Back in 2020 I took a look at an oddball – the 1990 Bertone Freeclimber – which was on this page solely because of the power plant. In that case, it was BMW’s relatively unloved M21 turbodiesel inline-six. That engine also found its way into the weirdly cool Vixen motor home and a Lincoln Continental, and when unloved there, the BMW 524td there. But in Europe, you had the option to install it on your E30, as well! Only in this case, it didn’t have the turbocharger. Dubbed the 324d, it was available from 1984 to 1990 and…you guessed it….relatively unpopular. Perhaps that’s because it was the least powerful E30 option, and it was only offered as a sedan. 0-60 times made the underpowered 320i seem sprightly; it took the 324d over 16 seconds to hit 60. BMW finally added a turbocharged 324td model for the end of production, but they still weren’t sold in big numbers. One of the late naturally aspirated examples has turned up for sale in California, though:
Wait, the recent strings of Opels weren’t enough? Nope! Strap in! Back in August I took a look at an ‘Opel’ Monterey, which was really just a lightly rebadged Isuzu.
Well, if you squint, this Bertone looks somewhat similar, but then all of the boxy off-roaders kinda do. That’s not where the link is, though. The Freeclimber was marketed under the Bertone, but as with previous Bertones – just as the X1/9 – it was really just a rebrand of an existing vehicle they had helped design. In this case, underneath the Freeclimber was a Daihatsu Rocky, and yeah, there’s definitely no link to Germany there. But things did get interesting under the hood…