1979 BMW 3 Series Under $20K: Rare Find

Manufactured in Limited Numbers, M20 Inline-Six Never Came to US

A barely-seen form of the BMW 3 Series, boasting an uncommon straight-six engine, has been put up for sale in America, and its inquiring cost is absolutely minimal. Comprehension of some of the rarest Bimmers ever produced passes over the BMW 3 Series, but this 1979 edition from the E21 generation housed by Flemings Ultimate Garage stands as one of the least encountered models known.

This classic 3 Series distinguishes itself from those preceding it with the powerhouse that lies beneath its hood. As opposed to the BMW M10 four-cylinder engine that earlier versions of the E21 boasted, this variant, released in 1977, is equipped with a 2.0 liter M20 inline-six powertrain, giving an output of approximately 120 horsepower and 118 lb-ft or torque. Although scarcely produced for exclusive orders in Germany, this specimen was imported into the USA in immaculate condition.

Because of the poor quality video, press images of a silver example have been included as an alternative.

There's classic and then there's 1979 BMW 320 Rare 6 cylinder classic

It is noteworthy that the obvious heir to the E21 3 Series, the E30, too was equipped with the M20 in-line six-cylinder engine, competing against the W201 model of Mercedes-Benz 190.

The M20-powered E21 offered for sale presents itself with its original Chamonix white paint and blue interior, including bucket seats. Despite being more than forty years old, the odometer only reads 61,956 miles. This amounts to the equivalent of no more than five years worth of driving, with an average annual mileage for Americans estimated at 12,000 miles per annum.

The emblems and stickers from the factory being present signify no bodywork has been redone. The factory-issued tool kit is still in evidence, although the audio has been updated to a modern digital setup.

Potency emanating from the six-cylinder engine is conveyed to the rear tires through a five-speed manual gearbox with narrow ratios. Additional specs consist of all-wheel fully independent suspension, power-assisted disc brakes, full-scale factory gauges that include an 8K tachometer and speedometer up to 220km/h (137mph), also factory alloys with high velocity radials.

As one might expect, the sale of E21s for high prices is nothing out of the ordinary. Nevertheless, this spotless 1979 BMW 320 can be acquired for only $19,990. Finding components for a vehicle imported from abroad might be difficult, but fortunately there’s an easy way to avoid this problem; simply don’t drive it into a wall! Jests aside, such a memorable and rare car packaged with a five-figure asking price does not appear frequently.


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