Author Topic: OT, BMW E21 320i, anybody ever owned one?  (Read 10212 times)

davestlouis

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OT, BMW E21 320i, anybody ever owned one?
« on: 25 May 2006, 06:18 PM »
My darling daughter stumbled on a 1977? 78? BMW 320i for sale cheap the other day.  I don't know doodly about BMW's and wonder if anyone has any experience with them and things I should look for?  So far, I have ascertained that the car has the 2.0L 4 cylinder, Bosch K-Jet injection, 4 speed manual gearbox.  I forgot to ask about sunroof(power?) and windows(power?).  Tomato red with beige cloth, indicated 88xxx miles. 
1978 280SE, 1979 450SE Euro, 1986 420SEL, 1986 560SL, 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 2003 Kia Rio

Denis

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Re: OT, BMW E21 320i, anybody ever owned one?
« Reply #1 on: 26 May 2006, 01:58 AM »
hi davestlouis

All I can tell you is that the rear suspension of the E21 was updated in the E30 to make it more stable in the wet. As long as you can get parts at a decent price, the old 3 series are cheap and reliable cars. In France, in the select club of cars "still on the road" that are more than 25 years old, old bimmers stand out.

Denis

Paris, France

Nutz

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Re: OT, BMW E21 320i, anybody ever owned one?
« Reply #2 on: 27 May 2006, 10:53 AM »
I've owned a few of them and the biggest thing on them was rusting floorpans.The M10 is a pretty good engine,not terribly fast but peppy at lower speeds.One thing ask the owner is when the last valve adjustment was done.If it sounds like a sewing machine on the camcover ,it hasn't been done or the chain tensioner is shot.

If you want a better BMW of that size I second Denis's E30 recommendation like a 325e or 325i but not the 318i (1983-1985) because it has rear drum brakes just like the E21 (another thing I forgot to mention).

michaeld

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Re: OT, BMW E21 320i, anybody ever owned one?
« Reply #3 on: 27 May 2006, 08:34 PM »
Dave,
I haven't had any experience with BMWs, but I can add that they are more "in" with the younger "in" crowd than MBz, and usually sell for more $$$ on ebay.

If you are able to, it is ALWAYS a good idea to take a car you're seriously considering to a mechanic for inspection.  AAA offers a very thorough inspection for under a $100 for members, and they're also good to have on hand if you ever break down (always possible in an older car!).
Mike

davestlouis

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Re: OT, BMW E21 320i, anybody ever owned one?
« Reply #4 on: 28 May 2006, 05:57 AM »
AAA is good advice for civilians, but let's not forget a couple of things: 1, it's cheap, asking price $600, 2. I work at a dealership that sells new BMW's, so even if it's a POS, I get parts at cost + 10% and pay a labor rate that is discounted 70% ( normal rate just went up to $124.95/hr, I pay $30)...I'm willing to roll the dice on anything under $1000, just don't want to fall for anything really obvious.  I expect there to be problems with the cheap stuff I buy, finding it and fixing it is half the fun for me...I'm doing more and more of the work myself though, because I keep finding that the dealer technicians really don't know much about older cars...even in our MB service dept, there are only 2 guys who know W126's...I know a guy who took his W111 Ponton over there to have the carbs adjusted...said they gave him a blank stare, like they had never seen one before.  But, anyway, I digress.  I'll let you know if I take the plunge...
1978 280SE, 1979 450SE Euro, 1986 420SEL, 1986 560SL, 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 2003 Kia Rio

alabbasi

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Re: OT, BMW E21 320i, anybody ever owned one?
« Reply #5 on: 09 June 2006, 11:20 PM »
I own an 89 318i (M40 engine) in the UK. Manual everything (including steering) but an amazing little car that goes well, stops well and handles well. It was pretty decent on gas and appeared to me as a peppier car then the 320i's of the era. I'm not sure if its as a result of shorter gearing but it was always quicker of the mark then the 320i's belonging to friends of mine. I would recommend that car to anyone.

If you want a better BMW of that size I second Denis's E30 recommendation like a 325e or 325i but not the 318i (1983-1985) because it has rear drum brakes just like the E21 (another thing I forgot to mention).
With best regards

Al
Dallas, TX USA.

Nutz

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Re: OT, BMW E21 320i, anybody ever owned one?
« Reply #6 on: 10 June 2006, 12:59 AM »
Hey Al,

Get a S14 engine or a M50 dropped in that E30  ;) I miss my 89 M3 tremendously that I used to own and still kick myself for selling it years back  :'(

I have an E24 85 635CSi with 5 speed manual to keep me pacified for now but I keep it in Hawaii so I have a vehicle to drive when I'm there.



Little dent in the front corner to fix but otherwise excellent condition throughout.

alabbasi

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Re: OT, BMW E21 320i, anybody ever owned one?
« Reply #7 on: 10 June 2006, 06:15 AM »
I do love the 6 series. It's one of the 100 or so cars that are in my top 10.
With best regards

Al
Dallas, TX USA.

davestlouis

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Re: OT, BMW E21 320i, anybody ever owned one?
« Reply #8 on: 14 June 2006, 07:59 PM »
6 series cars are gorgeous, but they all seem to be rusty around here, and I hate to think what it would cost to reupholster the back seat...the seams tend to fall apart in this climate.
1978 280SE, 1979 450SE Euro, 1986 420SEL, 1986 560SL, 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 2003 Kia Rio

alabbasi

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Re: OT, BMW E21 320i, anybody ever owned one?
« Reply #9 on: 14 June 2006, 08:10 PM »
Rusty like every other German car made in the 70's  :D Never under estemate how a Mercedes Benz W114 can rust.
With best regards

Al
Dallas, TX USA.

Nutz

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Re: OT, BMW E21 320i, anybody ever owned one?
« Reply #10 on: 15 June 2006, 02:10 PM »
Hey Al,

Check out what my buddy in Maui picked up for me the other day for next to nothing. 1988 325is with manual trans and runs somewhat decent but cosmetically challenged. Can't wait to get down there but for now I'll stock up on some aftermarket goodies from Bav and BMP  ;D



Make it something like this  8)

« Last Edit: 15 June 2006, 02:14 PM by Nutz »

alabbasi

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Re: OT, BMW E21 320i, anybody ever owned one?
« Reply #11 on: 15 June 2006, 02:30 PM »
Thats a fantastic little car. If I can make space for it, i would really like a 1991 E30 325I convertible with the small bumpers and the face lift in black with black leather.

You should be able to get them for a drink now.
With best regards

Al
Dallas, TX USA.

davestlouis

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Re: OT, BMW E21 320i, anybody ever owned one?
« Reply #12 on: 03 July 2006, 05:55 PM »
Well, I didn't get that car, but I did get a 1981 320i on ebay for $250...this one is red too, with tan vinyl interior and rusty rear floor pans.  The rest of the car looks OK.  It's getting delivered later this week, and I'll give a full report then.  My 17 year old daughter is eager to get her mitts on this car, we agreed to let her start driving again, but if she has one more wreck, she's done driving until she is out of school and on her own.  I wonder what kind of fuel economy to expect...surely better than the V8-powered Mercedes I have been driving. 
1978 280SE, 1979 450SE Euro, 1986 420SEL, 1986 560SL, 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 2003 Kia Rio

Denis

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Re: OT, BMW E21 320i, anybody ever owned one?
« Reply #13 on: 04 July 2006, 12:19 AM »
Hi Alabassi

Quote
Thats a fantastic little car. If I can make space for it, i would really like a 1991 E30 325I convertible with the small bumpers and the face lift in black with black leather.

Wow, did you know that such a car is the generic "drug dealer" car in Paris ?
In fact a 1991 would be an "aspiring gang leader" car.

 ;D

Denis

Paris, France

davestlouis

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Re: OT, BMW E21 320i, anybody ever owned one?
« Reply #14 on: 04 July 2006, 06:33 AM »
I don't think that a "pharmaceutical rep" around here would be caught dead in a 3-series...their taste runs to Cadillac Escalades with 22 inch wheels. 
1978 280SE, 1979 450SE Euro, 1986 420SEL, 1986 560SL, 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 2003 Kia Rio