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Federalized 1989 BMW 325iT

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It’s been a while since I’ve gone on a wagon kick, but a friend’s recent purchase of an early-80s Swedish longroof has reminded me the eminent usability, attractiveness, and all-around awesomeness of lengthy 4-doors with a big hatch. And because we always want what we can’t have, wagons not sold in North America obviously get big bonus points. The E30 wagon is a prime example of this, and we have featured some great ones here before.

Today’s is notable in that, other than the “is” front spoiler, it looks like it should be street-parked on any standard strasse. Sure, it’s undergone some modifications for extra fun like switching the original 1.8 for the venerable M20 2.5L, adding a 3.73 LSD, and Remus exhaust, but it’s not slammed and retains stock wheels, giving it a playfully mundane aesthetic. Though the magic 25-year waiting period is about to expire, the seller makes a good point that most E30 wagons in Europe are probably pretty beat, and then you have to ship and whatnot. This one is clean and cared for and readily available, if that extra door is worth doubling the price of a normal E30 for you.

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Year: 1989
Model: 325iT
Engine: M20 2.5l inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 115,000 mi
Price: Auction, reserve on at $12,200

Click for more details: 1989 BMW 325iT on eBay

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1989 BMW 325i e30 Touring—Lachs Silver Metallic w/ Anthracite Cloth—Born on 1989-04-15 as a German 318iT and was imported to the USA on 1999-01-08 @ the cost of $5800 plus a shipping cost of $1058 and misc fees of $778 (we have all the importation/federalization paperwork)—Hard to believe it cost $7636 just to get this Estate on our shores and legal—Once on our shores Mr. Ivarson decided she needed a little more power and sourced an M20 from a 1987 325i including its transmission and differential—It was installed by the Little Car Shop in Milwaukee, WI @ a cost of $3045 minus the cost of the engine on 2001-03-14 (it looks like it was born with it)—Lots of maintenance records but things to note are Timing belt and cooling parts @ 106k, spark plugs, wires, cap, rotor and HD Bilstein front and rear shocks @ 113k—Added Extras BMW euro cloth recaro front seats, “is” front spoiler, Remus Exhaust, Indoor car cover, Cargo liner, 3.73 limited slip rear end, new speakers in cargo area, ellipsoid headlights, m tech 1 steering wheel, euro triangle and first aid kit—Car has manual window, manual steering rack, manual sunroof AND NO A/C (never has had it)—Most of the tourings you see come out of Canada and have rust issues (this car has NO RUST)—We bought this car from a collector in Washington State on 2011-06-11 (he has owned the car since 2008-04-15)—This Estate wagon is probably one of a dozen in the USA and currently rides on State of Washington title and is clear—Car has really just been a showroom car over the last two years and taken to some local shows (it is in VERY impressive condition)—I hear lots of talk about importing these cars from Europe now that they are approaching 25 years old but finding clean, affordable ones in Europe is not that easy /much less getting them here (these cars have been driven and used, not collected, I compare it to finding a clean e30 coupe or sedan on the US market—not that easy)

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If I were to go full bore and get an E30 wagon, I’d probably go a little lower and get some OEM+ wheels, but I really appreciate the upgraded internals complementing the Euro-standard exterior on this one. We could talk about the utility of an E30 wagon, but really you’re paying the extra dough to have a fantastic wagon that is extremely rare in these parts.



  1. Larry
    Larry August 15, 2013

    “I hear lots of talk about importing these cars from Europe now that they are approaching 25 years old but finding clean, affordable ones in Europe is not that easy /much less getting them here (these cars have been driven and used, not collected, I compare it to finding a clean e30 coupe or sedan on the US market—not that easy)”

    Good selling technique. Anticipate the buyer’s alternatives, and plant the idea in their mind that going down that path is going to suck and fail miserably.

    I’m a big wagon fan, and a big E30 fan, and this one is pretty much spot-on with the Euro-spec equipment levels and good colors, but I just don’t see spending something (well) north of $12K for a higher mileage, engine swapped, federalized E30 wagon. Yes, locating and importing a good one is a hassle, but 25 year rule is already off on ’87 and ’88 E30 wagons, decent examples do exist, and there are plenty of resources to help interested buyers import a car (the internet is a wonderful tool) – probably for much cheaper all-in price than this one is going for.

  2. Larry
    Larry August 16, 2013

    I’m pretty sure the E30 Touring was introduced in 1987, MCB. Regardless, the point I was making is that 25-year E30 wagons can be imported legally now.

  3. motoringconbrio
    motoringconbrio August 16, 2013

    Geez, I stand corrected — I have yet to come across an ’87. And you are, of course, correct that the earliest models are now eligible to be imported (which was never in dispute).

  4. Larry
    Larry August 16, 2013

    Sorry if I that sounded edgy, MCB. I didn’t do my usual fact-checking before posting one of my comments the other day, and I got called out on it…so maybe I’m a little sensitive? My apologies.

  5. motoringconbrio
    motoringconbrio August 16, 2013

    Oh no, not at all — I was wrong on this one. I looked it up afterward and was astounded to discover they first started offering them in ’87. I have never seen one in all my time trawling the depths of the Internet looking at these silly cars.

  6. Larry
    Larry August 16, 2013

    Nate, I’m wondering if this is the same car from two years ago (see “US-Federalized E30 Touring for sale!” under Related Posts #1 above)…

    Some parts are different (wheels, etc.), but the importation, conversion and ownership history, all sound about the same, and of course, the VIN’s on the ebay ads match. Curiously, the mileage hasn’t changed – which opens up some questions about actual chassis mileage (as well as swapped engine mileage). By the way, the last seller in WA was asking $15K for it, so I’d guess this dealer might be looking for same or higher.

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