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Tag: M20

Tuner Tuesday: 1986 Alpina C2 2.7

From earlier’s obscure E21 B6 2.8 we move on to the much more popular (then and especially now) E30 model. Alpina once again worked their magic in many ways over the production of the E30, steadily increasing output to try to stay one step ahead of the factory. Up until 1986, that was a bit easier, but the introduction of the M3 model that year put some serious pressure on Alpina and would result in the M30 based B6 2.8 and 3.5 models, but the earlier Alpina models were based upon the M20 323i powerplant. Punching that out to 2.5 and later 2.7 liters as BMW released its own updates, the ultimate result was 210 horsepower from the larger unit. These were expensive cars in their day and consequently few were sold, but performance was top-notch and it was a premium product from the unique manufacturer:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Alpina C2 2.7 on eBay

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1988 BMW 325ix Touring

For proof that automobile enthusiasts often don’t make much sense, one doesn’t need to look much farther than the E30 325ix Touring. Built on exactly the same formula as yesterday’s Passat 4Motion, while enthusiasts will look upon that car generally as an overpriced oddity, pop a clean ix Touring onto their computer screen and wallets begin to fly. Understandably, there’s a style difference between the Volkswagen/Audi products and the highly sought after E30 Touring, but honestly does this car do anything appreciably better than a S4 Avant? I can only think of one thing – it generates income for the seller:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 325ix Touring on eBay

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1987 BMW 528e Euro-Spec

The allure of European specification cars from the 1980s is great with me. Beyond being equipped with items that never made it to the U.S., there’s the look – especially when it came to BMW and Mercedes-Benz models. Audi’s mid-80s refresh and updated bumper skins meant that by 1985 it was hard to tell the difference outside of the headlight glass; contrast that with this BMW 528e. While I’m sure there is a devoted U.S.-spec 528e fanbase somewhere, it is really low on the appeal spectrum when you consider the 535is and M5 that ran alongside it. Usually presented in drab and unpolished tones, the 528e has always struck me a bit as a German speaking Eeyore. However, revert the car to its original European specification, and suddenly it’s a different ball game. Slimmed down and cleaned up, it’s a smart looking sedan again – and few appear in this condition:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 BMW 528e on eBay

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1985 BMW 323i Baur TC

There was a period in the mid 1970s where it appeared that safety nannies like Ralph Nader were going to bring about the death of the convertible. Consider, for a moment, that in 1965 Americans bought nearly 500,000 4-seat convertibles – but by the late 1970s, Detriot had completely abandoned what had been a very successful market. Today, it’s German firms that are the leaders in convertibles sold in the U.S. – no surprise, really, when you consider the number that are available. From the Eos and Beetle to BMW’s 3,6 and Z series, along with plenty of Mercedes-Benz models and Audi’s TT, A3, A5 and R8, there’s no shortage currently of options with air above. Go back to the early 1980s, though, and there were really only two. You could pay a lot of money for a Volkswagen Rabbit Cabriolet, or you could pay a ridiculous amount of money for a Porsche 911 Cabriolet. In response, many aftermarket tuners offered to take the top off just about everything from the S-Class Mercedes to the Porsche 928. Baur was one such firm, offering a drop-top version of the 3-series before BMW did. Rare to find, there’s one that’s popped up for sale today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 BMW 323i Baur TC on eBay

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10K Friday: BMW 3-series Showdown

Rightly so, I’ve been accused of comparing everything to BMWs – so for today’s 10K Friday, I thought why not compare BMWs to BMWs? Part of the reason I compare various cars I write up to the alternative BMW products is because for some time they have been considered the benchmark, and their popularity from new to the used classic market means that they set the pricing trends against which others can be judged. That’s especially true of the 3 series; for some time, the go-to performance product from Germany, increasingly many earlier generations of the 3 are being viewed as not only collectable, but indeed as investments. So, what does your $10,000 budget buy these days? I’ve rounded up five examples from the first five generations, covering nearly every configuration the small executive platform has been available in. Which is the winner?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 BMW 320is on eBay

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