Mechanically Restored: 1988 BMW 325i Cabriolet- Sold?
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April 21, 2022, Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
While the collector car world continues to pay insane prices for garden variety classics on a seemingly daily basis, there are some early-stage collector cars that remain very accessible. The E30-chassis BMW 3-Series is a perfect example of a model that is selling for high prices in pristine condition but also remains relatively affordable when found as a driver. This 1988 BMW 325i convertible was originally listed in March 2022 on Craigslist in South Florida with a claimed engine rebuild completed 300 miles ago and the preferred manual gearbox for $12,000. Comparing that price against the Hagerty Price Guide makes the ask here seem more than fair, as a “Good” condition car is valued at $19,000 while a “Fair” example is listed as being worth $6,700.
There was a time when a convertible-anything was a throwaway car once it was used up and onto its third or fourth owner. Convertibles weren’t as sought-after by enthusiasts due to their perceived “wet noodle” handling qualities, and yet also coveted by owners who were more concerned with image than the driving experience. These are gross generalizations, I realize, but I feel fairly confident there’s enough evidence to support my claims. However, that’s all changing as hardtops begin to climb higher and higher in price, with cars like the BMW 325is coupe selling routinely in the low $20,000s range. The truth is, as long as you aren’t tracking the car, a convertible version of your coveted model may make more financial sense in the long run as a means of gaining entry to a fast-appreciating segment. Plus, you can always add an OEM hardtop (once you locate one) for some additional structural rigidity.
The MotorWeek RetroReview YouTube Channel features this vintage E30 325i Cabriolet test drive when BMW launched it for 1987:
Curiously, the seller’s car had an engine rebuild not all that long ago, with less than 300 miles racked up since then. With only 107,000 miles, it seems odd that the E30’s sturdy M20 inline-six engine needed a refresh. However, the timing belt on the E30 is an interference type, so it’s entirely possible the 325i was forced to undergo a rebuild to repair valvetrain damage. Regardless, it’s said to run well now and comes with the preferred manual gearbox. While the seller has no paperwork establishing the engine rebuild work as irrefutable, he listed several other components that were replaced during his tenure with the car, including the radiator, expansion tank, and fuel pump. In addition, the soft top was recently replaced and the seller has upgraded the steering rack to the quicker Z3 rack and pinion. This cabriolet is also equipped with the desirable factory optional limited-slip differential, rounding out an impressive list of recent maintenance and nicely-preserved equipment.
Here’s the seller’s description:
“Please read everything before you call me.
1988 BMW 325i convertible
Engine rebuilt 3 years ago and only less than 300 miles driving. No paperwork but we opened the valve cover and have pictures.
Garage kept all her life.
5-speed swap and with new short shifter and new arms too.
New soft top
New radiator 3/2021
New cooling reservoir 3/2022
New fuel pump 3/2022
Fresh oil 3/2022
Cooling system drain completely and fresh cooling water 3/2022
New fuel filter
99% dash perfect 1” open in the tray
Runs perfect and shift perfect
Cluster works and mileage too.
3:73 LSD differential
Z3 rack and pinion swap
Needs little things but mechanical is ready to go everywhere
If you’re serious call me, if not keep looking
Only call will be accepted
Please don’t text or email
We ignore texting and emails
Only accept calls between 8 am to 8 pm
Leave a message if i don’t answer.”
E30 hardtop or convertible: which one seems like a better long-term value to you?