1983 BMW 320i E30 Swap -SOLD!

Mar 2021 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Malaise Monday

March 28, 2021 Update – we confirmed the seller of this BMW 320i “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call Rudy directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

March 3, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the private seller of this E30-powered BMW 320i replaced their previous ad with a duplicate one that relies on essentially the same asking price of $8,999.

January 30, 2021 Update – we just discovered a fresh listing for this early-eighties vintage BMW. While the pictures and descriptions appear to be the same, the private seller reduced their asking price to an even $9,000.

1983 was the eighth and final year of BMW’s first-generation three-series sports sedan, and this brown over black, E30-powered example we first came across in January 2021 on Craigslist in New Hope, New Pennsylvania makes a tasty example with a bit a sleeper vibe.  with the complete service history and an asking price of $9,500.   Comparing this price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms this private seller has their 320i priced $200 less than the #3 “Good” estimate of $9,400.

The private seller provides a very detailed listing of everything they have completed on their 320i during their tenure owning the car. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Hi everyone,

Unfortunately, it is time to put my E30 drivetrain swapped 1983 BMW 320i (e21) up for sale. The car is almost completely rust-free, with the exception of a penny-sized spot behind the rear passenger window. Overall, the car is in excellent shape, and over the course of 4 months I have only put around 500 miles on it. I planned to keep this car for a long time, but due to changing personal circumstances, I am barely finding time to drive it and think it should go to someone who will be able to enjoy the car. I have a clean title in-hand.

As it sits, the engine has 115,5xx miles, with 130,5xx on the chassis. The odometer reads 147k due to a euro instrument cluster swap. Almost all work was completed by the previous owner at a Porsche specialty shop in Virginia, who brought the car to its current condition today. I have taken the car on a four-hour trip, and it is extremely capable for the highway.

The build list is as follows:

Engine/Transmission/Differential: out of 1990 BMW 325i (E30)
2.5L m20 engine – 115,5xx miles
5-speed manual transmission with solid shifter bushings
Sport clutch replaced a few years back
3.73 medium case Limited Slip Differential
BMW E36 318ti radiator
Electric cooling fan
Stiff poly engine/transmission mounts
E30 harness mated to e21 harness using the e21 factory fuse panel
A/C delete
10×950 drive belt
10-gallon fuel cell with baffling and foam, bolted down with powder-coated metal straps
BMW E28 535i fuel pump
BMW E28 axles
Dinan chip with rebuilt DME stored in glove compartment

Stainless steel braid brake hoses
Brake booster delete conversion
5 lug conversion
BMW E12 front wheel hub and wheel bearings
Wilwoods superlite 4-piston calipers
BBS BMW Style 29 7×15 et20
BMW E28 rear assembly (hubs, brakes, calipers)
BBS BMW Style 29 7×15 et47

Koni Coilover conversion
E21 lower control arms setup with stiff poly bushings
BMW 2002 tie rod arm
BMW 2002tii shortened front strut housing and strut Coilover conversion
BMW e21 stock upper strut mounts
Front sway bar conversion to adjustable caster arm
Manual e21 steering rack with e21 tie rods
BMW E28 rear subframe conversion with poly bushings
Adjustable camber and toe plates on subframe
BMW e21 rear shocks style
BMW e21 rear shock mounts

BMW e21 European instrument cluster swap
BMW e21 European center console
BMW e21 re-upholstered sport seats
Momo steering wheel hub adaptor with Momo steering wheel
Manually adjustable side mirrors
Manual crank windows
Manual battery quick disconnect

Rubberized undercoating to prevent rust/rock chips
Car was originally black but has recently been repainted brown.

The bad:
– The speedometer will need to be hooked up to the differential. I have purchased a custom adapter that will accomplish this that can be included in the sale. The only thing it needs is to be hooked up.
– Windshield wipers only work on the high setting and do not reset automatically
– Fuel cell could be re-vented
– Four-way flasher switch does not work (common e21 issue). The new part is included and is plug-and-play.
– Sunroof does not open well due to the cable hinge
– Paint has some surface-level scratches

Other notes:
– No radio/AC, as they have been deleted
– Brake pad warning light is on due to no sensors, yet pads are almost brand-new
– Lack of power steering and power brakes require some getting used to
– Fuel gauge reads from empty to full (reversed), but is still accurate.

Almost every maintenance item has been completed. The m20b25 engine pulls hard and starts on the first try, with no grinding or hesitation in the transmission and driveline. Redline fluids have been used throughout the car.

Engine oil and filter with currently with 1,500 miles
Brake fluid flushed
Coolant: 50/50 mix
Transmission oil
Differential fluid
M20b25 engine serviced (timing belt, water pump, seals, all engine temp & timing sensors)
Valve adjustment 2018 with currently with 5000 miles
Spark plugs
Distributor cap and rotor
Ignition wires
Ignition coil
Fuel lines
Fuel pump
Fuel filter
Air filter
Axles rebuilt
Front wheel bearings adjusted
Interstate battery
All 4 tires (Kumho Ecsta PA31 all-seasons) with plenty of tread

Valve adjustment currently with 5500 miles

Parts included in the sale:
Three spare similar wheels, two of which are wrapped in tires that are almost brand-new
New belts
Wiper blades
Electronic signal to mechanical cable speedometer adapter (custom ordered, ready for install)
Four-way flasher switch
and more!

Bottom line:
I cannot think of any upcoming or necessary maintenance that this car will need in the next 10-15k miles, besides an oil change and a valve adjustment. This BMW e21 has been transformed into a quick and unique build over the last 5 years, while still easily retaining the drivability and reliability characteristics of an OEM car. It is ready to be an autocross weapon under the hands of a capable driver, or a fun weekender/daily with personality. I am more than happy to answer any possible questions or send pictures. I am sure I am forgetting a few things on the car. Thanks!”

Do you have a BMW 320i story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!


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