1972 BMW Bavaria Restoration

BMW Bavaria
BMW Bavaria

We started after an accident, here. Thanks to Mitch Conard and Jim Stansfield and Spence at Mesa Performance Parts, we got a lot big and little parts to put it back together.

The paint was done six weeks ago. The Alfa was failing, so we took the BMW out of the body shop, missing some trim and some details, because we needed a drivable car. Now it’s almost finished.

I went out to take these pictures and noticed that the driver side rocker panel molding was hanging from the t-bolts at both ends.

BMW Bavaria

I spent an 2 hours trying to get 35-year-old molding over new clips. I couldn’t do it. Now I am drinking big martinis.

If anyone has any ideas on how to put on the rocker panel molding, please leave your suggestion in a comment. I tried hammering it, using a heat gun to soften the rubber and swearing a lot. (Years later: I had the wrong clips to hold the molding)

BMW Bavaria

We are probably in for US$ 9,000 for parts, body work and paint + US$ 3,500 insurance coverage. Plus my labor, swearing and drinking. I hate working on cars.

19 Replies to “1972 BMW Bavaria Restoration”

    1. I have a ver sound 72 Bavaria wit a stick shift. Bought it in 1975. It has been under wraps in my garage for a while but I would either like to either sell it to someone who would appreciate this very special car or to re-register it and get it back in top mechanical shape. I live in Glendale, CA. Does anyone know where I could have the car mechanically overhauled? Seats etc. are ok, everything works, but the trunk needs a new liner. Thanks for any help or advice.

      1. Peter, I can forward your question to the seniorsix.org mailing list if it’s OK with you. There are a lot of people on the list interested in E3s who will have suggestions for you.

      2. Hello Peter! just happened across this post as I’ve been looking for a Bavaria for some time now in CA. Not too sure where to look for them other than craigslist etc, but I’m interested in either purchasing one for restoration, or maintaining and working on an already quite decent example. If you’re still interested in selling please keep in touch and let me know, I’d love to at least check it out. Thank you!

      3. Peter, Can you provide more details on your Bavaria, color, running, etc. Photos would be good if you can. What kind of $$ are you looking for? I live in Orange County and might be interested.



  1. Hi Leslie,

    We inherited one that is in good condition that looks exactly like yours (but not restored). It runs and has been always stored in doors. How can I get rid of it without just giving it away. Any ideas?


  2. Hello Leslie, I wonder if I might impose on you once more. I am having difficulty finding a rebuilt rear axle output shaft.I have two of them and I thought perhaps I could rebuild one. I can’t seem to find any info on that task. Would you by chance have instructions for the rebuild? As always thank you. Ed

  3. Ed, it’s nice to hear from you. I hope you had a nice winter in Florida.

    I think you are talking about the constant velocity (CV)joint. It is #10 in this diagram.

    Since RealOEM says it’s NLA, you might have to get a used one. Maybe CV joints from later models might work. If you don’t mind, I will forward your question to the E3 list.

  4. Hello Leslie I haven’t been in touch for some time. I am presently in Fl and going back to RI this week. When I left I had my Bavaria running but I have sort of a clunk noise from the left rear wheel area. I removed the part a rod with a rubber boot on each end. One end swiveled freely but the end to the wheel was extremely hard to move. I took it apart and of course had trouble with the ball bearings. Put it back on, noise still there, took it back off and same end was locked up. I have been on line trying to buy one but no one including the parts people have a name for it. Most call it a rear axle rod but it refers to the axle bushing. So after all this do you have a name for this part and where I might look for one or possibly I have two of these could I get them rebuilt. Don’t mean to take up too much of your time. I like your site you do one heck of a job. Hope this finds you well. Ed

  5. I have a 1972 Bavaria and need a new steering wheel for it. The original plastic 3 spoke has cracked badly. I’m in Toronto, Canada and parts are difficult to get for the car here. Any idea where I might find a decent seeting wheel? I think there were wooded ones too, at one time.

  6. i’ve just purchased a 72 bavaria and i was wondering where could i get some keys made because no one in baton rouge seems to have the proper equipment also could someone tell me where to find the vin? i’ve noticed a 7 digit number on the engine compartment passenger side but several local bmw dealerships are telling me that this nu,ber is invalid. please help. waffalee@etigers.net

  7. @Matthew,

    I’ve read that a puller fan is more efficient, but there wasn’t room for one. The stock fan on my car had 5 blades and no fan clutch. I don’t know if the 9 blade fans with the clutch are more efficient.

    That’s why I used the 16″ Flex-A-Lite fan. When the fan switches on while the car is not moving, I can see the temperature gauge move down.

    Thanks for the compliment. I’ll have to do some pitures of the interior.

  8. Hello Mr. Wong,

    I’m having just the same problem as Matt (above). Runs all day on the freeway, heats right up in traffic, and cools right back down when I start moving again.

    My plan, I think, is to install a push fan. The radiator, coolant, and thermostat all appear to be fine, so I’m hoping this will do the trick. Your Bavaria lives in a cool climate; mine does not. Would you imagine that the fan you installed is likely to blow enough air through the radiator to do the trick?

    Also, I would love to see some interior shots of your beautiful car!


  9. @matt

    When I took my radiator to the shop, I also read that a 3 row core would help with cooling. The shop talked me into a two row core with bigger tubes and I haven’t had any problems with it.

    How old is your radiator? Maybe a radiator shop can just rod it out.

    Also check that the thermostat is working.

    I also put in an electric fan in front of the radiator and removed the stock fan, though it probably wasn’t necessary.

  10. Hi!
    I’ve got some overheating issues on my 73 Bavaria – fine on the highway, but overheats quickly in stop and go. I’ve heard putting in a bigger core in can really help, and have heard legends of places that larger cores that will work as stock items. Any suggestions?

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