A stunning 1990 BMW 320i manual in timewarp condition; full service history, alpine white, totally original, unmolested and in superb condition.
At a glance:
1990 BMW 320i convertible, 2 litre, six cylinder manual
Totally original and unmodified specification
Full service history
4 private owners
MOT to November 2020
The BMW E30 ‘3 Series’ was produced by BMW from 1982 to 1994. The initial models used only the coupe body style. Four-door models were introduced in 1983, convertibles were introduced in 1985 and estate "Touring" models were introduced in 1987. The E30 3 Series was originally penned by Claus Luthe in 1978. Externally, the E30's appearance is very similar to twin headlight versions of its E21 predecessor, however there were various detail changes in styling to the E30. Major changes over the E21 include improved interior features and revised suspension. As per the E21, a Baur convertible was originally available, but in June 1986 BMW officially launched their own E30 cabriolet, which differed substantially from the Baur version, although it was in fact co-designed by Baur and BMW. While the dimensions of the vehicle remained the same as the original, the floorpan was strengthened to allow the B- and C-pillars to be removed above the doorline. Because of these extensive modifications to the shell, the cabriolet shares very little with other E30s in terms of interior or bodywork. New owners are also often confused by the large metal weight in the boot; a 25kg "harmonic damper" placed there by BMW to damp out vibrations caused by lack of body torsional stiffness.
While the 2 door and 4 door E30s finished production in 1991, the cabriolet continued to be made until April 1993. When its production ended, the only E30 left in production was the Touring, continuing alongside the E36 replacement model.
The history of this car:
This car will first registered to a gentlemen from High Wycombe on the 1st August 1990, and has only had 4 owners to date.
This car features the more desirable pre-facelift chrome bumpers, original genuine 14 inch ‘bottle cap’ alloy wheels, checked cloth interior and 5 speed manual gearbox. The car also has the futuristic yet quaint, ‘on board computer’, which is fairly rudimentary by today’s standards.
The car has covered 134,302 miles, which is an average of under 5,000 miles per year.
Full service history, the majority of which is all BMW main dealer, last serviced at 128K and cambelt last changed at 117k miles.
On the road:
The car is incredibly well made with a real BMW quality feel as you would expect from a premium German car. Everything feels solid and well-engineered, even 27 years after leaving the factory. The car has a very refined engine note, smooth yet rich, and the car accelerates extremely smoothly. It's really lovely to drive, the steering is precise, brakes are responsive, clutch and gear change are excellent and the car still feels impressively 'taut' as it should.
The car has the 2 litre straight six ‘baby six’ engine which is smooth and refined. It’s genesis began with the first e21 building on the notoriety of the ’02 models, and the basic engine design still exists in the 2.5 and 3 litre production models produced today. The engine runs perfectly with no smoke, rattles or strange noises.
The manual 5 speed gearbox engages seamlessly as it should, with a light clutch pedal, making driving in towns or traffic a doddle.
The car has recently passed the MOT with no major issues, it just needed two new rear tyres and the washer jet nozzle unblocking. No welding, suspension or brake issues at all. The car has full MOT until November 2020.
These are becoming fast appreciating classics. There are fewer original unmolested examples left on the road, so finding one in superb condition with no modifications is increasingly difficult. This car is completely unmodified with the exception of the steering wheel which has been replaced for another genuine BMW wheel in better condition (the original steering wheel is available in the boot, only replaced due to worn leather). The chrome is excellent with a good shine and the interior is superb with no major wear or damage.
The car has grey check tartan cloth interior in wonderful condition. The driver’s seat is in perfect condition and does not have the usual rip or tears which so many other cars suffer from.
All electrics work and the controls all operate as they should. All the chrome is excellent and looks almost new. The car goes superbly and is a real joy to drive. The alloy wheels are clean, tyres are excellent.
The paintwork really shines and this is a car to be proud of. The gleaming bodywork is beautiful, the best colour in my opinion. The manual roof is also in excellent condition, with a clear rear screen. The hood comes down by simply undoing two clasps above the screen, opening the hood cover and folding under the canopy behind the rear seats, so no electrical or hydraulic mechanisms that can be costly when they go wrong.
All in all I think anyone with reasonable expectations will be delighted with this car, but please do remember that it is 27 years old and will have developed patina and character commensurate with its age.
Showroom examples (if you can find one) can often fetch up to £20K + so keeping this car in tip top condition would be a great investment. Many predict these cars are going to rise sharply in value over the coming years, and this car is priced very sensibly at £8,950
This is a fantastic ‘feel good’ sports car, a really well-built and entertaining drop-top that put a huge smile on my face when I drove it on a sunny day. Even after 27 years it has a quality German car feel, drives exceptionally well and seems just as solid as the day it rolled off the production line. Perfect for making the most of those rare sunny days in the winter, or summer. It draws admiring glances all the time, and is often a topic of conversation with people you meet when you park. It has oodles of charm, character and style.