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    Tony Wilkes
    Tony Wilkes posted a new blog post, BMW E3 50th Anniversary

    BMW E3 50th Anniversary

    Posted in Cars on Tuesday, 30 October 2018

    BMW E3 50th birthday celebrations… Glorious saloons gather, and we're there! BMW E3 50th anniversary Tony Wilkes joined the E3 Club of Germany in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the stunning BMW E3 saloon. Photography: BMW Classic and Tony Wilkes.

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    Chris Nicholls
    Chris Nicholls uploaded 9 photos in the album 1974 BMW 3.0 Si Estate E3.
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    Tony Wilkes
    Car #BMW-3.0Si / #BMW-E3 / #BMW-3.0Si-E3 / #BMW / #BMW-New-Six / #1977-BMW-3.0Si-E3 / #1977

    Name Tony Wilkes Age 38
    Occupation TV / film location manager
    From Glasgow
    First classic ’1974 Triumph GT6
    Dream classic Probably a ’1973 911 RS 2.7 Lightweight
    Best trip Lake Como, Italy, to Achensee, Austria, via the Stelvio Pass in the BMW

    BAHNSTORMER HEADS FOR HOME

    Imagine my delight when I spotted My BMW 3.0 Si E3 on page 187 of June 2017’s edition of C&SC. Martin Buckley’s assertion that ‘it’s the best-driving chrome-bumper BMW of them all’ is one that I couldn’t agree with more. In the five years that I’ve owned it, my Si has been a most impressive companion over some 10,000 miles – the majority of which have been in mainland Europe.

    Built in January 1977 and delivered the following month, it wasn’t registered until July. RUW 848R was worked hard over its first few years. Traded in for an E12 M535i at 60,000 miles in 1981, the Si then found its second and longest-term owner in Motortune’s Brompton Road showroom. Lord Montagu- Pollock (who sadly passed away last year) paid the princely sum of £2800 for the E3 and owned it for 18 years. He used the car exactly as intended – on long, hard-charging European adventures, or cruising around central London in luxury and style. Towards the end of one of these journeys in 1992, the thermostat failed and cooked the ‘six’. The Si was fitted with Munich’s last reconditioned engine in Milcars’ Temple Fortune workshop.

    The Montagu-Pollock family made the difficult decision to finally part with their beloved companion in 1999, and the 3.0 Si was replaced by an E34 M5 Touring.

    Fast-forward 14 years, and I couldn’t believe my luck when I found the car – a rare, late Bosch L-Jetronic-equipped model. It came with voluminous history and a vast quantity of new-old-stock genuine BMW parts. Not being one to do things by half measures, I decided that RUW’s maiden voyage should be to the Leutasch Valley in the Austrian Tirol. Seven hours and 700km into the trip, I was hooked by the E3’s remarkable ability to hoover up the miles with absolute poise and comfort. Next was a jaunt to Italy via some of the most spectacular scenery imaginable. I was delighted to be invited to Munich in September 2016 to exhibit the car at BMW’s 100th-anniversary celebration weekend at the 1972 Olympic Park – one of the most fantastic events that I’ve attended. The E3 was also my wedding car, bought as a surprise for my wife.

    We got married at Lake Como in Italy, so my parents volunteered to drive the BMW across Europe in secrecy. I planned a route for them, plus one for myself and my fiancée, to ensure that there was no chance of spoiling the surprise along the way. My parents then changed their directions and ended up three cars ahead of us coming over the St Gotthard Pass. I was concerned to say the least. Once we’d dropped down the other side into Italy and onto the autostrada, I had no option but to pass as quickly as possible.

    Moments later I received a text from my mother stating: ‘That was close!’ Needless to say, we got away with it and the big reveal on our wedding day worked a treat. Our Si is now very much part of the family. In my ownership, the BMW has been phenomenal. It has never let me down and is perfectly comfortable occupying the outside lane of any motorway – more so now that I’ve fitted a five-speed ’box from a BMW 635CSi E24, which, as well as reducing revs at higher cruising speeds, has also improved fuel economy.

    Sadly, the passage of time has not been kind to the E3. A combination of rampant rust, savage depreciation when new and suppressed values in comparison to the more popular E9 coupés has meant that these handsome saloons have virtually disappeared from our roads.

    Many succumbed to terminal rot, while others were broken for parts. At the last count, there were about 50 E3s left in the UK, only a handful of which are roadworthy. They are hugely sought-after and attract incredibly enthusiastic owners. But then you could say that I’m biased, because I now own an Si pair and run the E3 Register on behalf of the BMW Car Club.


    Much-travelled BMW, during an outstanding run from Italy to Austria via the breathtaking Stelvio Pass, after Wilkes’ wedding at Lake Como.

    The Ultimate Driving Machine on one of Europe’s greatest routes, the Großglockner Pass. E3 part-way through its Alpine adventure. Previous owner Giles Montagu-Pollock RIP. Sierra beige Si at BMWCC Gaydon festival. Milcars fitted last recon ‘six’ from Munich.


    ‘Seven hours into the trip, I was hooked by its ability to hoover up the miles with absolute poise and comfort’
    • A CAR I WISH I’D BOUGHT Buckley has missed two examples of the 3.0Si: is fate working against him? Ten years ago I got friendly with quite a famou A CAR I WISH I’D BOUGHT

      Buckley has missed two examples of the 3.0Si: is fate working against him?

      Ten years ago I got friendly with quite a famous American film producer who shared my love of boxy Italian saloons. Lovely guy and not at all ‘Hollywood’ – as you’d expect for someone who owned a Fiat 125. I can’t remember how it came up, but one of us was offered a rather nice BMW 3.0Si E3. Mr Film Producer said he’d buy it for when he was in the UK and that I could run it the rest of the time. Somehow, we didn’t do the deal and a bit later I missed a sound 3.0Si E3 through another attack of uncharacteristic ‘sensible’ thinking, so maybe I’m just destined not to have one. Pity, to my mind it’s the best-driving chrome-bumper BMW of them all.
        More ...
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    Beautiful 1974 BMW 3.0Si E3 gets the Alpina treatment

    Posted in Cars on Wednesday, 27 September 2017

    Classic lines long-term transformation. In 1992, Australian Keith Olsen bought a tired 3.0Si which, since then, has undergone a full restoration and sensitive modification, on an Alpina theme, as Chris Nicholls discovers. Beautiful BMW E3 3.0Si gets the Alpina treatment.

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    Daniel Bevis

    Gorgeous air-ride BMW 3.0S E3

    Posted in Cars on Tuesday, 05 September 2017

    Pure & Simple Air-Ride E3 3.0 Stunning retro beauty This is no cluttered or over-complicated build. Jesse Sipola’s retro E3 simply accentuates its purity of design by moving everything closer to the ground… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Jape Tiitinen.

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    / #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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