1979 BMW 320i (E21) Incredible “Survivor”
Original Owner Purchased New in Monterey on and Owned for ~40 Years!
Original Manuals, Purchase Documents, Keys, and Maintenance Records Included
NOTE: Our listings are rather lengthy. They not only describe this particular car but also some history of the make/model, considerations in buying a classic car and facts about our firm. However, we continually hear from out of state / out of country buyers (many of our clients) that they prefer the level of detail that we provide. However, if you are not prepared to read the full listing, please read the OVERVIEW below along with the PHOTOGRAPHS at the bottom. If you’d prefer, please call us at 925-846-1451 and we’ll gladly discuss the BMW and answer any questions over the telephone, including our “Buy it Now” policy. Yes, the BMW can be purchased prior to the end of the eBay auction.
This car is offered at a realistic price and, unlike bidding on cars in an auction environment, you will have the benefit of extensive information and history on the car prior to making a buying decision. Equally as important is the fact that Classic Cars Ltd. has been in business for 26+ years and enjoys an excellent national / international relationship with over 1,000 positive eBay feedback responses.
Please keep in mind that we will gladly…
- Answer any questions over the telephone and take the time to guide prospective customers through the buying process (925-846-1451).
- Assist with locating a quality, suitable transporter at very competitive prices.
- Provide proof that we are licensed, bonded (for the financial transaction), fully insured, and operate from an established showroom environment.
- Provide feedback from previous buyers, and specific references for vehicle purchases in your area (we also ask that you view our detailed eBay feedback by clicking on the number to the right of the eBay user name)
- Offer additional information including specific photographs or clarification of any part of our description of the vehicle
Thank you again, please let me know if I can be of assistance.
Paul R. Wankle, Pres.
Classic Cars Ltd.
OVERVIEW—THIS PARTICULAR BMW 320i (E21)
We have had a soft spot in our hearts for BMW’s for many years. In fact, our owner purchased a new 1979 BMW 320i “In the day.” The car was driven from Illinois to California when he relocated and, as they say…the rest is history.
In 1983, the 1979 BMW “3-Series” was traded in on a newer model but the original 320i left an indelible mark and sparked our interest in smaller sporting sedans. Since then, we have had too many BMW’s to count including M3’s, M5’s and a host of others. However, the early 3-Series cars represented sporting sedans at their best; simple, fun to drive, and inexpensive to maintain.
When we drove this particular car, we couldn’t help but be impressed with how much it reminded us of the cars that we had in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. The car remains exceptionally solid, exhibits the handling and braking that BMW’s are known for, coupled with a comfortable, purposeful interior.
In the late 1970’s, the BMW 320i (body designation E21) was the “must have” car of young, upwardly-mobile professionals–or “Yuppies,” as they came to be known. This particular car represents a true unmolested California “Survivor” in the strictest sense of the word.
With only ~94K miles, the cars original owner took possession of the Car from the BMW dealer in Monterey, CA on 3/13/1979. The car has remained in Northern California for its entire life and represents a rust free, extremely well maintained, fully documented car with one owner for close to 40 years.
The BMW 320i’s in totally original, unmodified condition are becoming, as the old saying goes “As rare as Hen’s teeth.” This example epitomizes the definition of a “Survivor”, down to its original paint and stock configuration. Cosmetically, it presents very well and it has been extremely well maintained as is supported by a large volume of repair / maintenance history dating back to the date of delivery. Notable features of the car include:
- 1.8 L 4 cylinder engine w/ fuel injection
- Rare automatic transmission
- 4 wheel independent suspension
- Power assisted front disc/rear drum brakes
- Rack and pinion steering
- Halogen high beam lights
- Dealer installed Blaupunkt AM/FM cassette stereo (functional)
- Excellent radial tires on factory BMW alloy
- All factory manuals plus purchase documents
- Factory original Sierra Beige paint in good condition with no indication or partial repainting
- Interior in beautiful condition including NO dash damage/cracks
- Optional manual sunroof
- Complete never used tool set
- Records support original chronological mileage progression
DETAILS—THIS PARTICULAR BMW 320i (E21)
This car is a well maintained, unmolested “survivor” still wearing its original paint and interior. Although not restored, it is very presentable and drives extremely well. The car was owned by the original buyer for ~40 years in California. The car has always been registered and licensed in California and carries current registration until 3/18/2020. The current odometer reading of 94,451 miles, and, judging by the maintenance records, is believed to be entirely accurate. The car comes with virtually all of the original documentation including all factory manuals and the original window sticker including:
– BMW Owner’s Manual in original plastic wrap
– BMW Service Manual
– BMW Service USA with delivery stamp and service stamps completed (refer to narrative for details)
– Blaupunkt In-Dash Autoreverse Cassette Player AM/FM Stereo CR-2001 Brochure
– Installation Manual for Unit above
– Wiring Schematic for CR2001 Radio
– Warranty card for radio
– Original Battery Warranty pamphlet
Original delivery documents are as extensive as we can remember seeing and include (refer to photos of each document):
– Motor Vehicle Purchase Order dated 3/13/79 reflecting all options including the following:
– Automatic (+$495.00)
– Sunroof (+$450.00)
– Alloy Wheels (+$400.00)
– Poly-Gly Coat (+$235.00)
– Blaupunkt Radio & 4 Speakers (no price shown)
– Business Card from Delivering Dealer / Salesman, Thomas L. Andrew
– Original Motor Vehicle Certification from – BMW of Monterey dated 3/13/79
– Odometer Mileage Statement (15 miles when delivered)
– New Vehicle Sticker showing purchase date and miles at delivery of 15 miles
– Copy of Original Title (CA “Pink Slip”)
– Copy of Original Registration
– B of A Loan Agreement executed on 3/13/79
– Poly-Gly Coat Warranty document
– BMW Standard Equipment & Fuel Economy Window Sticker
– Application for Extended Vehicle Service Contract
– Agreement to Furnish Insurance Form
– BMW Limited Warranty Window Sticker
– BMW Service Maintenance Check Lists 1977-1979 Models
– BMW Recall Letter
The car was faithfully maintained by the original owner with service stamps from the first service at 6,500 miles through 44,000 miles. Initial service was completed by the delivering dealer and documented in the factory BMW service booklet. The service book also shows the original owners name and date of delivery.
The extensive file documents ongoing service by local German specialists and supports that the car always received the recommended maintenance.
Within 3,000 miles the BMW has had the benefit of new brakes, a coolant flush, brake fluid change, smog inspection, new fuel tank, new water hoses, tires, battery, transmission fluid change, tune-up and other ongoing preventative and needed maintenance.
The exterior still bears the original Sierra Beige paint with dealer-applied pin striping tape, as was so common “in the day.” The paint is high gloss and not thin, but does show some minor scratches on the upper surface that do not detract from the appearance of the car. Both front and rear bumpers are in good condition. All trim is good with one small door ding size dent below the passenger side window. The body shows no evidence of accident damage with all panels appearing to be factory original. The hood, trunk lid and both doors close smartly and all body panel gaps are good as expected for German engineering. The rubber seals remain pliable and in excellent condition for a vehicle of this vintage.
There is a small, tight crack in the left side backup light lens. All window glass is tinted and excellent and the windshield and its rubber seal are brand new. The car has the optional manual sun-roof. The underside of the car is original, not detailed but free from other than the usual patina and surface wear on exposed components. However, the floors, rocker panels, and other major surfaces are very solid, and free from rust and rot.
The car retains its original dealer installed “mid-line” multi-color pinstripe that was so fashionable in the late 1970’s / early 1980’s. While it shows minimal signs of “separation” in a few areas, it is in overall very good condition and adds to the cars originality and survivor nature.
The interior is still the factory original & rare Beige cloth, in condition simply not seen in cars of this vintage. The seats show extremely well with no rips, tears, or damage. Door panels and other interior components are equally original and in excellent condition. The black dash pad is free of cracks and the black steering wheel is excellent. The car has 4 color coordinated “Cocoa Mats.” Both side windows roll smoothly and the rear windows fold out at the rear as designed. All weather stripping is still pliant and functional.
The original Blaupunkt AM/FM cassette stereo is still functional.
The engine compartment is as original and not detailed. The power brake vacuum unit shows surface rust and the top-side aluminum engine components are quite dull.
The trunk compartment is very solid, showing no rust and is still well painted. A compact spare is provided along with the OEM jack. The original factory tool kit is housed under the trunk lid and has never been removed from the car.
The car starts immediately, and runs great! It idles well, shifts smoothly, and has no noise in the drive-line. The clutch engages properly and the brakes are properly excellent, stopping the BMW straight and sure. The e-brake is functional properly adjusted. The car does not overheat, even on extremely hot days. There are no significant leaks/drips.
– Current California registration and clear California title
– Passed the California required safety inspection for working wipers, turn signals, lights, brakes, tires, etc.
– Passed CA smog testing
SPECIFICATIONS OF THE BMW 320i
- Type: SOHC inline-four, iron block and aluminum head
- Displacement: 1,766cc
- Bore x stroke: 89mm x 71mm
- Compression ratio: 8.81:1
- Horsepower @ RPM: 101 hp @ 5,800 RPM
- Torque @ RPM: 100 lb-ft. @ 4,500 RPM
- Main bearings: 5
- Fuel system: Bosch K-Jetronic mechanical fuel injection
- STEERING: Rack-and-pinion
- Type: Hydraulic, vacuum-assist
- Front: 10.0-inch disc
- Rear: 9.8-inch drum
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
- Wheelbase: 100.9 inches
- Overall length: 177.5 inches
- Overall width: 63.4 inches
- Overall height: 54.3 inches
- Curb weight: 2,435 pounds
PERFORMANCE (Car and Driver, March 1980)
- 0-60: 9.8 seconds
- 1/4-mile: 17.1 seconds @ 79 MPH
- Top speed: 105 MPH
HISTORY OF THE BMW 320i / E21
BMW E21 is the body designation for the first BMW 3 Series compact executive car, produced by the German automaker BMW from 1975 to 1983. This series was the immediate successor to the aging BMW 2002 and was superseded by the BMW E30.
In July 1975, BMW’s Board of Management first prsented this new model series in the Munich Olympic Stadium for public appraisal. The frontal view of the new car was dominated by the BMW trademark kidney grille standing out clearly from the radiator cover. The wedge shape of the two-door model was distinctive, extending all the way to the unusually high rear end. In response to criticism of the tail design, a black plastic trim panel between the tail lights was added. The car’s styling was otherwise well received.
The suspension incorporated rack and pinion steering and MacPherson strut suspension at the front, and semi-trailing arm type independent suspension at the rear. The power assisted brakes were discs on the front wheels, while the rear wheels had drum brakes. Five-speed overdrive Getrag gearboxes were fitted as standard in 1980. The cockpit design of the E21 marked the introduction of a new design concept, with the center console and central dashboard area angled towards the driver. As a sign of passive safety, all edges and control elements within the interior were rounded off and padded.
European buyers had a choice of 1.6-, 1.8- and 2.0-liter power, but America got only one engine at a time. In 1981 the US 320i utilized the 1.8 liter BMW M10 four-cylinder engine fitted with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection.
- 1.8 L OHC four cylinder engine
- Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection
- Transistorized, breakerless ignition
- 5 speed overdrive manual transmission, fully synchromesh
- Four wheel independent suspension
- Front torsion bar stabilizer
- Power assisted brakes—front discs, rear drums
- Rack and pinion steering
- Electronic tachometer
- Warning lights for low fuel, handbrake and braking system, brake pad wear, alternator, oil pressure
- Halogen high beam lights
- Excellent stock sized tires
- Stock alloy wheels
- Electric rear window defroster
- Tinted glass all around
- LED digital quartz clock
- Tool kit (under trunk lid)
- Electric outside rear view mirror
- Fully reclining front seats
- 3-speed intermittent windshield wipers
- Flow-thru ventilation system
- 3-point seat belts front and rear
- Integrated center roll bar
- Hydraulic safety bumpers
Classic Cars Ltd. 925-846-1451