Friday, December 2, 2011

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1971 BMW 3.0 CSi

I've long been a big fan of the BMW E9 series coupes, so it's only natural that I fell in love with this beautiful ice blue 3.0 CSi. The kicker is, no matter how much research I do on these cars, I can never seem to pinpoint the exact model year of most of them. The reason for this is, in Europe they'd design a car once and make minor changes as necessary to get it right. So most E9s look alike except for small details. Of course, US-market cars can be told apart by Federal side markers and other "safety" modifications from the original pure Teutonic design (such as the ghastly giant rubber bumpers of the 1974-75 models), but this is a Euro-market car. The fuel-injected 3.0 CSi was apparently never officially sold in the States, but was sold from 1971 to 1975 in Europe. This one is also decked out with Alpina goodies, like the popular spoked wheels (which I absolutely love on this car) and an Alpina shift knob. I'm not sure how crazy I am about the steering wheel, which I assume is original. I've seen pictures on the web of these cars with a wood-rimmed Nardi-style steering wheel, and I'm not sure if that was an improvement or not.

Conditionwise, this car was about as nice as any E9 I've ever seen. Paint is in beautiful shape, as is the chrome and stainless trim. And just look at the interior! If I had to fault any part of the car, I guess you could say that the rub strip on the rear bumper's right corner is a little bit deformed, and the license plate mounting holes in the front bumper show a tiny, tiny amount of rust discoloration. But really, how anal-retentive is that? This is probably one of my top 10 favorite street sightings, at least of this year. Would I own one? Heck no! I can't afford the upkeep on a classic BMW. But I'm sure glad other people do so I can enjoy them from time to time.

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