Double Take: 1982 BMW 320i

Perhaps 2019 will be the year of the E21? Along with the early 7-series E23, these relatively unloved BMWs remain solid values in the classic car world. Why? Well, it’s pretty simple. The E21 didn’t have the spunk of its E10 predecessor, nor the looks, power or handling of its E30 replacement. Even without those bookmarks, if you’re looking at late 70s to early 80s BMWs, the star power still is firmly planted in the E24 while the E12 and early E28s are more classic and practical. That leaves the E21 in a strange limbo of value, making it hard to justify restoration or keep miles off a clean chassis.

So herein lies this comparison; both Henna Red 1982 BMW 320is, I found a pretty clean light restoration candidate and a reasonably clean high mileage “S” package. Traditionally, the Sport package has always been the star in this Washington Generals lineup, so will that hold true today?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 BMW 320i on eBay

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Going up? Double Take: 1990 and 1988 BMW M3s

That the E30 M3 has been on a stratospheric price rise is old news. So are the stories of “I could have bought one for $400 20 years ago”. You know what? I could have bought a really nice piece of land near the coast in Rhode Island for 10% its current value 30 years ago, but I didn’t. Old, too, are the stories of what floor some ex-M3 owners got off at; for unlucky examples, it was $10,000 a decade ago, but smarter sellers have cashed in on E30 mania in the past year. Thanks to some big number sales late in 2015, the E30 M3 market is stronger than ever which raises the question of how high it will go. At what point will people say “You know what? This is a 4-cylinder near-luxury economy car that I’m paying $100,000 plus for”? It would seem that every time someone raises the flag of THE END IS NEAR another shockingly priced example clears what appeared previously to be an insurmountable hurdle and Mr. Toad’s wild ride continues. While there’s been a slight cooling in the acceleration curve, it’s still pointed directly towards the Moon today. Hagerty’s Condition 1 price valuation for a 1990 M3 is now $115,000, and the average value of those insured is $55,800. But the market has realized that many of the examples coming to market weren’t condition 1, or frankly even condition 2. Lesser than top-tier example’s value has gone almost completely flat, and now it’s the really exceptional models that are rising to the top rather than the entire crop. So let’s take a look at two of the best out there today and muse over whether this trend will continue to new heights:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 BMW M3 on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1982 BMW 320/6 Baur TC1

Calling Baur a tuner isn’t really very fair, but since we don’t have a separate category for semi-aftermarket carriage works, it will fit in. Baur worked in conjunction with a few manufacturers – most notably BMW, though a few Audi fans will remember that they were responsible for construction of the Sport Quattros too and they assisted in the assembly of the Porsche 959 as well. Much like Porsche originally started as, they were linked to the factory efforts due to their high level of unique production capability. That manifested itself in limited run models that required special construction – such as the Sport Quattro and 959 – but what most enthusiasts will remember are the multiple 3-series Cabriolet models produced through Baur. These were offered through dealers as an expensive option and to this day remain a very unique expression of Munich motoring:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 BMW 320/6 Baur TC1 on eBay

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1983 BMW 635CSi Euro-spec

Perspective is an interesting thing. This came to mind when considering this E24 for several reasons. First off is how some people like certain perspectives of cars more than others. For me, the best angle of the E24 is the 3/4 rear shot, which accentuates the flowing roofline, the subtle drop in the trunk, and tucks the long hood in just slightly while not masking it. It makes the car look both elegant and aggressive. However, to this car’s seller, the best perspective is clearly the front as there are no less than seven pictures of the front of the car but effectively none of the side or rear that are at all meaningful. Now, perhaps that wouldn’t matter much to a perspective buyer of this European specification 1983 635CSi if the price were quite aggressively low. Instead, though, it is quite aggressively high, which brings me to my second point about perspective. That is, how much a car is worth is really a perspective of both the seller and the buyer. It would seem that amongst more rare models, the initial attempt at pricing generally seems like a Hail Mary – a hope that someone, somewhere will say “That’s the car that I want, regardless of price” and ante up. Obviously, what a car is worth to the seller in terms of either sweat equity or sentimental value does not necessarily equate to market value for a buyer except in rare occasions. So, let’s consider today’s 635CSi:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 BMW 635CSi on eBay

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Rare Shark Sighting – A Trio of low-mileage 633CSIs

I still remember when my father purchased his first German car. It was a 1982 BMW 633CSi in metallic grey with tan leather and a 5-speed manual, with the original BBS Mahle wheels. It was otherworldly to me; long, lean and low compared to the Toyotas I was used to being carried around in, the BMW had a feel of quality that the other cars I had been in couldn’t match. It snarled with a wonderfully raspy exhaust note and I felt invincible inside. The 633 was also the first car I displayed at a show myself; in that case, I proudly spent hours cleaning it and getting it ready for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix in 1993. At that point, the 6 was still a pretty new car – but even then, it was rare to see 6 series and since then it’s even more rare to find them. The best of the bunch are arguably the ones that came after my father’s car was made and got the post 1983 E28 chassis updates. Although considered the lesser model due to the lower displacement motor, in fact the 633CSi was only 1 horsepower short of the 3.4 that made its way into the 635CSi replacement for the United States in 1985. Today, there are three lower mile examples of these clean coupes up for sale – which would you choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 BMW 633CSi on eBay

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1982 BMW 320is with 37,000 Miles

I’ve recently been on a bit of a kick enjoying the looks of the BBS Mahle wheels. I’m not entirely sure why they appeal more to me today than they did last week, or last year, or even when my father had a set on his 1982 BMW 633CSi two decades ago. Then, I felt they looked outdated and undersized and really preferred the looks of the RS wheels he later placed on the CSi; but there’s a certain purity about the original design that I really like. Generally associated with the E9 and E24 models, the BBS Mahle wheels also made an appearance on the E21 320is. Today’s example is stunning in Henna Red with claimed original condition and lower mileage; but does that support the high asking price?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 BMW 320is on eBay

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1981 BMW M535i

It’s been a while since we took a look at the M5’s grandfather; the E12 M535i. Produced for a short time, the M535i was really the M-division’s first attempt at a production road car. It was more than just a prettying up as many of the “M-sport” packages are these days, too – featuring a limited slip differential, a close-ratio 5-speed manual, a host of not-so-discrete aerodynamic upgrades, some great BBS Mahle wheels to dress it up and heavily bolstered Recaros to keep you in place, the M535 looked like a natural racer. Back in the days when 200 horsepower was considered much more than adequate, these were one of the fastest sedans in the world, and one of the best handling, too. Rare to see for sale in North America, this particular model is available in Canada on Ebay today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 BMW M535i

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