The Turing Test is a natural language test to determine how human-like an artificial intelligence may be. Similarly, today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe BMW E30 Touring will test your ability to determine whether its price is too high or not.
We've been up to our wattles in wagons - and Nice Price wins - this week, with so far only yesterday's 1983 custom 200SX convertible being kind of a shitbox sorbet to cleanse (?) the palate. Also breaking that second trend, only 33% of you were down with the brown, as its price was seen as the height of Crack Pipery. Today we're going back to the long roofs, but this time a little less long, and a whole lot more Bavarian.
BMW denied the U.S. their smallest wagon until the year 2000, when the E46 Touring was launched here. That's too bad because like most every other edition of the boxy but good E30, the extended capacity version exhibits a siren's call of desirability that's almost unavoidable.
This 1989 E30 Touring started out its life back in der Vaterland as a modest 318iT, but along with its claimed Federal papers, it also has managed to pick up an extra pair of cylinders and a few other goodies that should make it as good at hauling ass as groceries. The M20B25 is period correct for the car, but of course gains a good 40 or so horsepower over the original 318 mill. The engine apparently went in at the 81K mark, and the car has since seen about 35,000 miles as a six. There's no word whether the manual gearbox was also switched at the same time as the engine, but it is at least a row your own - and likely a sturdy Getrag 260/5. The 318 originally came with a less robust pumpkin than the six cylinder cars so it is good to see that what's hopefully a more capable, and limited slip differential has been added as well.
On top of all the sixy goodness, the seller says he's done some of the regular maintenance you might expect, and has kept the car indoors. That has resulted in a car that looks good and hopefully will drive equally well. Outside, the Lachssilber paint looks factory fresh, offset by heavy tint on all the glass. The Federalization - lights, bumpers, etc - don't detract from the car's overall clean look, as most of the parts are bolt-on pieces from a U.S. sedan. What does detract however are the egregiously large Remus exhaust tips and a kind of craptacular choice of alloy wheels. Seriously, with all the amazingly cool Bimmer rims from which to choose, this E30 rolls on these?
Inside, the car is equally clean, and has been better accessorized. Sporting sport seats and an overall sober grey appearance, it's complete even down to the retractable cargo cover, which must be a prized possession for any Touring owner here in the states. The seller touts as a benefit that save for the cruise control and power locks, everything in the car is DIY. That means roll your own windows, headlights you'll have to remember to shut off yourself, and no A/C. That last item is kind of an ah-damn, but it's not irrevocable.
It's my goal to have every E30 Touring in America appear on NPOCP, and so far this is the third, so I'm doing alright. It's also one of the most expensive, although the ability to register it pretty much anywhere may play in its favor in that regard. The seller says that he is culling his herd, and that's why this E30 needs to find a new home. It's now up to you to determine if his asking price of $14,999 is un-herd of. Or, if that price has a Touring of truth to it.
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