- Post is under moderationBrightwells June sale / #BMW / #1992 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-318i-Convertible / #BMW-318i-Convertible-E30 / #BMW-318i-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series / BMW / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio
Brightwells had a glut of BMWs on offer at its June sale and this #BMW-E30-Cabriolet was one of three 318i examples it had up for sale and the only one that sold. Its mileage might have been on the high side at 136k but there was plenty of history with the car showing it had been loved during its life. At £4500 it looked like reasonable value for money but as an investment the 325i sold by ACA looked to be a better bet.
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- Post is under moderationTHE 1993 #BMW 318i Convertible £8995 / #BMW-E30-Cabriolet
One of the last E30s built, this four-pot drop-top has done fewer than 59,000 miles. Russ Smith checks its credentials.
We’re told that this 318i has always been a babied second car, and you get enough of a sense from the impeccable full history – which supports the car’s low mileage reading of 58,849 – to believe that. Though choosing the smallest engine available, the original buyer certainly went to town on the spec, opting for electric hood and mirrors, leather interior and power steering, which remarkably still wasn’t standard then. The bumpers and mirrors have been colour-coded, probably in period, and the finish remains an excellent match for the rest of the original Laguna Green. This remains good, with just three or four touched-in stonechips on the bonnet, and the front valance appears to have been repainted, probably after a parking knock because there’s still a slight waviness around the middle of it. The only other exterior mark is a light scuff to the rubber on the offside rear corner. The BBS cross-spoke alloys are unmarked, though they do wear three brands of tyres – but all with plenty of tread remaining. The original soft-top is still good with just the odd fold mark, and it goes up and down as it should; all electric windows work quickly and smoothly.
After relatively little use, the interior is also good. There’s some light wear, as usual, to the seat side bolster where you get in and out, but it only needs recolouring with a leather restorer kit. The original carpets remain unworn under overmats; two sets of them in the front. Only the door pockets have yellowed a bit with age, there’s a bit of shoe scuffing on the plastic sill covers, and a modern Sony CD stereo has been fitted. The boot is spotless and still contains the toolkit and first-aid kit.
The engine bay hasn’t been detailed so, while there’s nothing wrong with it, there is room to improve its presentation. Oil is clean and to level; no leaks were evident. The engine starts and runs well too, with a lot more go than the 1.8’s lowly position in 3 Series hierarchy might lead you to believe. That spec does mean there’s no oil pressure gauge to check, but the temperature never strayed above the quarter mark during our test-drive. There’s a nice middling clutch bite, all the gears shift as easily as you’d expect from a BMW five-speed manual gearbox, the brakes are without fault and the steering is smooth, not over-light, and there are no knocks or clonks from the suspension at either end of the car.
Once you get over the nagging disappointment that there isn’t a six-cylinder engine, this E30 convertible has a lot going for it. All E30s are getting hard to find in this kind of original and unmessed-with condition, and the top-level specification and long-term care it’s had make it a real pleasure to drive. So while the price might look high, the quality is there to back it up.
C HOOSE YOUR E30
When the E30 3 Series replaced the E21 in 1982 the only convertible versions remaining were those produced (with factory approval) by Baur incorporating a roll-over bar. Any model in the range could be converted this way.
BMW launched its own Convertible in 1986, an ingenious design by Shaer Wachter that folded out of sight under a panel in the rear deck and had strengthened screen pillars instead of a roll-over bar. At first it was available only as a 325i. During 1987 the Convertible line was extended to include the 320i. Baur conversions continued to be sold until at least 1989.
From 1989 the soft-top option was finally made available on the four-cylinder 318i and the hot-shot M3, though only 32 of the latter would eventually be sold in the UK. After the new E36 3 Series was introduced in 1990 the #BMW-E30 convertible remained in production for another three years to fill the gap until a soft-top version of the new model could be produced.
SPECIFICATIONS TECH DATA FILE #1993 #BMW-318i-Convertible-E30 / #BMW-318i-E30 / #BMW-318i / #BMW-318i-Convertible
Contact Epping Motor Company, Stanford Rivers, Essex (eppingmotorcompany.com, 01277 365415)
Engine 1796cc, inline-four cylinder, sohc / #M10
Power 115bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque 122lb ft @ 4250rpm
Performance Top speed: 117mph;
Fuel consumption: 35mpg
COMPREHENSIVE, 5000 MILES PER YEAR, GARAGED CALL: 01277 206911
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