1982 BMW 323i (E21)
ENGINE 2316cc/6-cyl/OHC POWER 141bhp@6000rpm TORQUE 140lb ft@4500rpm MAXIMUM SPEED 118mph 0-60MPH 9.5sec FUEL CONSUMPTION 26-32mpg TRANSMISSION RWD, three-speed auto MoT 12 months ODOMETER 57,092 miles
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
BMWs have long been renowned for their silky-smooth straight-six engines, and this E21 is no different. It fires into life with no concerning rattles, idles quietly and cruises effortlessly, emitting a nicely fruity noise under load thanks to an aftermarket twin-pipe stainless steel exhaust, which looks no different from standard. The 323i was the fastest 3 Series, back in the day, too, and its 141bhp can still be felt, despite the automatic gearbox. Speaking of which, the three-speed auto is refined and shows no signs of wear when selecting gears. Braking is smooth and there is no unpleasant feedback through the pedal.
The BMW’s bodywork is pretty much how it left the factory in 1982. It’s since had a good quality (but sadly undocumented) re-spray and has been garaged for the past ten years. All the panels look straight and while there are a few inconspicuous stonechips, there are no dents. The BMW mudflaps are original (and apparently highly sought-after),
EXTERIOR Paint in very good condition INTERIOR Rear seat looks virtually unused MECHANICALS As you’d expect from a sub-60,000mile car
but the 16in BBS wheels, which are in good condition and shod with matching Falken tyres, are clearly aftermarket. Happily, the vendor still has the car’s original 14-inch BBS wheels. The suspension, meanwhile, has been replaced in the last five years, so there are no knocks when going over bumps.
HOW’S THE INTERIOR?
Everything in here is remarkably original, apart from the radio, though the vendor still has the original. The beige seats have worn their 35 years well and have no tears or broken springs. There’s a small crack in the dashboard near the speedometer, but not enough to cause any confusion when reading the dials. The black plastic used throughout has very little noticeable wear or sun damage. The steering wheel is original and in the sort of condition that is befitting of a car that has fewer than 60,000 miles on the clock.
UNDER THE BONNET
Opening the front-hinged bonnet reveals some good news – a new battery – and some not so good news – some minor surface rust. All the fluids are up to their correct levels and none left the engine during the test drive. The car comes with a lot of paperwork, and an MoT service history indicating that it has passed every test since 2011 with no advisories.
THE CCW VIEW
This is an almost mint, lowmileage E21 3 Series. Everything works as it should, it’s covered just 601 miles in the past four years, and has been fastidiously maintained and stored indoors. The non-original BBS wheels aren’t for everyone – but tthe ‘proper’ ones have been retained fix, and the seller is willing to negotiate the price if you don’t want the aftermarket set. Murray Scullion