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    What’s in your Garage? We meet a man with a passion for rare BMW-E3 models that have been converted to estates. Mike Taylor traces the fascinating story behind the handcrafted E3 estates and one man’s passion for owning the ultimate version Photography: Mike Taylor /// #BMW-3.0Si-Touring-E3 /// #BMW-3.0Si-E9 /// #BMW-E9-Touring /// #BMW-3.0Si-Estate /// #BMW-E3-Wagon

    David Maughan is a car guy, drawn unreservedly to the lines and engineering of German cars – BMW and Porsche in particular. “When I saw my first #BMW-E3 it blew me away,” David enthuses. Apparently, his mother claimed his fascination for cars came from the fact that while she was pregnant with David she also took her driving test, a gene thing, perhaps. Later, aged 17, he was given £50 to buy a car. “Like most youngsters my passion was for speed, but I ended up buying a Mini 850,” he continues. “Later, while my father was driving a BMC 1800 ‘Land Crab’, I saw one of the very first 2500 E3s in the UK. Later, the 1972 TV series Man at the Top featured a BMW 3.0Si, some of the filming being done outside our home in West London. It was a clever marketing ploy by BMW UK to promote the car as a top drawer executive saloon.” For David, at least, it had the desired effect.

    Sometime later Classic & Sportscar magazine featured a 3.0Si tested against an equivalent Mercedes, motor-noter Martin Buckley proclaiming the BMW to be the preferred machine. When the car then came up for sale at a BMW specialist in East Sussex David bought it without hesitation; he still has it. David’s introduction to BMW E3 Estate cars came in 1994 through an advertisement. “The car was reckoned to be the Team Alpina tow car,” says David. “While I can’t vouch for that I can say that its first owner was King Constantine of Greece. The opportunity was too good to miss. Sadly, when I went to collect it the car was a mess. The spare wheel well, the floor, the interior; it was too far gone. But it did launch me on my quest for an E3 Estate.”

    The story behind these unusual cars could be said to have started by the salvation of the company by Dr Herbert Quandt in 1959 and the programme to rejuvenate BMW models. The BMW Board was joined by Paul Hofmeister who focused the range on reaching a niche market while driving up exports. Before long BMW was successfully combining exclusivity with competition charisma. The 700 Series and the larger Neue Klasse saloons could be seen on events such as the Monte Carlo Rally and the Saloon Car Championships rounds. Meanwhile, the company’s competition department, set up in the main factory, was developing Formula 2 cars using, first, a Lola chassis powered by a highly modified M10 engine. Privateers and outside companies like Alpina and Schnitzer were compounding competition successes. Toward the end of the decade, to transport the cars from circuit-to-circuit BMW’s competition workshops arranged for three estate cars to be built based on the recently-launched E3. Meanwhile a small workshop for the rally department was set up at Pension Preußenstraße in Leipzig.

    The first E3s were the 2500 and the 2800 saloons arriving in the UK in time for the 1969 sales year, the larger engined model benefitting from an improved trim level. Both power units shared the same design – a chain-driven overhead camshaft six-cylinder engine. Its smooth running was the result of seven main bearings. Carburetion was provided by two twin-choke Solex/Zeniths feeding a cylinder head with hemispherical combustion chambers. Transmission was either a four-speed manual ‘box or a three-speed automatic, both well suited to the engine’s characteristics. Suspension utilised MacPherson struts at the front and independent trailing arms at the rear. On release the E3s set a new benchmark for top end luxury performance cars aimed at senior executives who enjoyed driving themselves. After the near-collapse of the company less than ten years before, the range was an astonishing achievement. Yet, there was more to come; a #M30 / #M30B30 3.0-litre car followed soon after drawing breath through carburettor induction while the flagship fuel injected 3.0Si followed in 1971. As tested by Autocar, with a 0-60 time of 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 131mph this version was truly a breathtakingly quick car for its day.

    However, it was the 3.0-litre versions that provided the platform for the competition estates, known around the factory as Kombis. Three estates were built. In the cockpit only the front seats were fitted with a grill behind to prevent tools and spares from flying forward in the event of heavy braking. In the rear was a flat panelled area which would be turned into a sleeping facility when the mechanics stopped for the night. A substantial roof rack was added taking spare wheels and tyres. The rear side windows were perspex while the tailgates are thought to have come from the Ford Taunus, adapted by seam welding it to the upright section of the bootlid complete with lock; overall, it was a very neat job.

    Over their five year career the Kombis were used as tow vehicles for both racing and rallying, ex-team mechanics recalling long hauls between rallies such as the Acropolis, the 1000 Lakes and the Monte Carlo. On one occasion a car was so over-laden that the alloy wheels, which were retrospectively fitted from the 3.0Si, cracked and collapsed. Significantly, as workhorses they proved ideal transport. Yet, BMW’s marketing team had no feelings or favouritism for the estate theme in their mainstream model line-up; if there was a hunting, shooting or fishing fraternity in Germany it was not considered worthy of satisfying their demands with a suitable vehicle; the three Kombis remained unique.

    From the outset BMW’s sales structure in the UK was an autonomous operation. By 1969 BMW Concessionaires (GB) Ltd was operated by Peter Beaumont, Raymond Playfoot and Peter Samuelson as an independent company owned by investment organisation (now part of the Inchcape group) Tozer, Kemsley, Milbourn Ltd. The 1960s was a period of consolidation for the BMW marque in the UK, with dealers being established around the country and 1788 cars were sold during 1969. In 1970 the numbers sold leapt to 3028, a trend which would multiply several times over during the decade.

    With this growth rate and the freedom to pursue their own marketing strategy a plan was conceived to offer an estate version of the E3, encouraged no doubt by the Kombis, which would have been seen around the international race and rally venues. A specification was drawn up, which included extending the roof, fitting a tailgate and retrimming the boot area. To make the package more attractive the client brochure offered several extras including a sunroof, a dog guard, a rubber mat covering the load area and a tow bar. The introduction of the Rover P6 Estate called the ‘Estoura’ in 1969, built by FLM Panelcraft and tested by Autocar, will have influenced the BMW UK concessionaires still further in their notion to introduce an estate version of the E3.

    FLM Panelcraft had been founded in the early 1950s. Based in Battersea, South London, FLM took its initials from the company founders, Messrs Fry, Lee and McNally, employing craftsmen from the declining coachbuilding industry, most notably James Young. They began by restoring and converting prewar Rolls-Royces and Bentleys. The company then embarked on a series of estate car conversions of contemporary upmarket saloons, part of this work being under sub-contract to another well known coachbuilding specialist, Crayford, based in Westerham, Kent whose name was already linked to turning BMC and Ford saloons into convertibles.

    Sadly, it’s clear today that these Panelcraft Estates were built down to a price using pop-rivets for joining the roof’s sections, lead loaded and covered with vinyl, panels being positioned over existing bodywork with no attempt at rust proofing. Having adapted the bodyshell the work of trimming was passed to Crayford, H R Owen or Hurst Park Motors, which would account for the subtle differences between the cars. From David’s experience the conversions carried out on BMW E3s also suffered from poor workmanship: “When I went to collect my first E3 estate I could see that the trim was incredibly crudely done; the conversion was mostly based on removing the rear scuttle, adding the roof and adapting the seat fixings with a bit of carpet. I was very disappointed. However, I took the view that there were probably more so it was eventually scrapped.”

    David’s second estate was supplied originally by Shirley’s of Croydon, South London. “Judging by the registration details I think the dealers gave the owner a copy of the brochure and he had it converted later, in 1981,” continues David. “I bought it in 1995 and again it was in a very sorry state. At the time I was talking to a restorer in Ireland and I was persuaded to send them the BMW and they did all the strip-out work. It had a metal sunroof and when we took the vinyl off we found that where the additional estate roof section met the original panel it had been leadfilled and pop-riveted. We ended up putting a complete new roof on and respraying it Polaris silver.

    But I began to realise it could never be restored to the quality I wanted and the project stalled.” But, David was still not done. In 2001 he saw another E3 estate for sale and decided, no matter what its condition, he would buy it to produce patterns. “For example the glass in the rear was specially cut. It, too, was crated up and sent off to the Ireland. Again, we took everything off worth saving and then the car was scrapped.”

    It was some years later when David read about a company who specialised in high end BMW restorations based just outside Chicago called ‘The Werk Shop’. “I knew it would prepare the car to the quality I wanted so, in 2008 it was placed in a container and sent over.”

    With the car unloaded the Chicago team began to evaluate the true measure of the task they’d been given. The predicament was whether to restore it to Panelcraft’s standards, or to undertake a thorough job. In the event David chose the latter route. Three doors, a rear wing panel and the inner and outer sills were all replaced while the tailgate required considerable fettling. But it was the interior trim which posed the conundrum. Not to be disappointed with the end result, David specified blue leather seats with matching quality carpeting.

    David found his fourth Estate car while browsing through eBay. “In 1973 Anton Hille, the UK concessionaires MD, formed a team with Tony Lanfranchi as competition/team manager and four competition 3.0Si saloons were built by Mathwall Engineering. Three were entered in the 1973 Avon Tour of Great Britain. The drivers were Roger Bell,Tony Lanfranchi and Mike Woolley. The team was based in West London and they used an E3 estate as a tow car. Those who remember the car recall it was a 3.0SA in white with a blue roof. The guys in Chicago said buy it, so in 2008 that went off to the States as well.”

    Today, David’s beloved E3, (his second in chronological order of purchase) is back in the UK with a little detailing yet to be done, and is in the capable hands of Barney Halse at Classic Heroes. “Through lots of research I know of nine-ten E3 Estates, which includes a recently discovered car in the West Country.”

    So, does the car live up to David’s exacting standards? “The drivetrain has been rebuilt and all the suspension components replaced,” he replies. “Overall, it’s covered around 60 miles, long enough for me to become acquainted with its strengths and foibles. E3 saloons were only blessed with average torsional rigidity for the day so converting one into an estate leads to greater flexing, which you can feel when it’s driven over our potholed B-roads or uneven surfaces. I may have a removable strutbrace fitted linking the twin rear suspension turrets. Other than that I’m very pleased with the result.”

    As for the Kombis, in #1974 they were disposed of and replaced by larger transporters more suited to the task. Only one has survived. The last of the trio to be built was actually bought by one of the BMW mechanics who had driven it in haste from event to event. He rebuilt it, the task including a complete body strip and respray in BMW’s competitions livery of white and sea blue. It was then sold to a UK-based #BMW specialist.

    The estate conversion could be ordered when new or even at a later date.

    THANKS TO: #David-Maughan , Alex Elliott, Barney Halse, John Castle, #BMW-UK and Jean Kittel for their help with this article.

    This is David’s second E3 estate that’s been restored and resprayed Polaris silver. All the mechanicals have been rebuilt, too.
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  • Without wishing to sound like a scratched record I’m going to bemoan publishing deadlines again this month as traditionally we manage to squeeze a Geneva Motor Show report into the April issue, but this month it’s proved to be impossible. I promise to give you the full run-down of the show’s highlights next month but as this will literally be the last page that gets sent to the printers I just about have time to give you my first impressions.

    You can read about the 2 Series Active Tourer on page 10 but as the feature was written before I’d had a chance to crawl over the car I think I can add some more here. In the flesh it’s certainly not a bad bit of design but it does feel a little odd to sit behind the wheel of a BMW and not have a long bonnet sweeping out before you. It’ll be very practical though and rear seat and legroom are immense – it’s no exaggeration to say it’ll put a 5 Series to shame and may well tread on the toes of the 7 Series in this respect. The sliding rear seats will also make accommodation very flexible and those looking for a practical car from a quality stable that doesn’t take up a huge amount of road space need look no further.

    Another premier on the BMW stand was the 4 Series Gran Coupé that we featured last month. In the flesh it looks better than in the pictures although the dark blue hue of the show car didn’t really allow the detailing to come through. Its proportions are more convincing in the flesh but you may find that tall rear seat passengers might complain about the proximity of the roof lining to their head, especially on longer journeys. The majority of the rest of the machinery on show at BMW was of the xDrive variety which reflected Swiss market proclivities but there were some eye-catching Individual cars on display along with the M3 and M4 and the i3 and the i8 which still draw admiring crowds despite having been seen many times before.

    While the #BMW debuts are certainly important for the company one needed to take a short walk across Hall 6 to the #Alpina stand for some really spectacular machinery in the form of three world debuts: the face-lifted XD3; the all new B4 Bi-Turbo Convertible; and the star of the stand, the B6 Bi-Turbo Gran Coupé Allrad (as pictured below). With 540hp on tap and a monstrous 538lb ft of torque it will be the fastest accelerating road-going machine that Alpina has ever produced, with 0-62mph coming up in just 3.9 seconds, or just 3.7 if you prefer the imperial 0-60mph method. In fact, that will make it the fastest-ever car to wear a BMW roundel. And now the bad news… as it’s four-wheel drive only us Brits won’t be able to sample it! We’ll still do our best to bring you some driving impressions at some point though…
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  • Partly Cloudy. Dry. Air 22 ... + 25 ° C, track 41 + 47C ... #2015

    In 2015 he took thirtieth #Hungaroring #Formula-1 racing in its history. It is interesting how over the years changed their attitude to the Hungarian highway - once it is actively criticized, calling almost superfluous in the calendar, and now it is one of the traditional Grand Prix with his intrigue and interesting history.

    Key factors in the race, which is always held during the hottest weeks of the summer, remained the same. The narrow trail, uneven coating, high temperature and asphalt and this weekend brought a lot of problems, but on Sunday the heat subsided - almost ten degrees compared to Saturday, so the team had to make adjustments. As always, much of Hungary depended on qualification, the successful launch and effective strategy.

    In the course of training and qualification of the lead Lewis Hamilton, who won on Saturday the fifth pole of his career at the Hungarian track - and the ninth of the season. Nico Rosberg this time conceded quite a lot - more than half a second, but still took the second position on the grid. We started from the second row Vettel and Riccardo, the third - #Kimi-Raikkonen and Bottas. #Daniil-Kvyat started the race seventh.

    Tire Manufacturers brought to Hungary "average" pair of compositions in training and qualifying riders complained about tire Medium, calling them too harsh for the Hungarian track. The difference in speed with Soft was great - about two seconds, so that even the top teams had to use a softer rubber in the first part of training, so as not to risk it. When cooler weather on the day of the race the difference has declined, but the team tried to minimize the use of Medium tires in the race.

    Minute of silence

    A few days before the Hungarian Grand Prix riders traveled to Nice to attend the funeral of Jules Bianchi. On machines and helmets were inscriptions in memory of Jules, the family of the deceased driver arrived at the Hungaroring, before the start was very emotional moment of silence. Racers and family Bianchi stood in a circle, in the middle folded helmets.

    Only Maldonado chose Medium for the first part of the race, the rest started to Soft.

    From the first time to start the race could not - Felipe Massa made a mistake in the location of the car on the grid and got a five-second penalty, and drivers had to drive an extra lap.

    Start the Hungarian Grand Prix

    Hamilton started badly, Vettel led the race. Raikkonen fought with Rosberg for second place and Kimi came forward. Riccardo lost a few positions and made contact with Bottas. Hamilton in the fight with Rosberg made a mistake in the sixth turn, flew into the gravel and fell back to tenth place.

    The top ten on the 2nd lap: Vettel - Raikkonen - Rosberg - Bottas - Kvyat - Hulkenberg - Riccardo - Perez - Massa - Hamilton.

    Kvyat complained of strong vibrations after locking the tires and the engineer said that it should not deter Riccardo. After repeated requests by the eighth lap, Daniel missed his partner.

    Fighting Hamilton and Massa

    At the 10th lap Hamilton was ahead of Massa - fight occurred in a dense little contact. Riccardo ahead of Hulkenberg.

    The top ten on the 12th lap Vettel - Raikkonen - Rosberg - Bottas - #Riccardo - #Hulkenberg - Kvyat - Perez - Hamilton - Massa.

    On lap 13 Hamilton was ahead of Perez in the battle for eighth position and Riccardo overtook Bottas in the fight for fourth.

    At the 14th lap Kvyat Bottas and change tires on the 15th - Weight Verstappen, Button, Grosjean and Nasr.

    Racers Ferrari drove in an excellent pace, the 15th behind leader Rosberg around eight seconds.

    At the 16th lap Sainz, Hulkenberg and Alonso had a pit stop, when servicing the machine Sainz had a small hitch. At the 17th round Perez and Erickson replaced rubber, Kvyat ahead of Maldonado.

    The incident Maldonado and Perez

    Maldonado and Perez touched wheels in the struggle for positions, Sergio flew off the track, but was able to return - both drivers continued to fight.

    At the 20th lap Hamilton was replaced by rubber - there was a small hitch.

    Both drivers were fined Lotus. Grosjean received a five-second penalty for leaving unsafe after a pit stop, when he nearly crashed into the array, and Maldonado - travel in the pit lane for the incident with Perez.

    On lap 21 Rosberg had a pit stop on the 22nd - Vettel and Ricardo, on the 23rd - Raikkonen.

    The top ten on the 25th lap Vettel - Raikkonen - Rosberg - Riccardo - Hamilton - Bottas - Hulkenberg - Kvyat - Verstappen - Alonso.

    At the 29th lap Hamilton was ahead of Ricardo in the fight for fourth position and ran in pursuit of Rosberg - the lag was 16 seconds, but Nico used a harder tire in this segment and Lewis is rapidly approaching.

    At the 30th lap Massa held second pit stop on the 31st - Peres, on the 34th - Nasr, on the 35th - Kvyat, Ericsson and Grosjean, 36th - Button, on the 37th - Hulkenberg Alonso and Sainz, on the 39th - Verstappen and Bottas.

    On lap 41 Raikkonen complained about the decline in engine power - due to problems with MGU-K Kimi lost a few seconds on the circle.

    Damage to the front wing on the car Hulkenberg

    43-lap Nico went off the road and crashed into a barrier at the first corner after the straight to his car lost a front wing - it flew under the wheels and shattered. Race Direction announced Mode virtual machine security.

    Rosberg, Hamilton, Perez, Maldonado, Erickson, Riccardo turned into the pits on the next lap Vettel, Raikkonen and Grosjean Stevens spent a pit stop.

    I left a real car security - had to remove debris. Kvyat and Alonso turned into the pits. To clean the cover in the directorate decided to hold the race the peloton through the pit lane.

    Car Safety

    The top ten behind the safety car Vettel - Raikkonen - Rosberg - Hamilton - Riccardo - Bottas - Verstappen - Kvyat - Sainz - Button.

    Verstappen and Perez change tires.

    At the 49th lap restart it was announced. Rosberg ahead of Raikkonen, Hamilton Ricardo attacked - there was contact, Kvyat ahead of Hamilton, Bottas got a puncture in the incident Ferstappenom.

    On the 51-lap ahead of Raikkonen Ricardo. On the 52 th Hamilton rolled into the pits changing tires and the nose cone, returning 13th. Sainz ahead of Alonso in the fight for eighth position.

    On lap 53 Raikkonen stopped the car in the garage and turned off the engine, the power plant restarted after a delay, and the Finn returned to the track, but the problem with MGU-K left.

    Hamilton received a penalty from passing through the pit lane for the incident with Riccardo.

    The top ten on the 54th lap Vettel - Rosberg - Riccardo - Kvyat - Verstappen - Sainz - Alonso - Button - Massa - Grosjean.

    At the 55th lap Massa change tires, Hamilton goes fine, and Perez has withdrawn, stopped the car in the pits.

    Verstappen and Maldonado received fines from passing through the pit lane speeding.

    Gathering Kimi

    At the 56th lap Raikkonen stopped the car in the garage and fizzled. Grosjean ahead of Button, both ahead of Sainz.

    Hamilton ahead of Nasr in the fight for tenth position. Sainz stopped the car in the garage and fizzled.

    The top ten on the 62-lap: Vettel - Rosberg - Riccardo - Kvyat - Verstappen - #Fernando-Alonso - Grosjean - Button - Erickson - Nasr.

    The first three went tight group, six laps to go, Vettel - Rosberg - Riccardo fit in two seconds - and everything was decided on the last lap.

    Riccardo attacks Rosberg

    On the 64th lap Rosberg Riccardo attacked, blocked tires under braking - the contact occurred at the car of Daniel shattered front wing and the machine Nico burst rear tire.

    Both drivers went into the pits, Nico lost a lot of time driving a slow circle on three wheels - he returned to the track only the ninth and Riccardo went to third.

    Kvyat punished addition of ten seconds for overtaking Hamilton outside the track. Maldonado was the third penalty during the race - an increase of ten seconds for overtaking behind the safety car.

    At the 67th lap Hamilton was ahead of #Grosjean in the fight for sixth position. #Sebastian-Vettel / #Ferrari-F1

    Sebastian #Vettel won the Grand Prix of Hungary, won the 41st career victory and second of the season. Daniil Kvyat finished second for the first time in his career standing on the podium, Daniel Ricardo finished the race third.

    Max Verstappen finished the race fourth, having achieved the best result of his career. For the first time this season, both drivers #McLaren-F1 earned points in the race. #Lewis-Hamilton increased the lead in the championship, finishing sixth - #Nico-Rosberg finished the race eighth.

    On the podium riders dedicated their memory performance of Jules Bianchi. The Hungarian race was incredibly exciting, effectively ending the first half of the season. Ahead of the big summer break and the end of August to continue the fight on the track at Spa! ‏ — at Mogyoród, Hungaroring, 2146 Hungary
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