BMW is a company known for their engines. That being said, today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe 3-Series has an engine you all should know, but will its price make you want to have it keep you company?
Kit cars on NPOCP usually go down for the count, as the potential disaster looming in the unquantified work of others scares many off. That was not the case yesterday though, as the '76 Blakely Bantam came out swinging at the sound of the bell, and took home a decisive 73% Nice Price win. Based on the description, a lot of personal pride went into that car, and that kind of pride of ownership is what usually comes with commanding the keys to a BMW. Today, we're going to see about that.
The E30 is as beloved a model to BMW aficionados as Elle Macpherson was to Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue whackers, and like Elle, the littlest Bimmer of its era has aged extremely well. Also like Elle, taking its top off brings out a different persona in the 3-series. Sure, it's not as stiff as the coupe or sedan, and it's a little heavier, but the unfettered ability to see and be seen more than makes up for that. The 325i edition was powered by a 169-bhp version of the M20 straight six, more than a match for the convertible's 3,068 lbs. Or was it? At least one Miami owner didn't think so.
This 1987 BMW 325i has had its M20 heart ripped out and replaced with the pump organ out of a horse. Now, before you gasp in concern over organ rejection and fine aryan blood tainted by equestrian serum, it should be made clear that the horse in question was a Mustang, and this heart beats with the ferocity of a 1-2-3 Le Mans win, because the heart in question is a Ford small block.
A 302 to be exact, which has been lovingly jacked from a ‘Stang of the same age and then treated to some cardio in the form of a 650-cfm carb, GT40 heads and a Flowmaster exhaust. Mated to the 5.0 is the ubiquitous Tremec T5, which goes with the Ford V8 like a Jack chaser goes with a Bud. Making sure that everybody knows you're rocking something other than the teutonic twin-cam, the Flowmaster pipes dump the detritus of your expended dead dinosaurs out a pair of chrome pipes just ahead of the rear wheels. Of course, long before those pipes fart the ex-dinos out, you'll need to store them someplace, and while the 325i did come with a tank perfectly suitable for 91 octane, it apparently wasn't good enough for the builder of this car. Instead, what once was a commodious trunk is now a soft-luggage-only storehouse for a plastic fuel cell, which rests on a plywood base so as not to drop down into the spare tire well. Run-flats it is!
The conversion to American horse-power has meant some changes in the interior as well as under the hood, including replacement of the Bimmer gauges with AutoMeter units, and a whole new center stack housing the stereo and industrial-appearing climate control. The exposed bolt heads and flat washers holding that panel in place don't instill a lot of confidence that the rest of the car wasn't equally thrown together, but hey, maybe it was an artistic statement. The rest of the interior is a statement as well, and the black and it doesn't bother me if you're getting your period insert seats do require sunglasses.
Outside, the car has had a re-spray, as evidenced by the poor masking on the VIN plate, but it looks otherwise okay in the pictures. The 17" Ion Racing rims look appropriately
douchetastic fitting, as do the black dental dam up front and lip spoiler out back. Underhood, things have been dressed up as well, and the low-profile Holly double your pleasure aircleaner gives the top of the Ford a little bling. The seller says it only has 3,278 miles on the clock since the 302 was wedged in there, so that bling still shines.
E30 convertibles are not uncommon, and hence don't tend to command exorbitant prices unless there's something unique about them. This E30 could be considered unique, as well as a total sleeper - especially if you were to lose the side-exhaust pipes. For all the work that has gone into it, the seller is asking $14,788. That's a premium of about $13,288 over a non-modded 325i in similar shape.
But it's that 302 that makes this E30 stand out in that crowd, and potentially makes it worth the extra scratch. Your job, if you choose to accept it, is to figure out whether that $14,788 price for this unique 3-series is Miami Nice, or a roll of the dice.
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