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1981 BMW 323i (E21)

This vehicle has now been sold - click ‘Register Similar’ below to get notified when we consign a similar vehicle.

Sold Price


  • Mileage~52,322
  • TransmissionAutomatic
  • Engine2.3L
  • LocationHullbridge


1981 BMW 323i (E21)

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Dom Ginn
Vehicle Consigner and Photographer

Only 52,000 miles, one family ownership from new and fantastic condition inside and out - this 323i is a wonderful example of classic BMW engineering.

Produced between 1975 and 1982, the E21 was the first generation of the BMW 3 Series and succeeded the iconic BMW 2002. Combining unmistakable BMW styling elegance with legendary build quality the E21 was virtually guaranteed to find favour with the public. And so it did, triggering the development of a range of compact executive cars that ultimately proved phenomenally successful.

The 323i model, introduced in 1977, was the top of the E21 range. Delivering 143BHP from the 2.3-litre six-cylinder M20 engine with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel-injection, the car accelerated from 0–62MPH in a shade over 9 seconds and offered a top speed of 118MPH. Impressive performance and sporty handling combined to quickly establish the 323i as a true driver’s car.

This 323i is an absolute gem. Presenting in very good condition with an immaculate interior, the car has covered ~52,000 miles in 41 years and fewer than 5,000 since 1995! The current owner, one of just 2, acquired this E21 in 1998 from his aunt and has clearly taken great care of it. With values on the rise, these cars are becoming increasingly difficult to find and this one promises to be a pleasure to own, great to drive and, very likely, a sound investment.

This auction listing was written from information supplied by Dom after meeting Barry the owner, and having visited and photographed the vehicle.

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Secure Auctions

We verify all our sellers and buyers to keep our community safe whilst also providing the highest levels of website security.

Full Transparency

8 out of 10 people that buy cars via our service don’t feel the need to visit due to the transparency and thoroughness of our listings.

Vehicle Delivery

We're there every step of your buying journey and will even arrange pick-up and delivery of your new vehicle.

Meet the owner

This is a beautiful car, fast, comfortable and great to drive - everything you’d expect from a BMW of this era.

Barry has owned this car for nearly a quarter of a century after his aunt was the previous owner from new and in that time has driven fewer than ~2,600 miles. He tells us “It’s really been about the pleasure of ownership for me, I’ve loved looking after this car and taken a real pride in it”.

He goes on to say “I’ll be sad that our 23-year partnership is coming to and end but I have every confidence a fellow enthusiast will get as much pleasure from the car as I have”. Barry will be more than happy to answer any questions you have on the car in the comments section below.

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In stunning Sapphire Blue, this 323i looks amazing, and when it comes to understated elegance BMW always deliver.

Wheels and Tyres

The 15-inch spoked alloy wheels are in sound condition all round and tyres all appear in good shape with plenty of tread remaining.

The wheels, while fully presentable, but would benefit from some refurbishment to bring them up to the standard of the rest of the car. Each wheel has some wear to the outer lip as a result of previous curbing etc. View the picture gallery to see the detail.


The car stands straight and true, panel gaps look good and doors, boot and bonnet all open and close precisely – this is, after all, BMW engineering.

Given the age and mileage of the car, the bodywork looks to be remarkably solid and sound. We only spotted the slightest sign of surface corrosion on some lower edges of rear valance and one wheel arch. In addition to this, there is a split in the paint on the lower part of the driver’s door skin and some very slight lifting on the nearside front edge of the bonnet. These are minor flaws though and the overall the condition is amazing.

We have taken hi-resolution images and videos of the car for you to assess the condition of the bodywork for yourselves.


The stunning "Sapphire Blue" paint is in excellent condition, with an even and consistent finish and no major flaws observed when you consider the age and mileage.

Take a look at the Exterior Review Videos and high-resolution images we have taken to appreciate the remarkable condition of this car for yourself.

Glass and Trim

The windows, mirrors and light lenses all appear in excellent condition. We could see no significant chips or scratches. Entirely in keeping with the rest of the car.

Please take a look at the photos and videos for a detailed tour of this 323i.


Functionality with classic style, the near immaculate interior is a great place for effortless, comfortable, high performance cruising.

Seats and Carpets

The "Pacific Blue" cloth trim presents really well showing very little wear, reflecting the minimal use the car has seen over the last two decades. The rear seats appear to have been hardly used at all. If we are being really picky, there is some minor wear on the drivers seat bolster.

The carpets and mats are in great shape showing only minimal signs of use - take a look through the photo gallery to see the detail.


Typically BMW, the instruments are functional, well laid out and easy to read, Barry mentions that the the digital clock is not working. There are no obvious marks or damage and the Perspex is clear.

The tops of older cars like these often suffer from warped dashboards, this example looks in fine fettle, likely from a life mainly stored in a garage when not in use.

Steering Wheel / Gear Stick

Both the four spoke steering wheel and auto drive selector are in very good condition. Just what you'd expect given the mileage and the condition of the rest of the cabin.

All interior items can be seen in more detail in out interior media pack below.


Capable and lively, the 2.3L straight six delivers ~143BHP aided by the Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system.

Engine and Gearbox

The M20 fuel injected engine gives 0–62MPH in just over 9 seconds and a top speed of 118MPH. Drive is delivered to the rear wheels through the automatic gearbox. A stainless-steel exhaust was fitted in 2016.

As you can see from the “On The Road” video the car starts easily and idles steadily. The are no warning lights displayed and emissions appear clear.

Suspension and Brakes

Barry confirms brakes and suspension work exactly as they should. This being a BMW you can be assured that the same high-quality engineering that makes the car go is applied to making it stop when needed!

The Drive

Smooth, responsive, agile and comfortable. Check out the "On The Road" video and the short test drive we joined Barry for. The smooth drive belies the cars age and you can tell the E21 will be entirely at home in modern traffic.

Electrics and Other

All switches appear unbroken and Barry assures us everything works exactly as it should. The car is equipped with a period Alpine Radio Cassette player.

History and Paperwork

A brilliant opportunity to own the best specified of the original 3 series – low mileage, great condition, BMW craftmanship and a great driver’s car.

This BMW has been well looked after and presents all the better for it. The car comes with extensive history including MOT certificates back to 1985, service records from the early 90’s and original sales brochure. There are also plenty of receipts for works carried out dating right back to when the car was new.

We’ve done all our usual seller checks including photo ID, V5 and also actioned a HPi check on the vehicle.

We've summarised our own view on the car based on information gained from the seller in the listing above, however, and as you can see, we go to great lengths to photograph and video the car in hi-resolution detail - this has been done for you to make your own assessment from the comfort of your sofa. So please sit back, have a cuppa and take your time to review everything on this listing in order to make your own assessment on the vehicle's condition. Viewings are also welcomed with all our listings, so please get in touch with us to arrange a suitable time - we just need to speak to you first and receive a valid photo ID before confirming.

If there's anything you're unsure about, no matter how small, then please first ask the owner in the comments area below before placing your bid/s, as bids can't be retracted and form a binding contract if you win the car - just like a traditional auction house.

Service History
Date Type Mileage
04.09.2021 MOT 52,300
07.08.2020 MOT 52,269
08.08.2019 MOT 52,239
07.08.2018 MOT 52,224
10.08.2017 MOT 52,196
03.05.2016 MOT 52,098
16.04.2015 MOT 51,978
09.08.2013 MOT 51,913
10.08.2012 MOT 51,876
10.08.2011 MOT 51,796
13.08.2010 MOT 51,570
13.08.2009 MOT 51,448
14.08.2008 MOT 51,377
28.09.2007 MOT 51,313
07.06.2006 MOT 51,234
15.08.2005 MOT 51,198
26.07.2004 MOT 51,157
28.07.2003 MOT 51,092
30.07.2002 MOT 51,015
23.07.2001 MOT 50,954
24.07.2000 MOT 50,767
20.07.1999 MOT 50,312
27.07.1998 MOT 49,779
15.07.1997 MOT 49,579
08.07.1996 MOT 49,346
10.07.1995 MOT 48,475
30.06..1994 MOT 47,373
26.06.1986 MOT 25,418
10.07.1985 MOT 21,316
Key Details
  • Model323i (E21)
  • TransmissionAutomatic
  • Reg. Date05.08.2021
  • CC2,315
  • Mileage~52,322
  • HistoryVery good
  • ColourSapphire Blue
  • Interior ColourPacific Blue
  • Interior TrimCloth
  • Chassis #WBAAH4202B7256467
  • Engine #7256407
  • MOTYes - Expires 09.08.2022
  • MOT ExemptNo
  • Road Tax ExemptNo
  • HPi ClearYes
  • Former Keepers1
  • Tyre TreadGood
  • VisitedYes
  • Sale TypePrivate
  • Owned~24 years
  • Key FeatureCondition, originality, ownership

Vehicle Sold

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This vehicle has now been sold - click 'Register Similar' below to get notified when we consign a similar vehicle.

Ask Questions
Post a comment or ask the owner a question about the car.

Barry Does the car have power steering?




Hi Barry

Your log book shows 2 former keepers, so that makes you the 3rd owner…bit confused could explain please.. just helps with verifying the mileage….cheers


Dear Barry.
Are you able to advise the cause of the split on the driver’s side door? It looks too clean to be rust but struggling what else would be the cause. Also the near vertical scratch on the same panel? Are there any areas on the car requiring welding?
Many thanks,


Hi Barry

Car looks great, has the car had any paintwork done? ( all original? ) also is it 2 keepers in total your Aunt plus yourself.


Hi Barry, lovely example.
From the video of the underside I see there is what appears to be corrosion on the inner sills and rear underside that will need addressing. Has the car had any welding done in the past?
The paintwork looks very good, has any of the paint faided or gone dull due to laquer peel and are the chrome bumpers free from pitting or any dents?
On the drivers seat is there some kind of tape over the edge piping due to it being cracked?
Just confirming it is now Tax and MOT excepted?
Thanks in advance for your answers.


Vehicle Location

Hullbridge, Essex

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