Robert Downey Jr. Paid Good Money to Make a 1974 BMW 3.0 CS Look Awkward as Hell

What even are those grey woodgrain accents? Bad flipper-grade apartment flooring?

byStef Schrader| PUBLISHED Aug 28, 2020 11:44 PM
Robert Downey Jr. Paid Good Money to Make a 1974 BMW 3.0 CS Look Awkward as Hell

I am generally not a person to scream "Y U RUNE KLASSIK?" into the commentary void on Facebook posts of modified cars. If it makes you happy, go for it, so long as it doesn't fall apart on the road. Yet a particular celebrity restomod has me scratching my head not in anger, but confusion: a 1974 BMW 3.0 CS modified by SpeedKore for actor Robert Downey Jr. 

SpeedKore specializes in carbon fiber parts and incredible vehicles rebuilt in full carbon fiber, but they held off on remaking the 3.0 CS's sleek body for Downey's project. For their first European restomod ever, they kept the classic Bimmer's metal body and added a few bespoke carbon fiber bits: a front air dam, rear bumper and rocker moldings, all finished in a BASF Glasurit satin clearcoat to let the carbon peek through.

Kahn Media

The true sin isn't carbon fiber for carbon fiber's sake, which is subtle enough. Oh, no. There's woodgrain. Not the warm brown woodgrain you'd expect on a 3.0 CS of this vintage. It's the grey woodgrain that's ubiquitous in every "updated" apartment you'll ever look at. 

This sun-nuked driftwood-colored woodgrain is across the dashboard and on the steering wheel where you expect woodgrain to be in a seventies BMW. But no! It's also on the beltline and rear decklid spoiler of the exterior of the car, which doesn't even make any sense. 

Look, if you're going to go for the HGTV-inspired house flipper look, commit to it. Don't just throw the "my deck needs resealing"-hued woodgrain on the beltline, spoiler and dashboard. Wrap the whole car. The Brick Red PPG paint is nice, but perhaps too nice in this context. It just clashes with the pattern du jour of grey-everything interior design hacks. 

There's another thing that clashes with this build: the engine and transmission. Sitting under the hood is the lovely S38 inline-six from an E34-generation BMW M5. The U.S. version of this engine produced 311 horsepower—a nice bump from the 3.0 CS's 180-hp engine. However, that's mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. What? 

Kahn Media

The rest of the build seems nice enough. There's Bilstein shocks, six-piston Brembo brakes in the front and four-piston Brembos in the rear. The custom HRE C109 three-piece wheels are the nicest looking wheels I've seen on a restomod in years. There are nice titanium grey accents throughout the build that match those wheels. 

The interior is also fine if you don't look at the dashboard. Coffee-colored leather with pebble-weave door cards and seat centers complement the red exterior well. The Classic Instruments gauges and hideable Focal touchscreen head unit are fine. The center console grab handle inspired by 1970s Lamborghinis looks like it belongs there and almost seems warranted if the four-speed autobox holds up. 

There's a leather-wrapped Yeti cooler inside the trunk as well. I daresay he's not going to plop that on rocks or sand like the rest of us plebs do with our coolers. Here's hoping he doesn't forget and try to float it in the river. There's also a set of matching luggage made to sit on the luggage shelf that sits in place of the rear seats. (That I'm less worried about.)

This is the third vehicle SpeedKore has built for Downey after a 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 and a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro. Those are nice, as they didn't use an old wood fence that you probably need to paint as a muse. 

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