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1981 BMW 323i

The BMW 3 series is a darling of the tuner set, especially when it comes to the E30s. Perhaps it’s the car’s pure driving experience or it could be those looking to relive a part of their childhood, coming of age when these cars were in showrooms. The first 3 series, the E21, tends to get a bit of a cold shoulder when it comes to enthusiasts, perhaps because it was only offered here with the 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine. Competent a car as it might have been, we were deprived the tasty 2.3 liter inline-6 that we see here in this 323i for sale in California. Looking sharp in black, this car has just enough flair to give it that period 1980s Beverly Hills look without going too overboard.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 BMW 323i on eBay


Year: 1981
Model: 323i
Engine: 2.3 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 200,012 mi
Price: No reserve Auction

1981 BMW E21 323i


VIN: WBAAH310XB7450226

Here is a late E21, known as the first BMW 3 Series compact executive car following the BMW 2002. This particular 323i is an original European specification example purchased new in Germany by a U.S. Naval officer who tastefully equipped the car with period Hartge, Alpina and OZ accessories. It was later brought to the states and sold to its second owner in Parachute, Colorado. Then it sold again to a third owner in 2008 where it remained until we purchased it.

This Sunroof Coupe features Black over Charcoal cloth upholstery. Notable exterior accents include a Hartge front chin spoiler, Foha side skirts and rear spoiler, as well as OZ Route alloy wheels. The interior is fitted with Recaro sport seats, Momo steering wheel, Alpine CD player and comes wired for a Radar detector. The upholstery remains in good condition, while the dash shows typical cracking. Featuring the M20 engine and Bosch K Jetronic fuel injection, the 323i was the top model of the line with 143 bhp and four-disc power-assisted brakes. Power steering, a 5-speed close-ratio ‘dogleg’ sport gearbox, and 25% limited slip differential. Other additional performance enhancing equipment is an aluminum Hartge strut tower brace and short-throw shifter. Overall, this 323 appears to be a nicely preserved driver with discerning period modifications. We have been able to start and run this 323i but due to having been in long-term storage we recommend a thorough check over and service before driving on the road. It is most probable that it will require attention to the fuel system, we are selling the car AS-IS WHERE-IS. Here is a great workhorse for continued enjoyment; we encourage a closer inspection of this 1981 BMW E21 323i “Sunroof” Coupe and welcome any parties interested to visit our showroom in Houston, TX.

Link to high resolution photos of the car: 1981 BMW E21 323i

Being offered with NO RESERVE
To learn more about this vehicle, please contact our sales department at (281) 497-1000 or

Selling Made Simple. A Leading Buyer of Fine Motorcars since 2005.
We purchase classic European sport cars – One Vehicle or Entire Collections.


Carter had featured these very wheels we see a while back in one of his Wednesday Wheels posts. They certainly are a breath of fresh air amidst the usual BBS varieties that normally find their way onto early 3 series. E21 prices are still lagging behind the E30, which is a boon for collectors looking for a bit of fun on a budget. The mileage is a bit high, but the car presents well and strikes a nice balance between stock and overly modified that is sure draw a few bidders in.



  1. Ry
    Ry October 17, 2014

    I completely like all of the original owner’s mods (I do not say that a lot!). And that dogleg 5-speed is a very cool, rare, Euro only option (it was one of 2 5-speeds and 3 total manual gearboxes offered). An identical pattern but different physical gearbox to the Euro only E30 M3’s dogleg. There’s a funny Top Gear where James May is driving a 190e Cosworth (IIRC) and continually puts it in reverse at traffic lights.

  2. Carter
    Carter October 18, 2014

    Those OZs are not the obvious choice, but boy do they look great in this application. This is a well presented car and I love the look!

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