Ran When Parked: Garage Find 1985 BMW 318i

When it comes to accessible vintage BMWs, the 1980s E30 chassis is one of the best bangs for the buck going. Easy to work on, relatively affordable to maintain, and a hoot to drive, most models in the range are equipped with a torquey inline-six cylinder. However, some early production examples came equipped with a four-cylinders like this 1985 318i. The seller of this example has owned it since 1987, and it’s nigh impossible these days to find one of these old-school 3-Series still in the care of a long-term owner – especially a lower-spec model like this. Find it here on eBay with no reserve and bidding at $3,850.

The seller admits it’s been parked in his garage for several years, despite receiving a host of desirable OEM upgrades. These include the white-painted basketweave 14 inch alloy wheels; factory sport leather bucket seats; a replacement, crack-free dashboard; H&R lowering springs; a three-spoke M-Tech steering wheel; and much more. Some restoration work has been attempted, with the side moldings and front bumpers removed, but that’s about as far as he’s gotten. The 318i has been parked for some time due to the seller being deployed, and as such, it will need to be trailered home.

The replacement sport seats are a very nice upgrade, as a good set of these optional buckets can run you $500 or more. The Pearl Beige interior is the same color as my 1987 325is, and while it’s far from the preferred shade – black or cardinal red would nudge the price higher here – it’s at least easy to find replacement components should you rip a door panel or put a tear in one of the bolsters. The E30s are prone to cracked dashboards, and crack-free ones have gotten very hard to find. The fact that the replacement work is already done and the current dashboard shows no cracks is a serious value-add for the next owner.

You’ll also note a painted valve cover and a strut bar under the hood, which are certainly easily reversible modifications if they’re not to your liking. The seller doesn’t report any rust issues, but E30s are prone to having their battery tray disintegrate not only due to its proximity to the ground but also because batteries are prone to leaking if left unattended. Still, the seller’s location in Oklahoma and the long-term indoor storage arrangement are both causes to think positively that there’s no rust to be found. The 318i may not be as collectible as a genuine sport package model or the very pricey M3, but it’s a great entry point into vintage car ownership with solid parts supply and a robust owner’s network.


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  1. Connecticut Mark

    Are those ants or mouse poop on washer bucket?

    Like 2
  2. Seth.

    If you buy replace the radiator as they tend not to radiate heat properly. I know from experience

  3. losgatos_dale

    THIS E30 doesn’t have the battery close to the ground (in the trunk.) It is next to the firewall, in the engine compartment.

  4. Graham Line

    I gave mine up when it had rolled up about 225K miles. Fun to drive, easy to work on. My kid learned to drive in it. I’m sure the original seats had completely collapsed, as they did. The ’85 had a steeper final drive than my ’84 (3.64 vs 3.44, I think) which was probably an improvement everywhere buy an autobahn or an interstate.

  5. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $4,650.

    Like 1
  6. t-bone BOB

    Ended: May 07, 2021 , 10:00AM
    Winning bid:US $4,650.00
    [ 15 bids ]

    Item location:Norman, Oklahoma

    Like 1

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