David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/16/21 9:42 a.m.

BMWs are hot right now. And have been hot. And likely will continue to be hot.

So, let’s say you want to pick up a classic BMW. Which one? After all, the brand has been in the car-building business for nearly a hundred years. 

We turned to some experts for guidance. First, Mike Ma…

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wspohn SuperDork
6/16/21 11:09 a.m.

Sadly, the only older BMWs I'd be interested in are already obscenely expensive.  328, 507, M1, Z8. I am not a sedan guy so that eliminates about 2/3 of the candidates. There are still the 3.0 CS which I do rather like and the Z4MC (which I already own) but not too much else.

Although old Bimmers don't seem to have escalated in price as much as the Porkers have, they certainly do seem to hold value really well.


jr02518 HalfDork
6/16/21 1:06 p.m.

My life with these cars can be traced back to the 1969 2002 that my parents purchased in Monterey, CA as my dad was getting transferred to Whibey Island ,WA  while he was flying for the Navy.  He sold the '56 Porsche Speedster to make to happen, a coupe was a better choice moving into the Pacific North West.  Yes, life with a young  Navy family of five requires taking one car to the next duty station.

That car stayed with us for the next three moves, to include being towed being the Old's Vista Cruiser to the East Coast and then back to Monterey.  Then two weeks before my sixteen birth bay, the car was sold.  

Oh I now understand why, the pending cost of insurance sealed the deal.  But I have been bitten by the BMW bug and have more than made up for it.  They are fun to drive and if you can allow your self to enhance their weaknesses they are great.  But no longer stock. Really ,as delivered by the factory stock.

Starting with my 1975 2002.  I like the square tail cars , as apposed to the early round tail light cars. It makes it easier to add the upgrades that have to be completed.  Trust me, the BMW E-21's Recaro seats, 5-speed and limited slip differential (LSD) are a must.  Then you have to address the tire/rim limits of the cars sheet metal.  If you can find the rims with the correct offset you can go a little bite wider, but adding larger 15 inch rubber is going to require the 'tii style flares.

But my 1982 E-21 has proven to be a better starting point.  Once you embrace the odd front end suspension, back date to the earlier vented front brake rotors and find a set of calipers that are now on older Porsche's.  The CIS fuel injection is not very flexible and when you have it running correctly better to leave it alone. The electronic ignition does a good job, the distributor on these cars is geared to run the opposite direction from the early M10 motors, fyi.  Then you get to keep the better seats, 5 speed and LSD as delivered.  The best part of this car is that you can run 15x7 rims and 205/50 tires under the stock fenders. If, you can find rims with the right offset.  Kosie, made them.  I have two sets.

My 1988 E30 is a refreshed NASA GT2 car that never had the fenders cut.  What makes this car is it has a non vanous M50 motor from a 1991 donar.  They only made this motor for one year.  This is a very sweet combination of earlier and latter, old school technology that just sings.  

Then I have my E-36, a 1994 M-Tech.  Before they delivered the M3 they built a run of 150 of these to test the market.  The interior is unique and the 17x7 rims are priceless, but the one thing that has to be fixed is the profoundly slow steering.  It is always something with these. I need to find a steering rack from an earlier Z3 1.9 roadster to fix the issue.

I am grateful I do not mind that they are not "stock". Keeping them all running is my cross and no end of a quest.






Bardan New Reader
6/20/21 8:37 p.m.

In reply to wspohn :

Pardon my ignorance "Porkers"?

wspohn SuperDork
6/21/21 11:06 a.m.
Bardan said:

In reply to wspohn :

Pardon my ignorance "Porkers"?

That's what we British sports car fans sometimes call Porsches - I picked it up long ago while racing in California, a solitary MG, hip deep in bathtub Porsches.

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