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How an Impala Inspired a BMW Bavaria Barn Find, Project Bavaria

May 7, 2018


Here at BAVauto® (Bavarian Autosport), we are enthusiasts, just like you.  Some of us have come to BAVauto as BMW enthusiasts, some had never touched a BMW or MINI before coming to BAVauto.  However, being enthusiasts, all have quickly picked up the bug.  Chuck is one such long-time BAVauto employee and converted enthusiast.  Here’s Chuck’s story on how he came to acquire his latest BMW project ……

As Chuck Tells it

When I was 5 or 6 years old, my father had a 1964 Chevy Impala convertible.  We rode around in her cruising the beach, and everywhere else, all summer. Even a trip to the hardware store was fun. The car was like a giant couch and everyone loved her. She was black with a white roof and white vinyl interior. One day, she stopped running and it was discovered that the frame was a bit suspect.  She was parked.  Winter came, snow piled up all around it.  My dog, Lady, decided to play king of the mountain on its roof and fell through.  That was the end of that car.  I was heartbroken, I had dreamed of learning how to drive in that car and one day owning it myself.

Since then, I have always wanted the same car.  However, after 25 years in the BMW business, I decided I would try to get the BMW equivalent to the car I loved so much, so long ago.  I decided to get a BMW Bavaria.  As you can imagine, these cars are fairly hard to come by, especially in the north-east.  Finnally. after a few months of looking, I found a 1974 in AmazonGrun.  Automatic with brown interior. It hadn’t run in a while and needed a lot of TLC.  Challenge accepted.
BMW Bavarian BAVauto

Once we had her home, an hour of tinkering, with the help of my son, got her running.  She needed some brake work so we could go and stop.  We took care of the brakes and finally took her for a ride through the neighborhood.  Much more work was needed, but we were on the way to success!

In The Mean-Time

As with most car enthusiasts, I never stop looking at other cars for sale and another Bavaria came up.  It was quite a bit farther away, but was a small-bumper 1973 (the year I was born) with a manual transmission (!).  ’73 was the last year of the Euro-style bumpers, instead of the aluminum “diving boards” that BMW was forced to put on in ’74 for the US DOT required 5mph crash protection.  The car was Malaga (maroon) with peanut butter colored interior.  Okay, grab a trailer and it’s road trip time (a story for another day) to NJ, where the car is located.

The barn doors open and there she is.  A true barn find (well, garage find). A California car that hasn’t been running for years and was stored out of the weather the whole time….by the original owner.

Barn Find BMW 1973 Bavaria 3.0 Malaga BAVauto

Out into the daylight and a quick wash.  Not bad at all.

BMW Bavaria 1973 3.0 BAVauto

Ok, don’t look too eager, but let’s get her on the trailer.  Actually, the seller was very pleased to know that the car was going to a long-time BAVauto employee and enthusiast.

Barn Find BMW 1973 Bavaria 3.0 Malaga BAVauto

We got her home and after some troubleshooting and a battery change, she fired right up! The dual Weber 32/36 carbs and Stahl long tube headers were singing their song.

BMW 1973 Bavaria 3.0 Stahl headers BAVauto

It even has all the correct pedals!

BMW Bavarian 3.0 clutch pedal BAVauto

The interior will clean up nicely … And a classic MOMO steering wheel to top it off!

MOMO steering wheel on 1973 Bavaria  3.0  BAVauto

She is, indeed, a nice car.  The previous owner let me know that the head had a small crack, so we let her run for a while to see what he meant.  It took some time, but we finally found it, a small crack inside one of the spark plug tubes.  Luckily, there was a complete spare cylinder head in the trunk (the trunk in this thing is huge!).  The “spare” head is now at the machine shop being checked for cracks, etc.
BMW Bavaria M30 Cylinder head and carbs BAVauto

More To Come….

So, the green Bavaria has already been moved to another owner and the Malaga Miss is here to stay.  Obviously, we have a lot more to do on a vehicle that has not run for over a decade, but this is what we at BAVauto love to do, whether its for ourselves or helping our customers with their projects.  Stay tuned for future installments ….. and we’ll keep sharing it with YOU!

Bavarian Autosport

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