We have 15 years of archives. Links older than a year may have been updated to point to similar cars available to bid on eBay.
As with the first 5-Series, the E21’s reputation has suffered in the wake of the models that replaced it and the legend which preceded it. The US-market models were long on bumpers and short on engine choices and while a lot of them sold here when new, they just never really grabbed the enthusiast following of either the ’02 models or the E30.
Yet there are good examples that pop up from time to time, especially when they’re presented in European guise and with the gutsier inline-6 under the hood. The model that often pops to mind is the 323i, one of which I looked at back in 2018. But there was also a carbureted version called the ‘320/6’, which used the M20 hooked to a single Solex. That’s what we’re looking at today, but this one not only has the more desirable look at motor, but also a host of period-style mods to go with it:
Calling Baur a tuner isn’t really very fair, but since we don’t have a separate category for semi-aftermarket carriage works, it will fit in. Baur worked in conjunction with a few manufacturers – most notably BMW, though a few Audi fans will remember that they were responsible for construction of the Sport Quattros too and they assisted in the assembly of the Porsche 959 as well. Much like Porsche originally started as, they were linked to the factory efforts due to their high level of unique production capability. That manifested itself in limited run models that required special construction – such as the Sport Quattro and 959 – but what most enthusiasts will remember are the multiple 3-series Cabriolet models produced through Baur. These were offered through dealers as an expensive option and to this day remain a very unique expression of Munich motoring:
I feel as if the E21 is the Rodney Dangerfield of BMWs. It gets no respect at all. On its own, it would be considered a perfectly fine, well-engineered vehicle. However, the E21 had the problem of being sandwiched between two BMW legends, the 2002 and the E30 3 series, both of which enjoy a cult following to this day. This particular version of the E21 for sale in The Netherlands is one which I had no idea existed. We never saw the six-cylinder version of this 3 series in the US, an issue BMW would rectify when the E30 appeared in 1984. This Procar Edition with the carbureted, 2.0 liter inline-6 is mainly a trim level special, with Motorsports pin stripes, BBS wheels and special interior trim.
The E21 is a funny little beast, but some nice examples have cropped up over the last year or two. Today’s is about as odd…