Meet the Coupe
This blog is broadly written to speak to car enthusiast, electric car fanatics, friends and family, and that person who got bored on the internet one day and stumbled upon this blog. I will try my best to be too technical, too simple, to colorful and too plain since pleasing everyone is impossible anyway.
Finding the Right Coupe
I searched nationally for a good amount of time for the right car at a fair price. Because I want to convert it to electric, I was hoping to find a roller. Something with it's original motor and transmission missing, so that I could feel a little better that I wasn't the first person to cause harm to the collectable originality of the car. My car would certainly have rust, but I wanted to avoid a rolling rust museum. The overall condition of the car did not need to be high, but finding one as original as possible, and with as much of the trim intact was very desirable.
I can not and will not unpack the mysteries of the collector car market and it's currently obscene values of certain cars. Many cars from the 70s and 80s are getting very hot, so what you could get for just $5k a few years back is suddenly costing $20k. In looking for my coupe I wasn't as concerned with value, but I did want to do the best I could to avoid getting caught up in all the hype.
In the end I came a very interesting 1974 3.0 CS through a very off-the-radar listing (really helping with the aforementioned over-valuation hype). It was close by in San Diego. It is a European market car, imported to the US in 1994. This is interesting for a couple of reasons: First, it was driven for many years by actual Europeans, most likely full-throttle on the Autobahn. Second, it means that it has the lovely small bumpers that by 1974 all US market cars did not. They received park bench units that hung well into the next county. What really pleased me is that she is a sunroof model. Those that know me know that if my cars don't have a sunroof, a convertible or a targa, I will likely find a saw nearby and take it to the roof. (You should have seen my 1978 VW Rabbit Targa- it really happened). Sunroofs were rare for the European market, so that's even more interesting.
It was originally Polaris Metalic (silver) with blue leather. At some point the car was painted white, along with it's factory alloy wheels. White wall tires were fitted to complete the interesting look. The car is very complete, with a fairly tidy interior. The power windows work with a little assistance. The car runs and drives. With no working clutch, the driving experience is even more exciting.
Bringing Her Home
With Trailer in tow I headed in her direction. I hadn't actually been able to see the car in person. I had to buy based on photos, more detailed photos, and answers to my many questions. Then I had to pay for the car, then come pick it up at a third party. Highly aware of the common scams, this was clearly not that. It was just a seller that did not or could not deal with the process of showing the car. Since the car was nearly half the price of others I were looking at and in far better overall condition I did take that chance. When I pulled up I was greeted with a clean California Title, a bill of sale, an original BMW key and a car that looked better than the photos I had been reviewing.
Getting her on the trailer was fun without a clutch or a winch. We tried disconnecting the coil and driving up the trailer ramps with the starter, but that wasn't enough power to make the climb. So I had to drive it up and try to remember to turn off the engine once on the trailer. Things were going swimmingly until the car jerked to a stop with a loud crash! The exhaust (which was attached to the car only at the manifold and the tailpipe) was hanging just a bit too low. We thought it would clear, but just enough of it caught the hard edge of the trailer that it ripped the entire system right at the manifold. We gathered the parts and put them in the truck then gave it another run. This time she sounded like a terrific track runner. I drove it to the top of the trailer so easily that of course I forgot to turn off the motor until I just about drove off the front of the trailer. But I found the key just in time and avoided any more excitement for the day.
In the Shop
Back at the shop we pulled her down and settled her in. We will likely weld the exhaust back to the car so that we can drive her around a bit and have some fun before she's completely disassembled. We also want to weigh the 4 corners of the car with the exhaust in place so that we can design the weight balance of the new system with this in mind.
With the couple snuggled in for the night, I leave you with this little video of how great she sounds with no exhaust.
Until next time,