CHEVROLET CORVAIR TESTUDO: Corvair mechanicals with a sports car design

The original BMW E9 was a highly successful and stunning coupe designed in the late 60’s and achieving sales of over 30,000 during its 9-year production. Whilst there were a few different models, all housed the BMW straight 6-cylinder engine with capacities ranging from 2.8 litre to 3 litre.

As a 3 litre there were the standard CS and also CSL homologation versions, universally known as the ‘Batmobile’ due to its unique aerodynamic panels. The bodies were built by Karmann, a German coachbuilder who at the time built many of the bodies for BMW, Audi and VW, and best known for their highly successful 20 year build of the VW Karmann Ghia. From the Karmann factory in Osnabruck, West Germany, the BMW E9 complete built bodies were then returned to BMW for fitting of the engine, drivetrain and final components.

Sitting pretty in Turkis Metallic – a rare but original paint colour for some E9’s

Paul’s car started out life as a 1971 3.0 CS automatic in Silver, originally sold in Germany then on sold and imported into California at the beginning of the 80’s. In about 1983 the car had its engine replaced, for reasons unknown, and the car was resprayed in Fjord Blue. The car was purchased and imported into Canberra being owned by a prominent member of Canberra’s BMW car club. Paul purchased the car in 2017 and knowing full well it was in need of some work and had some visible rust to be dealt with. After further investigation, Paul discovered the visible rust was hiding further layers of rust and at that point Paul hatched his full rebuild Restomod plans. First step was to pull the car apart, getting down to the inner panels that needed the rust repairs. Tongue in cheek, Paul tells me the German coach builder, Karmann’s name translates to ‘Invented Rust’. There is nothing special about Pauls’ car, they literally all disintegrate slowly from the inside out.

‘Dealt with’ in Paul’s car context meant first disassembling the car in his garage, meticulously recording and storing the removed parts. The stripped car was then sent to the sand blasters to finally uncover the extent of the rust damage, so the major works could begin. Paul tells me that the 797 hours – a sadly specific number of metal work, including a variety of rust treatments and panel fabrications to mudguards, the firewall and floor pan, to then rebuild and finally create a better than original result.

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