We have 15 years of archives. Links older than a year may have been updated to point to similar cars available to bid on eBay.
Yesterday I wrote up a very clean ’94 525i Touring for sale here in California with only 76,000 miles on the clock. Right after I save that piece I ran another search for E34 wagons and came across this example for sale in Waco, Texas. Though it is the same color, it differs in a number of ways from the first car and I thought it would make for an interesting would you rather sort of question to round out my Wagon Week posts.
More often than not I have trouble deciding between two cars that are very similar vs. ones that are very different. Throughout the course of my recent car shopping adventures I’ve looked at everything from the new M235i to a 911 SC Targa, the latter mostly just out of pure curiosity, lord knows I can’t afford one. However now that I’ve narrowed my search down to 5 different cars, all from the same manufacturer and all sharing design traits, I’m finding it even more difficult to make a decision. I think choosing between an old Porsche and a new BMW would have been far easier than choosing either an E34 or E39 5 Series. Harder still would be to choose between the car you see here and the 525i Touring I posted yesterday.
As we round out Wagon Week, let’s take a trip to Deutschland to look at one of the cleanest, most compact longroofs around. The E30 Touring is just now importable to the US but is still quite a rarity on these shores. In Europe you can find them in all varieties and in all sorts of condition, but today’s little 318i is quite a gem. Having covered less than 50k miles in its quarter century, it looks stunning inside and out, especially with the always-excellent Shadowline trim option. The grey cloth looks clean as new and I much prefer it in these cars to the ubiquitous leather we get in Bimmers here; it’s a nice reminder that, while very cool, this is also a utilitarian, base-model little wagon. These days we Americans are starting to have access to some great E30 Tourings including the beefy 325ix, but it’s hard to beat this red 318i for good-looking simplicity and value.
We’ve seen a fair number of Type 3 Volkswagens recently here at GCFSB, notably a rather tasty Type 3 Notchback show up in our Feature Listings earlier this week. However, since we are wrapping up another successful Wagon Week, let’s take a look at the long roof version of the Type 3, the Variant. Known to those stateside as the Squareback, the Variant was a two-door estate model with the familiar “pancake” rear-mounted air-cooled flat four engine. Today we’ll travel across the pond and take a look at a Variant for sale in Lisbon, Portugal.
When I come across clean E34 wagons like this one I always wonder what kind of life it has lived, what allowed it go all these years unscathed when so many of its siblings get destroyed by time. At 21 years old this 525iT has fewer miles on it than the majority of used cars from the past decade that we regularly feature. Don’t get me wrong, it’s no garage queen. 72,600 on the clock is a fair amount but compared to the majority of examples out there with more than double that figure under their belt, this is a very low mile car indeed. Aside from the attractive odometer reading the car appears to be in fantastic cosmetic condition inside and out. The Iceland Green Metallic paint over Parchment Leather is as classy as can be and quickly becoming my favorite combo for old Bimmers. Whomever this thing belonged to, they certainly babied it because the front seats show no sign of stress or wear. The rear seats and cargo area look like they’ve barely been used which is particularly unusual for these cars. I keep going back and clicking through all the pictures over and over again thinking I’m going to find something I missed. A tear in the carpet, a stain, a rip in the headliner, something that indicates that this car was used as intended over the past two decades. However there’s nothing there, no red flags, no catch. Just a damn fine example of a wonderfully designed wagon that is ready to serve for many years to come.
When I think roadtrip vehicle, my mind immediately goes to the frugal and capable Jetta TDI. When driven carefully, they can far exceed their standard MPG ratings while swallowing tons of gear. All this with class-leading comfort and style in the interior. My main gripe is the unattractive front end, but in my dreams I just throw a TDI Cup front end on it, creating a seriously good-looking wagon. This 2009 Sportwagen has a lot of positives – low mileage, 6-speed manual, panoramic roof and premium sound are all boxes I’d want ticked. The glaring downside is the rebuilt title, which we know is always a big liability. A full inspection could suss out if the driver’s-side collision really was minor and if everything is good to go. Rebuilt titles mean low resale values – maybe not ideal if you sell it in the future, but if everything checks out it creates an insane deal on an ultimate roadtrip machine.