Mileage: 187,000 Miles
Engine: M20B25 2.5-Liter Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Transmission: 5-Speed Manual
Exterior color: Black (Schwarz, code 086)
Interior: Grey Leather Interior
3:73 Limited Slip Differential
Sport Seats (mildly torn)
13-Button Onboard Computer
M Tech 1 Steering Wheel (Torn cover at 11:00 O’clock)
Stock Exhaust (loud)
Cracked Dash (covered by slightly dirty carpet)
Premium Sound w/ Alpine Head Unit
15” D-Force Wheels
Hankook Ventus R-S2 Tires
If John Snow were an E30, he would be this one. In other words, this E30 is a bastard—but like John Snow it’s a good bastard! If you don’t know who John Snow is, watch Game of Thrones. This E30 is a bastard because it has been pieced together from several other E30’s and resurrected into its current form—like John Snow. And it’s black, like The Nights Watch. Okay, I’ll stop with the John Snow references. E30s are one of our specialty vehicles at Glen Shelly Auto Brokers. The 1984-1991 BMW 3 Series, known generationally as the E30, is the one model more than any other than earned BMW its Ultimate Driving Machine reputation. I have built, sorted, and restored a dozen over the years from pristine collectors to bastards. The bastard E30’s have been the some of the most fun because they can be enjoyed thoroughly without the guilt of exposing them to terrible roads, horrible traffic, and inclement weather. Even though they aren’t as pretty as the garage queens, I still look back and covet them as I walk away in the parking lot—sometimes beauty lies in imperfection.
The body is a 1987 325iS. It’s black with a gold pin stripe. The paint isn’t perfect, but it is presentable. The left front fender has some paint cracks and a small touch up spot. The entire car has been cut, polished, and paint corrected. It cleaned up very nicely. It has never been in an accident and is virtually rust free, sans minor surface spots in the battery and jack trays. The diving board front bumper and early iS valence have been converted to a late model plastic bumper and valence with fog light blanks and an i lip. The rear chrome bumper has been painted gloss black and tucked. The motor is an M20B25 out of a 1989 325is, it has been completely gone through with replaced seals, rocker arms (an eventual weak spot), a fresh timing belt, valve adjustment, coolant flush, and oil change. The clutch has also been replaced and the shifter has been rebuilt (shift knuckle, shifter cup, and shift bushings). It pulls strong, very strong. The exhaust is a loud high mileage stock unit, which is the best sounding exhaust on an E30. There is no air conditioning; everything forward of the firewall has been removed—resulting in lightness. Dark tint helps keep the interior cool. The interior is grey leather sport interior out of a 1988 325iX. The sport seats are heated, although we don’t know if they work because they aren’t hooked up. I have a heated seat console with switches I can include. Lightly soiled fitted sheepskin seat covers hide most of the rips and tears, while making cold mornings comfortable. The dashboard has more cracks than the Grand Canyon, but at least you don’t have the constant anxiety of worrying about it cracking like you do with the crack-free dashboard. It is a great candidate for a molded cover (I’ve had good luck with these and could be motivated to install one for the right buyer). The odometer works, but the trip computer does not. The body has 187,000 miles; the mileage of the engine is approximately 195k. The suspension, brakes, and driveline are solid with no excessive slop, vibrations, or glaring defects. There is a minor shimmy at about 55-65 mph that goes away above or below, which I’m guessing is wheel or tire caused.
This is a great first E30; one that can be enjoyed as-is or continued to be improved upon. It could be made a very capable track or autoX platform. It’s not the prettiest, but is very presentable. Major items like the timing belt and clutch have been done, resetting the routine maintenance clock for the foreseeable future. It rips through the gears pulling strong to redline to the glorious sound of that mildly-muffled M20 inline 6-cylinder engine. In the bends it is athletic and communicative, like all E30’s. It’s a bastard, but like John Snow—it’s a good bastard, one that will make someone smile every time they drive it. We’d like to find a home for it where it will be well cared for and enjoyed.