BMW 3.0Si Estate: Spotted


If you know what this car is simply from the name, then very well done: we at PH were ignorant to its existence, and we like to pride ourselves on a fairly deep and dorky BMW product knowledge. And once you're aware of what a 3.0 Si Estate is, you'll want to know everything there is about it.

As the name suggests, this is a wagon version of the 70s E3 3.0Si, the saloon that would also form the basis of the E9 coupes. Yes, including the CSL. The Estate or Kombi version - note it isn't a Touring - came about through collaboration between BMW and Langley Motors of Thames Ditton, BMW Motorsport having experimented with a few Kombis to support its 2002Ti rally car campaign. One way to arrive...


Nowadays, in a time of self-funded Tesla Model S Shooting Brake conversions, you would expect demand to be at fever pitch for, say, an M3 or M5 Touring with dealer backing. We've been crying out for M Tourings, only for BMW to respond with SUVs. Well, yes, and nobody bought the V10 M5 Touring; we're getting away from the point here. Back in the mid-70s there wasn't an M Division yet and so no M3, M5, or even M1. The idea of a super fast family estate didn't appeal because it hadn't really been invented yet.

The 200hp 3.0Si Kombi rather did, but at a price: the advert for this one says the cost post-conversion was "stratospheric", the RRP for a regular E3 saloon being approximately twice the "equivalent British saloon car". Making an estate from a saloon is hardly the work of a moment, either. Imagine if a 540i today cost £90k today, and you had to send it to Thames Ditton to be made into an estate...

As a result only around a dozen Kombis were converted by Langley Motors, a combination of both 2500s and 3.0Si versions. Given the owner of this one had three others that were apparently beyond economical repair, his assertion that this could be the last one remaining is eminently believable.


His idea of "economical repair" really does stretch a long way, too, the restoration of this gorgeous Polaris Silver E3 having taken 14 years (see the video below for how it once looked). The results really are sensational though, with gleaming paintwork, immaculate upholstery and a beautiful overall condition. In all honesty the only one left could probably be in any condition you like; its current state simply makes it yet more desirable.

And pricey. Still, keeps with the tradition, doesn't it? And how on earth do you place a value on the last remaining version of a very rare car? Well, you start with £80,000 and see what happens. For some context you can pay €15,000 for a 3.0-litre E3 saloon, right up to nearly £120k for a right-hand drive CSL. That's of course of only limited use however because, if you really want a 3.0Si Estate, it's this one or you're not having one.

In its defence, people have paid for more for far more common and much less interesting classic cars. Although on the flipside there's an argument to be made now that this E3 is too lovely and too rare to actually put to any use, which would be something of a shame. And nobody is ever, ever going to know what it is. Still, that might sound like the perfect classic BMW to some...


SPECIFICATION - BMW E3 3.0SI ESTATE

Engine: 2,986cc, 6-cylinder
Transmission: 4-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 200@5,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 201@4,300rpm
MPG: N/A
CO2: N/A
First registered: 1974
Recorded mileage: 83,000 miles
Price new: N/A
Price now: £79,995

See the original advert here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments (70) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Searider 30 Jan 2018

    That's a beauty.

    Always loved a fast estate.

  • Deerfoot 30 Jan 2018

    Nice.

    Not £80,000 nice though...

  • Fastdruid 30 Jan 2018

    Sorry but I don't like it. It looks every bit of the half arsed bodge job that it is.

    The wonky curve to the roof, the wonky window that doesn't blend with the rest of the car. It's just shockingly bad. vomit

  • Tuvra 30 Jan 2018

    Deerfoot said:
    Nice.

    Not £80,000 nice though...
    As I was reading through I was trying to put a price on it, I thought "I bet it's £15k-£25k"

    £80k?!? Yeah right, good luck with that hehe

  • Limpet 30 Jan 2018

    Fastdruid said:
    Sorry but I don't like it. It looks every bit of the half arsed bodge job that it is.

    The wonky curve to the roof, the wonky window that doesn't blend with the rest of the car. It's just shockingly bad. vomit
    Thank God. I thought I was the only one thinking how tragic it looks. Something about it reminds me of the small 70s Datsuns you used to see about.

    EDIT: Interior is lovely though.

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