Please note that the cars or exhibit items shown in this database are part of our collection but may not be on display when you visit.
BMW’s Bavaria model was a US-only model, derived from Europe’s 2500/2800/3000/3300 series of sedans. Known as the E3 among aficionados, it shared everything under the skin with the E9 Coupe, which many consider BMW’s most beautiful design. It was called Bavaria here in order for BMW to reinforce to the US market that they were a German company, not “British Motor Works” as many thought. The E3 sedans fit between where the 5 and 7 series cars of today fit, in BMW’s hierarchy. They were instrumental in establishing BMW as a manufacturer of high-performance, sporting sedans. Road & Track proclaimed its six-cylinder engine the best inline-six in the world, and in a Feb. 1973 comparison test, rated it as a “sensationally good buy” compared to its peers from Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar.
This particular car is rare in several ways. Other than a respray on the hood and front fenders, it is all an original, 13,000 mile one-owner car that was donated to the Lane. Upon arrival, the tires and battery still bore 1973 date codes, and the spare tire had never touched the ground. A true time capsule! It features cold AC, an automatic transmission, dealer-option Coco-brand mats, and very rare Ceylon gold paint. It was owned by a family in west TN, and had been modified for use by a disabled driver – likely why it is in such pristine condition. We have removed the hand controls, cleaned the fuel system, mounted fresh tires, and given it a thorough cleaning. We have driven the car a few hundred miles since its arrival, and it drives as beautifully as it looks.
Manufacturer: BMW AG
Country of Origin: West Germany
Drivetrain Configuration: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine: Water cooled M50; 2986cc, SOHC, dual Zenith carburetors, 176hp
Transmission: 3-speed Borg-Warner automatic
Top Speed: 124mph
Years Produced: 1968-77 (all E3 models worldwide)
Number Produced: 71,804 Bavarias; 34,660 3.0S
Cost: Base Bavaria, approx. $7800; Fully-contented S models (leather, PS, AC, auto, radio); approx. $10,000