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Selling my e21

Discussion in 'E21 (1977-1983)' started by GeneG, May 23, 2010.

    GeneG guest

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    I am thinking of selling my 1980 e21 and would appreciate some pricing advice. The car has almost 300,000 miles on the originals engine. It needs new seats badly. It has some rust from being kept near the coast for the first part of it's life. It could also use new paint in places. But it runs pretty well & is fun to drive.

    I guess I can either sell it or part it out, although I hate the thought of killing a perfectly functional car just because it's 30 years old.

    • Member


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    I'm guessing there aren't too many Roundel classifieds as a reference, so you can check Kelly Blue Book, (www.kbb.com), NADA (www.nadaguides.com), plus things like autotrader.com, cars.com, craigslist (google search "craigslist BMW 320i", for instance) and any other sites where people might be listing a 320i for sale, see what they're going for, and what to expect. If you've got 300k on the original motor, a prospective buyer I'd think is likely going to have to consider an engine rebuild in at least the next 100k, unless the car's just been babied most of its life.

    Needing sew seats is no surprise, but kudos for tolerating them - I found my 320i seat so exceedingly uncomfortable that my back would be aching on any road trip in excess of a couple of hours - I swapped in a Recaro, which was a substantial improvement. At this point, probably any 320i seats found anywhere would need reconditioning; I think there's Roundel suppliers that sell the replacement seat pads... those are called.... gummipfluge maybe? My memory might be completely wrong on that word... :p A local upholstery shop might be able to fix you up. Come to think of it, I still have one of my old 320i seats, but it needs reupholstering too, a cat pee'd on the seat cushion a long time ago. I forget if it's passenger or driver's side.

    It sounds like you've gotten most of the useable life outta the car - if a prospective buyer might be facing substantial expense at this point for it to continue forward safely and reliably (depending on what all you've done), you may find that you can't expect to get much for it. If it doesn't have terminal rust, and suspension & drivetrain wear items (various bushings, tie-rods, driveshaft u-joints, control arms, shocks, wheel bearings - potential items could go on & on) have been freshened within the last 100k and everything's tight, you'd certainly stand a better chance of finding a buyer willing to pay more than a pittance. I don't know how much more I'd expect to get out of a 300k engine though - I could easily see it needing a new timing chain and tensioner, for instance, or having worn rockers/rocker shaft/camshaft, etc. I'd be wary of the rust too, unless it's quite obvious it's minimal and surface and has been in a better climate since original. After 11 yrs of Ohio winters, my 320i was 1 winter away from the floorboards rusting through, although this was only seen upon parting it out. 320's have the potential to be rusting in a lot of un-obvious places.

    Good luck with it, whatever you opt to do!

    Jdetente guest

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    It's not the miles that would bring the price down on these cars but the amount of rust. If the car has serious rust (shock towers, floor pan, b pillars etc...) you won't get much for it. I recently picked up a perfectly functional grey market 323i for $550. The car has serious rust issues but the engine runs great with about 180k on the clock. I'm going to use it to swap into my 83 320i and sell the euro bits . A 320i with rust problems and high miles isn't going to get much, unfortunately.
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    I have to agree. You'd be very lucky to get as much as $1000 for it.

    GeneG guest

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    Thanks for all the comments!

    Over the years that I've owned thte car, I have maintained it pretty well. The rust is not too severe -- see weren't Ohio winters but Half Moon Bay (Ca) ones.

    It passed smog today, sonI have a month to sell it!

    I suppose it's better to let the buyer replace the seats than to pay for new ones myself.


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