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1991 BMW 318is

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Sometimes automakers will and save the best for last. While many consider the M3 the ultimate E30, the 318is was, in its own right, a 3 series to admire. Much like how Mercedes-Benz slotted their new V8 into the aging W111 coupe and convertible in the early 1970s, BMW took it’s new 1.8 liter, twin cam M42 four cylinder engine and inserted it into the two-door E30 for one last shout before the 3 series baton was handed off to the E36 in 1992. This new motor breathed new life into an old favorite, with some praising the added balance the smaller engine provided. The interior was classic E30, which was basic in comparison to modern day BMWs. However, as BMW was reaching a bit downmarket with the one year only 318is, the mantra “everything you need, nothing you don’t” was abided by. This 318is for sale in Ontario, Canada has covered only 68,000 miles and in silver over black, has aged rather well with a decidedly vintage flair.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW 318is on eBay

Year: 1991
Model: 318is
Engine: 1.8 liter inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 68,901 mi
Price: Reserve auction

This is a rare 1991 BMW 318is with 68,091 original miles (109,582kms) in excellent condition. I purchased the car from the local BMW dealership with the intent to add it to my collection however plans changed. I have done many maintenance upgrades, which are listed below as overall the car is stock or in “OEM plus” condition. Vehicle is immaculate and has not seen rain or snow under my ownership, always garaged and winter stored. This car has a clean title with no accidents and has passed Ontario Canada’s strict safety and emission regulations. The vehicle runs and drives perfectly and the engine is strong. Any required maintenance has been undertaken by a certified BMW Master tech as I pamper my cars and this has not been a daily driver. Original Manuals and all receipts are included. Selling due to space and too many cars.

Minor concerns given the vehicle is 23 years young and all pictures were taken 12/29/14:

Recent replacement of all brakes including the emergency handbrake (shoes and pads) however the brake light is on due to a sensor/wire coming loose or not connected and my mechanic hasn’t had an opportunity to address the issue.

AC in tack and worked prior to storage, likely needs a recharge.

A very small blemish (about the size of a penny) is just starting at the lip of the passenger front fender (likely from a stone chip), however it hasn’t come through the paint. Otherwise the body is immaculate with original paint.

The vehicle currently has winter tires for storage, to avoid developing flat spots on a new set of all-season tires (not included).

Original Windshield has small chip on the passengers side. I had it filled but it still shows slightly. Did not want to replace due to the originality of the vehicle.

Very Small blemish that the previous owner touched up behind the gas cap. Can only be seen when inspecting up-close.

Upgrades/ Maintenance (all has been done within the last 500 miles)

All parts were purchased from BMW and/or Tuner Motorsport

-New Timing chain tensioner

-Re-gasketed the front and top end of the motor

-ST rear sway bar kit

-Short throw Shift kit

-Stoptech slotted & drilled rotors, stainless lines (rears have yet to be installed will be included), high performance pads with racing blue brake fluid

-Bilstien sport struts

-H&R sport springs

-HID OEM BMW headlights (originals will be included)

-New IS front lip

-New battery

-Horns were replaced

-Black Grill (can be reverted back to chrome easily)

-Previous owner installed new Stainless exhaust

Extra parts included:

-Brand new AUX fan in box $300+ value (purchased it through Tuner by mistake)

-OEM halogen headlights

-Used electric engine fan for mechanical to electric fan conversion

-Rear stainless lines

-Used front control arm (spare that acquired from a friend)

-Removable Vintage roof rack

If you are not aware this model being a 318is was a one year only, production run in North America. This car has the LSD rear end with the chain driven M42 (4cyl) engine. It has the Mtech 1 steering wheel with hand crank sunroof. These cars came in manual only. Any further questions or for additional pictures please contact me via email; Serious Buyers only, this is a great example of a classic that is appreciating in value.

Seller reserves right to end auction at anytime. Vehicle is sold AS-IS with no warranty implied and located in southwestern Ontario across from Port Huron Michigan. Shipping is at the buyers expense and I will assist as possible.

Of the few cars I’d consider trading my R53 MINI Cooper S for, this BMW is one of them. There’s something about the 318is that I prefer over its larger engined sibling, the 325is. I think it’s the honest intentions of the car. Its ties to the 2002 of the 1960s and 1970s are strong. As other BMWs of the 1980s were getting larger and more luxurious, the 318is stayed true to form with the company’s focus on driving pleasure. We saw a clean 1991 318is with 130,000 miles sell for $5,000 last month. If you take the low mileage into consideration, I’d suspect this example might fetch in the $7,000 to $8,500 range if the right bidders come along. This is certainly an E30 worth cherishing for years to come.



  1. eric
    eric December 30, 2014

    I have to respectively disagree with Paul.

    I’ve been an E30 325i driver for 25 years and have driven a friend’s 318is on occassion. While the 318 is not underpowered by any means, the 325 has more grunt and, in my opinion, provides a preferrable driving experience.

    I did not notice the lessened weight/improved handling of the 318 in street driving, but the fuel economy and use of a timing chain are undeniable advantages of the 318is.

    Bottom line: They are both great cars, there is nothing that compares to an E30 and I’d take the 325 if both were available.

  2. Paul
    Paul December 30, 2014


    I can certainly see where you’re coming from. My first car was an ’88 325is; great motor and good power. I think the intrigue of owning something different from what I’ve already had drives me towards the 318is.


  3. Larry
    Larry December 30, 2014

    I’ve been out of the loop for a while, so I should probably remember the answer to this question, but…would this be a problem to import into the US? Assuming it’s a Canadian model, it’s still 2-years under the 25 year mark, but on the other hand, it’s a model that was also sold in the US in 1991.

  4. Paul
    Paul December 30, 2014


    The 318is was a one year only model for North America, but the Canadian models had no airbag and the gauges are in kilometers. This could prove an issue when registering in some states, although we’ve seen certain non-US market make it over here via states that are less restrictive with title issues. As always, the buyer would have to do their due diligence to see that the car meets safety, bumper and emission standards…or wait two years.

  5. Paul F
    Paul F December 30, 2014

    Is this the Larry from days gone by? If so, great to ‘see’ you again.
    Would love to know the answer to your question as well. My 318is is getting a little long in the tooth at 210k and wouldn’t mine trading up to a girl with fewer wrinkles.

  6. Vic
    Vic December 31, 2014

    I wish sellers would stop saying “AC in tack and worked prior to storage, likely needs a recharge”. All that means to me is that the seller thinks that getting the AC working again is too risky a prospect and that the potential cost needs to be passed on to a hopefully optimistic buyer.

  7. David P.
    David P. January 7, 2015

    Regarding whether this car can be brought into the US as-is, there is a list – I believe it is created by NHTSA but I’m not sure – of Canadian-market vehicles that can be imported without restriction. Generally these are models that are identical to their US-market counterparts or otherwise meet all US requirements for their model year. Without finding the list, this car seems likely to be OK. The powertrain is identical to the 1991 US car, and IIRC US-market E30s did not have airbags in 1989 either.

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