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.

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1985 BMW 325 Rally

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Alright, folks, it’s Thursday. We’re almost to Friday, and it’s time to start thinking about weekend fun. I love taking the M5 out for a weekend cruise, but I’ve always wanted to try out rallying. It has typically seemed cost-prohibitive, as most autosports do, but today we have a kickass, fully-prepped E30 rally car that looks ripe for the picking.

From the inside out, what started as a lowly 325e has been converted to a serious race machine. The S52 swap doubles the horsepower of the original eta engine, while the suspension has been redone with ix and Bilstein parts. The interior is full rally spec, with an approved cage, seats, and a giant e-brake handle just like Ken Block. Outside, an ix-style M-Tech kit supplements the raised suspension while a FINA-tribute sticker job makes it look like the all-business machine that it is. The custom skid plate that goes back to cover the transmission both looks awesome and is extremely useful – pretty much the general theme of this dirt-tosser. There are clearly tons of regulations that I’m ill-equipped to comment on, but it sounds like the seller knows his stuff and assures us it’s ready to go racing.

It would surely be a lot to dive into and the future investments will be serious, but a no-reserve auction means you could at least get behind the wheel for a really good deal.

Click for details: 1985 BMW 325 Rally on eBay

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1987 BMW 325is

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Here’s a sweet little 325is that is deceptively unique. With no trunk badges, a first glance at the side skirts may lead you to believe it’s a 325ix, but a closer look reveals an E30 that has been given quite a bit of attention. Under the 9 year-old repaint, the side skirts are actually BBS, and the front and rear M-Tech I valences have been integrated into chrome Euro bumpers. It’s also lacking the M-tech wheel arches, but I don’t miss them. Inside, E30 M3 seats in Natur are a nice touch (though I’ve never liked the bulbous M-Tech II steering wheel), and the mechanicals seem to have been thoroughly maintained and upgraded with nice bits like a Conforti chip and Dinan Stage 2 suspension. With no reserve, it’s time to let the eBay junkyard dogs feast.

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Low-Mileage Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalias

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The strong market for Westfalias should surprise no one by now. What is surprising, however, is finding two ridiculously low-mileage Westies for sale at the same time, in nearly the exact same spec. They’re both late-model, white on grey Vanagons that are looking for high-$30ks. That’s starting to get into decent Syncro Westy territory – are they worth it?

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1986 BMW 325es

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Here’s a chance at an affordable E30 that should be a pretty decent driver. It has the 2.7-liter eta engine which may only return low-20s gas mileage but is definitely a cruiser, as the 2000rpm highway speed noted by the seller confirms. He’s apparently put quite a bit of effort into making the car quite strong, with lots of newly replaced parts and no mechanical issues to note. There are a few cosmetic bits, but they can be forgiven in favor of that sweet early cowcatcher underneath the bumper. The interior looks quite nice other than the typical dash crack. Altogether it’s a tidy E30 that could be a good value.

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1972 Volkswagen Baja Bug

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I haven’t really wanted a Volkswagen Beetle in roughly two decades. When I first start pouring through European Car, Eurotuner, and Hot VWs (in late elementary school) the sheer breadth of available parts made personalizing a Bug seem like a great idea. That quickly shifted to GTIs and S4s as middle school rolled around, and the old People’s Car fell by the wayside. After spending a few weeks in LA, however, I’ve been rebitten by the Baja Bug. They’re a hilarious mix of tough off-roader, tuner expression, and disposably replaceable project car. This example is beautiful and well-made without being over the top. The wide tires aren’t too tall, the interior is custom but mostly comfortable, and overall it’s a well-composed Bug that would turn heads on the streets and rip corners on the trail.

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1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro

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As I fantasized the other week about rocking a Golf Country into the mountains, I didn’t really account for the limiting factors of a lifted hatchback. Yes, it can probably get you and a couple of friends over and through just about anything, but what about your stuff? Or your other friends? Hatchbacks are certainly known for utility, but when you start talking sleds, camp stoves, extra clothes, and maybe more than 4 people, you’re either going to have the biggest roof rack known to man or have to look at a bigger automobile.

Back, then, to most popular Syncro, the Vanagon! This isn’t a Westy, just a tintop, of which we’ve seen some decent examples before. An all-wheel drive tin box that can carry 7 comfortably, and this one has a burly cargo rack on top that can gather any and all snow toys you need. It’s not as fancy as some nor does it have the pop-top, but that cuts the price by over half. It’s not as immaculate as the Golf Country, with some general interior wear and a rebuilt engine and transmission a few years ago, but it looks pretty nice for 220k miles and sports some quality upgrades like Emu shocks and disc brakes. There’s plenty to do to make it cleaner and personalized, but it’s a great start on a van that could take winter adventures to the next level.

Click for details: 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro on eBay

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1991 BMW 325ix

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As we get into the slip-slidy ice times here in the Pacific Northwest, all-wheel drive is on my mind more than ever. We are fortunate to have both an E28 M5 and a Subaru Forester in our household each providing fun drives across a variety of conditions, but what if I could have both cars wrapped into one? Sounds great to me, and the first car that comes to mind to fit that bill is the E30 325ix. Deliciously analog in the 80s Bimmer way while dishing out AWD security in any condition is a tasty combination.

This example comes from the state that may hold the highest concentration of ix models, Colorado. It’s been repainted white and is fairly straight, if a little rough around the edges. But I chose this car because any time I see an E30 the Project part of my brain starts turning: what are you going to do in the future? Engine swap, suspension, spruce up the interior – all pretty typical E30 items that this 325ix would be a great foundation for. With 180k miles, the engine may be coming up in not too long, but that will provide an opportunity to get the autobox out as well. It’s no showstopper, but it’s exactly the kind of 80s German metal I want to play with heading into winter.

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Friday Fail? 1989 Volkswagen Jetta Coupe VR6

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In the past, I’ve used the Friday Fail to examine some pretty awful ads and terrible aesthetic choices. With today’s column, however, I’d like to put it to our readers to decide if this is a full-on fail, or if there is some merit to this Jetta. I happen to really dig the 2-door Jettas as both Mk1s and Mk2s, cutting a similar cropped 3-box style to the E30 coupes (compare these to their four-door brethren and then try to wrap your field of vision around a 4-series… who’s failing now?) This one has some choice Dublover retrofits like a VR6, outstanding Porsche D90 wheels, and a clean Trophy interior. The body modifications, however, are where the fail starts to seep in. I don’t hate how the Mk2 Big Bumpers look on it, or rather how they could look on it if fully modified to fit, but their slight sag makes my linear-loving brain blow gaskets. The rear bumper is the worst, which brings us to the next fail: if you’re going to give such great detail about what you’ve added to the car, CAN’T YOU TAKE MORE THAN TWO PICTURES?! At least SHOW us how that saggy butt really looks so we can start to picture how to fix it.

$6,500 isn’t bad for a mostly cool-looking Jetta Coupe with a VR6 and Porsche wheels. But having two pictures is the domain of $850 OBO “NEDS WRK AC BROKN” eBay specials. So, is it a big Fail this Friday, or just in need of a serious in-person investigation?

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1986 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro Hightop EJ22 Swap

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Here’s one of the best deals on a Syncro camper we’ve seen in a while (if not ever!) and it comes with a well-done Subaru boxer swap. These High Top campers are much more rare than their pop-top brethren, but it’s a pretty awesome look with more 4-season capability. Though listed with 290k miles, the engine was put in 20k miles ago and had a decent refresh at the time along with a rebuilt transmission. Clearly owned by a well-informed and diligent Vanagon enthusiast, this Syncro camper is going for about half of where most start. It’s caveat emptor with any swap, high-mileage car, or 80s Volkswagen in general, but anyone looking at this van should have a healthy level of project-excitement and an appreciation of getting this much Vanagon for a reasonable price.

Click for details: 1986 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro on eBay

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