At $17,000, Could This 1991 BMW 316i Estate Pass The 'Touring Test?'

Nice Price or No Dice: 1991 BMW 316i Touring
Photo: Craigslist

Americans were originally denied the lovely and capacious E30 estate, but now that enough time has passed, cars like today’s Nice Price or No Dice 316i can be owned here pretty much without problem. Let’s see if this privately imported estate’s price is still a problem.

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Rightfully or not, yesterday’s 1992 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme convertible was trashed in the comments for being the kind of car that might reek of little blue pills and carry the sound of yacht rock wherever it might go. With a price tag of $8,495, it probably wouldn’t be going far at all. At least that was the takeaway implied by the car’s 77 percent No Dice loss.

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Photo: Craigslist

While it wasn’t hugely popular in the comments, I’d still like you to reflect on yesterday’s old Olds. Maybe even go back and have another look at its lines, roominess, and that cool B-pillar hoop-thing again. Still not having it? OK, consider then that today’s 1991 BMW 316i Touring is of the same era. Just on styling and form factor alone, I’m going to guess that the Bimmer is going to appeal to lots more of us.

Not only is this 316i Touring appealing in its looks and rarity here in the States, but this one appears to in such nice shape that it conceivably could have been stolen out of a museum. Prospective buyers should check all its nooks and crannies for any other absconded museum pieces. Who knows if a Mona Lisa might not be rolled up in the glove box, or if Michelangelo’s David isn’t hidden in the boot?

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Photo: Craigslist

The car is claimed to be a German import, and the nice condition is attributed in the ad to a meager 40,000 miles on the car’s odometer. Lazur Blue metallic paint pairs with a gray cloth interior here, along with the most basic of options. There’s not a lot that could have gone wrong on this E30 over the years because there’s really not all that much to go wrong. That minimalist kit includes manual windows all the way around, no sunroof and a five-speed manual behind a tiny four-pot engine.

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Photo: Craigslist

We should acknowledge up front that the 1.6-liter M10 in the 316i was the smallest displacement engine offered in the E30, and with just 98 horsepower and 103 lb-ft of torque on tap, this car will be far from the ultimate driving machine that its parent, BMW often touts.

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Why would you import so lowly a model when higher-contented machines are likely available? Who knows? Perhaps it was this particular car’s stunning condition that got it a transatlantic ticket? To be fair, it’s phenomenal just how nice this car presents. It’s in better shape than any 30-year old car deserves to be. Hell, I didn’t look half as good when I was 30.

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Photo: Craigslist
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The ad calls attention to the car’s excellent condition, and also notes that it “Drives perfect!” Further benefit comes from a new headliner inside as well as new tires on the seemingly perfect bottle caps underneath. A recent service included belts and oil which should put in in good stead for a new owner to take it as a turn-key. As an added bonus, all the import paperwork has seemingly been completed. The car comes with a clean Florida title.

Values on E30s in general and rarer models like the M3, IS, and imported estates such as this have been climbing for years. It’s still fairly rare to find one in as nice of shape as this one, what with its crack-free dash and crisp, clean upholstery. The question, of course, is how willing you are to get on that crazy train of E30 pricing? More importantly, do you think this 316i’s $17,000 asking price contributes to that craziness?

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Photo: Craigslist

What’s your take on this private import 316i and that $17,000 asking? Does that seem like a fair price for so perfect a specimen? Or, to ask that much, would it simply need more under the hood?

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You decide!

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Atlanta, Georgia, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Alan H. for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.

DISCUSSION

2002infinitiq45
RealPiratesDriveARRRGHbodies

It’s a beautiful car and I love the cloth seats, but for that kind of money it has to be an inline 6. ND.