The Maxim Vintage Shopper: 1973 BMW Bavaria

Spotted in Minnesota: The grandpappy of sports sedans in brilliant blue, wearing rally-style dual lamps and perfect paint. All yours for $13,999.

The Year: 1973

The Model:BMW Bavaria 2500

The Drivetrain: A 2.5-liter inline six-cylinder engine, mated to a 3-speed automatic, driving the rear wheels. 148 horsepower new.

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Favorite Five Points:

·      The BBS basket-weaves perfect for this car.

·      The original quad headlights and kidney grill set the template for every BMW since, and the yellow rally-style lights make for a old-school racer front end.

·      The incredibly beautiful “Automatic” script on the pristine rear deck.

·      Paint looks perfect, which in Minnesota means this was like a summers-only car.

·      Early BMW sedans are legendary for their airy greenhouses. This Bavaria has one of the largest, meaning no blind-spots. The perfect, low-stress cruiser.


We would usually demand a manual-transmission in a BMW, but the automatic isn’t a deal-breaker: it pushes this car squarely into “cruiser” territory. Plus, the interior is worn, though not badly. If you like patina, keep it as is, but otherwise budget for a few-hundred dollars (at least) of reconditioning.

Good buy?

The car? Sure thing. The price? Not quite, but close. This car seems to be a solid Condition 2 vehicle (excellent chrome, glass, and paint, well kept, but not concours quality).  That would put it around $10,000, which is what we would hope to get this sweet blue Bavaria for, had we cash in hand. That said, the huge upwell in pricing of BMW’s early M cars (M3, M5) has lifted the entire range, so maybe book pricing is behind real-world value.