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Trying to buy my first E30!

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    Trying to buy my first E30!

    Hello everyone!
    Im finally getting my second car!
    I really want a BMW E30 Coupe, or a 4 door. Anything is good to be honest.
    Where do yall reccomend for me to look for some? Ive checked craigslist all over georgia and they are all beaters.
    Im on a pretty tight budget of about 5K? Is that enough?
    Thanks

    #2
    $5k is going to be tough to find a well sorted e30. Like you said, they're more or less beaters at that price range. $10-15k will get you a well sorted e30 but they're still rarely sold when they're well sorted. You might be able to find something at about $8k. It takes a lot of time - plan 6-12 months of searching, especially with COVID right now.

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      #3
      Originally posted by midnight_marauder View Post
      $5k is going to be tough to find a well sorted e30. Like you said, they're more or less beaters at that price range. $10-15k will get you a well sorted e30 but they're still rarely sold when they're well sorted. You might be able to find something at about $8k. It takes a lot of time - plan 6-12 months of searching, especially with COVID right now.
      +1 !

      You can find one around your price range, that's in good shape mechanically if you're lucky enough to grab it before someone else does. The prices are moving upwards though, especially on e30's that aren't beat or hacked up. Now with this COVID crap going on, makes it a tough time to sell/buy.

      Biggest piece of advice i can give is BE PATIENT! The right one will come along.

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        #4
        Buy any E30 with good paint and minimal rust. Then spend 2-3k fixing the mechanical bits and interior yourself. If that doesn't sound like something you could or would want to do then any non-sorted E30 is not the car for you and you should save until you can afford a better example.

        Between CL, FB Mktplace and the forums you will catch essentially every E30 for sale, so search diligently until you find the right one, and be prepared to travel/buy immediately when you do.

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          #5
          5k USD is 7k CAD

          For 7k CAD that'll get you this in Canada with change to spare..
          https://vancouver.craigslist.org/rds...091884618.html

          If it's got tits or tires, it's gonna cost ya!

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            #6
            Originally posted by That1e30 View Post

            +1 !

            You can find one around your price range, that's in good shape mechanically if you're lucky enough to grab it before someone else does. The prices are moving upwards though, especially on e30's that aren't beat or hacked up. Now with this COVID crap going on, makes it a tough time to sell/buy.

            Biggest piece of advice i can give is BE PATIENT! The right one will come along.
            Yeah. Im waiting for that right one to pop up. Covid is really messing up the market I see. Hopefully it settles down soon

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              #7
              Im in Australia, so not the same market. But it took me 18+ months to buy my e30 - I had some really specific requirements and ended up getting an absolute bargain ($1.5k USD - Coupe, Manual) but it did have terrible paint, a useless interior and a bit of body damage - In the end it would have been an 8k car once all the work was done. I guess the only benefit of buying a cheaper car with problems is you don't need all the money right away - I'm happy spending a couple of hundred bucks a month on my car fixing and replacing things - but it's also not my daily driver

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                #8
                In the California market (Socal specifically, Norcal is slightly less expensive on average) you can find some pretty decent verts for $5k, same goes for eta models. any decent/good (but not perfect), 2 door, manual 325i or is will be around $7500-10k. ix models are usually between $5k-7k, but parts can be hard to come by. 4 doors in any model tend to be less expensive due to them being a little less desirable to most. This is all assuming that the car is a clean title. It took me nearly a year to find my first shell (early eta that had sat for 9 years, paint's 2/10 and interior was 1/10, paid $250 for it) and then a few months after I found a rear ended (but driveable) salvage late model for $950 with a healthy motor and an 8/10 interior. Honestly, it's all about how diligent you are with hunting sites like craigslist, R3v, and sometimes BAT and, as stated above, the price goes up as there is less and less you have to fix. If you're someone who is willing to put the work in, I would do what Rougetoaster suggested. Finding a car with good paint and minimal rust is the best way to go. M20's are cheap enough that you can just drop in a new motor for under $750. When I get to a point where I'm happy with my current E30, My goal is to start taking some of the more beater-like examples and restore them to flip. From a mathematical standpoint, A $3-4k 325i with 7-8/10 paint, a good motor, and a 5-7/10 interior (they're rare, but they do come up every so often) it takes about 1k to get the interior sorted (new dash and new leather kit for seats), and maybe $100 to fix any blemishes in the paint if you do it yourself. I would also set aside another $500-1k for maintenance items (timing belt, suspension refresh, etc.) and smaller parts like trim pieces. That would get you back to bone stock for under $6k. Sport seats are usually around $1k in good shape, a good suspension setup is between $1-2k, and a manual swap (if the car is an auto) is $500. These numbers are all based on my experience in CA and they will more than likely be different considering you're in a totally different market, but I would think that's a good baseline to go off of. Everyone please feel free to make comments/corrections to anything I've said. Hope this helps!

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                  #9
                  ^ good post. Since I live in the rust belt I don't care at all what the paint, mechanical or interior condition is any more because that's not the hard stuff to fix.. It's all about saving the ones that haven't succumbed to rust or have any major body damage. It doesn't matter what cars you're into, american/euro/japanese, eventually the hunt for a good example boils down to how solid the body is.
                  Last edited by E30 Wagen; 05-15-2020, 10:09 AM.
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                    #10
                    If you’re only searching Georgia you’ll have a very long wait. I’m in SC and I keep saved automatic CL searches active in four major cities/regions. Charlotte, Orlando, Atlanta, and Birmingham. It’s been months since ive seen an e30 non vert.

                    personally, I bought an eta for my son when he turned 16, that was 3 years ago. Once we got his car reliable I started looking for one for myself. An ‘89 popped up in Gainesville, FL. A one owner manual 4 door for 4700 bucks. I immediately emailed the seller and told him “I’m 6 hours away from you but I have the cash in my pocket and I will meet you this evening”. I drove the car home.

                    you need to search and be ready to act quickly. I have been looking for a reasonable e28 for three years.....
                    My son has the 1987 325e, 2 door, 5speed
                    I daily the 1989 325i, 4 door, 5speed

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                      #11
                      patience padawan. search and find. start saving cash. you'll need it for the timing belt. lol sent from hell using tapatalk
                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                      '90 325i sedan daily driven
                      '85 325e coupe also a daily

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                        #12
                        I found my E30 only 20 miles from me through Facebook marketplace about 6 months ago. Black running 4-door auto Eta with minor surface rust that the guy wanted $2100 for. Interior was in decent shape (aside from cracked dash). Jumped on it the second I saw it as it checked most of my boxes; scooped it up for $1800. Surprisingly this car has been in NJ since 1992 according to Carfax. The shell is in such amazing condition (no rust holes) its shocking how it hasn't rusted into oblivion by now. Needed a driveshaft and gas tank to be able to drive. Threw a whole new suspension, exhaust, timing belt, windshield, and dash on it too. Currently trying to get the AC and heat working. I figure I'll probably be $20k parts/labor into the car before it becomes something I'm content with.

                        At this point in the E30's life cycle, with your stated price range you're either playing a waiting game for a diamond in the rough or take whatever you can get. But when the right opportunity presents itself, strike when the iron is hot and the temperature is perfect. You have a good chance of finding a mostly sorted dailyable Eta sedan/coupe or 325i vert for $5k (something between a #3 and #4 car on the Hagerty valuation index). If you want a mostly sorted 318is or 325i you'll need to increase your budget by 50-100%. In your price range, I'd avoid cars with motor swaps as they probably won't be well documented; in that case you're at the mercy of PO's custom wiring and fabrication being reliable.

                        If it runs and drives fine, looks well cared for, has working heat and AC, and doesn't have major rust issues (very important at this point, I doubt you'll get even a totally rust-free Eta for $5k at this point in time) I'd personally take it. Prices for garden variety E30s are starting to go into the stratosphere as many have been hacked up and neglected at this point. Not sure how long you plan on keeping this car or what exactly you plan on doing with it, but I'll garner that you want to daily it and may get bored of it in 7-10 years time.

                        If you're having trouble finding a clean E30 in Georgia for $5k you may need to travel out of state. If you end up buying an M20 car, either get a record that the timing belt has been changed or change the belt as soon as you buy the car.

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                          #13
                          After some bozo pulled out in front of my '90, it took about 4mo of my wife searching day and night with a 300mi range. To give you an idea where prices are going, I paid $1600 for my '90 minus engine, plus $500 for engine & $500 for install. So $2600 in all. 2011 I think, and it was basically across the street from me.. It was a Brilliantrot, manual "is" coupe w decent interior (drivers seat a little rough of course), no rust, a couple small dash cracks nothing terrible. Needed a little mechanical love, but no emergencies with almost everything working except ODO gears, blower & AC.

                          FFWD to 2018. Finally found a black '87 "es" on the other side of the state. No rust and refurbed interior (front seats in vinyl ): ), but had a couple accidents, one on carfax, one disclosed by seller, partial repaint (one which removed factory B-pillar sticker), passenger wiper, power window & sunroof inoperable, no blower/AC, inoperable oil level sensor, and of course disintegrated ODO gears among some other minor issues. $4500! And that was basically a good deal. He did replace the timing belt and deliver it which was pretty nice. It also came with a lot of the kit for doing the super eta conversion, which I'm going to need, because there is a slow head gasket leak which should probably be addressed sooner rather than later.

                          So yea, finding a decent E30 for a good price is practically a full time job at this point. Good luck, and you'll be very happy you decided to join the E30 club. Once you get the front end bushings replaced and rebuild the shifter, you'll understand why we call it "God's Chariot"!

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                            #14
                            Or you can just buy an early 80s Volvo 240 sedan or coupe (or wagon).
                            They are also rising in price, but they are still cheaper than an equivalent condition e30
                            If it's got tits or tires, it's gonna cost ya!

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                              #15
                              Eh, the 240's styling doesn't do it for me. But they are a good substitute for an E30 if you aren't super fussy about styling like I am.
                              They are built like tanks and very easy to work on

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