Clean Base Model: 1992 BMW 318i Cabriolet – SOLD!

by | Aug 2022 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Topless Thursday

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September 16, 2022, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “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 us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

We don’t often get too excited by base models around these parts. That’s not due to the car in question not holding some appeal but more due to the effect of having better options within the same model lineup. In the case of the classic BMW 3-Series E30 chassis, the 325i has been the staple for an entry-level classic that makes good power and can often be found with desirable options like a limited slip and sport seats. With the four-cylinder offering known as the 318i, you must find a loaded 318is car to access those features. We’re willing to make an exception for a car as clean as this 318i Cabriolet originally listed in August 2022 in Hollis, Maine, for $9,500. Comparing that price against the Classic.com model guide shows that the seller is asking for reasonable money, given that the average sale price now is clocking in at just over $12,000:

The stigma of buying the lower-powered model in a particular family of cars is hard to shake. It doesn’t matter what model it is, but I can recall from my teenage years that you didn’t want a V6 Mustang when you could have had a GT; you didn’t want a four-cylinder GTI when there was a VR6 available; you should ignore the 3000GT in V6 form given there was a rowdy VR4 up for grabs; and in the case of the E30, you wanted the M3 if you could swing it (and in the late 90s, a ratty E30 M3 was within reach of some high schoolers) or at least an M20-powered coupe or convertible. To some extent, as the years wear on and supply begins to dry up, the stigma wears off, and clean examples of a popular model, regardless of equipment levels, begin to appreciate – and that has certainly happened with four-cylinder E30s.

The MotorWeek Retro Review YouTube Channel features this test drive of the 1987 E30 Cabriolet when it originally debuted:

The seller deserves a lot of credit for making this base-model convertible into a car worth owning. Despite being in Maine, he has started with a southern car and has owned it for seven years, apparently keeping it out of the winter slop in that time. The modification list is restrained and checks the boxes of what most enthusiasts would likely do to a bone-stock car. This includes lowering it on H&R springs with Bilstein shocks and upgrading the factory 14″ wheels to a larger size. Personally, I would have stuck with a set of 16″ Euroweaves versus going to the 17-inch wheels, which don’t have a low enough offset to do the lowered stance justice. The seller hasn’t just modified the car as he’s tackled some important maintenance items as well, like rebuilding the injectors, installing new clutch lines, and adding all-new coolant and vacuum lines, among other repairs. The interior features the desirable sport seats in excellent condition, and shockingly the top is still original – but I would want to see proof it’s still in usable condition given there are no photos of it with the roof erect. Overall, a very solid-looking E30 with the right modifications done for the price.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1992 E30 318i Convertible 5 speed. adult-owned garage kept All original car originally from the south. Plastic bumpers, not the chrome mega ones, Original Top, interior, and body panels. I have owned this car for 7 years. Since I have owned it has gotten; Newly upgraded headlights, All new coolant and vacuum lines, rebuilt injectors and all intake gaskets, new clutch lines, complete fluid change, 17” Wheels and tires, cross-drilled rotors, Stainless braided lines, H&R springs, Bilstein shocks, and struts, rebuilt front suspension. All new exhaust from the header back. Replacement stereo with trunk self-enclosed subwoofer, new power antennae.

This is not a perfect car, it is a survivor and a driver; it has never been driven in the snow and typically not in the rain. There is no rust.

The car comes with a bill of sale, the car cover, the original wheels, and a set of fog lights for this model I have not installed and the original headlights.

Can be driven home as is.

This car is for sale, and the price is negotiable if you come to see it in person.

Money talks when making an offer. “

Base model bias: would you take this clean 318i home or hold out for a six-cylinder-powered E30?   

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