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There’s a clean red 318is I see around the island I live on fairly regularly and these Sports Sedan Lite models have always intrigued me. While my E28 is an engine-first beast, the E30 318is has always held the same allure that my later-Golf-engined Rabbit Pickup had – a light, direct driving experience with an enthusiastic but modest engine that rewarded momentum driving. Without the inline-6, the 318is becomes all about the chassis. And when said chassis is one of the most legendary ever built, that’s a good thing.
This 318 has covered 171k miles but looks like a car with half that. The silver exterior and black interior both look outstanding – someone has taken serious care of the paint and leather. The chrome/gold ESM wheels that come with the car are hideous to me, but it comes with the original wheels so the costume jewelry could be sold to get some classier rollers. Some 16” Style 5s would do the trick just perfectly. That’s really my only complaint, though, as the higher mileage has been mitigated with outstanding maintenance and care.
We don’t see much of the 325ix around here (though Carter’s recent 325ix touring was a special treat), as they seem to have mostly died undignified deaths in Colorado and the northeast. This Vermonter has somehow survived without too much damage, not even showing any of the usual rust that appears around the M-Tech II bodykit. It’s covered the better part of 200k miles and has a few flaws (note to the seller: saying that “the car need a power sterring holes fot the power streeing to work again, and the paking brake is not woking now” four lines after “a lot money spent to keep it in top running condition” does not inspire trust. However, this is a rare 5-speed coupe E30 with all wheel drive, so it still warrants a close look.
The new Golf R is a force to be reckoned with, making the first appreciable increase in power since these MkIV R32s brought 4WD performance and the R moniker to the VW Golf lineup. While the new 2.0 liter turbo four may produce a lot more power, the open-flapped exhaust on these 3.2 liter VR6s will still turn more heads. Having covered just over 40k miles means this is one of the best examples on the market, so the seller is going big and asking for $20k. Yes, that’s well on its way to a new GTI or slightly used Golf R, but I’ll always have a soft spot for the original R32.
The S52-E30 swap makes a lot of sense to me, and I hope to some day try one out – if not own one. We’ve seen examples that range from Eastern Europe-y to So-Cal slacker, but today’s silver 325is takes a decidedly more subtle approach. Yes, it’s modified, but the E36 DS2s look good, as do the Alcantara centers on the seats. Overall it’s a pretty great package that, if the seller’s claims of no issues at all hold true, make this an exceptional E30. My biggest issue with this sale is that the motor came from an M Coupe, which makes me sad. Maybe that M Coupe got was totaled… but let’s just pretend it got an S62 swap. Either way, this seller took an opportunity and did an E30 swap right.
The Vanagon Weekender is a nice alternative to the full-on Westfalia treatment, lacking the fluid, electric, and gas inlets/outlets, but still possessing great campability with a pop-top, table, and folding rear bed. Today’s Weekender has undergone the popular Subaru flat-4 conversion, bringing a little more power and reliability compared the old VW wasserboxer. You could see the Weekender and non-turbo Subaru engine as compromises, or as very capable options that keep costs down. That’s the lens I choose to see this Vanagon through; it’s not a high-powered, fully-optioned and mega-expensive model, but it has the right bits to get the job done.