1982 BMW 3-Series
ONE OWNER FOR 35 YEARS AND (EXACTLY) 7 DAYS, BEFORE I ACQUIRED IT...True story...In 2016, I saw this 320is in the area I live--it was going into the parking lot of the same mall I was going to...After parking, I managed to catch up to the owner....He wasn't interested in selling it...I expected that...Sooo, I left him my number and forgot about it...About six months later, I get the call...Of course I remembered the car. After a few minutes of conversation, I agreed to buy it...So began the quest. It's original M10 engine was at the end of its useful life. This is (always) where a project takes root...I contemplated rebuilding the engine...But briefly, before I ultimately (project-creep) decided to pull it out. Sourced an M20 with 110k miles and went about going through it: timing belt, tensioner pulley, plugs, wires, cap, rotor, all fuel lines, vacuum lines, coolant hoses, etc. Fabricated the necessary mounts for the M10 to M20 adaptation and in went the engine and transmission (brand new clutch). Scrapped the Motronic 1.3 for Alpha-N to better manage the 2.5 liter engine (thus ditching the useless AFM). Engine is stock; cooling system is Behr tripple-core radiator with electric cooling. Because this is Southern California, the AC was gone through, evacuated, charged; blows cold. Battery was relocated to the trunk where it is held in a custom battery mount/rear strut brace (can't remember the company I sourced it from). Front suspension was uprated (all bushings, shocks, links, etc). As previously stated, the transmission (also) was sourced from the M20 setup and a short-shift kit was fabricated (locally/reputable shop). Exhaust is custom from front to back ending up in a dual exhaust setup (like an e21 323i). Exhaust tips (carbon fiber) were sourced over the counter from the local BMW dealer. Front BBS spoiler and rear Zender trunk spoiler and lower rear valance were found BRAND NEW, never-installed (I happened upon them by sheer luck). The front BBS spoiler & rear Zender lower valance were painted Henna Red to match. European bumpers...Found the rear bumper in Greece (yes, seriously) and the front bumper in Germany. Speaking of overseas sourcing: steering wheel (Italy), dashboard (Czech republic as I recall) and miscellaneous parts were sourced wherever I could find them. Front bumper: not problem to install. Rear bumper would only fit under a couple of different scenarios...One required cutting out the trunk floor and seaming-in the same piece from a grey-market e21...Not interested in cutting this one up...So custom fabrication & integration was handled by the best in the business: World Famout West Coast Customs of Burbank, California. Alpina 15' wheels...Found these in a terrible state (without centercaps) and they were immediately sent away...Shot-blasted, cleaned, re-surfaced and repainted. After some research, I landed on Hankook V2's (less than 75 miles on the tires). Rear Suspension (in no particular order--I'm wandering)...Well, I wanted rear disc brakes and I felt the best way to get there was original factory pieces...So...I sourced the entire rear carrier assembly from a 323i and in it went (new front and rear brakes; parking brake connected and adjusted). Rear factory LSD from the 320i sport package was maintained. All new bushings in the rear. Bilstein shocks front & rear. Interior...Well, it was tired. Originally I though about going with leather but I visualized the final product and didn't 'feel it'. Soooo, I took the hard route...Trying to find vintage houndstooth fabric for the e21 (READ: looking for unicorn). Eventually, I did find it and, after laying out the kings-ransom for the necessary material, I had the upholstery shop do everything...Front & rear seats, door panels & a new headliner. DID I MENTION THE DASH DOESN'T HAVE A SINGLE CRACK IN IT? Tore out the old (completely dilapidated/cracked) dash and inserted a euro-tach (323i) and maintained the factory odometer & other guages. Note...About the only thing I didn't do was hook up the odometer cable which is a simple enough affair....Back to the interior...I wanted the car to still have a 'vintage' feel to it and I opted for a Blaupunkt head unit--the only non factory item that stands out. Speaking of 'kings ransom', I laid out the debt of a small third-world country for the COCO mats...They took two weeks to get and were custom cut and custom color-coded to match the houndstooth interior. Retained factory front & rear lights--although the rear lenses are a bit faded. I know I'm leaving out a lot of items...Lots, I'm sure...Back to this being a 'project'. Like others I've gotten myself into, I always said, 'I'm going to keep this one.' Yeah...Well...And then life intervenes (recently married) and the demands of domestic life dictate that I part with the project car. How does it drive? Exactly like you think it would--a lighter weight e21 chassis with the solid and torquey feel of the M20 engine. Keeping in mind that the e21 323i shares the M20 block so the addition of the uprated electronics (Alpha N) and different intake/cylinder-head setup make this a truly visceral and fun drive. This car is NOT a rattle trap and is very well sorted. It could (easily) be your every day driver. If anyone wants a cold-start video, just let me know...I'LL PREVIEW IT FOR YOU: starts easily, without drama and runs EXCELLENT when cold or hot. This car is balanced and preserved (I feel) in the best spirit of what a vintage BMW should look and feel like. MAKE SURE YOU WATCH THE VIDEO OF MY 320i: watch?v=m-tesPHuEiw&feature= . I'm happy to answer any questions anyone may have. Please be respectful when it comes to pricing. Yes, I'm asking for a lot, but flash forward to five/10 years down the road and this is an investment...Rust-free Henna Red e21's? Good luck finding anything like this. My asking price does NOT cover my expenditure on this car (or even close to it)...I'm afraid to count how much I'm into it for, but it greatly exceeds what I'm asking. Please feel free to contact me at 747.227.5759, with any questions!