1989 BMW 325iX Touring

It’s been a balmy couple of days in DC, with temperatures shooting up to around 60 degrees. One could be forgiven for wondering where the winter went. It will soon be here, I’m sure. And with it the snow and ice, the city-wide shutdown, and the terrible drivers causing pile-ups around the beltway. What would be the ideal winter warrior for times like these? The E30 325iX quickly comes to mind. A brief search on Craigslist throws up a number of tidy options (as well as the usual plethora of over-priced rust buckets). But one in particular stands out, a bit of a unicorn. AWD? Check. Manual? Check? Wagon? Check! Eye-watering price? Double check!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 BMW 325iX Touring on Columbus, OH Craigslist

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1988 BMW 325iS

1The E30 market is undoubtedly a little overheated. But it’s not hard to see why these cars are so beloved, especially in the configuration seen here. With a tight, sorted chassis, willing six-cylinder motor that sends power to the back wheels, and a snick-snick manual gearbox, it has all the vital ingredients of an 80s German sporting coupe. Simple, fun, unadulterated. The Ultimate Driving Machine. And with high miles, this one may even be relatively affordable.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 325iS on eBay

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1987 BMW 325iS

2The 325iS is one of the more desirable versions of the E30 3-series, perhaps the third most desirable model after the M3 and the Euro-market 320iS (the “Italian M3”). Showcasing precisely the sorts of features that make the E30 a contender for the “definitive German sport sedan” title, it’s a simple and fun little car with a five speed manual gearbox, a sweet six cylinder motor, a nicely balanced chassis and firm, sporty suspension. The ’87 models also featured a unique and aggressive front spoiler, nicknamed the “cowcatcher” by E30 aficionados. They don’t come much nicer than this one – a low mileage example that appears to be in mint condition. It’s not cheap, but it’s certainly a lot cheaper than an M3.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 BMW 325iS on eBay

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1984 BMW 520i

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You can’t walk two steps into the E28 community without confronting someone looking for Euro bumpers and lights, selling them, or yelling about how much better they look than the diving boards. For many, the cost of sourcing the parts, hacking up the ends of their 5er, and welding in smaller bits is worth it. The more authentic route is to find a true Euro market car, like today’s ’84 520i. It has passed between serious enthusiasts for quite some time, and is now being sold in favor of an E30 M3 project. I’m typically a go before show car guy, but I enjoy seeing people who daily drive low, unique cars just like this one.

The slammed XYZ suspension and reproduction Hartge front spoiler indicate that this 520i is far from stock, with an M20B25 out of an E30 and a serious amount of effort put into redoing all the mounts and inner bits to make daily driving a reality as long as you don’t have to confront such mountains as a slightly inclined driveway, or perhaps a small speedbump. After the effort gone into making this a head-turning daily Euro, the seller is thinking he can get very strong E28 money.

Click for details: 1984 BMW 520i on eBay

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1988 BMW 320i Touring

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Paul was right that the Tourings are coming. Perhaps some owners have been holding on to them as forbidden gems and are realizing that, as the importation restrictions are lifted, they will become more and more common and are looking to cash out now. Today’s is a clean little wagon with some eccentricities among the nice choices; one sport seat/one comfort belong to the prior, the M20B25 and 5-speed conversion well in the latter. Bidding is hot, so clearly people are still more interested in finding one here than bringing it in themselves.

Click for more details: 1988 BMW 320i Touring on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 1989 BMW 325is Track Car

With all of our posts about perfect 325s, crazy money M3s and import-status Tourings, it seems only fitting that Motorsport Monday should have a worthy E30 as well. Building a track car is like catching a virus; it makes you sick, it wipes you out, and afterwards you come out the other side saying that you could’ve done without it. A much smarter way to enter the track arena is to buy a car that’s already been built and sorted; yes, it costs more up front, but it you can find the right car it saves you a ton of headaches. Sure, you can buy a lower mileage E30 than today’s example and then spend a ton modifying it to the level of this car, only to be afraid to drive it at the end because it may be worth $100,000 some day in the distant future. Or, you could ante up and buy this one:

Year: 1989
Model: 325is
Engine: 2.5 liter inline-6 stroker
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 225,000 mi
Price: Reserve Auction

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 BMW 325is on eBay

1989 BMW E30 325is Street/Track Car w/ M20 Stroker

Drivetrain:

-Fully built bottom end with forged internals

-Reworked ported and polished head with 288 cam

-Turner/Conforti 173-300 chip

-Shorty ceramic coated headers (These are not cheap)

-Two into one custom 3″ exhaust

-Redone Getrag 5 speed with short shifter

-.410 limited slip diff

-228mm clutch w/ clutchstop

-Optima red top battery

-Cross Drilled and Slotted Rotors w/ Stainless Lines

Suspension:

-Ireland Engineering Spec E30 Racing Front and Rear Sway Bar Set

-Ireland Engineering Stage 3 Race Springs

-Ireland Engineering Front Strut Brace

-Aluminum M3 Front Control Arms

-Offset Urethane CAB’s

-Billet/Urethane Rear Shock Mount Set

-Urethane Motor Mounts

-New Nexen Tires

Interior:

-Half race cage

-Corbeau Race Seat

-Schroth Harnesses

-Crack free dash

-Aftermarket head unit/wired for amps

-Gauge pod with oil pressure, oil temp, and air/fuel meter

This is one well done purist build that runs and handles better than any e30 I’ve ever driven. It has also passed Tech Spec at Road Atlanta and was checked out recently at German Autowerks Atlanta. It also sounds incredible.

Here’s the kicker, the A/C is cold. The windows, sunroof, and power antenna all work. It has 15% tint. You can drive this to the track, thrash, and drive home in comfort. There is probably over seven grand in the motor alone not to mention all the suspension setup. The body is very solid. The paint isn’t perfect but in good condition. The front lip and rear spoiler could use a respray.

Please check out all the pictures and two videos here

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I went pretty extreme when I built my Audi track car, and it now sports a suspension that only can loosely be described at held up by “springs” and “shock absorbers” – more properly, they’re shock transmitters. Luckily, I opted to put in the lightest Kirkey race seats I could find; they’re aluminum with a 1/4″ of fabric covering them. Needless to say, driving my car to the track isn’t the most enjoyable thing these days. This car looks to be not-so-wildly suspended, and with the added bonus that the A/C is intact it’s sure to be a much more enjoyable ride. As I sank farther down the spiral of track building, the innocence of the occasion was lost in preparation for the event – getting the truck and trailer ready, tying the car down, tires and wheels and tools everywhere. Now, twenty years after I started going to the track, all I wish for was a car that I could pop in and drive there – have fun all day – and drive home. Well played, Mr. 325is.

Value? Well, you can never get build dollars back out of anything short of some exotics or ultra rare cars. With four days to go the reserve is still on and the bidding is in the mid-$3000 range. With 225,000 miles and a select group it would appeal to, this car isn’t likely to pull anywhere near the numbers we’ve been seeing on E30s. I’d guess reserve in the $6,000 – $7,000 range and if it stays there, this could be a fun and reasonably priced classic that can be driven as it was intended. Just please, get rid of those horrid black wheels and slap on something like these Team Dynamics wheels:

-Carter