1983 BMW 320i

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The E21 is an underappreciated gem in the classic BMW market. While many of the prime examples we’ve seen for sale have been low-mileage survivors, they have also been demanding prices in the mid-teens, which is several orders of magnitude higher than what standard, stock examples cost. Today’s is a fun compromise, combining dramatically modified looks with some careful mechanical attention and all coming together for a fairly reasonable price. It won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but I like the cream exterior on shiny BBS deep-dishes. It’s a little too low, but that’s clearly the look the seller was going for. The big selling point for me is that the current owner bought good parts and has everything in working order – no mean feat for a 1983 BMW. With a slightly readjusted ride height, the silliness would disappear and this would just become one of the cleanest E21s out there.

Click for details: 1983 BMW 320i on eBay


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Year: 1983
Model: 320i
Engine: 1.8 liter inline-4
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 170,000 mi
Price: Reserve auction, $5,300 Buy It Now

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I have a 1983 BMW 320I E21 I am selling. I restored this car and now selling due to some doctor bills.

So far I have done:
New Paint(OEM Color)
New Carpet
Front seats redone
Everything works
New water pump
Motor has 70k miles on it.
New battery
New BBS Rep wheels
New Tires
Lowered on H&R springs
New Plugs
New intake boot

Everything I ordered from the car was from BMW Germany. The car runs very good with no problems at all.

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If the motor really has just 70k miles on it, the 170k on the chassis is a lot less daunting. It’s clearly undergone some recent work, as the woodgrain valve cover is both clean and hilarious. That valve cover underscores that this is a loved car with a little sense of humor – similarly reflected in the extra inches dropped and dished. I wish he’d taken some better pictures, because this really is a cool original 3-series. I think it’s worth near his full asking price. It’s the kind of old Bimmer that should garner thumbs up on any drive.

-NR

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12 Comments

  1. Kudos for a genuine sense of humor!

  2. I want to like this car, but I don’t.

    The valve cover made me smile, but then I saw the rest of the engine compartment. I couldn’t help thinking the time spent on the Martha Stewart treatment of the valve cover would have been better spent cleaning and painting everything else.

    Just looking at the pictures, I see too many things that would have to be changed or undone (in my opinion). The center console looks to be a shop class project, the black trim and painted bumpers look out of place and the tinted taillights are just awful. It’s another case of a modified car not being to everyone else’s tastes.

    Just out of curiosity, I have to wonder why there are no pictures of the front of the car…

  3. I have a genuine, non-sarcastic question. Where did “BBS” (in quotes because I’m assuming they are replicas) wheels of this highly polished (or chromed) super deep lip style, originate from? When I think of BBS rims I tend to think of the classic “tuning fork” or basket weaves style, not this.

    This style of rim has a high correlation of appearing with other trends (that I don’t get) such as: stretched tires; extreme negative camber rear wheels; fake Euro license plates, etc. I’m just trying to understand why. Is this the new version of what wire wheels and Vogue tires used to be?

    Pertaining to this car – someone needs to tell the seller his phone takes pictures when you hold it in landscape mode too, wide ones! Lol

  4. Yuck. Similar to others, I want to like this car but there’s just too much about it that smells like hipster.

    >This style of rim has a high correlation of appearing with other trends (that I don’t get) such as: stretched tires; extreme negative camber rear wheels; fake Euro license plates, etc. I’m just trying to understand why.

    Yeah, it all seems to come from the “VW Tuner” scene. It’s all gross and makes cars look silly and undriveable.

  5. Ry, those super-deep RSs first appeared in the 1980s; they were really the only wide wheel option for a time. I have some shots of a Treser modded Quattro with what I think are 15″x11″ RSs on it. But you’re right, all of the lips were machined and clear coated, not polished. I think the polished trend started with the VW scene but I really can’t explain all of the different looks – “murdered”, “prima donna”, etc. On a side note, there were BBS RS and RM limited edition wheels that were painted pearlesant white – ever seen those? That’s gotta be like crack for these folks…

  6. Imagine how long it would take to polish those lips – one of Neil Peart’s Quattros with some funky flares and 15×10 BBS RSs

    http://www.motorgeek.com/phpBB2/gallery2/d/93900-2/white_front_right.jpg

  7. @Carter – I think Treser fans might be analogous to Americans that lusted after Trans-Ams and went to monster car races in the ’80s…that’s just the vibe I’m picking up!

    >> Imagine how long it’d take you to
    >> polish those lips

    Even though it turned out to be neither dirty, nor comedic – the phrase above made me literally lol quite loudly.

    I actually think those rims look ok on that white Quattro – maybe because they are not super polished nor supee tiny low profile. I guess I’m just wired with a constitution that has a very hard time accepting cosmetic/esthetic changes that are probably at a performance deficit to the non super wide, stretched tire, lip protruding so you can’t park against the curb, negative camber, etc, etc. It’d be like bringing a chiouhoha (sp?) to one of those frisbee catching, cone running athletic dog competitions.

  8. @Dallas. Around Hipster ground zero here, hipster personal transport is usually either a Volvo 240 or MB 300D. It might also be a vintage motorcycle but most likely just an old Schwinn or Raleigh.

    Love the ‘zebrano wood paneling’ on the valve cover. That’s a new one.

  9. Hopefully you didn’t like the look of the car too much; the guy that fixed it up ripped off the flares and turned it into a narrow-body (GT/Coupe Quattro) Quattro with Fuchs. Honestly, it came out awesome. http://www.motorgeek.com/phpBB2/gallery2/d/93903-2/IMG_9941_sm.jpg

  10. >http://www.motorgeek.com/phpBB2/gallery2/d/93900-2/white_front_right.jpg

    Now THOSE are some box flares – wow. Didn’t know Neil was a car guy as well as a BMW motorcycle fiend! Thanks for the link.

  11. @Carter – I think I liked the earlier example better. I don’t dislike the flareless rebuild, but it looks too “storm trooper-ish” for my personal tastes. But yes those Fuchs are indeed sharp.

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