Gray Market Junkyard Find: BMW 325i Convertible

As some of our long-timers recall, I used to spend most weekends in a junkyard. With a newborn at home, that hobby is on a brief hiatus, but a colleague who runs a parts-pulling business called Mesquite Automotive keeps me in the loop with his own finds. For Euro car lovers, this one will break your heart: a complete gray-market 1987 BMW 325i convertible, found in a junkyard near Blue Springs, Missouri. Check out all of his recent junkyard finds here at Mesquite Automotive.

The first tell-tale sign is in the above photo, where the headlight washer arms and skinny European bumpers give you a clue as to this E30’s origins. What’s tricky about even legally imported gray-market cars like this one is they sometimes lose all their Euro-specific bits in the federalization process, and even if they do survive, tend to end up getting destroyed if the car isn’t cherished by subsequent enthusiast owners. This 325i clearly stood idle for many years, with trash in the trunk and its last inspection in 2006.

As you can see here, the name of the owner who imported the car is still tacked into the door jamb. Isn’t it sad to think that Ms. Goheen clearly loved this car enough to bring it back stateside with her? I did some research and the woman appears to be a researcher or otherwise in the higher education field; many of those professionals spend a few years abroad pursuing various projects and research goals. Sadly, this 325i convertible didn’t remain in her possession, when it was likely highly prized.

Speaking of prizes, that’s an uber rare factory hardtop in the picture above, in addition to the rear Euro bumper. The hardtop was an item I advised Mesquite Automotive’s owner, Brandon Porter, to snag – street value on those tops has gone through the roof in recent years. Although the rear Euro bumper was too rusty to save, Brandon did grab the front with the correct valence for mounting the skinnier bumpers to US cars.

As you can see, the BMW looks much different after a few hours of work. The reality is, this car will be crushed in a few weeks, so its fate is sealed. The good news is the parts will live on other vehicles (including some on my long-term project, a 1987 BMW 325is) and others will help Brandon grow his business. He does a nice job of shooting video from the yard, so be sure to check out the play-by-play here on Mesquite Automotive’s YouTube channel, and give him a yell if you need parts pulled in the vicinity of Blue Springs.

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Comments

  1. Martin

    I hope he took all the wiring harnesses etc for those headlight washers.

  2. RichieRich

    Sooo sad to see what was once a top spec car let go this way. Yes it is an automatic and yes the paint and interior are shot but combine it with another parts car of the same year and you’ll have a great driver and no one around the block will have anything like it.

  3. Wolfgang Gullich

    It’s good to see a few salvage yards understand the value of some oddballs and recognize they, or parts of them, need to be saved.

    • RichS

      The salvage yard didn’t recognize the value in this car – it was just another hunk of metal to them. They treated it no differently than any other vehicle that came in the door.

  4. RichS

    I really miss visiting the yards regularly. Funny how small the world gets sometimes Jeff as I remember pulling speakers for you! I still work behind the scenes for Row52 and also am a fan of Brandons.

    Check out his video of the GMC Typhoon that wound up in the KC Pick and Pull. I about fell out of my chair when I saw that new arrival to the yard.

    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      Rich, I wondered if that was you posting above. I miss it too. Not only lack of time but the yards by me just don’t get the stuff that’s seemingly still on the roads elsewhere. I’ve been in touch w/ Chuck off and on and hope to stay dialed into the puller network, even if I’m not out there as much…

  5. Michael thomas

    the hard top is worth about 1500.00$

    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      If not more, I’ve seen them pulling $2K!

  6. Peter

    It is probably ex Germany as it is LHD. If it were UK it would be RHD.

    • alan

      Ex. continental Europe as all are LHD with the exception of UK.

  7. Mountainwoodie

    Jeff – I had an ’87 325is too….5 speed sunroof…back in ’87 through ’95. Damn things are going for 10 K out here on the West Coast now! I traded it for a new ’95 E 36 318ic Convertible 4 cylinder. Still driving that one after 23 years with 332, 00 miles. i have to justify the ridiculous price I paid for it back in 1995!

    We have a great BMW centered recycling yard out in El Cajon California..Autobahn Dismantling……if it can be gotten they know where it is. Just in case you need an E 30 resource.

    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      Hello there. Great cars, aren’t they? And yes, prices are going up, which I suppose they deserve. The good news is the project-grade examples are still attainable.

      I have heard of Autobahn. Nice guys but they “know what they have.” No deals with them! I suppose if I weren’t such a junkyard hunter myself, I’d be more inclined to pay their prices. But they are absolutely a good resource.

      • Mountainwoodie

        True that. They are BMW guys. But they are honest as the day is long..and thats rare! And they have an encyclopedic knowledge of everyrything on any car from an E9 to an E 90.
        They’re just darn nice guys who will help you with info or a lead no matter what. They’v e kept my E 36 running as a daily driver and I would recommend them without hesitation. But yes they didnt just fall of the turnip truck :)

  8. AMCFAN

    This is pretty sad. This certainly isn’t the worst rag I have seen posted on here. That amazingly goes to the crispy Corvette frame (Copart Detroit) Pathetic!

    What strikes me as sad is the owner of the yard didn’t try to find the car a home before boning off the rare parts.

    There is a local you pull it recycling center in my area and I am friends with the owner. I recieve texts weekly at the new vehicles coming in. I too help him with what my opinion of collectable is. What he should keep/scrap etc. As a bonus I can buy for a little more then he pays. Right now an average car is as low as $175. I don’t need anything nor want a junk yard at my house. But I do rehome many for him and do it for free. He is making money hand over fist elsewhere in his operation and doesn’t mind making a little instead a lot and making people happy. infact some of the cars I have rehomed he has continued to do business with those individuals buying their dead Fords and GM’s. Everyone is happy.

    These 3 Series Beemers are still a beautiful car after all these years and this one has a bit of history and is a little different then the others on this soil. Too bad. In a short time from now it will be gone forever but hey a few parts of will remain. What a shame.

    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      AMCFAN, this is something that boggles my mind and I am glad you have found a local yard owner willing to listen. I’ve tried many times to point out to my preferred yards that they are losing out big-time with the rare / obsolete cars in their yards but they don’t want to hear it. It’s maddening. Because they lack patience, they are letting $300-$500 go into the crusher.

      • RichS

        Couldn’t agree more Jeff. When I was working the yards taking the pictures I told this to the managers but they really weren’t interested – it was just scrap metal to them. What they were trying to sell in their “rebuilder” section was often times utter crap compared to what they put out for picking.

        The main problem for the big yards is volume. The Stockton, CA yard has nearly 2,000 cars (when I was doing the yard they had almost 2,500). I just checked and they put out 77 cars yesterday alone. That huge yard completely turns over about every other month. Crazy.

  9. TomHunt

    Is that an ultra-rare Wiesmann hardtop? They are like hen’s teeth here in Europe. I had a ’93 Lux E30 droptop….wish I’d never have sold her. E30’s are now fetching good money now, and rightly so, they are driving excellence.

  10. Pete

    LOL I love junkyards. That is how I kept most of my cars going when I was young. At the rate I am going I think I am building my own. LOL. What I need is an old Aviation Hanger to store all my stuff and be able to add more. I probably would have paid 1200 bucks for that BMW before he stripped it. I do know where there are a few pick a part places, but mostly they have new stuff. I know of one place that has 50’s and 60’s cars and sometimes I will go down there and buy stuff that I think I might can resell. I have often thought of going to germany and buying up BMW’s, Porsches and MB’s stripping them and sending the parts back to the USA in containers. That is a lot of money and work though.

  11. PAPERBKWRITER

    My neighbor bought one of these new and I can’t remember ever seeing it with the hood closed. Besides being ugly it was a mechanical nightmare.

  12. Todd Zuercher

    Longtime junkyarder here too. I’d hate to think of all the hours I’ve spent over the last 20+ years prowling all the pull-a-parts here in the Phoenix area. I’ve only had E30s for the last 11 years and I lament that they no longer litter the yards like they once did here in Phoenix. If something went wrong with my cars, I usually could count on finding what I needed on a donor in the pickies. I don’t think I’ve seen one in the last 2-3 years. It’s like one day they were just all gone.

    I used to pull a lot of stuff from ’70s Ford trucks and cars but with most of it new stuff now, I only have 1-2 items that I pull with regularity for butter-n-egg $$.

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