• Jan 31, 2007
Flicker user "lithuimbomb9999" bought this '73 BMW Bavaria back in 2001 and informs us that instead of one of the stock engines from its time (either a 2.8L or 3.0L inline 6 making 170 - 190 HP), the engine compartment of this old Bimmer hides a 3.5L six-cylinder from an '88 535i. That gives the car somewhere between 200 and 220 horsepower and, as lithiumbom puts it, "boatloads of torque." Other mechanical updates include a metric mechanic sport cam, dual weber 32/36 DGAV carbs and later-model springs and sway bars.

Appearance-wise, the car's subtle, elegant look is augmented by a set of vintage Alpina wheels (nice) and Recaros from a 320i. It was restored in 1982 and is finished in its original color. The owner says that it's due to be revisited, as there's some paint and bodywork required to address some rust issues that have popped up in the intervening decades.

Lithiumbomb notes that BMW E3-family cars like his Bavaria sell for much less than the more-coveted 2002s and CSes from the same era and that working examples can be found in the $1,000 - $2,000 range, with mint-condition cars checking in between $5 - 10K. Not a bad deal for anyone looking to pick up a vintage Bimmer. We happen to like old BMWs ourselves, and as such, LB's Bavaria is today's Reader Ride of the Day.

Follow the jump for a couple more pics, and instructions on how to submit your own vehicle to become our Reader Ride of the Day. And next week, our themed RR of the Day will be back and we're looking for beaters. If you've got a decrepit ride that still manages to get your from point A to point B, we want to see it. Rusted, busted or smoking, submit it by following the directions after the jump.




How to submit to RR of the Day:
Create a
Flickr account if you don't already have one. Search for and join the group called 'Autoblog RR of the Day'. Upload up to three photos of your ride to your own account at a size no larger than 450 pixels wide if possible and include as much information about it and yourself as possible. Even if your ride is sweet, it will not be chosen if there's not a lot of info accompanying it. Click on each photo and just above the picture it will say "Send to group". Click that and select the Autoblog group. You're done, that's it!


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  • 17 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      The M Coupe can step aside, the Bavaria is king. So far each RRotD would be worthy of RRorW most any other week. I'm excited to see what comes up Thurs and Fri.

      The engine swap did it for me. Why the choice of carbs over stock fuel injection?

      You can also compare prices of E23 and E24 BMWs to see how much of a premium is placed on two doors. The March issue of Hemmings Sports & Exotic has page 14 dedicated to a readers two 73 Bavarias and page 16 to a 3.0CS. The CS is undeniably sexier, but the classic lines of either BMW will belittle what is seen on the street today.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Love your mods. The air dam, foglights, alloys, and ride height are period-perfect.

      And there's no better color for a sleeper than card-carrying-Greenpeace-member whale gray.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have been driving E3s as they are known here in Australia since 1972 and find their street appeal and rareity something special. I have a carby 30 L and two 30si all 1975 s. A European spec 30si has 200 BHP and 0-60 in 7.5 secs. With good vision four wheel ventilated discs and independent rear suspension they are a good drivers car. There are a few lept in this country and I am just about to buy another.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Thanks again for everyone's comments. A number of you hit on why I love this car - it's the core of what BMW used to be, IMO. Driving dynamics were first priority, and they built a basic solid car around that. Introduced in 1968 as a '69 model, you've got four wheel disk brakes, four wheel independent suspension, about 170hp from a 2.5L straight six. That was pretty advanced for a plain 4 door sedan. They stuck to this basic formula for nearly 30 years and it worked. Sadly with Bangelization and electronic creep I suspect those days are long gone.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Yes, Jackie O did have one of these and I've seen that car in person. Not too bad for sitting in a warehouse for quite a few years.

      • 8 Years Ago
      This is what my first car was, it was a hand me down from my older brother. I think mine was a 74 but it was in much worse shape than this one. I never got the thing running (had sat in a warehouse for 10+ years) but I can still remember the love I had for that thing. I'd love to have a nice driving example one day.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I love the M-Coupe too and want one someday, but...

      There is something special to be said for Bimmers like this:

      * Back when they WERE the ultimate driving machine
      * Only you knew how cool you were to have one and there was only 1 in the company parking lot
      * They were just awesome driving cars, not gussied up status symbols as common as platinum blondes and breast implants in Scottsdale
      * Back then, the dealer was honored to have you as a customer, not the other way around

      Probably nothing finer than a Bavaria and a 3.0CSL. I'd love to see that, um, pair next year at the auction!
      • 8 Years Ago
      This one's got a lot more style than the Bangle-ised 7-series of today...
      • 8 Years Ago
      The fact that these cars were being produced 10 YEARS prior to the Cadillac Cimarron shows really how far behind the Europeans GM was in regards to luxury sedans.

      They still haven't closed the gap.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I may have seen this car in person at the sharkfest '06 (a get-together for 6 series owners) at the BMW factory last year. If this is the same car, its cool as hell and deserves to win for the week.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Why install "dual weber 32/36 DGAV carbs" on an engine that was originally fuel-injected?

      Is the fuel delivery setup tied more to the car than the engine?
      • 8 Years Ago
      This is my car, thanks everyone for the replies and thanks Autoblog for the post.

      r.yo:
      The car was originally carbureted with a pair of Zeniths with its original engine. Converting to webers was common as the zeniths tended to warp and have other problems. So on this car, it had webers installed on the original engine in the early 1980s. The engine in the car now was indeed fuel injected when it was in the 535i. However by not moving over the fuel injection as well it was a simple drop in replacement for the original engine. Some owners of these cars do convert them to fuel injection (and the 75-76 models were all fuel injected i think) but it's a bit fiddly to install fuel injection into a car that never had it to start with.
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