1991 BMW 318is

I’m willing to offer my personal guarantee (worth approximately $0) that this is a great car for the next owner. Not because it will be trouble-free (although the exhaustive maintenance list says otherwise) or because it will run flawlessly (but to be honest, the M42 is a fairly bulletproof engine). It’s great because it has survived the ravages of time while also delivering over 400,000 miles of reliable service.

That’s impressive mileage for any make, but it really captures how BMWs of yesterday were overbuilt, much like their W201 and W124 counterparts at Mercedes-Benz. To me, this car is just chock-full of good vibrations, and has lived a charmed life with a string of attentive owners that addressed common problem areas like the cooling system and headgasket. Plus, other E30 failure points like the A/C still function flawlessly, and the preserved sport vinyl interior should say a lot about the way the car was handled by its owners, given how many E30s with sport buckets show torn, sun-damaged interior pieces.

Year: 1991
Model: 318is
Engine: 1.8 liter inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 441,000 mi
Price: $4,900

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Up for sale is my 318is. This is not a garage queen, racecar or show queen but a nice honest solid example that is set up to be a classy , fun, economical daily driver. It has been properly sorted to be enjoyed for many more decades and hundreds of thousands of miles.

This particular 318is is a very very special car it has traveled 441,000 miles and I am proud of the mileage this car has covered. E30’s are a high water mark for BMW in terms of serviceability and excellence in engineering, This particular 318is is a testament to how long they will last with a caring owner. Having owned and driven many, many e30’s I will say with confidence there is no discernable difference in condition, reliability or how it drives compared to a lower mileage example. It does not feel tired or worn out. The motor is not in need of a rebuild anytime soon. It is priced much lower to a comparable example in the normal mileage range giving you more bang for your buck.

I am seeking caring enthusiast owner who shares this attitude of automotive stewardship. Someone who values how special this car is for what is has and will achieve and is committed to keeping this car on the road for a very, very long time. The way this car is set up has worked for a long time I want to go to someone who will keep the car long term as their daily driver.

It was purchased in 1993 by my friend who is a Lawyer and commuted 100 miles a day in it until 2011 when he sold it to me. He maintained and treated the car well and it shows. I am a huge e30 enthusiast and former appraiser for BMW and have taken the time to address the mechanicals of the car to an enthusiast level.

Tasteful OEM+ Upgrades include:
Bilstein sport shocks
H&R sport springs
Z3 Short Shifter
Kenwood Stereo With amber illumination and Aux cable
Frenched High Beams (original included)

Recent maintenance includes:
Head gasket 10k miles ago
Valve cover gasket
All new vacuum lines including the “mess under the intake”
Painted intake mainifold
New intake manifold seals
Alternator
New Windshield
Power steering hose replaced
Power steering rack boot
Correct IS front lip and new clips
Hvac blower motor
Catalytic Converter
Rebuilt drivers door lock
Wheel roundels
Antenna grommet
Rear Shock mounts

Exterior:
Clean Alpineweiss paint shows nicely. Front fenders and door panels have been repainted but no accidents reported in the vehicle history involving any paintwork. Tiny dent in hood, quarter sized chip in passenger door, small crack in rear bumper below rub-strip, rock chips on valence and front edge of hood.
California car with no rust
Color matched IS front lip
Factory optional foglglights (uncracked)
Rust free sunroof panel (these commonly rust)
Original 14” BBS basketweaves with caps

Interior:
All original Black Vynil sport interior
AC blows very cold
Grey carpets
Black OEM floormats
Rearo designed factory sport seats in great shape, only a few small cracks in the passenger side bolster and minor side bolster wear on drivers side. Seats adjust properly
Kenwood headunit with amber illumination and Aux
Heat blows hot
All gauges and controls work
Odometer is correct and works
Clean dash with only a tiny crack
Nice headliner
Sunroof works
Spare tire present
Complete Toolkit
Factory jack and tow hook

Mechanicals:
M42 Engine pulls strongly from idle to redline
M42 does not burn any oil
Cooling system operates properly
Transmission synchros operate smoothly
Clutch operates properly
Working Central locking
Matching Lockset with 2 keys
50% tread on tires
Brakes operate properly and are within spec
No timing chain slap or noise

I am selling the car as I no longer commute to work with my new job. Both the wife and I work at home most days or drive short errands. We have more cars than days a week we drive so it is time to downsize.

Car is priced at $4900. Other e30 318is in similar condition with less miles have been selling for $6-8k including a close friend who sold his locally in 24 hours for $6800 with multiple inquiries. Feel free to make me reasonable offers. I am willing to facilitate shipping. The car will be provided with registration through Summer 2014 and a California smog certificate.

Sure, almost $5,000 will buy a lot of cars with fewer miles. But how many vehicles have been as well maintained as this one, and a better question, how many have proven they have the engineering chutzpah to last 441,000 miles? I reckon it’s a short list. I’ll take well-maintained, high-mileage and affordable over polished daily, hardly driven and expensive any day of the week.

-Jeff

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2 Comments on "1991 BMW 318is"

  1. Ry says:

    I would much rather have this car than the other one I mentioned in the same email I sent in a few days ago (http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=304611), the $10k obo e30 w/ 11k miles on it. Even just the pictures of the white one w/ 400k+ mi, that car looks sharper to my eye than the lower mileage one.

  2. Das says:

    Love the e30 318is. One of my favorite cars, period. Hope to have one some day.