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E21 Buyer Guide?


Paul7002

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Here are the books I have for sale that might help you. The best one is the BMW E30: 3 SERIES RESTORATION BIBLE.

But he's considering an E21.

A buddy had an '83 with the sports package when new - still quirking handling vs. 2002 or E30 chassis. But the Recaros were comfy!

Some places to browse:

http://www.bmwe21.net/forum/viewforum.php?f=38&sid=823e96ceb23b6b0434b58ed17dcd35ec

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?143-1975-1983-(E21)

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=133

Coming next year: http://www.amazon.com/BMW-E21-Series-1975-1983-Essential/dp/1845843665

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But he's considering an E21.

A buddy had an '83 with the sports package when new - still quirking handling vs. 2002 or E30 chassis. But the Recaros were comfy!

Some places to browse:

http://www.bmwe21.net/forum/viewforum.php?f=38&sid=823e96ceb23b6b0434b58ed17dcd35ec

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?143-1975-1983-(E21)

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=133

Coming next year: http://www.amazon.com/BMW-E21-Series-1975-1983-Essential/dp/1845843665

Here is a link to the E21 FAQs in bimmerforums.  

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?1146050-gt-gt-E21-FAQs-and-DIYs-lt-lt

 

You may notice that the FAQ thread was started by JRCook, who is also one of the two authors of the book you linked on Amazon:  

BMW E21 3 Series 1975-1983: 1975 to 1983 (The Essential Buyer's Guide) Paperback
by Jose Reverente (Author) , Joshua R. Cook (Author)
 
Josh is a really knowledgeable, friendly guy.  He is a very busy fella, but.... you may want to raise your question in the E21 forum.  Lots of knowledgeable and friendly folks in there who will help.  Always a good idea to do a search first... the question has already come up many times.  Good luck.
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Having owned a less-than-perfect example (it was give to me!) and also having taken a long trip in one as a passenger I can tell you a few things...

 

They're very much like a more refined 2002...not necessarily faster but quieter and more comfortable.  Handling isn't that bad, not quite up to 2002's (factory sofened the ride presuming all Americans wanted a car that rode like a Buick--they were wrong!) but still well ahead of its contemporaries (but behind the E30).  After riding back from Arkansas Mid-America 02 fest to Ohio in the back seat of Larry Wilson's, I can say it's surprisingly comfortable back there.  Would make a good daily driver--and the 5 speed versions are nice for freeway commuting.  You'll still have echoes of your '02 when driving it.  I think E21s have been maligned more than they deserve because most enthusiast BMW owners (and they all were then--this is pre-Yuppie) thought them a step down from the 2002.  Same with eta E30s--they're a lot better than their reputation.

 

My beater (the free car) had over 212k miles on it when given to me, and the PO's daughter had run it out of oil...twice.   Still ran, and used very little oil; in fact it passed our emissions test.  Drove it for a year off and on, sold it to a young guy--and I did point out all its warts--who was still driving it a year later with 224k miles on it.  Mine was starting to rust in the frame rail area behind the front wheel, near where the front crossmember mounts, so look there, in the trunk floor, rockers and rear quarters--like an 02.  Rear wheel arches are constructed similar to 2002s but don't seem to rust as badly or as quickly, but check 'em anyway.  Because 320s have inner fender liners, the front fenders don't rust like a 2002.

 

If you really want a newer 2002, look for an E30 318is...that's the 90s incarnation of an '02 and getting hard to find. 

 

cheers

mike

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You will need an m20 or an m42 in there, I had a 320i they're too slow(compared to my euro 323i now), you have to remember it's not exactly a light car, it's actually heavier than the 318 e30's so that m10 is less than adequate in my opinion, they're much more comfortable and quiter than 02s, they handle just fine, I daily my 323i and I have no complaints, also if you do buy it, make sure to either source some euro bumpers(really hard to find) or do a bumper tuck those diving boards really kill the looks.

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The only real failure of the E21 is the front suspension- the geometry wasn't quite right, and

they used the anti- sway bar as our 'radius' arm, so it's harder to fix than it would be on a 2002.

 

Everything else can be fixed and forgiven pretty easily.  The M20 version that Europe got was a very competent car.

 

t

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