Price: SOLD | Visit the auction
Mileage: 101,100 Miles
Engine: Refreshed M20B25 Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Transmission: 5-Speed Manual Transmission
Exterior color: Black (Schwarz)
Interior: Cardinal Red Leather
M Colored Pin Stripe
3:73 Limited Slip Differential
Euro M Tech I Front Valence
M Tech I Rear Spoiler
13-Button OBC Sport Seats
H&R Sport Springs and Shocks
R134 Air Conditioning Conversion
15” x 6.5” BBS RM Wheels
Dunlop Direzza DZ102 Tires
The 1984-1991 BMW 3 Series, known generationally as the E30, is the one model more than any other that earned BMW its Ultimate Driving Machine reputation. E30s are one of our specialty vehicles at Glen Shelly Auto Brokers. I have restored, rebuilt, and sorted a dozen E30’s over the years and currently own an iX and a Euro S50B30 swapped Touring in addition to this one. 1987 was an import model year for the E30. It was the first year of the M20B25 “i” engine. The “i” motor had a higher redline and produced more power than the fuel-economy focused M20B27 “e” motor. The 325iS featured an aggressive front valance, rear deck lid spoiler, sport seats, an M Tech 1 steering wheel, 13-button onboard computer, and a limited-slip differential. The end result was a significant improvement over the base model 325 and arguably one of the best driver-focused E30s produced.
This is the best E30 I have built yet. I am only selling it (regrettably) to free up capital to invest back in the business. Black over Cardinal Red leather is a striking color combination that is accented by chrome Euro bumpers, an M Tech I front valance, and an M Tech I rear spoiler. M-colored pin stripes and beautiful 15-inch BBS RM wheels with polished lips finish the package. I courted the E30 from the previous owner for nearly two years before he finally agreed to sell it to me. It was originally sold in May of 1987 by Concours Motors of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and remained with that owner for the next fourteen years. In 2001 it was sold to the second owner with 43,000 miles on the odometer. The previous owner purchased it in 2009 with approximately 96,000 miles. Once I got it, in April of last year, I set about sorting it with a refreshed motor from old-school BMW engine builder Mark Hutto. The original engine had succumbed to timing belt failure earlier in the car’s life, and the replacement engine that was in the car when I got it had the tell-tale piston slap of a higher mileage M20. It ran great, but this E30 deserved better, so that motor went on Craigslist and I had Mark build me a fresh motor from a low-mileage M20 that I had in my parts stash. The motor was completely disassembled top and bottom and was cleaned, honed, polished, and rebuilt. Next we resealed the gearbox and rebuilt the shifter assembly. The suspension was upgraded with new bushings, H&R Sport springs, and matched struts. The brake calipers were pulled, cleaned, and painted, then reinstalled with stainless steel lines and fresh pads and rotors. I added the BBS wheels and mounted fresh Dunlop Direzza DZ102 tires. All original equipment is included with the sale: U.S. spec diving board bumpers, U.S. iS lip, a standard Euro front valance, 14” Style 5 Basket weave wheels, etc. As it sits, this is a thoroughly refreshed E30 that is properly sorted with some very rare and exclusive options. I have owned and built a lot of E30s and this example is simply stunning. It is not cheap, but I have priced it aggressively for what it is—my costs tally over $22,000! As such, I am firm on my price, bargain hunters need not apply. If you have serious interest and want to add or subtract items or customize the build to suit your taste we can talk about options.
Black paint accented by chrome Euro bumpers and polished BBS lips are a dynamic combination that adds subtle flare to the E30’s understated and tidy lines. Euro bumpers and the M Tech bits make it stand out against more pedestrian examples. I prefer early Euro bumpers to even late-model plastic bumpers. Overall the paint is in very good condition, but close scrutiny will reveal imperfections. The worst are a scratch in the left rear wheel arch, a small dimple in the trunk lid, a small dent in the left front fender, a scratch on the right front fender, and a scratch and small spot of clear coat damage on the hood. Detailed pictures of all imperfections are in the picture gallery (on our website if you are reading this elsewhere). That said, I would chalk it up to the patina of original paint. All paint it original except for the M Tech bits, left front fender, and driver’s door. I have an invoice from 1990 showing replacement of the fender and door by Concours Motors. I do not know the reason for their replacement, but inspection of the car shows that it was superficial. The Carfax is clean. All other VIN tags are also in place. There is no rust; it was clearly preserved from winter exposure. All common spots like the battery tray, floor boards, fenders, and lower windshield cowling are clean. All trim is in place, there is one small tear in the front bumper quarter trim. The bumper chrome has slight clouding, but it is presentable. The power antenna is stuck (a common issue), but I have a Z3 antenna I will replace it with if the buyer desires. The windshield has no cracks. All light lenses are clear and crack-free. The BBS RM wheels are true and straight, with no curb rash. I have another set of centers pieces with old hardware that are included with the sale.
Cardinal Red is one of the best E30 interior colors, and it looks fantastic under a black exterior. Overall, the interior is in excellent condition. There are no odors and it has never been smoked in. The carpet has no tears or stains. Clean Cardinal Red sport seats are hard to come by and these are in very good condition. The seat leather is in excellent shape for its age. They have no excessive bolster wear or failed seams. The only glaring imperfection is a small ¼” hole in the driver’s seat cushion bolster. All seat adjustments work. We replaced the driver’s seat recline shocks. The rear seats are also in similar condition The dashboard is crack-free. The M Tech 1 steering wheel looks great, with very minor leather wear. All instrument cluster functions work, including the odometer. The 13-button onboard computer has correct backlighting and all functions work. The factory KE-83ZBM stereo works and the premium sound sounds great. There is one burnt out bulb on the stereo LCD screen, it is only noticeable at night and the text is still readable. I added an early-style short shift knob which is in excellent condition. There is a removable aftermarket cup holder in passenger footwell. The window and sunroof switches work, as does the central locking system. We installed a replacement driver’s door lock cylinder coded to the original key. The heat blows warm and the air conditioning blows cold. The trunk carpet is clean and the tool kit is complete. I don’t know if the trunk seal leaks because I have never let it get rained on, but if it’s like every other E30 I’ve ever had, I suspect it would if left out in a heavy rain storm.
I have extensive records from the first two owners showing regular oil changes, services, and routine maintenance. The previous owner did most of his own maintenance, but receipts are included with the records. I picked up from there. The rebuilt motor was from a 1989 automatic 325i. It was a complete rebuild including boiling all components, honing the cylinders, polishing the crank, fresh rings, camshaft, rocker arms, valves, guides, bearings, and resurfacing the head. We also installed a fresh oil pump and an early style water pump. All engine seals were done, along with the spark plugs, timing belt, drive belts, radiator hoses, thermostat, coolant reservoir, fuel pump, and oxygen sensor. The clutch and flywheel were inspected, the gearbox was resealed, and the shifter assembly was rebuilt. The suspension was upgraded with H&R Sport springs, and matched struts. The brake calipers were pulled, cleaned, and painted, then reinstalled with stainless steel lines and fresh pads and rotors. I also installed a new battery.
The result is a turn-key car. The engine starts on command, idles smoothly, and pulls strong to redline. The clutch take up is correct and the shifter is tight and precise—not the spoon in the bowl of spaghetti that some E30s are. The suspension is firm and compliant and the brakes are strong. There are no driveline or wheel bearing vibrations. The exhaust has been replaced at some point in recent history and rust-free.
I have spent a considerable amount of time and money on this E30 and it shows as a result. I don’t expect to get my investment of either back, but I’m not going to give the car away either. I would like to find a new owner who values what this E30 is, will use and enjoy it, and will give it the same pedigree of care that I have.