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1983 BMW 316 1.8L (E21)

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  • Mileage~77,000
  • TransmissionManual
  • Engine1.8L
  • LocationHorsham


1983 BMW 316 1.8L (E21)

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Alan Stuart
Professional Consigner

The origins of BMWs all-time greatest model line, where it all began with the iconic 3 Series.

The E21 was built on the success of the '2002' and manufactured with styling from the larger 5 series. Ergonomics for the driver was exceptional for the time, with its cleverly thought out switchgear and clearly laid out instruments.

The styling of the car was timeless, and even 47 years later the E21 looks so great. Many E21 haven't survived due to the tendency to rot in harsh weather, however, many cherished examples like this one are beginning to see the light of day. The E21 has a cult following for their boxy good looks and lively performance making them extremely fun to get behind the wheel.

This example is coming to market from 18 years ownership, it has clearly been taken care of and presents beautifully. Finished in the desirable "Baltic Blue Metallic" paintwork over grey cloth seats this being a later 316 comes with the 1.8L engine.

This auction listing was written from information supplied by Alan after meeting Eric 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

I've got so many great memories in the E21, what a joy it's been to own.

Eric has owned the car since 2004, and since then this E21 is his pride and joy. As you can see in the history and paperwork media pack, the car comes with a decent amount of original provenance. Eric knew the previous owner personally and loved the sharknose old school BMW style it had to offer.

Over the previous 6 months he's had the following work carried out; swapping the original Solex Carburettor for a Weber manual choke conversion, radiator repaired and a new water pump fitted, the rear offside panel had two very minor dents removed and the panel was resprayed and colour matched to the original Metallic Baltic Blue. 4 new tyres have also been fitted and the car comes with the original steel wheels in addition to the ones pictured.

Eric mentions the car was originally specified with beige seats and door fitting, however, these cloth seats were rather worn, so Eric purchased a complete unworn original BMW interior from a breaking 316 to replace the original beige interior.

He has decided to sell the car after not using it as much as he once did. He mentions he'd rather let it go to an E21 enthusaist who will use and appreciate the car as much as he has. Eric will be happy to answer any questions you may have in the comments below.

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That iconic sharknose styling, chrome trim and compact package, the E21 can now be considered a timeless classic.

Wheels and Tyres

Uprated multi-spoke BMW alloys have been fitted on this E21, all of which look in great condition. They have recently been fitted with Mazzini Eco 307 tyres dated 2021.

The original steel wheels are also included within the sale, take a closer look at the photos and videos for a detailed view.


The shut lines appear straight and tight on this E21, just as you would expect from the build quality of a BMW. The doors, bonnet, and boot all open and close cleanly and precisely, along with the sunroof mechanism.

When getting very close we did notice the odd scratch or small dink on the roof, nothing a professional wouldn't be able to get out we think. All in all, this is a very tidy E21. We have taken hi-resolution images and videos of the car for you to assess the condition of the bodywork for yourselves.


Finished in 'Baltic Blau Metallic' the colour of the car has a slight blue over silver tint, which looks great on this iconic 3 series. Each panel presents a deep lustre along with even coverage and colour throughout. Eric reports having some paintwork carried out around 15 years ago and recently having the rear offside panel attended to.

The images taken are from different angles and reflections to show off the car as you would see it if you were standing there for yourselves. Please take the time to fully assess the condition.

Glass and Trim

The glass on this example looks great and in line with the low mileage, we did notice one very small chip on the passengers side of the front windscreen. We didn't notice any discolouration during our visit. The window seals look good too and are in line with the rest of the condition of the car.


A modern and extremely ergonomic interior for the '80s - everything has its place and purpose.

Seats and Carpets

Eric decided the original interior was a little past its best and replaced it with an original E21 interior sourced from a breakers yard. Re-trimmed in original but used cloth, it matches the rest of the cabin of the car, in great used condition throughout.


The dashboard is very well laid out, offering the driver with all the information they would need, with classic BMW styling. The instruments are working as they should, with the odometer displaying a reading of 77,062 miles on our visit, and no warning lights displayed when the engine is running.

The presentation of the instrument binnacle is first class. Please see the interior gallery for more high-resolution images.

Steering Wheel / Gear Stick

Fitted with an original BMW 4-spoke steering wheel from the '80s, the wheel and manual gear stick look in great condition in line with the rest of the condition of the interior in-keeping with the age and mileage of the car.


BMW thoroughly revamped the M10 engine with a new combustion chamber and piston designs, offering ~90BHP to the rear wheels.

Engine and Gearbox

Over the previous 6 months, Eric had the original Solex Carburettor replaced with a Weber with manual choke, the radiator repaired and a new water pump fitted. Eric reports that the Combustion Leak Test was performed and he was informed that there was no suggestion the the head gasket was defective. In addition the cooling system was checked and flushed.

The temperate gauge showed the car running a little hot after our on-the-road video. However, Eric told us that when he took the car for a 40 mile route at the weekend after out visit the gauge didn't go above the 3/4.

We've captured a detailed mechanical video that shows the car out on the road and a view under and around the engine bay. Please take a look at the detailed media pack to see a closer view of the clean mechanics.

Suspension and Brakes

Eric reports this BMW has always been mechanically looked after, which is evident from the paperwork you'll find in the next section.

Eric also mentions the brakes and suspension provide an enjoyable journey with the kind of stopping power and handling you'd expect from a classic BMW of this era.

The Drive

All the dials and switchgear is angled towards you, and the raspy four-cylinder 1.8L accelerates well. The E21 set the tone for the 3 series for years to come.

Electrics and Other

Eric reports that to his knowledge all of the electrics are functional and operational, in line with the rest of the condition of the car. The car is fitted with an aftermarket radio, although the original radio is also included in the sale (unfortunately it's not working).

History and Paperwork

This E21 finished in a beautiful Baltic Blau Metallic is a real head-turner, coming to market from 18 years ownership and having recently had maintenance actioned, it's ready for the summer.

A very attractive E21 that has survived from corrosion issuses due to how Eric and the previous owners have kept it, garaged and dry. The car is coming to auction with ~77,000 miles on the clock, this BMW really has been taken care of mechanically since it's been on the road, take a look below to see all the previous service work carried out.

An MOT was carried out last August and the car will be exempt next February from MOT's and Road Tax.

Eric will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the car in the comments below.

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
24.08.2021 MOT 76,959
01.04.2019 MOT 76,714
08.04.2016 MOT 71,965
15.04.2015 MOT 64,980
04.04.2014 MOT 57,619
16.04.2013 MOT 52,056
02.03.2012 MOT 51,127
20.03.2008 MOT 47,779
23.03.2007 MOT 41,088
22.11.2002 Service 27,206
17.06.2002 Service 24,873
27.02.2001 Service 24,822
16.12.1997 Service 20,716
29.09.1993 Service 18,084
14.03.1984 Service (MD) 4,776
See media pack for all service stamps
Key Details
  • Model316 (E21)
  • TransmissionManual
  • Reg. Date28.02.1983
  • CC1,766
  • Mileage~77,000
  • HistoryGood
  • ColourBaltic Blue Metallic
  • Interior ColourGrey
  • Interior TrimCloth
  • Chassis #WBAAG1205D8347587
  • Engine #8347587
  • MOTYes. Exp - 23.08.2022
  • MOT ExemptNo
  • Road Tax ExemptNo
  • HPi ClearYes
  • Former Keepers6
  • Tyre TreadGreat
  • Tyre BrandMazzini
  • Tyre Age2021
  • # of Keys2
  • VisitedYes
  • Sale TypePrivate
  • Owned18 years
  • Key FeatureOwnership and condition

Vehicle Sold

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

Hi Eric, the under bonnet pictures appear to show a power steering reservoir and pump but on the road test video you say it does not have power steering- could you clarify please?
Regards, Dave


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