The beautiful M3 Convertible I looked at yesterday was a reminder that I often skimp on drop-tops entirely. On top of that, I’ve been ignoring one of the most popular options in the classic German car market – the E30.
Introduced midway through E30 production, the Convertible you see here was the first factory BMW convertible since the 1950s. It showed in the execution; BMW’s slick top folded neatly away under a hard cover, in stark contrast to Volkswagen’s Cabriolet which looked like it was sporting a neck support pillow in back. Little trunk space was lost in the execution, meaning you had a fully functional 4-seat convertible replete with storage for the weekend. Base price was nearly $29,000 in 1987, but that included leather sport seats, electric windows, anti-lock brakes, cruise control and an on-board computer. For the U.S. market, there was only one engine option, too – the M20 2.5 liter inline-6, meaning no “E” model and plenty of spin on the tach, along with 168 horsepower. This helped make up for some additional weight from the top mechanism and structural strengthening, resulting in around 3,000 lbs of curb weight. But while the E30 was the benchmark as a driver’s car, many more of these were used in a relaxed manner; top-down luxury cruisers to enjoy the sun:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 325i Convertible on San Francisco Craigslist
Model: 325i Convertible
Engine: 2.5 liter inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 98,500 mi
There are very few E30s like this around in terms of condition, maintenance and documented history.
2 family car. Original owners gave it to their daughter, who gave it to her daughter. I bought it from her.
I’ve put only 10k miles on the car over the last 4 years but I have done tons of preventive maintenance on the car.
The car is an automatic in the original Bronzit color.
98k original miles. yes, they are accurate and the odometer is original
timing belt and water pump
brakes all around
complete steering and suspension including new control arms, offset M3 bushings, swayer bushings and brackets, Bilstein shocks. Professionally aligned of course.
oil pan gasket replaced
reinforced welded subframe installed
upgraded injectors and ECU (the only “mod” of any sort besides keyless entry and aftermarket radio)
a/c converted to R134
redone drivers seat and rear seat leather
just passed smog (easily)
Everything, including cluster, trip computer, check system, works. If there was anything that needed to be done, at all, I did it. The drivers seat does not have heat due to the refurbishing, but I have it.
This is a no-excuses car with the kind of condition and detail that can win a concours. The paint is not perfect (there are some chips and a possible repaint in one or more places) but it turns heads. You can fly here and drive it home anywhere.
If you’ve been wanting an E30 but lament that they all have over 200k miles or have been modded to death, this is your chance. Owned by a BMWCCA member with too many cars.
Bronzit was a popular tone on the Convertible, and while it doesn’t pop as much as the reds and greens did, it still looks great nearly all the time and is certainly classic. Keeping the theme going inside is a nice looking beige leather interior; black would be a standout, but you probably wouldn’t want to sit in those seats after a few minutes in the sun unless you like the smell of bacon more than most. The seller has spent some time sorting age-related issues common to older cars which provides worry-free enjoyment of this classic. With lower mileage and in great condition, along with a reported clean bill of heath and without excuses, this is a great way to get into a 325i Convertible and enjoy one of the nicer driving drop-tops from the period without breaking your budget.