down.
    In order for anyone to truly learn, you have to go though the process. There will be some bumps and bruises along the way. He, the salesman is not all that familiar with vintage cars and I unfortunately, am old enough to have owned them when they were new. Oh well……That’s actually what happened, a friend of mine in Brooklyn where I grew up had a Black 74 3.0CS that I drooled over for years, That’s why I don’t find the 74 bumpers so offensive! To each his or her own.
    So, please cut him a little slack……………
    As far as the market goes, I am familiar with almost every sale that has taken place on E9’s in the past several years. I have personally sold several cars that were near or exceeded the $90k mark. Those sales of freshly restored or excellent examples were not known by anyone and have never gone into the calculation of what a fair market value is for the car.
    As I mentioned, I have overseen the restoration on many and spending over $100k JUST on the cost of restoration on one of these cars is EASY to do. The price they are asking for this particular high quality car is a fair price in my opinion.
    Then again everyone has their own opinion. If anyone has any specific questions about this car, I’d be glad to answer them if I can. I can be reached at……..Mark Starr/Hunting Ridge Motors Inc. 914 217-4817…………….

    This was an article that appeared on Bloomberg’s web site last week…….


  5. Thanks Mark, really appreciate the first-hand knowledge and history of the car. It certainly does change the situation slightly. What I found interesting from your post was the valuation; I’d have to guess none of those cars have been insured via Hagerty (perhaps not the most unusual thing, but interesting), since one would presume that the people purchasing insurance on them would certainly not undervalue them so substantially. My experience in the Audi market – and what we’ve seen in the M3, M5, RS America, etc. markets with Hagerty is that the owners start upping the insurance as soon as high market sales hit. What’s your opinion on why they’re close to 50% off your estimation?

    Thanks again for chiming in and the detailed post!

  6. Hello Carter,
    I wish I knew. The last one I sold for close to 100K went to Kuwait. As far as others, I sent several to LA, Miami and one to Texas. They all should have vintage insurance and I am at a loss as to why they haven’t recalculated the values.
    I know there was a Black 74 that had early bumpers that sold at auction for over 100K two years ago so there are some known cars selling for much higher prices than what are listed.
    I’ll bet we see an adjustment soon.
    Best Regards,

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