Behind the White Wheel

Behind the White Wheel

Monday, July 20, 2015

Testing the Bavarian Masterpiece

As I grew up loving and admiring classic cars, constantly cherishing my 1961 Mercedes-Benz 180, I wondered why BMWs were always aging badly. In fact, in Lebanon, once a BMW becomes old, it passes through what I call the “gigolo modification process” whereby it receives a series of changes that seldom make it an awful, non-original, unattractive, charmless vehicle. 
Few days ago, I came by chance through an original 1973 BMW E9 3.0 coupe that the classic cars’ expert Serge El-Khazen ( has been offering for sale. Serge and I have been following each other’s on Instagram and Facebook for a while. I couldn’t resist the car’s original, never modified look coupled by its beautiful classic shape; after exchanging few messages with Serge, we agreed to test drive the car on a sunny holiday morning.

Gorgeous classical shape standing the test of time
Special sensation behind the BMW E9's wheel
So here I am, heading towards the MonteVerde region to test drive the car… At first, sitting behind the big black wheel with the flamboyant BMW logo gave me a sensation of mastering both the road and the car. The dashboard, despite being made of the typical 1970s leathered black plastic and thin clear wood, gives the feeling of being in a top of the line car; the gauges are well arranged and easily visible and the “vide poches” spaces are abundant.
Finally, the typical Blaupunkt radio is there, placed in the center, easily accessible to both the driver and the front passenger.

In love with the black wheel

Plenty of space to empty the pockets
Setting the gear lever on 1st, I start climbing a small hill linking MonteVerde to Hammana; the engine roars gently barely audible inside the car even with the electric windows open. 2nd then 3rd gears engaged and the car becomes extremely smooth with a firm but comfortable suspension filtering well all the road’s irregularities. True, the car’s handling is exceptional taking all the turns easily constantly assuring the comfort of the four passengers that can be easily accommodated with their luggage; a privilege almost absent in many coupes of the same period.

Most comfortable rear seats with a typical sporty look

The trunk can accommodate at least 3 pieces of luggage; notice the misc box on the right 
I drove with Serge from MonteVerde to Hammana and back on a mountainous green road that I took for the first time. I didn’t feel any discomfort for a second; the driving well-being is enhanced by the charcoal velour seats that embrace the driver and gives the impression of sitting in a couch.

Very comfortable ride
Looking at the car’s engine and bay, one can’t but admire the Bavarian engineering; all is well arranged and easily accessible for repairs. This E9’s engine seems untouched since new, with most of the original decals still present.

The engine is still as it was in 1973; notice the original red fan
None of the bits and pieces are missing
To conclude, the 1973 BMW E9 is a luxury sports car by all means designed for every day’s use and capable of adapting to different types of roads. It is like most of the German cars; built to last.

Simply love the E9's aggressive yet classy look

Discrete taillights with the flamboyant BMW Logo
Serge will soon begin restoring his E9 to make out of it a car in show condition and to mostly repair the few rust spots on the 40+ years old paint.

Beautiful line and design
Good luck Serge, you are about to start an amazing project.