BMW E30 325. New arrival. Journals

crankandpiston introduces a new model to Journals, a 1990 BMW E30 325.


Driver's Log
Date acquired: June 2010
Total kilometres: 127,780(ish)
Kilometres this month: N/A
Costs this month: $80
L/100km this month: N/A

‘Old is gold’, as various Emiratis keep telling me about my 1990 BMW E30 325 at petrol stations.

Before you feel sorry for me, this is a deliberate choice. It cost just $815 for a model year 1990 E30 325 with an automatic ‘box, which is the only thing I’d change. She’s been owned by my circle of friends for the last four years, and after being my second car for two years the 325 is now my wife’s first car and everyday driver. It’s a Japanese import and 100 percent original apart from three things: a Kenwood iPod-compatible stereo; a Toyota Camry air conditioning compressor; and a dual Volvo engine fan.

Everything that can break on this car probably already has, and has been replaced with new OEM parts. In four years the most expensive bill, a top engine rebuild following cam belt failure, was $490. I promised I would never spend more than the purchase price on a repair and that’s the closest it’s come. The workshop manual I have for her means she is mechanically easy to maintain.  Friends, family and even in-laws meeting me for the first time have carried replacement parts from Europe, although I can now source most bits directly in the UAE. This month I’ve had a new fuel pump and filter fitted for the princely sum of $80.

The only ongoing problem is a stuck odometer, which currently reads 127,780km and has done for a while. It doesn’t affect the running of the car though, so I’m wondering if it’s really worth pulling apart to fix. I got married in November and we used her as a characterful wedding car, and now it’s part of the family. Our best man, another former owner, acted as our driver.

Compare her 170bhp V6 engine, relatively light weight and rear-wheel drive layout to modern front-wheel drive Civics, Yarises and Lancers that many hire and drive for $500 a month, and she equates to far more grins per buck. The other advantage of owning an iconic car such as this is that it becomes an appreciating asset, as fewer and fewer well-maintained examples remain. Not that it is ever likely to be sold…

She’s got ABS, power steering, remote central locking, electric windows and mirrors, a Sport mode switch and an MP3 compatible stereo. I’m not sure what I am missing out on. Well, maybe an airbag but I think she’s from an era where the build quality is strong enough to win most arguments. Journals is a contributor-based section, the contents of which have been provided by site readers and enthusiasts. All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the authors concerned and do not necessarily reflect the views held by  

Categories: Fast Fleet


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