Original VIP: A BMW Family Heirloom
Grandad’s Knee

This BMW was lost for 25 years before being brought back to life by the original owner’s grandson. Now imagine finding it locked away in a garage, not having seen the road in decade – it’s something we all dream of, right? Maybe you can remember playing in an abandoned car when you were a kid? Musty interior fabrics combining to make a unique and intoxicating aroma – the kind that triggers memories years later. Add in some family heritage and it becomes all the more tempting.

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When I spotted this E3 in Belgium I kept coming back to it, circling and admiring the simplicity of what had been done. When I see an early ’70s BMW I always think of spy movies and dodgy looking blokes in sunglasses wearing roll neck sweaters and over-the-shoulder gun holsters. There’s something about the classic thin pillar and curved lower body design that oozes class and mystique.

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While shooting the car, Kevin Pourtois is the man trying to understand my questions asked in very bad French (a common language for us). He soon gives up and it turns out his English is slightly better than my French, so between the two we muddle through. I find out that Kevin has memories of the BMW being parked up after his grandfather stopped using the big saloon in 1982, which is way before he was even born.

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The E3 was a rare car when new, let alone now. Kevin’s is even rarer than that (is that possible?) as it’s the long wheelbase ‘L’ version, which has an extra 10 centimetres of legroom in the rear footwells. I owned an E3 3.0Si about 10 years ago and it was a nightmare to find parts for then, but luckily for Kevin, when his grandfather put the BMW into storage in the early ’80s, he chose a good, safe spot for it. So the external trim and body panels were solid and intact, although it has been resprayed in the original colour since coming out of hibernation

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After Kevin’s grandfather passed away, his dad decided to get the Bavaria (as they’re known in the US) running again and on the road. The family pretty much all have BMWs, so it was a no brainer, but being a busy man meant he admitted that time wasn’t on his side and he eventually left the job to Kevin. Along with the respray, the standard seats have also been retrimmed in that sumptuous mushroom leather.

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So just how did he convince his dad to let him convert it to air suspension? Kevin remembers his father saying “Air ride or no air ride… at least it rides!”. Good man, all too often we hear of classic cars hidden away that will be restored ‘one day’, the owner reluctant to sell it in case somebody modifies it. Meanwhile it gently rots away and ends up being scrapped. There’s always been a fine line between barn find and scrapyard.

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The BMW trailing arm, independent rear suspension lends itself to giving negative camber when the Kean Suspensions air bags are emptied and the body is fully dropped, which tucks the BBS RC009 wheels up inside the arches nicely. The 8 Series sourced wheels measure 17×8-inch all round, which is front fitment for the big coupe and perfect for the E3. It also keeps it in the family, which is exactly what Kevin intends to do too. This BMW isn’t going anywhere in a hurry – except all over Europe that is.

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With a trip to Wörthersee in 2014 amongst others, this is proving to be the perfect cruiser. Imagining myself sat behind the wheel was another reason why I had to know more about it – and I’m glad I took the time, because it could have been so easy to walk on by and dismiss this BMW as a ‘scene’ build. Sure, there are some tried and tested modifications here, but that’s fitting and respectful in my eyes. They look good and can be reversed if needed, and you’d then be left with an immaculate E3. It’s also a testament to Kevin doing what his grandfather and father couldn’t quite manage before him – actually using the BMW!

Bryn Musselwhite
Instagram: Speedhunterbryn

Cutting Room Floor
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Anyone can explain what the O & A stands for ? Was it Neutral & Drive in Germans ?
I remember saw old Citroen use A instead of D , too .


This is beautiful


RDS Overdrive, auto


I love these Beemers. Absolutely stunning!


I have a soft spot for chrome trimmed Euros from the late 60s to the early 80s. 

This is an outstanding preservation of an era.


wow.  This car is gorgeous.


More pictures of this car here!! https://www.facebook.com/lowclassicgarage


@Whoshot RDS O in Belgium, it's for Oldtimers. :-)

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

This is just tooooo cooool!!!


Finally! One of the best articles yet, classic bimmers like the bavaria deserve spotlight. So happy to see this car featured, great article!!!!


JonasGilles Le O sur le sélecteur de vitesse, ket!




Beautiful...didn't know they made a long version.


What size tyres is it running, and pure class


So if the grandfather died, who was the busy man that left the job of restoring the car to Kevin? There is a third person in this story that I didn't get?


greenroadster  'After Kevin’s grandfather passed away, his dad decided to get the Bavaria...' 

Followed by.

'but being a busy man meant he admitted that time wasn’t on his side and he eventually left the job to Kevin.'

Hope that explains it :)


koko san Yup, really very rare. But not ugly because of it :)


GregFentonHNHS I think they were 215/40?


BlackMesa533i Hey thanks, I'm a massive BMW fan and guessing you are too. I had four E28s in a row, love them!


Detailer4u I had a 24v converted E28, very much regret selling it now.


Man is he one lucky guy to come across this car. Even more amazing as to the brilliant job he did to the car.
Incredible shots as always!


Speedhunters_Bryn GregFentonHNHS thanks


Speedhunters_Bryn BlackMesa533i
I feel like BMW gets under your skin and stays there, I've owned 2 E28's, an E30 325is, one 4cyl E36, but now I am left with my 1975 2002.. I love that little car. I was so close to snatching up a Bavaria project a couple months ago but sourcing the parts would be a pain..

4 E28's in a row means you are a massive bmw fan ;)


greenroadster This is my father :)


i used to own almost the exact car, it was a 3.0 model from 1973, also 4 door.  it was a dreadful car. terrible steering at speed, and the worst 3-spd auto i have ever come across, it just didnt transfer power to the back wheels at all, and took about 11 seconds to get to 60mph, even thought the motor made about 200hp and reached 6400rpm. several magazine reviews from the 70s confirmed that my one wasnt a dud.  the manuals did much better for speed, but that is half the story as they were still crap in every thing else about the car... it was a large car, but only by Euro standards, i live in australia, and it basically felt like a mid size car (in US market i am sure too).  the fuel economy was dreadful, the 3.0 chewed as much as an Aussie 5.0 and i only kept if for one year. my dream as a young man owning a vintage bmw died, and for good reason, i bought better cars after that .


You have shared great images, I like all the images.

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You have attracted the true BMW fans here :)


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Woww suprlyks..This is just tooooo cooool!!!

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You've shared great images. I love these too much.

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Are the seats original or from another car?


Are the seats original or from another car?


All these pics are really amazing. Thanks!



@aegp16 Original en restaured! ;-)


This is Great Post.I like it
Thank you for sharing and keep your work.
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