We are genuinely excited to have an E3 3.0 Si in our showroom. A masterpiece of classic understatement, the Si has legendary status, having been favoured by rock stars and movie moguls (Bob Marley was a huge fan) as well as being without doubt one of the most impressive saloon cars of its era. The BMW E3 saloons are the epitome of 1970’s gangster chic, appearing in movies such as The Long Good Friday, and always being driven by the baddies. In 1972 you could buy BMW’s 3.0 CSL coupe for the price of two family homes. Or, if you preferred a refined, practical, understated look, you could buy the saloon version – same engine, same power, but with room for four or five adults and a boot full of luggage – or, being the 70’s – enough shooters for the job, and enough power to show The Law a clean pair of Cuban heels. So, of course, it was no ordinary car, and the price tag reflected this. Even today, the Si retains that poise and sporty, confident elegance that set it so far apart from the chunky, agricultural feel of its rival, Mercedes-Benz. Sadly there are hardly any E3 Si saloons left. We look after a few – probably more than everyone else put together - but the number of 3.0 Si saloons still in circulation is tiny. In terms of ‘cars you’d own’, we may only just be talking double figures.
The first thing that strikes you today is the power. At 200bhp it was blisteringly quick for its day – remember the much-revered Ford Sierra Sapphire Cosworth, launched more than fifteen years later, boasted 220bhp and was considered pretty quick – and with road manners to match and comfort levels only found in the likes of Mercedes or Jaguar the Si could do the 0-60 sprint in just over 7.5 seconds. But neither Merc or Jag had that focus on the driver, or understood balance and ‘sheer driving pleasure’ in the way BMW did. Today, its pretty well universally accepted that BMW are the pioneers of driver focus, creating saloon cars that really are the ultimate driving machine, and it all began, in mainstream terms, with the E3 3.0Si. It is fair to say that the roots of the all-conquering M5 are firmly planted in this elegant, focussed saloon car.
This particular Polaris silver Si was found by Munich Legends for its current owner more than ten years ago. We loved the car then, and we love it now. Firstly, it’s a manual, so there are no 70’s auto-box woes, and it makes this Si a really rewarding driver’s car. Secondly, it’s not suffered the fate of so many 70’s cars – too little investment by owners who simply weren’t prepared to spend the money over the years on a car that didn’t promise the right returns. And unlike most BMWs from this era, there is a file full of fascinating paperwork and history, such as the original bill of sale, stacks of MOT certificates, invoices from each decade of the car’s life and all the original manuals and service books - even the plastic folder. We were impressed with the condition of the car ten years ago, and the current owner has maintained a disciplined and rigorous attitude towards the ongoing requirements of owning a 70’s classic, spending over £20,000 on fettling, treating, and a general programme of prevention/immediate cure for any issues during his tenure. The current condition, in our opinion, strikes the perfect balance between originality and practical ownership. A period radio/cassette is cleverly integrated with modern speakers, sounding warm and classy. The interior is comfy and in superb condition, but shows just the right amount of wear or fade to give the reassuring feel of a truly original, genuine car. There’s no need for a restoration here, but neither is the car so mint that it can’t be driven. In fact, after ten minutes behind the wheel, you start asking questions of yourself: I wonder if I could use this as a daily driver? Why aren’t classic car connoisseurs shouting about the 3.0Si? Why aren’t modern cars this rewarding to drive?
Of course this Si has had an up to date appraisal from our technical team, and it is spot on. The next lucky owner of this Munich Legends will have all the fun of owning a truly classic BMW without the worry, financial issues, or headaches so often associated with cars where the running costs and ongoing maintenance commitments outstrip values. In short, if you want a truly classic, impressive, driveable BMW that is sure to increase in value – a 3.0Si in short – then this will be the perfect car for you.
For more information or to book a visit, please contact our showroom team on 01825 740456
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