The BMW 2800 CS was the first in a series of coupes produced from 1968 to 1975, internally known as the BMW E9. The Karmann-designed 2800 CS replaced the 2000 C and CS and used a new straight-six engine dubbed the M30. The larger engine required both the wheelbase and the overall length of the car to be increased, yet the car was still lighter and more agile than the series it was replacing, weighing in at 1,420 kg (3,131 lb). The 2.8 L engine put out 168 hp through a 4-speed manual transmission. Only 276 examples of the 2800 CS were produced in 1971 out of a total of 6,283 produced over four years before the E9 range was replaced by the E24 6 Series.
As a follow-up to the BMW New Class line, the 2800 CS continued the automaker’s pursuit of creating sporty automobiles while retaining the luxurious feel they had come to be known for. Many of the design cues used on the 2800 CS, like the longer nose and straight-six engine, would become staples of BMW and give the car both a timeless look and modern usability in today’s traffic environment.
Today, the 2800CS remains highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts alike. Thanks to their low production numbers, timeless good looks, and a high degree of useability, they have garnered a fantastic following in the collector car community. Pricing over the past 5 years has been steady with a general upward trend. We see these cars as solid investments, not very likely to pop in value but also highly unlikely to lose any value as well. They present a fantastic opportunity to purchase and use the car as intended while retaining the money invested. As is the case with any collector car, finding an example with great history and non-traditional colors is always the safest bet.
This particular example, Chassis # 2204412, is an extremely original example that was owned and lovingly preserved by the same family for over 50 years.
In that time, it has retained its original engine, much of its original paint, and all of its matching interior. It shows incredible indicators of originality, including factory stickers, inspection markings, and clamps. It was purchased new by Mr. Falk from Autos-Import S.A. of Geneva, Switzerland, in 1971 with a “Sahara” paint job and a tan woolen interior with corduroy cloth inserts. Original equipment includes power steering, four-wheel disc brakes, a rear-window defroster, and a Blaupunkt radio. The original owner passed away a short two years after purchasing the car, upon which it was passed down to his son.
The son continued to own and meticulously maintain the car throughout the years, often at the same dealer it was purchased from. In 1996, the BMW was imported stateside through American Lamprecht, Inc. in Lawrence, NY, and was appraised in July of that same year by a company in Rowayton, CT, with just 41,466 kilometers (25,765 miles) on the odometer. In 2001 and 2007, it was entered in the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance and won best in class in the 2001 show.
The meticulous service records continued, with the front brake calipers having been rebuilt in 2012 at La Jolla Independent BMW Service of La Jolla, CA. After 48 years of ownership, the son listed the BMW for sale on Bring a Trailer, where it was purchased by our client and current consignor.
Services under its new owner began in 2021 with a new tailpipe installed at European Auto Center Repair in Norwalk, CT. In May of 2021, the car underwent a major service at Sports Car Restoration in Plainville, CT, that would last through October of that same year and total almost $20,000. During that time, it received new ignition wires, a new distributor cap, a new rotor, new fuel and coolant hoses, new carburetor chokes, a valve cover gasket, a rebuilt speedometer, odometer, and turn signals, some electric window repairs, and a replacement transmission. The transmission was replaced due to excessive grinding in the original gearbox. A used ZF S5-16 Four-Speed gearbox, in great condition, was sourced and installed, and the original was kept and will be included with the sale of the vehicle. The exterior, interior, underbody, and engine bay were also thoroughly cleaned and degreased during the service and areas at risk of rust were coated in a preventative wax coating.
In November of 2022, the car visited Rennsport Automotive in Bedford Hills, NY, for new fluids as well as new spark plugs, distributor points, condenser, cap, and rotor. The valve cover gasket was also replaced alongside new V belts and a power steering filter.
As it sits, following the numerous services it underwent in the past two years, this BMW 2800 CS is now a turnkey time-capsule example ready to take on anything from twisty roads to more concour shows. With largely original paint, an incredible original interior, all of the original equipment and accessories, and just ~30,000 original miles on the odometer, this rare German saloon with only one family ownership for 50 years is the pinnacle of automotive preservation.
Upon purchase, the new owner will receive the original purchase agreement, all of the importation documents and service records going back to new, manufacturer’s literature, 1970s first aid kit and roadside assistance kit, tools, spare parts, and upholstery fabric, a GPS unit, a radar detector, and a BMW car cover.
Body And Paint
The Sahara beige exterior paint is believed to be largely original and meters as such. It does appear that the rear passenger quarter panel and the lower section of the passenger door have been painted as these areas meter considerably higher. There is a spot that can be seen, under heavy scrutiny, above the passenger rear wheel arch that appears to have had some bodywork done, as the filler is visible under certain lighting conditions. According to the first owner, in 2001 there was a tire blow out in the passenger side rear that caused some damage to the surrounding area and these repairs are product of this incident. The repair work was completed very well and the painted areas blend in very nicely. The rest of the paint throughout the car is original and appears in fantastic condition, given the mileage and original nature, with smooth and consistent color throughout. There are some minor imperfections that should be expected with an original example. There are some spots of touched-up paint on the trailing edge of the driver-side door as well as some paint flaking at the very tip of the rear quarter panel beneath the chrome trim. There is a section on the rear trunk lid area about 2 inches long that shows scuffing of the paint. The body itself is straight and smooth throughout, with absolutely zero issues to speak of. All gaps and shut lines are in excellent order; nice tight and consistent. There is some minor surface corrosion occurring around the front lower edge of the driver-side front wheel well.
Glass And Trim
The glass throughout the car appears to be all original, with Duro Glass stampings on each pane. The glass is in excellent condition showing minimal wear, relatively no pitting, and no de-lamination issues. The headlights remain in excellent functioning order with no pitting, hazing, or cloudiness to the lenses. The chrome trim throughout the car is also in fantastic condition with amazing shine for the age with minimal swirling and scuffing. There are a few minor scratches on chrome surfaces in high-wear areas, such as on the front bumpers and the window surrounds. There is also some minor light scratching on areas, such as the side spears on the front quarter panel. The rubber trim throughout the car also remains in fantastic condition with great color and fitment. The black rubber bumpers in the front of the car have a few minor scuff marks but remain in great original condition. The rubber trim around the windows has some minor deformation around the edges on the corners but remains supple with great color.
The wheels on this car appear to likely have retained their original finish as the silver is slightly dulled and does show its age in the form of minor fading, chipping, and cracking to the wheel's surface finish. Despite this fact, they are in fantastic original condition, and we wouldn’t change a thing. The silver chrome center caps are likewise in excellent order with fantastic shine and finish, and all four BMW branded centers have great color and solid graphics.
Overall, this car presents as fantastically original with a smattering of patina you would expect given the territory. There are a few spots of touched-up paint as well as some minor scuffs to the paint and the trim areas, but in the end, nothing we would change or that needs correction. For the best idea of this time-capsule example's current condition, please review all the detailed photos above.
Seats And Surfaces
The interior of this car is where the originality truly shines through. The tan cloth seats remain in fantastic condition. Being cloth, you would expect that they would be far more worn than they are, but their condition is a testament to the careful ownership that this car has had throughout its life. The driver’s side bolster shows a previously fixed spot in the form of a stitched section, and the very bottom of the seat back shows some minor fraying of the fabric. The driver’s side seat bottom has a bit of pilling to the fabric, but overall, it remains in fantastic condition with excellent color. The passenger side seat shows just a bit of discoloration on the bolster areas of the seat bottom, but the seat back itself looks in almost new condition. The rear seats appear to have seen little use throughout the years and remain in beautifully preserved condition, showing minimal to nowhere at all. The brown leather door cards remain in like new condition with fantastic chrome trim and smooth, issue-free wood. The wood veneer dash is in astounding condition with beautiful color and grain and no de-lamination or discoloration to speak of. The wooden shift knob and the leather shift boot show a beautiful patina that adds wonderfully to the interior. The steering wheel looks almost new, with some very minor patina in the form of scratching in the black painted surface of the spokes. The leather portions of the dash show excellent color and tight fitment. The factory brown carpeting retains excellent weave and color as well as fitment throughout the vehicle. The white perforated headliner is in fantastic condition with little to no discoloration and an excellent tight fitment throughout. There is some flaking of paint on the steering column near the ignition that appears to be from the hand grazing over it throughout the years as the car was started.
Functionality And Accessories
Everything on the interior is in beautifully preserved condition and functions very nicely. The overhead dome light turns on as you open the doors. The gauges are crystal clear with excellent color and visibility while all reading their intended functions as they should, the doors open and close with a fantastic mechanical click, and the windows roll up and down with ease. The electrically operated rear windows currently do not function. We performed some basic diagnosis, which appears related to the gearing for the motors that actuate the window. It does not appear to be a serious problem, but one that is likely dealt with by someone who has more knowledge of similar issues. The radio works as it should, playing out of the single speaker located in front of the vehicle on the dash. Even the glove box light illuminates as the glove box is opened! The shifter moves smoothly through its range of motion, and the parking brake holds the car firmly in place, with the parking brake light on the dash illuminating as the handle is pulled up.
The interior of this 2800CS remains in beautifully preserved original condition but does display some flaws that inevitably come with the originality and usage over time. The driver’s side seat shows a previous repair as well as some fraying of the fabric on the lower portion of the seat back. Over time, a large section of paint has worn off the steering column. However, neither of these items takes away from the car in the slightest. It should also be noted that the rear power-operated windows are currently inoperable.
ENGINE BAY AND TRUNK
Once again, the amazing originality of this vehicle shines through beautifully in the engine bay. Factory finishes adorn the bulk of the engine bay, with correct hoses, clamps, wires, etc., throughout. Factory stickers and number plates are all in their correct locations. Original or factory-correct components are present throughout the engine bay, with their correct BMW casting stamps visible in areas throughout the engine bay. It appears that the under-hood heat shield padding was replaced with a modern one at some point, a worthy and necessary upgrade. There are no signs of any current issues with any of the components, and overall, the engine bay presents as beautifully original and genuine, with a healthy amount of patina scattered throughout.
The trunk area presents clean, tidy, and original. It appears that the Brown woven carpeting covering the floor is likely a more modern piece, but it fits perfectly and matches the carpeting on the interior of the car excellent. The rest of the trunk area is very nicely trimmed, with all the side paneling being in wonderful condition with great fitment. There is, of course, a bit of patina scattered throughout in the form of some minor scuffing and age, but it ties in excellent with the rest of the car’s condition. The fold-down tool kit is amazingly well preserved and appears to be all there and accounted for. Lifting the carpet reveals clean and tidy sheet metal, and the factory spare is tucked away in a nice dry spare wheel well.
The underside presents exactly as you would expect from the condition of the rest of the car: very genuine and original. While some road dirt is accumulated from normal use, factory finishes, and markings are still present in areas. The floors look very solid, and it appears that all mechanical components have been very well looked after. There is some very minor surface corrosion on bare metal surfaces and areas where painted components have flaked away, but everything appears to be very solid still. The wheel wells are clean, tidy, and solid. During its major 2021 servicing, the common areas that develop rusting were cleaned thoroughly and had a coating of wax applied to them to help prevent future issues from developing. Overall, there are no signs of any issues, past or present.
Years of meticulous servicing and care have left this 2800 in fabulous mechanical condition. The engine fires to life with ease and quickly settles into a smooth and consistent idle. On the road, it makes smooth and reliable power with no stumbles or flat spots in acceleration. The throttle response is smooth and consistent and provides a joyful driving experience.
The transmission was replaced in 2021 due to grinding gears by Sports Car Restorations of Connecticut. According to the service documents provided, a used ZF S5-16 4-speed transmission in good working order was placed in the car. Currently, the car shifts and drives with no issues. The transmission feels smooth and strong with direct gear changes, and the clutch feels responsive with proper takeup and engagement.
Brakes And Suspension
The brakes feel responsive and tight, bringing the car to a smooth and controlled stop with no binding or issues to speak of. The suspension feels smooth and compliant, with excellent road behavior and a supple but responsive road nature.
The tires are correct-looking Verdestein Sprint Classics on all four corners. They are sized 205 70,14 with DOT date codes of 2021. All four tires retain excellent sidewalls with plenty of tread life left to them.
It should be noted that the original transmission was swapped for a ZF S5-16 4-speed during the car's 2021 major servicing. This was completed due to excessive grinding in the the original transmission. The original transmission was saved and will be included with the sale of the vehicle should a future owner desire to rebuild and re-install it.
Besides their timeless good looks, one of the great appeals of the 2800CS is their general ease of useability. The driving position is very comfortable, and the car provides an easy-going, responsive, and enjoyable driving experience. They certainly are not the fastest of cars, but they do provide the driver with a rewarding time thanks to their fantastic chassis and smooth power delivery. They are truly fantastic, useable classic vehicles.