CC Capsule: 1974 BMW 3.0 CS – Bringing the Gentrification


Fountain Square is an old Indianapolis neighborhood that lies just southeast of downtown. It’s in the beginning stages of gentrification, which means that the trappings of blue-collar life – the neighborhood bars, the appliance rental places, and what was the last five and dime in town – are giving way to hip, happening, and expensive entertainment venues. That’s sad for the longtime residents who are starting to not recognize their neighborhood. It’s great, however, for carspotting, as the gentrifiers sometimes wheel out in their old cars to soak in the burgeoning culture. Assuredly, that’s what brought out this BMW 3.0 CS, which I think is from 1974, on a night I was meeting my brother at one of those hip, happening spots for drinks.


We’ve covered the BMW E9 coupe before, here and, indirectly, here. So I’ll boil down the history: Produced from 1968 to 1976, E9 coupes were officially sold only from 1970 to 1974 in the United States. They were available here first as the 2800 CS and then as the 3.0 CS, the model numbers representing the engine’s displacement. These were expensive cars for the time, with prices in line with $60-75,000 in 2013 dollars.


These cars put BMW on my personal automotive map. I’m sure I saw a couple 2002 sedans in the 1970s, but just thought they were odd foreign jobs. But the graceful and airy greenhouse of the E9 coupe really spoke to me then, and on the rare occasion I’d see one I’d just gawk as it passed by, gobsmacked by its beauty.


The setting sun’s rays danced beautifully across this E9’s polished roof and decklid. I think this one is painted Siena Brown, though while researching the E9 I found photos of cars that looked to be this color but were said to be painted Malaga, a shade of dark red. Whatever color it is, it’s just as gorgeous as it ever was.