1982 BMW 323i Baur

1982 BMW 323i Baur
Memorial Day 2010 First Drive 1982 323i BMW Baur Lapisblau M20 5 speed #4154 of 4595 made. The car was imported to California by Dietel Enterprises. I have since changed the wheels, installed the clear turn signal lenses, and I am in the process of installing a new cabriolet roof. I have to do something about those bumpers, too. :) I love this car! To see one of the reasons why, check my post "Score One For the Good Guys" on 6/26/2011.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

1979 BMW 323i From Jalopnik: Nice Price or Crack Pipe?

Thanks to E21 bimmerforums member roverclassic for this link today!

Check this out from Jalopnik:: What do you think.... go to the site and vote!  

Jalopnik:  Nice Price or Crack Pipe?

For $4,500, Be Three, White, And E21

A palindrome is a word or phrase that reads the same both forwards and backwards - for example never odd or even. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe E21 is novel in the U.S. as its a 323i which is both even and odd as well as palindromic. The question is, which way will you go on its price?
I was shocked - SHOCKED I tell you - at all the haterade guzzled at the expense of the B-series engine and the LoCost Seven itself yesterday. Dudes and Dudettes, the MG 1800 is a solid citizen of a motor and can produce gobs of power for not all that much bank. Still, that vitamin B was seen as a pox of the house of home built and the Seven came away with a solid 65% Crack Pipe loss. Apparently that many of you equate this car's Lotus position with being bent over.
Okay, a couple of weeks back I made you all a promise that we would be taking a break from German cars. Well, today the embargo has been lifted. Can I get a halleluja? Here we have a 1979 BMW E21 Coupe, from Germany. Big whoop you might say, that generation of 3-series being - in America at least - one of the least desirable, having been the recipient of an underachieving version of BMW's M10 four cylinder. That engine, when saddled with the then new-fangled emissions controls, could only muster 100-hp back in '79.
For $4,500, Be Three, White, And E21
This car is different however. Your first clue should be the thin Snidley Wiplash mustache bumpers where you'd normally expect to find massive oxidizing rubber snood-surrounded aluminum beams. Then there's the badging - on both trunk lid and forward-canted grille - which read 323i. That extra 3 means this car sports not the M10 but the six cylinder M20, which was good for 143 ponies when Carter was in office.
The 323i was the top model back then, and as Europe typically likes to deny America its finest, one that was never offered here. According to the ad, this one was privately imported and federalized way back in 1980. Not only that but the seller claims to have all the maintenance records dating back to that year, as well as mason jars filled with his own urine and three decades worth of toenail clippings stuffed in pillowcases.
Okay, so I made up the pee and pillowcase bits, but the OCD oil change and tire rotation records are a good thing, right? Another potentially good thing is the mileage which at 125K is a Mama Bear like not too many to be worn out and not too few for everything to be shriveled up from lack of use. The exterior looks to be in pretty good shape for any number of miles, and sports a set of period-appropriate turbines. The white paint shows no obvious imperfections in the pictures, and all the trim appears intact. The only potentially questionable element outside might be that (Kamei?) airdam, but even that's open to debate.

Inside, the Recaro passenger seat seems to be in serviceable shape while the driver's throne has gone all Phantom of the Autobahn with a ill-fitting cover potentially highlighting an aria of issues. Other than that the dash looks complete although it's impossible to tell if it is free of cracks - a common problem on cars of this age - and it does have the proper accoutrements of a sport steering wheel and three-pedal footbox. Also the car sports A/C and one of those cool tits-up radio placements.

The seller says that recent maintenance items filling the car's diary include water pump ($), injectors ($$), fuel pump ($$$) and wheels and tires ($$$). That's a lot of $$$ and now it's up to you to determine if the 4500 in $s the seller is asking for this 323i is a good deal or not.
As noted earlier, the E21 never caught on the way the precedent 2002 or following E30 have, and were this the world's nicest 320i I think we'd all agree the seller is in deeper crack territory than Kevin Smith's proctologist. But this one being the grey market but fed-approved 323i raises its interest level significantly. But does it raise it enough? What do you think, is $4,500 for this 323i fair enough for you to choose Nice Price when you rise to vote, sir? Or, is that enough for you to say madam, I'm Adam, and that's Crack Pipe?
You decide!

Nice Price or Crack Pipe: 1979 BMW 323i for $4,500.
Denver Craigslist or go


Now also on Bring a Trailer (BaT)! Check out the comments!

Euro 1979 BMW 323i

This 1979 BMW 323i was gray-market imported in 1980, and has full documentation ever since. We love these 6-cylinder E21′s, and this one also has our preferred Alpina-style 15′s and a white/black combo that is better than the plethora of browns and golds that so many still wear. Find it here on Craigslist in Boulder, Colorado for $4500.
1979 BMW 323i Euro For Sale

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Please observe Bring a Trailer's commenting rules.

  1. Absolutely love these 323s. Back in the day, I had an ’80 320i, but this is the car I really wanted. This one looks really clean and the documented history is a bonus.
  2. I also had a 320i, with an aftermarket turbo kit; after a string of 2002′s. Would have loved to have a 323 back then. Nice example, with a fair price.
  3. This is a fantastic car at a fantastic price. Easy to modify handling and a perfect size that tosses around easily. I love these 323s. Mine had 88k Km on it and had double that left in it easily, even after being raced a bit.
  4. Lovely and a good price!
  5. A grey market e21 323 is a dream car of mine. No $4500 unfortunately…
  6. Matt (from Sweden)
    Now see, this is major bang for the buck when 2002 prices have gone through the roof. I don’t care what you purists say, this is a better car with a sexier engine! 25% limited slip differential helped to keep 143BHP to the ground.
    Ok, not quite as handsome as the 2002 but still a lot of car for that money. I say get ‘em now before they too go through the roof.
  7. Memories…. The second car I owned was a 320i dropped about 1-1/2″ w Foha air damn, loved that car.. I later moved out to Seattle to go commercial fishing.. When I got back from Alaska all I had on my mind was “cars”.. There was an area north of Seattle that had more used car lots than a person would know what to do with; myself included, this 10mile section of road was pure gold.. That’s where I stumbled across it, an original 79 323i 4spd, slate grey, black leather, alpina look rims, 4 bbl carb, headders.. I saw it across 4 lanes of of highway, the deal was done w the first wet road test drive, talk about 2ndarys kicking in…! $2500 in 1994, the car was absolutly the most fun I’ve ever had driving on the street.. Great price, someone snap that beauty up!!
  8. Great car for really decent money. This would be cool with a 3.5L out of E24 M6 or E28 M5…wicked! I bet it bolts up too.
  9. That just happens to be my tax refund…
  10. Matt (from Sweden)
    @Slow N Rusty,
    The Hartge H3S 335i had the 3.5 from the 635CSi so yes, it bolts right in.
  11. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an E21 in the U.S. in anything other than gold or brown. Or maroon. Wheels are great, but seeing a dual exhaust on this is jarring. I’m sure I could get used to it.
  12. Add me to the list of people who drove a slightly tuned 320i years ago but lusted for the 6-cyl. I even relocated the rear license plate.
  13. Reminds me of my 77 320 (not i). Non fuel injected–mechanically same as a 2002, euro spec car with owner’s manual in Spanish! Was originally shipped to El Salvador then imported here somehow. It was a great car. Sold many years ago for $1500
  14. Matt (from Sweden)
    Personally I’d love to get my hands on one of these:
  15. The dual exhaust is funky, but the sound is wild and distinct.
    A much better buy than a 2002.
  16. I have a 2002 right now. And an 1800TI. Seems like every mod you consider requires sacrificing a 320! (motor upgrade, 5 speed, seats, brake drums). So, how long has it been since you saw a really nice, clean 320? I think I am agreeing with Matt(from Sweden) that these are going to shoot way up in price and be hard to find a good one!…hmmm?
  17. @PBL: I could be corrected but I’m pretty sure dual exhaust was standard on the E21 323i.
    @Doug M: This is a 323i not the 320i that we were subjected to stateside.
    In the late 80s a friend of mine had a Hartge 323i and he order a distributor for it from Germany. When the distributor got here we discovered it was the wrong one. I still have that distributor. If someone wants/needs an 0237302038 PGFUD6 I have one on the shelf.
  18. Could've would've should've
    Buy it
  19. When I had my 320i I found a 323 with a fried engine in a junkyard in Austin, TX. Several hot afternoons later, my car had rear discs, a rare steering wheel and a limited-slip! Yeah, I miss that one.
  20. That exhaust looks like it was lifted from a zimmer golden spirit…
  21. Great find and not a bad price really, if it checks out as clean as you hope then its a good deal.
  22. The dual exhaust is funky, but the sound is wild and distinct.
    A much better buy than a your average 2002.
  23. I would want verification that the head was not cracked, even at the modest asking price, as these early mini-six’s were renowned for it. I had two 323′s, both with cracked heads.
  24. to Slow N Rusty and Matt from Sweden, the M30 is a larger engine than the 2.3, the 2.3 is called the baby six, think engines from the 325 of the 80′s. It would take some modification to install one of these M30, I have seen some 325 engines installed in a couple of 2002′s.
  25. Cheap, but still expensive by e21 standards!
  26. I’ve owned a gray market 323i. Much different than the 320i with a nice, smooth, torquey motor. The K-Jetronic injection can be expensive to fix. Like all 02s and 320is, rust is the enemy, particularly in the rear shock towers. They can be squirrely in the wet, but a really fun car to drive. NP.
  27. This car will be gone by day’s end….if it is not already.
    If it was anywhere in the southeast US it would be in my driveway this weekend!
  28. The hot setup was to find an ’88 super-ETA engine from an ’88 528e or 325 (the 325e was called the 325 for ’88 only) and put a ported ’87-91 325i head onto it. The one-year only ’88 eta engine was a 2.7 with seven crank bearings instead of 3, and lent itself for quick spins to 7K RPM easily.
    That bolts right into the E21 323i, as it shares the same M20 block as the 325e, 528e, & E30 325i.
    Anyway, beautiful E21, I just find myself preferring the ’80-83 dashboard and 5-speed.
  29. Absolutely agree these are unfairly overlooked by the enthusiasts. At that price it would be a great daily driver.
  30. I’ve had a couple of 320′s in the past. They were good buys 15 years ago.(parts were cheap and they were easy to work on) I also think they’re better cars than the early 318′s that replaced them.; had a couple of those too.(meh). I haven’t seen a 320 in forever. The last one I recall was an unfortunate victim of teenager, pep boys hackery awfulness I saw maybe 10 years ago. I wouldn’t mind having another, but they’ve disappeared. I can imagine that an additional 40 plus hp would make this a lot more fun to drive but I doubt the parts would be as affordable or that it would be as easy to work on.
  31. why is this car still for sale?? are you guys sleepin?
    what fun this car would be…get ppl to underestimate you cuz it’s “just a 320i” and then drop the hammer on em in the twisties.
  32. So refreshing to see what appears to be a very decent car at a good price, that the collectors haven’t quite caught up to yet. Grab this while ye may!
  33. Like some of the other members here, I had a 320i – a Resedagrun 1977. I bought it through a Michigan dealer who was bringing them in from Windsor, Ontario. The dealer was taking advantage of an overstock of cars and a premium (in 1979) on the US dollar.
    I was completely enamored by Paul Braq’s design and the styling ques incorporated into the E21 design from the Turbo showcar.
    Ultimately, the car was a disappointment — electrical problems, dealer warranty service problems, etc. Even though exceedingly well-cared for, it never brought me the satisfaction of my ’69 2002.
    I drove it on an open course event at my home track, (Grattan, Michigan) and was sneered at by the attending 2002 owners who talked about the tail-happy handling and front end shimmy.
    Right now, I’ve a line on a very nice 320is in Hennarot that could be had for sensible money out here in San Francisco, but my fondest wish would be to resurrect a 1979 323i 5-speed that’s languishing in the back lot of a body shop near SFO.
    With 2002 prices as silly as they are, I believe the E21s, especially at these low price points, will soon become the darlings of the “high-performance for low dollars” crowd.
    Sign me up.
  34. I like these a lot. I think I’d rather have this than a 02. If it checks out, some new owner is going to be very happy.
    Agree this will be gone soon. Try to find another one…..
  35. @Matt (from Sweden)
    “Personally I’d love to get my hands on one of these:” What, a stocky Fräulein in a green shirt or the BMW?
  36. Love it. Those dual exhausts can’t be factory though?
    Anyway, great bang for the buck, especially considering all the little extras (Alpinas, air dam, nice steering wheel, etc.)
  37. The only thing I’d do to this is shorten up the tail pipes, and put on chrome tips.
  38. Matt (from Sweden)
    I’m married so the correct answer is probably ‘neither’. But I meant the BIMMER! There, I said it.
  39. I had one of these with in the early nineties with a 2.8 litre six, close ratio five speed and limited slip differential. That was the most fun car I have ever had. I regret getting rid of it. This car reminds me of that.
    The dual exhaust on this car is from the factory. The 15 inch Alpina wheels are also worth quite a abit.
    I agree, this will soon be a collector car.
  40. e21 323′s did indeed have dual exhaust from the factory. If you look closely, you can see the original chrome tips which appear to be installed well aft on the steel pipes. I agree with a few of the comments above, even when correct, the factory exhaust needs to be shortened to just an inch or two past the lower valence.
    Regarding the popular ‘eta’ stroker swap – its the cam bearings in the ‘eta’ 2.7, not the crank bearings, that are three in number. All M20 bottom ends have 7 main bearings.
    I’ve had a couple of these cars, my current being a ’81 with extensive suspension mods. They are still largely forgotten, but heaps of fun.
  41. Be aware: post 75 greymarket means tough to register in CA!
    CA folks: don’t buy!
  42. Drove my boss’s 320i a good bit back in the day…compared to the 74 2002 I’d driven for many many miles, the 320 handled OK but sounded/felt much rougher overall, with the front end shimmy Delia mentioned, plus a very buzzy shifter and uninspiring engine note. The newer car seemed like a retrograde step.
    Stuffing a straight 6 into same shell should do wonders. Dual exhausts to play proper music. No doubt there’s lots of suspension tweaks and updates that would transform the car as well.
  43. Dual exhausts are factory fitment on the 323i. Not with those aftermarket tips though.
    This is the way the E21 is designed to look, and really the car we should have gotten as a model family upgrade to the anemic 320i.
    I’m surprised this car is still FS. Given the crazy prices for nice, well-sorted E30′s this car should be gone by now. (Former owner of a pristine, show winning alpenweiss E30 325is here.)
  44. After lurking at BaT for months now, I have to speak up and let you all know how much I *love* reading your comments. Such a depth of knowledge here, it’s just amazing. I especially like to read comments on cars that I might not be particularly interested in… by the time I am done reading the comments, I am sometimes checking my garage space and thinking if I shuffled this car sideways.. I could fit it in. Keep up the great comments!
  45. this car is terrific, small, rwd, beautiful engine sound, classic design that puts in shame many cars of today. besides for that prize what other car could you get?
    Its the perfect compromise between classic looks and modern ergonomics, the driving position is perfect.
    some minor mods in the suspension turn this little car into go-kart mode. Most rewarding car ever owned, always regret selling it.
  46. Like many BMW enthusiasts, I view the E21 as a ‘tweener in the middle of the classic 2002 and the more modern E30. Or, in my case, a parts source for swapping an E30 motor into a 2002.
    That doesn’t mean E21s aren’t nice cars, though, and the six sets this one apart. I’ve seen these registered in CA, although I’ve got no clue on the nuts and bolts of that.
  47. @ Gael b:
    I agree Californians would be better served to buy a local car with a previous CA registration and CARB sticker.
    Hardy & Beck of Berkeley, CA, modified a number of these cars back in the day and it’s likely they’ve kept records of all the the cars and upgrades… a proven method to make the M20-six pass smog.
    At the moment I can think of two 323i examples and two 320i Baur cabriolets that are in the process of restoration out here in San Francisco, so it *is* possible, though not necessarily economical, to build a street-legal California-legal 323i.
    Would make a wicked track/autocross car, too!
    I’m also pretty sure there’s a smog-able M20 that would bolt right in…lord knows there’s enough e30 donor cars out here…
  48. Check out the Roy Lichtenstein 320i Turbo race Art Car. Inspiring.
    Also, with 143hp on tap for the 323i M20 motor, it always makes me think what an amazing evolutionary jump it was to the M42 in the 318is E30. 1.8L 4cyl with 136hp on tap – plus less weight.
    For those interested, Andrew Everrett’s E30 3-Series Restoration Bible offers the definitive how-to guide for creating a junkyard 2.8L stroker motor. For the white glove types, Ireland Engineering sells a kit.
  49. A fellow I knew in Pittsburgh had one of these, which I believe he bought from a fellow in Colorado. I loved the look, and it could certainly get around an autocross course with alacrity, but I’d be inclined to look for a 325is E30 for the same money.
  50. This car with the 6 and Euro bumpers makes for a very different looking and performing car then the USA 320i. I would consider replacing my 02 with this, and the dollars seem about right. If it was in my back yard I would be very tempted.
  51. Bring a tubing cutter.
    Never got into Bimmers, I appreciate them and all but just never went there. If I was on the hunt for a BMW I would be looking for one of these. Baby six in this baby 3series must be a blast. Really love these, looks like a great car for 4500. Funny how a car like this does more for me then other cars costing 10x more.
  52. The dual exhaust on mine ended in ovals and shorter. The Ronals looked great too…
  53. Amen Shanon, they don’t make um like they use to..
  54. Nice car.
    Mirrors don’t match.
    Worth the money.
  55. As silly as this sounds, I wouldn’t buy it until the owner proved to me that all of the wheels come off. Over time, corrosion “welds” them to the hubs and it makes a real mess getting them off.
  56. @PaulP:
    Being from Michigan (I escaped in 2006), I understand the problem with aluminum wheels, steel rotors and road salt.
    I’ve had to resort to a number of workarounds to get wheels off, including loosening or removing lugnuts and taking a hot lap around the block to break the wheels away from the rotors or brake drums.
    Of course, that depends on whether the lugnuts (or in this case, lugbolts) can be loosened.
    In the rust belt, anti-seize is your friend.
  57. In Ohio I use anti- seize on the studs and on the back of the wheels where they touch the hub. Even then I take the hot lap after loosening all of the nuts a few threads.

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