Feature Listing: 1979 BMW 323i Baur TC1

When enthusiasts think of custom coachwork and Germany, one name usually springs to mind: Karmann. Most identifiable for their combination with Ghia’s designs for Volkswagen, Karmann produced not only their eponymous creation Karmann-Ghia in both Type 14 and Type 34 configuration, but also the Beetle convertible. Volkswagen’s association didn’t end there, though, as the first Rabbit Cabriolets, both versions of the original Scirocco and the later Corrado were all built by the firm. So, too, were some of the first Porsche 356, 911 and 912 models, along with the 914. BMW, too, turned to the firm for ‘Big Coupe’ production, from the 2000CS to the E24 6-series. But when it came time to take the top off of their small cars, BMW looked elsewhere.

From Osnabrück BMW headed into the heart of the enemy’s home to Stuttgart, where Karosserie Baur was located. Baur was the company that BMW turned to when plans with Lamborghini to produce the supercar M1 fell through. Baur would later be the home that the infamous Group B Sport Quattro and Porsche 959 were produced in. In short, Baur was responsible for some of the most significant designs in German motoring and has plenty of expertise in factory-quality experience. It should come as no surprise, then, that they were the company that BMW selected to produce the first 3-series convertibles.

Taking the roof off the car seems simple enough; just grab a saw and go, ‘How hard could it be?’ Well, not so fast, as structural rigidity rears its ugly head. Beyond that, in the 1970s government nannies were indicating that the idea of a topless car was going to be outlawed, leading many manufacturers – including all of the major U.S. brands – to abandon the idea. Baur’s solution to the problem was to create a roll hoop ‘Targa’ model, which as we know from Porsche models offered multiple roof positions while simultaneously solving the issue of structural rigidity and occupant safety.…

1982 BMW 323i Baur TC1 Turbo

In a post I wrote for The Truth About Cars this past week, I covered a few E30 models that offer affordable and interesting visual and performance alternatives to the E30 M3. One of those models was the Baur TC2, the model which gave BMW a soft-top before BMW made its own in 1985. Of course, the E30 wasn’t Baur’s first foray into convertible 3-series models, though, as they had started with the E21 model. Baur only produced a little less than half the amount of E21s – 4,595 according to Petrolicious – as they did E30 models at over 11,000, but as importation of early 1980s cars was easier, it seems more common to see the E21 Baur than the E30 Baur. Though fitted as standard with no performance upgrades, this unique 1982 example remedies that with a turbocharged M20:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 BMW 323i Baur TC1 Turbo on eBay

2000 BMW 323i Touring

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Every now and then, I come across an interesting car which I slot into my weekly rotation at GCFSB last minute. This 2000 BMW 323i Touring is one of those cars. I was in Hingham, Massachusetts on holiday last week, spending a few days at the house of a childhood friend. He’s been a BMW guy ever since they days my 1988 325is convinced him to take the plunge on a 1992 325i 5-speed sedan. He has stayed true to BMW with his latest rig, a 2009 328i xDrive Touring equipped with a 6-speed manual. We discussed how great this car was, allowing you to have your family car cake and eat it too. But one question posed by my friend was what to do now that BMW no longer imports a 3 series Touring with a manual gearbox. Well, you could always dial back the clock and explore the other interesting Tourings from BMW’s past. This E46 323i Touring for sale in Minnesota belies it’s age and 146,000 miles on the clock thanks to some fastidious care. It also has some tasty bits included, such as M3 front seats, a ZHP shift knob and Alcantara trimmed M3 steering wheel to provide maximum driving pleasure behind the wheel.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW 323i Touring on eBay

2000 BMW 323i Touring

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A good friend of mine who lives on the coast in Massachusetts happens to drive an E91 328i xDrive Touring equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox. This Touring would be the last five-door estate BMW would offer in the US with a manual gearbox. We sat around discussing potential replacements for this machine once the time comes but the only answers seemed to be buy an old car to replace it or become an expatriate. Given he’s married with two kids, the latter option would not be all that convenient. Well, if we want to take the latter route, why not size up this 2000 323i Touring for sale in Florida with the all important third pedal?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 323i Touring on eBay

1985 BMW 323i Baur TC

There was a period in the mid 1970s where it appeared that safety nannies like Ralph Nader were going to bring about the death of the convertible. Consider, for a moment, that in 1965 Americans bought nearly 500,000 4-seat convertibles – but by the late 1970s, Detriot had completely abandoned what had been a very successful market. Today, it’s German firms that are the leaders in convertibles sold in the U.S. – no surprise, really, when you consider the number that are available. From the Eos and Beetle to BMW’s 3,6 and Z series, along with plenty of Mercedes-Benz models and Audi’s TT, A3, A5 and R8, there’s no shortage currently of options with air above. Go back to the early 1980s, though, and there were really only two. You could pay a lot of money for a Volkswagen Rabbit Cabriolet, or you could pay a ridiculous amount of money for a Porsche 911 Cabriolet. In response, many aftermarket tuners offered to take the top off just about everything from the S-Class Mercedes to the Porsche 928. Baur was one such firm, offering a drop-top version of the 3-series before BMW did. Rare to find, there’s one that’s popped up for sale today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 BMW 323i Baur TC on eBay

1979 BMW 323i

BMW’s recent advertisement campaign for the 3-series has notably featured the E21; interesting, since it’s the first time that I can remember BMW actually acknowledging the first 3. It’s not that the E21 didn’t have the right recipe; Paul Bracq’s design was lovely and of course coupled to the traditional front-engined, rear-drive platform with a manual gearbox, but I think that a large part of the E21’s problem was the perceived lack of sport for the 320 model that came here. If you were in the rest of the world, you could get a hotter and better looking option than what Americans would enjoy – the 323i. With the fuel injected M20 motor under the hood, the 323i enjoyed a healthy 20 horsepower bump over the standard 320i, and since it was a Euro car it had better looking….well, it goes without saying. The slimmed down and beefed up 323i made it here through the grey market, with this particular example having the added interesting bit of history of having been imported by notable BMW specialists Hardy and Beck:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 BMW 323i on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: Unusual E30-off

Okay, if the Brabus-off from earlier was a bit…well, odd, I have another pairing that’s a bit unusual too; though, to be fair, only 50% of this duo is really unusual. I’m guessing it won’t take much much imagination to guess which of these cars is the odd man out. Today we have a Hartge modified 323icamino, and to compare in the unusual tuner world, a Japan-only model of the E30 built by Alpina – the B6 2.7. Let’s start with the RanchE30o:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 BMW 323i Pickup on eBay

1979 BMW 323i 2.9 Euro-Spec

Just the other day, Nate wrote up a resto-modded BMW 325ix. There were some nice touches and a considerable amount of work done, but also a few pretty polarizing items – the gold BBS turbofan-look replica wheels, the gold custom decals and the factory BMW sport seats that were recovered with Recaro fabric. As if to answer some of the issues with those items, a rare European-spec 1979 323i with some period modifications turned up for sale:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 BMW 323i on eBay

1982 Alpina C1 2.3

It seems we often list multiple cars from the same seller; in some cases, that’s simply because they have the best examples that are available. EAG and Sloan Cars are great examples of this, amongst many. However, there’s a second tier of cars that we feature – eye candy that lies abroad and would be more difficult to procure. Such is the case with dealers like 4Star in England who seemingly has an endless supply of incredible examples of cars we all want. I think, however, that we need to add “ExoticCarsJapan” to the list, since this is now the third successive Alpina and fourth BMW I’ve written up from them. However, unlike the two previous E28 5-series B9s, today’s example is quite a rare example – a 1982 C1 2.3 E21:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Alpina C1 2.3 on eBay

2000 BMW 323i

Some of us out there who follow our site on a regular basis no doubt drool over some of the super fast and ultra luxury machines we feature. But in reality, what we want is something a bit more basic for daily use but that still has the qualities that we’ve come to appreciate from German vehicles, such as solid build quality and better than average performance. Well, this 2000 BMW 323i might fit the bill for you, if you are looking to upgrade just a little bit beyond the used Volkswagen. Despite the name, the 323i had the 2.5 liter inline-6 under the hood, the base engine for the E46 3 series as the four-cylinder 318i went away with the demise of the E36. This one is equipped with alloy wheels and a 5-speed manual gearbox, giving a bit of spice to the basic package.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW 323i on eBay