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Old 09-21-2009, 09:04 PM
drewrbaker drewrbaker is offline
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Location: Los Angeles/New York
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 4
Mein Auto: 1994 BMW 525i
1971 3.0CS Euro Model Restoration

PART 1/3

NOTE: I plan on posting a similar thread over at e9coupe.com, but so far they limit the amount of images you can link to at 4 (even if I am hosting them - the 25 limit here sucks too, that's why this is 3 posts). So until they change this (and the post limit to 15K characters) I'm posting my project here.


Hey Guys,
In 2008 my Dad brought and old 1971 Karmann Ghia Cabriolet and together with my brother and I (and the extensive help of Sasha at Deluxe in Melbourne, Australia) fully restored it.

Dad's 1971 Karmann Ghia Cabriolet

So now it's 2009 and business is going well for Dad, so it is time for a new project. He wanted something with a story, and I had seen a few 3.0's around town (I live in Los Angeles now). The racing history and the relation to the M series cars wasn't enough for Dad, but then he found out that the 3.0 coupe was built in the Karmann factory. He was sold. After some extensive pre-purchase research, we figured out we may have bitten off more than we could chew. There are certainly many horror stories going around about the cost of a 3.0 coupe restoration, but it was too late to turn back now. I had Dad committed to the idea, and I didn't want to be the one putting the breaks on.

Our plan was to find a car with all the parts and minimal rust. We plan on stripping the car back to the frame and doing a complete panel restore, a complete interior re-trim and then a new paint job in it's original color scheme (Polaris Silver with navy interior).

Thanks to the classifieds on e9coupe.com, we tracked down a potential car in Oregon (see my wanted add here).

The reply to my wanted add read:
"I may have a match for you 71 euro have al docs back to germany.Car has had recent suspension and brake work including lowering springs from Carl Nelson and new struts and rear brake calipers front calipers rebuilt.Also new front tie rods.I purchased car for project but just dont have the time.I have a rebuilt dogleg five speed and euro 635 block including a b35 head ready for rebuild with all new parts including a Shrick cam.I have all gasket sets and new bearings, rings etc.This is a tru euro no ac no sunroof Body is in good shape although doors are in need of some work.Inside fenderwells and rockers were replaced by po with corect bmw parts in the 80s.This is a cs but I have a early motronic set up with lambda pick up.Car is clean and would be a great start for your project.Car has origanal alpina front spoiler and front sway bar.Car also has orig break in sticker still on winshield and build sheet behind rear seat 97,500 orig miles. Car is located in southern Ore. "
So we arranged a flight up to Oregon to see what would become our Polaris Silver 1971 BMW 3.0CS.

The adventure begins with a smooth landing in a small prop plane at Midford Airport, Oregon.

Notice the hood sits up funny. Scared me half to death that it was a bent panel, but turns out that it's only a bent hood-latch. Easy fix.

The front fog lights give this coupe a mean front end. It also has a factory Alpina air dam in the original color. It's cracked on both corners, but a good friend of ours repairs surfboards for a living (Paul Trigger of Trigger Brothers fame) so it should be an easy fix. Although Dad and I are thinking of deleting it, we think they look better without it.

It's missing both running boards. Any ideas on replacement parts?

As seems to be common with the CS and CSi models, the doors sag a bit with age. We had this on the Karmann too. The passenger side is worst than the driver side, which I thought was strange.

The inside hinge of the passenger side door.

Both door hinges seemed to be bent (the passenger door more so), but the surrounding metal seemed fine. We are planing on replacing the hinges, or perhaps fabricating stronger ones ourselves. The bottom door panels were also a little chipped because of the sagging, but it that's some easy body work. Have you guys had any experience with this problem?

The drivers side door has a weird dent/scratch in it. I couldn't really figure out what it was, but it seemed like a minor scratch that someone had tried to repair and then messed it up with glue. The was also some minor rust along the door-stripe trim (what do you call that part?).

We will need to get all new rubber seals for the entire car. Strangely enough, these seals seem to be the most expensive part. Why is that? Does anyone have a secret place to get these from at a responsible price?


Last edited by drewrbaker; 09-21-2009 at 09:10 PM. Reason: Image limit.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:06 PM
drewrbaker drewrbaker is offline
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Location: Los Angeles/New York
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 4
Mein Auto: 1994 BMW 525i
PART 2/3

The trunk (or boot if your Australian like me) panel was fine other than this little chip.

This seemed to be the worst of the dents on the hood (or bonnet for us Australians).

The air dam had chips and cracks on either corner. As I mentioned above, I'm not sure we are going to keep this anyway. The repair's would be easier as a good friend of ours repairs surfboards for a living (Paul Trigger of Trigger Brothers fame) so it should be an easy fix.

The front right headlight cover was rusted, but only the cover, not the surrounding bodywork.

The front shock towers seemed good to me, with some rust on the drivers side. It was solid metal though, and was not brittle at all. Note the VIN number places this car as a 1971 3.0 CS.

The hood grills will need to be re-chromed.

The Valance had some rust beginning to bubble. As we plan to strip this car and then repaint it, we should be able to fix this stuff up real nice.

The wheel well's had been replaced in the 80's, but they seem solid to me, with no real rust issues I could see. Once we get the wheels off we might want to spruce up the rusted shock parts.

I was told to look in behind the glovebox by someone. Apparently water can pool above the metal there and rust through. I tried poking holes through with my flashlight, but it was rock solid. The photos show what looks to be rust, but it actually seemed to be some odd colored grease stuff, although the dodgy silicone job might mean some sub-par repair work has gone on in there. Then again, it could just be the way the made it back in '71.

This is the drivers side floor panel. It had a bunch of surface rust, but it wasn't brittle in anyway. Still, will be interesting to see how well we can fix that up once the car is striped. What do you guys think? Is this super bad?

This is the underside of the fender behind the air dam. Shouldn't be too hard for Sasha at Deluxe to fix up once it's taken apart. The guy is a true pro.

The underside of the car. Note the rust on the rocker edges, but everything else was solid.


Last edited by drewrbaker; 09-21-2009 at 09:09 PM. Reason: Image limit.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:09 PM
drewrbaker drewrbaker is offline
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Location: Los Angeles/New York
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 4
Mein Auto: 1994 BMW 525i
PART 3/3

There was this little scratch on the back corner. Easy for Sasha. The fender looks kinked in this photo for some reason, but that's how it is supposed to be.

The elephant skin in the trunk was OK, other than this one cut with a bad repair job. We are not sure what to do about this. Any ideas? Is it possible to get a good repair or is replacement the only option?

The spare-tire well. As far as I could tell, this rust was mostly from the jack. I could scrape it off with my fingernail.

I wasn't too concerned with the interior, as long as all the parts where there. We are going to completely restore every part. All the wood needs replacing, but we found a guy who will make us new ones. Surprising the door panels were still real nice (except for any plastic chrome bits) minus one puncture. I love the cross-hatched leather mid-sections. The dash need repairing, we found a guy who is supposed to be good. What do you guys think? Is it possible to get a good dash repair or replace the best way to go?

Is there a way to re-chrome the plastic bits in a better way than originally done? They seem to be a silver sticker, rather than a good chrome paint treatment like nowadays. I imagine it would be hard to replace every bit, so I was thinking about some top quality model paint or something. It would have to be better than the ****ty sticker option.

The original factory windshield break in sticker! Haven't seen this many times before.

This is apparently an original option steering wheel that the the guy had tracked down for it (it didn't come with this specific car originally, but was offered). I think it looks terrible. We are going to track down something like this one. Any ideas where? The aftermarket gear stick should be classified as a war-crime. So bad! Any ideas on a replacement? Also, what does an original ignition look like? Am I missing any parts or was it this basic?

Nice place for a test drive! She idled terribly, but drove great. Maybe a carburetor problem? Steering was tight (thanks Alpina sway bar!). Breaking was excellent (and so it should be thanks to the recent brake rebuild).

I have never liked the stock rims on this car (even the Alpina turbines - too eighties), and I think this is one of the few places we will deviate away from stock. I really like some of the rims from BBS, particularly these ones here. Any ideas on where I might track those bad boys down?

Talk about a paper trail! He had everything back to the booklet the car shipped to the dealer with! The car's back story goes that it was purchased by a US Air Force officer in '71 (spying on the Russian's much?) and then shipped back to America after his tour ended. To avoid emissions trouble, the engine was swapped out for a US spec one and driven for 70K miles before the original euro model was put back in (which is the one currently in it). The car was sold for $1 to the Air Force pilots son in 1998, who then in 2008 sold it to the guy I brought it off.

Bonus parts. He had all the parts required to convert this CS into a CSi. These came with the car! Not sure exactly what we are going to do here. We would like to turn this into a CSi, but is that cheating? What do you guys think? Is it wrong to try and pass a CS off as a CSi? Would you care if you brought this off us one day in the future (not that we ever plan to sell this beauty)?

Final price? What do you think it's worth? We paid $8,000. The seller had a 5-speed dogleg transmission for it too, but Dad felt it would be too complicated for Mum to drive, so we passed on it. Thanks Mum...

So the car is on it's way back to Australia now. It's probably sitting in a warehouse somewhere in Longbeach right now, as I'm still waiting on the title from the Oregon DMV before we can export it. We are shipping it with Al Montana's company (Phone: 310-965-9788). He seems like a great guy and if it arrives safely I'd recommend him.

Anything I left out?

I'll post back once my Dad takes over back in Australia.

P.S: My twin brother is restoring a 1977 (he thinks) Honda CB-400-4 and is documenting his nightmare over at caferacer.net (see his thread here) if you're interested.

Last edited by drewrbaker; 09-21-2009 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:53 AM
HB Chris HB Chris is offline
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Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 28
Mein Auto: 1973 3.0CS, 1969 2002
Welcome to the world of coupe ownership! Too bad the car is leaving for down under, there are lots of knowledgable coupe owners here in Orange County who could provide advice and encouragement. This car looks like it may have led a hard life, wheel wells replaced, missing rocker covers, screws in the aluminum trim on the lower dash rail, weird mounting point for the driver's shoulder belt, etc. I would be most concerned with the rockers, these are made from three separate parts and the outer appears to be finished with body filler. Underneath the rockers there are telltale signs of advancing rust. There hasn't been much discussion that I am aware of regarding sagging doors, that would cause me some concern as well. The fact that the engine bay has an incorrect rubber seal running all the way down the fender seams indicates it may be hiding the earlier repair. And the signs of rust by the wiper motor and no sound deadening material on wheel well tops need to be examined. Your car is an original euro CS with carbs but the right fender looks like it has the mounts for a CSi air box perhaps?

I have never seen an original build sheet from under the rear seat, could you post a picture? It would be interesting to see how much detail is included. Be sure to e-mail BMW to get the build date and delivery info as well.

As you have discovered, BMW parts can be very expensive like the door seals. The trunk fender covers are available again but are now a softer and more pliable material but not cheap. Good luck on the resto, keep us informed as your work progresses!

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Old 09-22-2009, 09:38 AM
6 Brit 6 Brit is offline
Location: **** you
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 14,951
Mein Auto: **** you
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Old 09-22-2009, 03:10 PM
drewrbaker drewrbaker is offline
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Location: Los Angeles/New York
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 4
Mein Auto: 1994 BMW 525i
Hey HB_Chris. Thanks for the feedback. I'll have my Dad take a photo of the build sheet once he get's it back in Australia. Could you give me any more info on the sound deadening material that's missing? It will be interesting once we have this car in pieces to see what has been done to it over the years. Can't wait to have all the body filler removed and some proper body work done to it! As for the rockers, we will probably just do a complete rocker replacement. Do these prices seem right to you?

The e9coupe.com guys fixed the image posting rules, so I have the main thread going at http://www.e9coupe.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5267 if anyone cares. That will be the one I continue to post pictures on in the future.
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Old 09-23-2009, 01:17 PM
HB Chris HB Chris is offline
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Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 28
Mein Auto: 1973 3.0CS, 1969 2002

You may not need all those rocker parts and there are plenty of coupe owners in Oz who can help on the e9 board. Send me an e-mail from the link on e9coupe.com. Hope you don't find what I found on my rockers! The sound deadening is on top of the strut towers and in the compartment with the heater blower and wiper motor, it has a hexagonal embossing to it.
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