This Is The Turkis Green BMW An Enthusiast Spent Years Looking For
Story and Photography by Adam Wickstead
It all began when I was working while a university student in Calgary. I was a “Swamper,” basically, I would run around in the downtown core, collecting parcels for export. I was taking a coffee break between timed collections when I heard this awesome roar. I looked up to see a streak of gold, with a shark-like appearance…stunning…dropped the coffee and ran…must…get… closer…
I caught a glimpse of the rear pillar, and saw the iconic blue and white propeller: BMW. It was “old school”, with buckets of class, charm, and chrome—but what was it?
That was the first sighting. I was 18 at the time.
Move along to 1998, I was aggressively making my way up the airline “food chain”, managing a significant territory and hauling air cargo all over the world. I sought after the hard complex stuff that no one wanted, and it was there in the office of a client as we discussed another challenging project.
Stuck behind him, with a tack in the top, there she was. It was the car I saw rip past me in Calgary—only this one was turquoise green. A million questions ensued: I had to see the car, dusty, hiding in the corner of his warehouse under a cover.
“Nope, not for sale.”
Along came a BMW 2002, and I found a blue 1973 on tan hides, it was magnificent. I had that car for two years only. (It was the rest that terrified me, sellers remorse.) I went a few years. A motor bike, a Saab SPG, turbocharged Volvo wagons…but the E9 still burned in the back of my mind.
So I reached out to call my old client to see if he was interested in selling his Turkis green 1973 E9…
The car was mine after a short discussion and test drive. I picked her up from Abbotsford, as the third owner on record, also the only Turkis green—paint code 063—officially imported to North America.
The car had been painted over same color some 15 years ago. Not great, but ok: she was screaming for a clay bar and, in some cases, a cut polish. The brakes were seized, tires dry and cracked, its carbs gummed up, and there was a hole in the exhaust…but she was mine.
First things first: a complete once over from a trusted mechanic. Then many, many hours by myself on the paint to coax the magnificent lustre hidden within.
A fresh set of Alpina wheels were located online, as were—amazingly—NOS seat belts, an Alpina Nardi wheel, sport Bilstein shocks, uprated springs, a modern ignition system, new water pump, clutch, and master cylinder.
It has been ten years now in my care, I just finished a 550-mile round trip to Washington State, where she ran like a champ. She’s happiest at 85 mph, at 3800 rpm.
The family calls her “Turkis”, or just “Beam”. Everyone loves her, gives their thumbs up, and I’ve attracted a fair number of business cards on the windscreen asking if ever she would be considered for sale.
Here at home in Vancouver, we have the Sea-to-Sky Highway to Whistler, which is an amazing drive, and in the other direction is the entire Washington State to explore—man, it is a blast to downshift, mash your toe to the floor, and hear the snarl of that 3-litre engine.