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3 BMW e21 323i For Sale Listings: When Did These Become Valuable?

These little 6 cylinder, gray market import BMW’s are coming out of the woodwork all of the sudden. Of course at these prices I’d sell too!

First up is this 79 in Southern California on eBay. It is no reserve with 5 days to go, and only at $500 so far. 5 days is a while, but I think the result will give us an actual idea of what kind of premium the 6 cylinder car worth. This particular example looks good from most angles, but the paint and bodywork that is mentioned needs to be investigated. It has some older looking cloth Recaro’s that look like they’re worth saving, and the Panasport look-a-likes (are they real?) are a nice touch. The faux Alpina badging is not.

Next up is this 83 I spotted about a week ago on the San Francisco Craigslist (which by the way, is a gold mine for rare and affordable, cars and motorcycles). This car looks like it had a fanatical owner who loved the car for quite a while. It includes all the right performance upgrades that make the car better without loosing balance or class. This is a great looking prospect, but the asking price is $11k. Considering decent e36 M3’s trade hands for a bit more than this, I think the seller is a bit optimistic. But I’d have a hard time taking less if I were the owner considering the work in.

Finally this 82 323i came up on Roadfly this morning. It has 90k miles, looks fully federalized with the U.S. Bumpers, and the ad states that everything works. The current owner serviced the car since new as a BMW certified tech and has owned the car personally since 89. Talk about known history! His asking is $14.5k. It’s a nice car, but I guess I am still stubborn that this was e30 M3 money as little as 5 years ago. Again though, if I were the owner, I don’t know that I could let it go for less. Might as well keep it!

So do we have a surge or correction in the 323i market or just some proud owners? While significantly nicer than garden variety 320’s, are they that much nicer? Weigh in with your experience and leave a comment below.


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  1. Rich Flynn
    Rich Flynn November 23, 2008

    Hello, I have one of the rarer E21 323i Baur convertibles, and yes these are great BMW collector cars. They are fast look great and are fun and fairly easy to maintain. They have gotten a bad rap from the BMW clubs and enthusist because they are cousins of the E21 316 318 and 320 which have less powerful engine and in the US have the ugly bumpers and smog equipment. The Euro e21 323i are great and someday will gets its due respect.

  2. kalpoe
    kalpoe January 8, 2010

    iam looking for the bmw 323i e21 age are 1978/1983
    can you send my some picture when you have this car i like to buy
    regards kalpoe

  3. Ron
    Ron February 1, 2010

    I have a 1980 323i (e21) if the sale price was right I would sell it. The car was imported by a BMW tech and is in great shape, I purchased the car from him.

  4. CS68
    CS68 May 9, 2010

    I owned one of these cars when stationed in Stuttgart Germany. Mine was a 1978 323i alpine. It did not have the emblems like the one pictured here and was spelled alpine not alpina. Anyway’s this car rocked. It would on a good run on the autobahn peg the speedo on the odometer reset pin pointing straight down and still have a few hundred rpm left. It could pull that as well until the rev limiter hit which would scare the crap out of you if you wern’t ready for it. I estimate the top speed to be somewhere around 155 mph. The speedo went way past it’s 220 km. To this day I have driven only a couple of cars that would pull like this thing could above 4000 rpm. It truly was an awesome car and I would love to own another one.

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