1989 BMW E30 320i – Classified of the Week

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By Chris Pollitt

Some cars are classics from the off. Others, however, go through an incredible journey to get there. Cars like this, the BMW E30 for example. When it was new it was an executive machine, something fun for upper management types. It was the luxurious, sporty, premium answer to cars like the Sierra and the Cavalier. It was a car that we lusted after. 

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Soon though, it was just another old car on the market. Replaced by the E36, then the E46 and so on, the E30 fell by the wayside. It wasn’t new, it wasn’t the latest offering from BMW and as such it lost some of its appeal. However, for younger buyers, it was a hot commodity. It was a bit of flash for not a lot of cash. Plus, a huge aftermarket full of modifications had developed, and as such the E30 was the car of choice for the Max Power generation. Certainly, we remember seeing them in magazines on three-spokes, or in one case, fitted with a Cosworth YB engine. Nothing was impossible back then. 

Of course, the boy racer and Max Power era was also the facilitator of many an E30’s demise. They were modified to oblivion, they were wrapped around street furniture and being built in the ‘80s, they were also somewhat prone to rusting away. Numbers of surviving E30s soon dwindled. 

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Roll on to today, and you won’t find a cheap E30. It’s gone full circle now, and is deemed by many to be the best 3 Series BMW ever made. The teenagers of yesterday, who couldn’t afford one at the time, can today. As such, the cars that survive, especially in standard specification are highly sought after. And rightly so. Small, light, rear-wheel drive and with a chassis to die for, the E30 is the embodiment of old school fun. If you see one, you should pounce on it. Good job then, we have one here. 

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This 1989 320i finished in Dolphin Grey metallic with black leather trim is the most desireable two-door model. It’s done a few miles at 160k, but the advert seems to suggest it’s been very well looked after. It’s been fitted with new Bilstein shocks and Eibach springs, new suspension components such as drop links and bushes, new engine mounts, new diff bushes, new timing belt, water pump and radiator too. The sills have been replaced to a high standard, and an improved E46 steering rack has been fitted to improve the drive. 

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Presented with MOT until October, it looks to be in exceptional condition. It sits on the original BBS alloys, and being the later E30, it had the deeper body-coloured bumpers, too. It’s a thing of beauty, make no mistake. A car that has avoided body kits and three-spokes and instead has been cherished. And at £9,000, it’s a bit of a bargain, too. You’re not going to find many on the market as appealing as this.

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