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.
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 custom 1961 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
H/T to the ever reliable Civardi for the hookup!
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