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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

Year: 1979
Model: 323i
Engine: 2.9 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 25,000 mi
Price: Reserve Auction


Nice Grey market 323i.

10.3:1 compression ratio

Approx 200HP

272 duration cam

Turbo Diesel crank

New timing belt

Tuned Header exhaust

RMS front strut brace

New Tires

New Rotors

Recaro Seats

Alpine Stereo
$1000’s in receipts!

The look of the European-spec E21 is automatically much better to me than the U.S. version; narrow bumpers really make the car appear as a scaled down early E24 in the right way. The 323i adds some meaty touches like the deeper front airdam and the twin rear exhaust. This car also adds in some awesome early BBS RA wheels in a shade of gold that really works in my mind and what appears to be a Hartge front valance, though a E21 expert could probably correct me. Instead of the original mill, a modified 2.9 inline-6 churning out a reported 200 horsepower is under the hood. Inside we get some updated Recaros and a clean looking interior. It would be nice to know some more details of the work completed and the extent of the rust that’s shown, but overall this looks like a really nice E21 that stands apart from the typical crowd but has the motivation to back up the looks. These cars are still pretty undervalued relative to the rest of the 1980s BMW market, with the best examples in the low teens. This car shouldn’t hit that mark, and as such if the rust isn’t worse than described it could be a great entry-level 3-series.

Thanks to our reader Albert for sending this in!



  1. Rockgin
    Rockgin February 9, 2015

    I ended up making a deal with the owner and buying this 323i.
    What sold it for me was being able to speak to the previous owner who built this car. The initial description doesn’t come close to describing the $40k spent on the engine upgrade, exhaust, suspension, cooling, interior, etc… Though I’ve owned many older Bimmers (several ’02s, an ’80 e21 323i, Coupes, e12s, e30s and an e30 M3…which I really miss), I wasn’t looking for one until this Euro 323i popped up. It also comes with loads of spares. Plus, I never see e21 sixes for sale…

  2. Carter
    Carter February 9, 2015

    Hi Rockgin,

    If you’re interested, we’d love to do a write-up on your purchase! Let me know and thanks for chiming!

    Congrats on the purchase,

  3. Rockgin
    Rockgin February 10, 2015

    That would be great, Carter. The 323i is in transport right now making its way from west coast to the New York. Once I get a hold of it and go through it (as well as the build records), a follow up will be fantastic. Please send me a contact email and I’ll send you an update within the next month.


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