Unique Baur Top: 1986 BMW 325i

BMW’s 3-Series sedan from the 1980s is one of the more accessible vintage cars for new enthusiasts who prefer a European project. My first project car was a 1987 325is, a vehicle I still own today. However, if you wanted to stand out from the masses, you might take a look at this BMW 325i Baur convertible, found here on eBay in the UK and listed as a non-runner for £2,500.

The Baur provided the open-air experience of a convertible with some of the roof left intact to offer occupants a modicum of roll-over protection. It’s a clever design, but some enthusiasts found the exposed structure to be unattractive. The 3-Series convertible that followed is certainly of the prettier drop-tops of the 1980s, but the Baur’s limited production – around 10,000 for the E30-chassis version – makes the hybrid convertible / targa more intriguing.

Despite the exotic roof, the mechanicals were straight out of the BMW cookbook of the era. The M20 inline-six cylinder motor delivers smooth, reliable power, and has endless spares availability. The seller says the motor in this car likely has a faulty fuel pump and is blamed for the non-running condition. Fuel pump failure is common on these cars, but no matter what, change the timing belt before firing it up – it’s an interference motor.

Despite sitting for seven years, the Baur appears relatively complete. The original books and manuals are included, and I believe I spy a desirable M-Technic front air dam. This being a European-spec model means it comes with the attractive slimmer chrome bumpers, along with less restrictive emissions equipment and European H4 lighting. It is sitting in the UK at the moment, but it’s cheap enough that even with freight, it shouldn’t break the bank to own this unique E30.

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  1. Dolphin Dolphin Member

    Another not very good marketing attempt for a car that’s scarce and unusual. The E30 platform is one of the best made during the ’80s but as Jeff says the odd part-convertible look doesn’t appeal to everyone.

    OTOH it is safer in a rollover accident than, say, that Corvair Monza convertible that was also featured today. I would prefer to have one of the other E30 models, especially the M3 version…..but I’m not going to get one for 2500 GBP.

  2. Mountainwoodie

    Jeff- I bought an ’87 325is 5 sp new…BMW warrantied a failed rear end at 19 K miles! I wish I had that car back today! Traded it in for my ’95 E36 convertible 4 cylinder 5 speed. Still driving it today with 327,000 miles. Theres also a great web site for Baurs…….Baurspotting. com maybe.

    Always wanted a Baur since I first saw one in Europe before they came here. Best to buy the best example available from a long term Baur owner imho.

  3. Oilyhands

    To add a piece of automotive trivia, Baur was the company that made the Porsche 959 body, not actually Porsche, so with heratige of this pedigree it should be a pretty special BMW

  4. alan

    I had the fortunate experience of having a personally guided tour of the Baur factory in 1984 after picking up a new 230E at the Mercedes factory for a friend. They built the first four 944 cabrios for Porsche for the auto show. They had a 959 chassis without its skin showing the extra suspension mounting points requested by the rally team. BMW 7-series bodies shipped in for armor reinforcement and kevlar mat installation. And a separate garage with a couple of robots making Audi quattro floor pans.

    It took years for them to convince BMW not to send E30 bodies over with side and rear window glass installed that they would only throw away.


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