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, October 24, 2013

Steve's Baur on Jalopnik!

Thanks to THEPOOLEMAN for the heads up on this article.  We know this Baur, owned by our friend, Steve G.  Good luck with sale!

For $3,900, Become a Baur-Y Boy

You probably can’t be like Jack Bauer and save the world in 24 hours, but you can buy today’s kind of scruffy Nice Price or Crack Pipe BMW 323i Baur convertible and pretend. That is of course if you think its price isn't make believe.P

When it comes to recreational vehicles do you have a goldilocks moment, finding the luxury motor coaches too big and the passenger seat of a Miata too small? Well then, perhaps yesterday’s kitschy custom1961 International Harvester Camper would mama bear you right up? Of course with 53% of you not feeling its price, it’s unlikely anybody is going to A-OK taking this to the KOA anytime soon.P
If you happen to enjoy camping where there might be bears present, then today’s 1981 BMW 323i would likely also not be an appropriate choice as its top has been Baur’d making getting bear’d way to easy.P
You might remember the E21 as the first-ever 3-series, having replaced the 2002 ‘Neue Klasse’ in 1975. Alternatively you might not remember these at all as the 320i that was sent to the U.S. was a bit of a snoozer, owing to its 1.8-litre M10 four.P
For $3,900, Become a Baur-Y Boy1SEXPAND
That’s not the case with the 2.3-litre six cylinder edition denied to red-blooded Americans out of spite over our great nation’s emissions and fuel economy regulations. This 1981 E21 is that Euro spec 323i, featuring that model’s sweet as a sun dappled kiss M20 engine and thin, elegant bumpers that scoff at your car insurance deductible.P
Not only that, but this one has been modded - with BMW’s blessing - by Karosserie Baur GmbH, giving the car a multi-position targa/convertible top. That’s comprised of a hard section on one side and a soft section on the other - much like a Twix - both kept inline by a solid roof structure that features Alfa Montreal-esque slots in the B-pillar and maintains the Hofmeister Kink in the smaller rear sidelights.P
The ad for this silver over black Baur notes that top is theoretically configurable into 4 positions, but I think that includes one window up and one window down. Regardless, it's actually locked into configurations having the soft back section down all the time as the ad notes that part is in need of replacement.P
Other problems include a body that while seemingly clean does have what is described as a 'pateena' which I think is also the name of a hip new Asian fusion restaurant in Milwaukee. The seller says he has been using the car as a daily driver, which makes you wonder just how many miles are under its belt since he also says the odo broke at 110,000, but doesn't detail when that happened. Was it last year? Nineteen ninety seven?P
This car's condition isn't all titty twisters and atomic wedgies however, as the ad does note a litany of replaced parts, some of which are either expensive or critical elements. The daily driver status also means that registration of this grey market car shouldn't be too big a hassle. The fact that it has had side marker lights added implies that the work to make it legal may already have been totally done. Lastly, the gearbox behind the silky six is as five-speed as you want it to be.P
Baur E21s are pretty rare here in the U.S., but not onerously so. 323i editions however are pretty much equatable to lady chicken pearly whites so this car's appearance shoud raise an eyebrow of interest. The question of course is whether its price will cause all interest to be lost.P
The seller is asking $3,900 for the car, and while this is the second kind of ratty silver Bimmer we've had here this week, this one stands a far better chance of leaving at least some of your wallet intact over the course of its ownership, while that 850Ci would have drained your bank account and then gone after the kids' college fund.P
With all that in mind, what do you think about that price - $3,900 - for this rough but ready 323i Baur? Would that be a fair trade for such a rare and desirable car? Or, is that price un-Baur-able?P
You decide! 
Check out our previous post about Steve's Baur:

Here is another article from Bring a Trailer:
Here is another Baur that was featured on Jalopnik a while back (June  2012), along with a comment I posted there:

For $6,200, Grin And Baur It

Following the 2002, the E21 3-series was seen as a lackluster successor, especially in its 4-cylinder only U.S. guise. Fortunately today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe E21 is said to carry the silky smooth 323 motor, and more fortunately, the rare Baur targa top. Will its price however drop it back to traditional levels of E21 want?

Flexibility is a forte - well, outside of present day politics it seems - and the Baur targa conversion as applied to BMW's small series, provide a compulsive obsessive's nightmare of options for top positions. Cutting the roof off of a car not originally intended for topless duty is a Pandora's box of problems, everything from replacing structural integrity to figuring out how to seal formerly framed door glass.P
The Baur conversion solves a lot of these problems by being - to abuse the parlance of The Princess Bride - only mostly convertible. The 3-series retains its fully framed door windows and has new, smaller fixed glass behind a substantial and ribbed for her enjoyment targa bar. To that is mounted a removable center section and fold down soft section in back, just like the Lancia Zagato.P
For $6,200, Grin And Baur It
Unlike that rusty italian (take my word for it) the Baur E21 was never officially offered here in the States, nor was the 3-series available here with the 140-horse 2,316-cc six cylinder, an engine that transformed the E21 from four banger snooze factory to engaging rump shaker. This 1982 metallic grey E21 brings both of those foreign exchange students to the mixer, in a car that most likely won't have to sit with Mohammet. Jugdish, Sidney and Clayton.  

We've had a 323i here recently, although that car didn't let the sun shine in. It did rock the Euro bumpers, a feature sadly lacking on this one. Instead today's car carries the scarlet letter of massive park benches front and rear. The Baur top looks complete and mar-free, both the targa portion and the foldable rear section, which from the rear gives the car a bit of a Batman appearance when covered with its tonneau. No interior pics leave that realm a mystery, but the E21 interiors typically suffer from seat and door panel wear and tear as well as more dash crack than Bobby Brown's limo.P
For $6,200, Grin And Baur ItSExpand
On the plus side, the ad says that the car runs excellent and sports only a modest 115K on its clock. There's a nice quartet of basketweaves and the seller's promise of an additional set mounted with snow tires.P
Snow tires imply snow, as in having been driven in the cold slushy stuff, and that can only mean one thing -
snowball fight!rust. In fact, there's obvious bubbling on the driver's side rear wheel arch, something going on with the trailing edge of that side's door, and grodiness behind each front wheel arch, below the rub strip. That last one may be road tar or zombie entrails, who knows? Lastly, the paint on the trunk lid looks a little sketchy, but that may be just shadows and reflections. It's hard to tell.P
For $6,200, Grin And Baur It
So the car's kind of weird - it looks U.S. Spec, but is claimed to rock the 323i engine and five speed, what's up with that? The Baur top is less of head scratcher as a tiny number of them were done here in the U.S. by aftermarket roof-loppers ASC, although most of those went to Canada. Overall, the six and the ability to go topless, along with the uniqueness factor may overcome any niggling rust issues.P
But will they overcome a $6,200 price tag? Ha, I'll be you didn't see that coming! It's now the time to weigh in on the price for today's candidate. The seller doesn't give up much in the ad, and I think waterbaording is frowned upon these days so we'll just have to roll the dice with what we've got. Do you think this Baur'd Bimmer is worth $6,200? Or, would paying that much prove you not smarter than the average Baur?P
You decide!


We have been doing a search in a bmw forum (referenced above in the "roof-lopper ASC' comment) for all the Baurs in the US. As far as we can tell at this point, only 3 US Spec E21 Baurs were imported officially by BMW. We were told that there were maybe 25- 30 TOTAL E21 Baurs in the US, including grey market versions. However, we have found a total of about 80 so far. That is a pretty rare car. But, it is also an historical artifact, in that they were produced at a time when it was widely believed that convertibles were going to be outlawed for safety considerations. Note the built-in roll bar. That is why it is there. The last American convertible in that era was the 1976 Cadillac Eldorado. Convertible production resumed in the mid-80's, including BMW, and the BMW relationship with Baur was phased out shortly thereafter.
Most of the grey market cars had to be 'federalized' at importation, which is why you see the 'diving board' bumpers. Those are easily replaced, to restore the cars lines. Most of the grey market versions also have the M20 six, either the 2.0L or the 2.3L, instead of the US M10 4 cylinder.
I personally prefer the sharp design lines of the E21 to its iconic predecessor, the 2002, and the equally iconic E30, its successor. Baurs are not to everyone's taste. But for those interested in rarity and interesting historical vehicles——that are also a blast to drive—— the E21 Baurs are hard to beat. And with only 80 vehicles in the entire US, you are not going to pass one going the other way very often. My E21 Baur is a daily driver, pushing 300K, and it puts a smile on my face every time I am in it. I can also drive it as a coupe, as a targa, as a landaulette, or as a cabriolet. 4 cars in one. We will be bringing a few to the Vintage at Saratoga on July14, and it may become perhaps the largest gathering of Baurs ever in the US. Most car guys, even BMW guys, have never seen one in person. Come to Saratoga and have a look. 6/25/12 3:05pm


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