The Risks of the BaT Effect: 1987 BMW 325is – Sold?

Jun 2021 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Free For All Friday

July 23, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the seller’s Craigslist ad expired with no replacement.  Interestingly, we also confirmed this ’87 BMW 325is has not been listed to date on Bring a Trailer as the seller alluded to, so for now we’re going to assume this one is “Sold?” until we find a new listing.

June 26, 2021 Update – Just one week after posting their car and bragging they applied to Bring a Trailer, the seller just lowered their asking price by one thousand dollars to $16,900.  It seems counter-intuitive they would be lowering their asking price while waiting for the car to be featured by that website, so it’s pretty safe to assume they were turned away.

The E30 chassis 3-Series has been steadily rising in value for some time, and that was before the E30 M3 started having a $30K cost of entry for a total basketcase. The next best thing has always been a sport package-equipped model, like this 1987 325is originally listed in June 2021 on Craigslist in Rockville, Maryland, with extensive records and rust-free condition for $17,900. Comparing this price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool reveals that an “Excellent” example is valued at $26,200, while a “Good” condition model should set you back $16,700.

The E30 is a wonderful blend of being both an easy-to-work-on project car and an emerging collector’s item. It is loved by enthusiasts because good ones are incredibly easy to live with and cheap to maintain, and parts supply is still generally quite good despite the availability of decent cars growing smaller every year. The 1987 IS is a particularly special car, as it offered some one-year-only features that later sport package models did not. For instance, it got that chunky front air dam with integrated fog lamps and brake duct coolers, which remains a coveted combination of parts for any E30 owners whose 325is lost its front air dam due to a parking spot barrier mishap. All sport package E30s benefited from a limited-slip differential, stiffer shocks and springs, a three-spoke sport steering wheel, heavily bolstered sport bucket seats, and a “Premium Sound” stereo. To find one with all of these parts still attached is a must-do for anyone looking to buy a 325is worth owning. Full disclosure: in this instance, we are breaking our rule of not listing dealer vehicles – read on to find out why.

Our subject car is beautiful and looks to have excellent cosmetics despite the seller’s estimate that it has close to 200,000 miles on the clock. This is truly an estimate, as the odometer stopped working prior to the car going up for sale. This particular car was listed for sale here on Bring A Trailer in August of 2020 where it was a no-sale at just under $10,000. The seller pointed to the commentary on the auction itself as torpedoing his chances of a solid sale, which does seem likely given the numerous complaints about what amounted to surface rust on the undersides, a common ailment of every car that has lived in the Northeast. The 325is likely hasn’t changed hands since then as it still resides in Maryland, and while the seller’s price is still somewhat inflated, one can’t help but wonder if an auction site with a simple Lemon Squad inspection prior to the sale would have confirmed the seller’s beliefs that his E30 is one of the best. Does it deserve better than being a no-sale courtesy of the BaT Effect? While a negotiation seems unlikely in this case, good luck with the purchase if a Schwarz over Cardinal E30 is on your must-own list.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Very well sorted 1987 325is inside and out, underneath as well. Schwarz with Cardinal Red interior, Recaro Sport seats and a 5 speed. Receipts dating back to 2010, no accidents on Carfax. Never smoked in, the interior is in great shape. I swapped the instrument cluster for a refurbished one recently from a shop in PA, actual mileage is unknown but I’ll say close to 200k. All service is up to date, AC is cold, and I have the set of spark plugs I swapped recently that show an incredibly healthy motor.

New rotors, pads, sensors, and all 6 flex brake lines, flush and fill on fluid
New Vredestein SportracS tires from Radial Tire of Silver Spring, they are awesome.
Oil service
New axle shafts
Complete front suspension kit from ECS, along with H&R street coil springs, rear links as well.
Ansa exhaust

Please include your name and number in the reply, let me know you’re a real person or I will not respond. Price is firm, I’ve already applied for submission into BAT, where I’m sure it will do well. Thanks for looking.”

Do you have a BMW 325is story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!

  1. isabel black

    I have a 4 door grey BMW 1987 325 with 140000 miles I want to sell it it needs new tires and battery and inspection. I live in North potomac md. what could I get for the car?

    • Guys with Rides

      Without seeing pictures of the car, a high-mileage example in need of tires and a battery likely might only fetch $4,000.


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