1982 BMW 320i: 26,328 Miles


Even as a BMW guy, I’m blown away by the bidding action on this 1982 BMW 32oi here on eBay. It’s already up to almost $15K with close to 2 days left on the auction! The reserve is long gone and I’m sure this is one happy seller right now. Granted, this is an unusually clean example with less than 30,000 miles thanks to over 20 years left in warehouse storage, but I’ve seen the more desirable “IS” cars struggle to crack $15K for similarly preserved specimens. At least this seller put some work into it, rebuilding the engine and cleaning out the gas tank among other updates, and the Alpina wheels are a desirable upgrade. This could be the high-water mark for E21s – has their time finally come?


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  1. MikeG

    Many years of low interest monies has created a tidal wave of fun money, blowing everything out of all proportion.

  2. velotopia

    Beauty. I like e21s because they have a vintage, tactile feel but still passable for daily use like mine. Not as zippy as a 2002 but quieter and cleaner burning, great ergonomics, and if you upgrade the front end bushings, smooth at speed.

    So few left anymore without heavy rust or otherwise worked over, I hope to see them begin an upward curve.

  3. RayT Member

    I’m not exactly what you’d call a “BMW Guy,” but the 3-Series cars (at least the early, relatively-simple ones) get my attention. In fact, experience with all the small BMWs, from 1600s on up, has made me a fan.

    If this car is as represented, I understand the bidding going so high. My problem would simply be that I’d immediately start driving it, unconcerned that doing so would diminish its value to collectors.

    Find me a 2000CS or a first-gen M3 with similar mileage and condition, and I’d be rolling pennies and hitting up the bank to get on board.

  4. Jeff V.

    In my younger years entering the workforce from the Navy I got a ’77 (first year new body). It had the 2L engine, newer ones got the 1.8L b4 changing it officially to the 318. Luved it!

  5. RayT Member

    Auction just ended, and someone got this for an even $15K.

    I don’t envy the buyer for shelling out the loot, but I’m jealous as can be that they’ll get to drive it….

  6. Randy Forbes

    It’s clean alright! Amazing to see that some of the controls look identical to those on my ’99 – ’01 ///M Coupe & Rdstrs.

    I knew two (2) people that bought 320i’s new, sometime around 1978 -79, and while I have no idea what kind of maintenance schedule was done on them, I can remember them both telling me that by 21,000 & 28,000 miles respectively, they were starting to self destruct! The list of repairs from dealership visits (both in and out of warranty) read like the service manual itself.

    I didn’t know much about BMWs back then, but living in San Francisco, I sure saw a lot of them; 2002s were parked on nearly every block, and you’d see the Big Coupes often enough to start identfying their differences (2.8 or 3.0, C or CS, etc,). Those Coupes were just so pretty to see going down the street, that it prompted me to buy and put the Niki Lauda CSL cut-away poster up on my bedroom wall!

    Nowadays, I’m just eat-up with BMW’s Z3/M verions; I turned a passion for the cars into my daily living (see picture; the 1st blue one__with Eurosport Twinscrew Superchrger__is mine, the rest are customer’s cars).

  7. DENIS

    I’m a die-hard domestic guy, but I WILL own 1 BMW before I check out(not one like this) Gonna have to be the biggest, baddest, high-horsepower sedan they build….one time only. Have driven some like this, showed me NOTHING.

  8. jim s

    seller did a good job with the listing include the extra photos. great looking car. i wonder if the seller will regret selling it and buy the car back again.

  9. Rob

    Yep, ’twas well taken care of, which always proves out in the end. But like Denis, I prefer the bigger BMW’s, my 2001 BMW 750iL w/optional ‘Sport’ Pkg.. having a 5.4 L 322 hp V12 lurking under the hood. It has more power, comfort, ‘n conveniences than I’ll ever need, ‘n can cruise all day at 80mph w/o making a sweat. All I did was add the 2002 MKIV Navigation system, replacing the older MKIII unit, ‘n upgraded to the 2015 DVD maps.

    • Randy Forbes

      Nice car Rob!

      While 322 bhp from a 5.4 litre V-12 doesn’t sound like much (on paper/in print), BMW is NOTORIOUS for under-rating their engine’s output. Either that, or their scale is more to the Clydesdale end of the spectrum, versus Shetlands! Just gobs of buttery smooth torque.

      Sounds like Denis needs to find a nice M5 sedan, unless he’s holding out for an Alpina B7 (?); the big “worked over” 7 Series!

      I’ve primarily owned and driven 2-seat sports cars continuously for more than forty-two (>42) years, but if I had to make do with just one (1) car to satisfy all needs, nothing could do it better than an M5__of any generation, though newer is customarily better!

      Jim S: I was wondering the same thing…

  10. DENIS

    Being a horsepower fiend, Guys, I’m looking for something in the 500+ range…do they have such an animal? I drive a supercharged, power-tuned, ZL1 Camaro(650) and while I don’t need that for my daily driver, there’s no such thing as too much horsepower! Any ideas for me, Guys??

    • Randy Forbes

      The last generation M5s were normally aspirated 500 bhp V-10s. The current M5 model is a twin-turbocharged 4.4L V8, with 550 bhp. The exhaust outlets and turbos are in the center of the V, with the intake ports outboard.

      Not too bad for a Sunday go to meetin’ kind of sedan ;)

      If you like engines in general, doing some research on BMW’s long line of innovative prime movers will give you hours of entertainment__but it’s nothing like driving them!

      The attached pic shows the engine compartment of my ’99 ///M Rdstr, my ’99 Coupe (blue one posted above) is set up the same way (positive displacement supercharger/liquid aftercooler). Yep, big fan of horsepower myself (these are 3.2L inline 6s with about 450 bhp)

  11. DENIS

    The M5s peak my interest, Guys, I am a high-speed driver but want some comfort and stability-my wife sez when we go on a trip, I drive like I’m possessed ’til we get there. Thanks for your input….keep this quiet ’cause my friends won’t let me live it down…I have a building full of AMERICAN MUSCLE CARS…LOL

  12. BMW Guy

    I am a “Toyota Guy” but many many years ago I had an old BMW 318I with A/C and sunroof. I drove the living snot out of it and never did anything but normal service to it. So, later in years I wanted another and found this 01 325CI Convertible 80K miles. PP came out well. Car drove and looked great. I bought it, upgraded rims and tires and used it as a Sunny Day Driver. After not too long, that thing started to eat me out of house and home!!! Every time it was $1000 here $1000 there with the “oh that’s just normal service”. I have two Toyota’s with a lit more mileage that never eat me out of house and home! With all that being said, I LOVE TO DRIVE THE BMW! That thing has some under hood upgrades that I have done and flat out screams, handles, and gets great mileage. Top down rocket ship to……………………

    • Randy Forbes

      Well one tip on BMW ownership, is to keep the shiny side up….


      Another worthwhile tip is to belong to your local club, and benefit from members doing their own, and willing to help guide you with doing your own maintenance.

      I’ve found that the parts cost on these cars is actually pretty reasonable (certainly when compared to keeping my ’57 Healey on the road__and the parts quality is another magnitude of order better) but the labor is usually pretty steep. BMW dealerships, depending on area are at least $125.00/hr with even the independants now getting close to, or above $100.00/hr.

      Case in point: in 2005, I started up Sports Cars Plus, LLC, doing primarily trunkfloor/differential mount repairs/reinforcements of the 1998 – 2002 model Z3/M Coupes and Rdstrs. I quit my day job less than ten (<10) months later (and I was not even charging half what the dealers do)!

      Point is, besides the monetary advantage__you can buy more parts when you're not paying for labor__there's an increased pride of ownership when you do it yourself. And there is SO MUCH useful information on the internet (granted, you DO have to filter out some erroneous "facts") that there just can't be a single component left on (really, any given make/model) of the car that hasn't been covered in detail.

      Another case in point: there's a dentist in PA that bought a dilapidated Healey (100/6) to do a father/son restoration project on__he'd never put a wrench on a car before in his life__and while there were certain aspects of the job he had to farm out (engine assembly & final paint are all that come to mind) he and his son really did do most of the work themselves, in barely a two (2+ or -) year period. The boy might just about be old enough to drive it by now__always the dad's intention__if he isn't already (you know how time flies by…).

      You're already doing some of your own mods, by the sound of it, so I'm probably preaching to the choir__in your case__but maybe somebody else will discover a talent they didn't know they had ;))

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