1981 BMW 320i

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The 1981 BMW 320i is apparently a well-preserved original

Last week, the Pick of the Day was the car that put BMW on the map with enthusiast drivers, the 2002. These were great cars and they sold scores of them. But the car that was the real breakout model for BMW was the 320i.

The Pick of the Day is a 1981 BMW 320i advertised by a dealer in Kentwood, Michigan.

The 320i may be the most important car in the history of the Bavarian Motor Werke. This was the model that yuppies lined up to buy, a car offering sporting pretensions, legendary German build quality and the creature comforts wanted by the all-important US market.

The original interior looks fresh and clean

BMW sold more than 1.3 million E21 3-series cars (E21 is the internal model number for the original 3-series BMW cars), compared with 867,000 of the 2002 cars. That made the E21 the most popular car in BMW’s history to date, a place that the 3 series cars have held ever since.

The E21 320i was replaced by the even better E30 3-series cars, although for decades, it was largely forgotten by collectors. This has made really nice examples difficult to find as they were used up by successive owners who did not give the cars the maintenance that they deserved. Quite recently, collectors have started to care about and understand the importance of these cars; prices have been on the rise but are still affordable. All this makes for a perfect future collector car and a wise buy today.

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The car listed on ClassicCars.com appears to be an amazing example of a 320i, with nice paint, nice original interior and no rust anywhere. The seller includes 71 photographs of the car in the ad that show every inch of this clean car.

According to the dealer, this 320i is a rust-free Western car with just 83,000 miles showing, a completely original interior, original paint and complete service history since new. It includes all books and tools, essentially everything the car came with when originally purchased.

With an asking price of only $9,900, we are hard-pressed to think of another collectible German car in this sort of time-capsule condition that you could buy for less.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

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Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.

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