Tuesday, December 18, 2012

5k: 1981 BMW 320is 5spd E21

 The E21 generation BMW 3-series was built in Munich and more than 1 million sold around the globe from 1975 to 1983.  It was the yuppie icon in the USA, a perfect way to show the world that you were young, sporty and well-off.  Most of them have since fallen apart due to abuse and neglect, but the nice ones are now starting to be collectable.  This 1981 BMW 320is 5psd is black on black and looks really nice for the $5800 asking price in Pacifica, CA via craigslist. (Thanks to tip from DT regular Kaibeezy T)

 The E21 was the first generation of BMW's award winning compact luxury sedan.  The 3-series is, better or worse, the defacto baseline for all wannabe performance sedans.  The E21 will feel a bit slow and dated by today's standards and considering you can get a similar conditioned E46 3-series, you may ask why you'd want to buy this E21?  The answer is simple.  Or more accurately simplicity.  By today's standards the E21 is a featherweight at 2500 lbs and its M10 2.0 liter inline 4 cylinder engine puts out only 125 horsepower into its 5 speed gearbox and factory limited slip differential. It is the lack of all kinds of driver aids and steering numbing electric assist that makes it a fantastic drivers car. 

 The seller of this 320is only offers one photo of the actual car and sparse details, but it is a California car, wears its factory paint and rides on sweet 13 inch BBS alloys.  We think this one would be a perfect candidate for someone looking for a classic 3-series in original condition for a fair price.

See a better E21? email us here: tips@dailyturismo.com 


  1. This in one of the few yuppymobiles that I do not hate.

  2. This in one of the few yuppymobiles that I do not hate.

  3. Fair warning. Good luck finding any sporting rubber these days for 13". Its really unfortunate because cars of this era (and earlier) really do look better with the original sized wheels.

    1. http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Hoosier&tireModel=A6&sidewall=Blackwall&partnum=25ZR3A6&tab=Sizes

      Sporting yes...streetable...not so much.

  4. In Southern Cali we used to call these Iranian War Wagons. After the Shah fell all the rich Iranians who came out here drove them. BTW..these plates are way wrong..should be blue and yellow starting with a 1 and seven letters/numbers. I think.

    So.......wonder what state it came from or if it is original Cali did the plates get stolen. Weird

  5. Cool seeing one of these preserved.

  6. ~ had two E21s, one 5 spd, one auto. the most dependable city drivers i've owned. in two years (each) put brakes on one and rewound the alternator on the other, that's reliable.


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