1988 BMW 320i

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Here’s a great example of the late-80s, pre-recession business-sedan side of the E30. We spend so much time looking at rare examples, 325ix tourings, tuned 325is, that the populist-yuppy nature of the breed can be forgotten. This Euro-spec 320i commuter model – 4 doors, 4-speeds selected for you – helped you fly through the HOV lane listening to the Scorpions with brisk confidence and understated good looks. BMW nailed the E30 so hard that even the plastic steelie wheel covers end up looking like the E34 M5 turbines done smaller and better.

This recently-imported German example has less than 18k miles – 28,000 kilometers on the GDM odometer. It may not be the best athlete of the family, but this perfect 320i is the attractive accountant.

Click for details: 1988 BMW 320i on eBay

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1991 BMW 325i

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Here’s a doozy, folks – a 1991 325i that’s covered just 20k miles. The car didn’t cover much ground in its first decade, after which it went unregistered and unused for the better part of 15 years. It was then picked up by a Pittsburgh auto dealer who is now liquidating his stock for retirement. He’s letting it loose with no reserve, as well as the other car on his eBay profile right now – a Ferrari yellow convertible Cadillac Allante. We talk about rare cars here, but that Allante – whew!

For being such a fun little bronze coupe, this thing sure hasn’t found much love. It is in pretty much brand-new shape though, especially after a repaint to correct years of sitting – perhaps it was the automatic transmission? Whatever the reason, it’s time for it to find a home that appreciates what a lovely representation this is of the E30 breed. It should be on the road, daily driven by someone who likes driving but needs shifting taken care of.

Click for details: 1991 BMW 325i on eBay

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1995 BMW M3

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Many people love the E36 “M3/4/5,” the 5-speed manual, 4-door sedan sleeper. It was the first M-car I fell in love with (and drove… funny how that works). This M3/2/5A is the opposite, the only less desirable version being the convertible. An automatic sedan is unfortunate but perhaps defensible as a family car. This coupe, looking hot in Hellrot and on the perfect Style 22s, deserves to be the Ultimate Driving Machine. Without the lovely 5-speed manual to play the S50 as you please, it’s just not. Dang pretty though.

Click for details: 1995 BMW M3 on eBay

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1996 Volkswagen Jetta “Trek” Edition

The year is 1997, I’ve recently turned 11, and mountain biking is my thing. My 21 speed Trek is my ticket to freedom, and adventure, I’m old enough to now be allowed to ride it anywhere in my small town, and strong enough to take it on some of the more aggressive wooded trails. One day while out for a ride a car blows past me, not anything out of the ordinary, just a Mk III Jetta. But up on the roof rack, well, there sat a pristine Trek with one of the freshest paint jobs I’d ever laid eyes on. If Google had existed I would have gone straight home, and looked up all the pertinent information about this uber cool bicycle, and known that it was a special edition in partnership with Volkswagen. Instead, it wouldn’t be until I accompanied my parents to a local VW dealership that I would come to learn about the Jetta Trek edition.

Click for details: 1996 Volkswagen Jetta TREK on Cars.com

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1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SEL

To round out my week of posts I thought it would be appropriate to post the top dog of the W126 lineup, the 560SEL. I found a couple pristine examples with rather lofty prices that I considered writing up but in the end it was this example that needs a bit of cosmetic love that captured my imagination. The seller notes that they’ve handled a number of issues and that the only concerns are the state of the hood, top and trunk paint and the A/C system needing service. Other than that, this Bavarian living room on wheels is ready for a whole lot more use, either as a daily driver or weekend warrior.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes Benz 560 SEL on Craigslist

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1993 Mercedes Benz 500E

For all my talk of fandom concerning older Mercedes models, there aren’t many that I would actually pony up the dough for. Sure I appreciate the W123 for the road warrior that it is and I’ve often day dreamed about enjoying a summer cruise in a Blue over White Leather W124 convertible but neither would satisfy my craving for speed and handling capability. My love of technical canyon roads and aggressive cornering is probably why I’ve always been more attracted to BMW than Mercedes and my fiscal responsibility is probably why I ended up in the middle with Audi. As much as I love brute power, I’ve grown fond of driving a slow car fast rather than a fast car slow up in the twisties. Bottom line is you can only do so many 80-140 mph pulls before the experience becomes boring or you get yourself locked up for reckless driving. But if ever there was a Mercedes that would pull me away from Quattro and Efficient Dynamics and manual transmissions, it would be the 500E.

To me, the rarity of this car is one of the most attractive things about it, only 1,528 were imported to the U.S. during its run. Equally as attractive is its ultimate Q-Ship status, as far as I’m concerned it is the finest example of a factory produced sleeper. Of course that makes sense given that the car was hand built by two of the world’s most respected automakers. Today it’s hard to fathom Mercedes collaborating with Porsche but back in the early 90’s it made a great deal of sense. Mercedes wanted a car to beat the M5 and V8 Quattro, Porsche wanted to show their engineered prowess could be applied to a four door sedan. Yes, I’m drastically over simplifying the whole project but there are those far more knowledgeable on the subject than I who’ve written about the car at great length. I am more than comfortable saying that this example appears to be an absolute peach.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Mercedes Benz 500E On eBay

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1989 BMW 525i

At first glance this may appear to be nothing more than a very clean E34 525i, but look inside and you find out that this car is quite unique. It’s not the pristine cloth interior that I bet still smells good or the OEM tape deck. No, what makes this ultra low mileage E34 so unique is that it’s a import from the Land Of The Rising Sun. That’s right, this is a LHD BMW Japan E34 525i. I’m not an expert on BMW interior history but from what I’ve been able to find, the steering wheel in this vehicle is also unique to foreign markets as is the leather surrounding the shifter. Someone please correct me if I am wrong but so far as I can tell all the U.S. spec E34 5 series had a hard shifter surround, not padded leather which I think is a very nice touch.

Aside from those things the interior is the same low key environment you’ll find in any E34, simple ergonomic design that is focused on the driver. It’s always such a pleasure to see vehicles of this era with such sharp interiors because it really exemplifies how on point they were. I’ve been in a bunch of E34’s and never really appreciated the cabin as most of them had been well worn, sticky surfaces from spilled coffee, cracked leather, that stale smell of two decades worth of shutting people around. I hope that the person that takes this thing home realizes how special it is to break in 26 year old car and really enjoys the process of doing just that. It’s great that this 525i has such low mileage but I’d say it’s time for it to be somebody’s daily driver.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 BMW 525i on eBay

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1989 BMW 325ix

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This 325ix was rebuilt as a present for the seller’s father, but apparently Dad wanted an SUV instead. I’m guessing it was a sort of homespun “Pimp My Ride” judging by the looks of it – take the old E30 and pretty much redo it top to bottom, with some extra flair added for good measure. I already know the flair is going to be polarizing, but there’s enough good stuff in here to keep it out of the “Friday Fail” column for me. Wherever you think it lands on the taste scale, there’s no question that a lot of effort was put into giving this 325ix a new life.

Click for details: 1989 BMW 325ix on eBay

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#FailFriday: RHD 1987 BMW 325i Sport

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E30 fanatics (am I automatically considered one for using alphanumerical platform codes?) love digging deep for special editions and casually name-dropping things like “Sport Evo,” “Cecotto,” and “M-Tech 1” or even “M-Tech 2!” Today’s right-hand drive Sport Edition is a new one for me and was available in Europe, Japan, Australia, and South Africa. If you like shifting out of “Park” with your left hand and enjoy constantly wondering where the double yellow lines are, this special-edition 325i could be yours for just a bit more than a standard E30. That’s right: as bonus feature, it has a rebuilt Sport slushbox! The 325i Sport’s autotragic was way before its time, incorporating BMW’s now-ubiquitous and seemingly-endless shifting options in the form of 3 settings – choose your adventure! Redlining the M20 isn’t just for clutch-capable teenage hoons anymore, Americans! With moderate mileage and the subdued Delphin Grey, you can confuse children in a car that appears to have no driver while appearing to enthusiasts like just another dude in an E30 with a mediocre bodykit and some rust bubbles.

Click for details: 1987 BMW 325i Sport on eBay

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1985 BMW 535i

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We’ve seen some cool examples of the standard 535i recently, and today we have another clean, low-mileage example that is coming from its original owner. With just 116k miles, it looks pretty impeccable inside and out. The one main detraction is the automatic, but on the flipside it was just replaced. Having to drop some serious cash on the transmission and brakes was apparently enough for him to decide it was time to move on, as it’s up for sale with no reserve.

Click for details: 1985 BMW 535i on eBay

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