The idea to cease production of the BMW 2002 was a tough one. In fact, things got a little heated in BMW’s boardroom, but Herbert Quandt (who held 51% of BMW shares) helped the other board members to see the light. For 1975, BMW would introduce the new E21 at the Munich Olympic Stadium. The new car was a major trendsetter, and yet it rarely gets any credit for anything. It was considered large and heavy, overly refined compared to the outgoing 2002, and some haters actually called the E21 unfun. Not entirely untrue, but largely out of line. The E21 revolutionized the BMW brand, establishing a certain ‘look’ and ‘feel’ to how BMWs would be built, much of which is sustained in their current offerings. It brought a new type of buyer into showrooms, and for some 2002 customers seeking something more civil, the E21 was a fantastic breath of fresh air. But haters gonna hate, and the E21 begot the E30, which was pretty much an instant legend - a classic in the BMW portfolio. But for those of us who find the E21 to be a fantastically balanced car with good performance and nice creature comforts, the haters simply left more for the rest of us. Until now, it seems…
In recent years, nice E21s have been slowly coming to market while quietly gaining value and interest. Not to the extreme of the later E30s, of course, but coming into their own. This one is a perfect example of that movement. A 1977 with only 45k miles, this E21 320i is powered by the 2.0L inline 4-cylinder engine and 4-speed manual transmission. According to the post, this 320i is likely one of the best in the country, and the paint meter shows no respray, there’s no rust, the car has never been modified, and it’s said to drive impeccably. The seller (4th owner) worked with a master mechanic to bring the car to its current level and lists a number of new items bringing the car up to snuff, including tires, shocks and struts all around, lower A-arms, sway bar bushings, water pump and hoses, new fluids, new filters, new battery, an HVAC system that blows cold thanks to a recharge, new dryer, and a repaired AC switch – the list goes on and on, indicating that, if the work was done well, this car likely DOES drive very well. The seller has all the invoices of the extensive work they’ve had done, plus some of the records from previous owners, and states that buyers will enjoy the overall presentation.
Presented in black with a tan interior, it’s here that we see the modern BMW coming through. The dashboard that favors the driver, which had been seen in previous BMWs, but not to the point the E21 pronounced the style, along with a handsome center console, supportive bucket seats and more, all add up to indicate the seller might not be too far off with their claim of it being one of the best in the country after all. Riding on aftermarket wheels, the originals come with, as well as a clean title, any reasonable offers will be entertained.
This 320i was listed in August of this year on Bring a Trailer where it failed to meet reserve with bidding maxed-out at $15,500, although another ’77 with slightly lower miles and finished in the righteous one-year-only color of Phoenix Orange sold at RM’s Open Roads North America auction in July of this year for $29,700. This one on offer may be a touch overpriced – it’s certainly more expensive than a lot of others on the market - but considering the work that’s been done, the overall condition and originality, plus the low miles, we figure it’s well worth the premium, and with some crafty negotiation, could be considered fairly well bought in the near future.