BMW E3 SALOON (1968-1977) As far as Mercedes-Benz was concerned, the arrival of BMW’s big 2500 and 2800 saloons (inte...
BMW E3 SALOON (1968-1977)

As far as Mercedes-Benz was concerned, the arrival of BMW’s big 2500 and 2800 saloons (internally known as the ‘E3’) was akin to a poke in the eye with a stick. Mercs were well made of course but they were super expensive and as solid to drive as they were built. The Jaguar XJ arrived in the same year and would also cause raised eyebrows in the Daimler Benz boardrooms. The E3 sold slowly but steadily in the UK and whilst there weren’t many out in the sticks, they were a common sight in London and most towns had a few examples.

The 3.0 arrived in 1971 and shortly after, the 200 bhp 3.0Si which was quite a rocket ship that could outpace the 6.3 and 6.9 Mercs as well as XJ12’s on the sprint to 60 mph before surging on to 130 mph – these were seriously fast cars. BMW was a small company back then, known to make expensive cars with expensive spare parts and depreciation was swift. By the time the 7-Series took over in 1977, you could pick up an early 2500 in decent condition for 500 quid and by the mid ’80s they were just about worthless. Tired E3’s littered London streets like old Jaguars and it’s only in the last few years that anyone has bothered to save any – I bought a running one myself in 1999 for £100. As brilliant as it was, the E3 was just an old BMW for many years and most of the UK-supplied cars have now gone.
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  •   Tony Wilkes reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    / #BMW Sad end to an / #BMW-E3 / #BMW-2500-E3 / #BMW

    The BMW E3 saloons made from 1968 to 1977 were lovely old things and in their day were a rightful competitor to Mercedes’ finest – this excellent BMW saloon was the model that really woke Stuttgart from its slumbers and made it recognise that BMW would be a real threat. Not many were sold in the UK because they were a lot of money – a #BMW-2500 cost more than a 4.2 XJ6 for example.

    I heard recently of a 2500 – a very rusty one dragged out of a damp garage – that ended up in a scrap yard. You’d think BMW breakers would be putting a bid in for this but, really, they’re not good news. Assuming there are some decent bits on it, who will even buy them? There are so few left that the demand for parts is minimal and because it’s not a 3.0 variant, the engine is of no use to E9 owners either. A breaker said to me: “I could get the useful and saleable bits off that in about 20 minutes. It’s not worth the yard space”. By comparison, a knackered E9 will always yield some useful stuff.

    Some bits are like this, though. A mate has a carbon fibre 320Si cam cover for sale, the N45-engined homologation special. With a new price of £2500 and genuine BMW Motorsport pedigree you’d think a mint used one was worth £200 or £300 but in reality, they’re worth much less than that. Why? Because again, there are very few 320Si cars around, the cam covers don’t go wrong, and they only fit that model. For the £150 he paid, it would make a very nice office wall ornament but not much else!
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