Few cars have established themselves as epochal and overshadowing of both predecessor and inheritor as has BMW's E30 3-Series. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe 325i looks amazing, but will its price and salvage title make it less than epic?
There's something ineffable about the e30 - a car that seems to have set the bar for small sport coupes - that makes it more desirable to some than its later, more accomplished brethren. Whatever the reason, whether it's the proportions, the upright style that seems timeless, or perhaps the fact that later cars look less and less like true Bimmers, with the E30 BMW seemed to capture lightning in a bottle.
Sure, for some of you, the tidy little coupes, sedans, and convertibles (and for some lucky folks even wagons) may do nothing, seeing one mightn't cause hearts to race nor pants to tent. And that's okay. For the rest of us however, seeing an E30 as clean and well presented as today's 1989 325i coupe is as exciting as discovering that lone beer in the back of the fridge late Saturday night, or a forgotten twenty in the pocket of an old pair of jeans.
However, while an equally revelatory happenstance, this BMW comes with what could conceivably be construed as a black cloud hanging over it, that being a salvage title. The seller, who provides pictures in his Craigslist ad of nearly every angle and aspect of the car (thanks, dude!) - notes that a fender bender caused the car to be written off based on its assessed value and the cost of repairs. That shows the actuarial rather than passionate nature of the cold-hearted insurance company, but fortunately an out was offered and the car was not sacrificed to the gods of indemnity, instead being repaired and returned to the street. Sadly however it returned with the scarlet letter of a salvage title.
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's check out this kick-ass car. The body is claimed to be free of major blemishes, and has been resprayed in original BMW Zinnoberrot. The arrest-me red looks great on the little coupe, and the near end of series body colored bumpers make the car much tidier than the earlier aluminum and rubber park benches. An iS lower valance and Xenon Warrior Princess headlamps are subtle but welcome updates. The black-painted double kidney, perhaps not so much.
BMW has, over the years, offered some of the prettiest factory alloys of any manufacturer, and so it's always kind of a shock to see aftermarket rims on a car whose owner is striving for a stock look. These don't look too out of place, and at 16" they do fill the arches like a boss.
Inside the car is blessed with an un-cracked dash and overall well presented original interior. An aftermarket stereo means you can get your Lady Gaga on, and further, the rear glass pops out meaning you won't be able to dutch oven back seat passengers. There is a tear in the driver's cushion, perhaps caused by those passenger asphyxiation attempts, and that should be addressed before it gets any worse.
Mechanicals for this 325i include the 2.5-litre, 168-bhp six of its name, and a five speed manual gearbox. An optional LSD in back is a welcome inclusion, helping to put the M20's power to the pavement. The seller says that he has replaced a leaky head gasket as well as the timing belt and other ancillary might-as-wells. No other issues are noted, and in fact he says the car is in perfect mechanical condition. The kicker is that the car rocks only a claimed 87,000 miles.
So if you're into that sort of thing, this appears to be a pretty sweet E30, and one that hasn't been either driven into the ground or turned into a douche-a-rama. And, if its odometer is to be believed, it has plenty of life left in it. But then there's that salvage title which could make registration and insurance a bear depending on where you live.
There's also the price, which is $6,250 - bordering on crappy E30 M3 territory. This car is in way better condition than any E30 super coupe you could find, and it looks almost as cool. What do you think, all things considered, about that price, - should $6,250 make this E30 worth salvaging? Or, does that make this a Bee- Emm - Double - Not for You?
H/T to Joshua Naudascher for the hookup!
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