Japan Spec: 1991 BMW 325i Touring – Sold?

by | Sep 2022 | Classifinds, Wagon Wednesday

(Click on the photograph below to expand it and navigate through all the others)

 

Japan: land of the rising sun and of course, forbidden vehicle fruit that we never saw stateside. While so-called JDM imports have traditionally focused on sports cars and 4x4s, the European models hiding out in the far East tend to be high-spec models with low miles and automatic transmissions. Alpinas, AMGs, and everything in between can be found hiding in the hills, optioned to the hilt. This week, we have a Japan-spec 1991 BMW 325i Touring equipped with an automatic transmission, Konig seats, and many other period-correct modifications that are exceedingly hard to find today. The wagonized version of the classic E30 3-Series was originally listed in September 2022 on Craigslist in Corona, California, for $28,000. Comparing that price against the Classic.com model guide shows that the seller is asking for well above the average sale price of $10,662, which may indicate some of the fervor around the Touring model is cooling.

The E30 has been a fan favorite for many years – of that, there is no need for debate. I actually own a 1987 325is that I’ve had for over a decade, and it is a car that does everything well. It still keeps up with modern traffic; it’s comfortable over the long haul; and it still loves to break the tires loose in a roundabout, right before the limited-slip kicks in. The Touring model takes all of those features, along with a buttery-smooth 2.5 liter inline-six, and adds the convenience of a wagon body. My daily driver is a 2011 328xi Sport Wagon with a manual gearbox, and it’s one of the best cars I’ve ever owned. The reason for the E30 Touring becoming a more common sight stateside is because it checks all of those boxes and has the added bonus of being exotic and different, a car we didn’t get here in the states. In many ways, it’s a total all-rounder, which is sometimes challenging for hobby cars to be.

The Pacific Coast Auto YouTube Channel features this eerily similar car they offered for sale in 2017 that we believe is likely the same car:

The seller’s car is a desirable specimen for a few additional reasons. First, it has low miles, like so many vehicles imported from Japan. With under 50,000 miles on the clock, this E30 has plenty of years left in its drivetrain, with perhaps the only major to-do’s on the maintenance list a timing belt job and a new water pump and thermostat. It also is loaded with period-correct “tuner” parts, but not the kind that detract from its overall value. The parts are all from the high-end aftermarket players of the 80s and 90s, including a Racing Dynamics “K25” engine with a tune that the seller claims delivers a healthy boost over stock power output. It also has the incredibly rare Racing Dynamics valve cover, body kit, wheels, steering wheel, wood trim, and more. Other enhancements include Hartage headers, a strut bar, and an FGK (Fujitsubo) muffler. There are some cosmetic flaws and exposed wiring from prior audio/visual installs, but this Touring is an E30 enthusiast’s dream spec with loads of unobtanium parts. While base-spec E30 wagons will keep selling for peanuts, this one likely deserves a better price.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“ULTRA RARE — it’s unknown how many wagons Racing Dynamics converted into the already-rare K25 you see here. Has original VIN plates including the “West German BMW” plaque that has the serial number for Japan import.

This was originally sold brand new in Japan, and is fitted with the M20 2.5L mated to a 4spd auto with adjustable settings. Transmission has a Sport, Eco, and 1-3 shift mode.

The parts alone on this car make this an incredibly rare period piece and simply cannot be replicated without spending thousands and waiting for these ultra-rare parts to show up for sale. Most of the parts I simply couldn’t find a recent price for.

This car was rescued from a parking

Here are the details:

–Location–
Car is located in Corona, CA 92882
Clean PA title (will not pass smog in California. you will need to title through VT using Kuaay.com or using Montana or South Dakota. I can help with either)

–Specs–
1991 BMW 325i Touring with K25 package
46k mi
4spd automatic
M20 2.5L
Rare factory AC (wagons rarely came in “325”, most were base 318 and 316 so AC was a rare option on top of the motor)
Easily swapped to manual

Racing Dynamics K25 includes:
– RD tune 194hp
– RD valve cover (basically unobtainable now)
– full RD body kit (very rare)
– RD wheels with spare (5 total)
– RD steering wheel
– Bilstein suspension

–Modifications–
Additional period correct mods:
– Hartage strut bar
– Konig bucket seats
– FGK (Fujitsubo) muffler
– Hartage headers (super rare)
– Limited slip rear diff
– rain visors

–The Good and the Bad–
Pros:
– solid body with no signs of bodywork or accidents
– all windows work
– sunroof opens and tilts
– very little rust, these wagons are notorious for rust
– 46,000mi; very low miles, wagons were commonly used for commercial applications in the EU
– all lights work
– flashing check light on dash goes away in D, no codes at all
– tons of rare parts

Issues / needs:
– clear coat fade, paint chips, imperfections and paint separation — basically the paint is the worst part, and it’s not that bad from 5ft
– body kit has warped slightly in places from heat/sun/UV/age
– surface rust under rear window
– has a bunch of old wiring from a monitor and AV system that was installed

Modified versus stock: would you consider paying more for a car loaded with period-correct goodies?    

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