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Friday 22nd June 2012

SOTW: BMW 325i Touring

Can't afford a manual Vanquish conversion? How about a more Shed-priced version...



Two years ago, Aston Martin Works Service would charge you £13,250 plus VAT to convert a Vanquish S from its original paddleshift transmission to a traditionalmanual with three pedals.


Undoubtedly, the job provided by the Works Service is a flawless and professional one. This week's shed provides a slightly more risky option on another car that is arguably preferable with a manual 'box, but which came from the factory as a self-shifter.

It's a BMW E30 325i Touring with the conversion work undertaken "'by a previous owner." The advert is worryingly light on details around this major undertaking. Having said that, the interior photo doesn't show a clutch and gearlever sprouting out at bizarre angles, which is at least a positive start. And, apart from the (admittedly rather large) omission of gearbox change details, it appears a straight car for the price.


It has covered an average of just 5,500 miles a year in its 23-year life, and the owner lists a wide range of parts replaced very recently. These include new front discs, pads and fluid earlier this year, along with a new battery and propshaft bearing a couple of months later. This 325i was also treated to a fresh timing belt, tensioner pulley, water pump, auxiliary belts, distributor cap and rotor arm less than 10,000 miles ago. Of course, those of you with a cynical side may argue detail here is to draw attention away from concerning lack of information elsewhere...

OK, so it's not quite an original concours model (that gearbox conversion and some rust on the tailgate certainly attests to that). But E30s - particularly six-cylinder ones -once so plentiful within the confines of Shed's £1K budget, are now rare beasts indeed. And besides, the fact it isn't a saloon or coupe makes it distinctly cooler and desirable, even if the bootlid shape leaves a hopelessly narrow and high loading lip. PistonHeads: Practicality Matters...


Basically, it's 750 quid for a (seemingly) honest, manual straight-six BMW. It is being sold with seven months of MOT and also comes with a Raceland 6-2-1 stainless steel manifold and exhaust. Heck, it's even on original BBS alloys!

OK, it will need retaxing at the end of this month, the headlining is sagging, and there are some isolated patches of rust, but it's also the price of a television. The advert seems genuine and the car still looks great to these eyes and we're willing to bet it still sounds sweet, too. But perhaps throw in a few extra gearshifts on the test drive, just to be sure...

Advert is reproduced below

BMW 325i Touring (manual) in alpine white (£750)
1989 (G-reg) 325i Touring in Alpine White (manual). Full stainless exhaust system and manifold. BBS cross-spokes. Cambelt & water pump changed at 119k. Recent disc, pad and brake fluid change.


The car is a manual but was converted from auto by a previous owner.

The interior is in very good condition with no rips or tears in any of the seats, although the headlining has sagged (which only affects rear seat headroom). Electric front windows, door mirrors and sunroof all work.

There are a few small rust patches (bottom of both passenger side doors, driver's side wing at rear of the wheel arch, and tailgate) and a few small scratches on the roof, but nothing that is an mot advisory and no rust holes. The front firewall and bottom of the windscreen is fine, the door sills are fine and the rear arches are both fine. The underside of the car is in good condition too. I've had the car nearly 4 years - mostly as a daily driver - and in that time the rust has not changed massively.

The fuel tank was replaced in 2008 (the old one leaked).


The timing belt, tensioner pulley, water pump, auxiliary belts, distributor cap and rotor arm were all replaced at 119,000 miles.

I had a Raceland 6-2-1 S/S exhaust manifold and Longlife S/S exhaust system fitted in 2010, which sounds nice but is not intrusive on the motorway etc.

The rear pads and discs were changed in summer 2010 and still have plenty of life left.

I fitted new front pads and discs and fresh brake fluid in January.

I had the prop-shaft bush (doughnut) and bearing replaced in February.

I fitted a new battery in March.

The front tyres are about half worn, and the rears have about 2.5-3mm of tread left.

It has MOT until Jan 2013 and tax until end of June. I can re-tax it at buyer's expense if required.

The engine sounds lovely and it pulls well pretty much from idle. Economy is not too bad if you avoid town driving - I get around 30mpg when I commute to work in it.

The car is located in Bridgend, South Wales.

Riggers
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Author Discussion

Krikkit

Original Poster:

5,056 posts

66 months

[news] 
Friday 22nd June 2012 quote quote all
Looks pretty decent for £750! The conversion won't be a hard job though, surely? With the car being offered in both manual and auto forms there shouldn't be any huge work needed to convert other than the gearbox, gearstick and appropriate pedal box...

mik_jg

71 posts

74 months

[news] 
Friday 22nd June 2012 quote quote all
Worst SOTW I've seen in a long time frown

RichTBiscuit

403 posts

36 months

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Friday 22nd June 2012 quote quote all
Looks good. Gearbox wouldn't be a big worry... for 750 quid, as long as it actually changes gear - you're in business

mig25_foxbat2003

2,336 posts

96 months

[news] 
Friday 22nd June 2012 quote quote all
Seats that don't look like they've lost a fight with a crocodile are a rare find! Probably worth £750, although I'd rather go over Shed budget and get one in nicer condition.

Still regret passing on a Lachs Silver one with leather, aircon and 15" BBS for £1600 a couple of years ago. Couldn't afford it at the time - it'd be appreciating by now frown

mik_jg

71 posts

74 months

[news] 
Friday 22nd June 2012 quote quote all
Krikkit said:
Looks pretty decent for £750! The conversion won't be a hard job though, surely? With the car being offered in both manual and auto forms there shouldn't be any huge work needed to convert other than the gearbox, gearstick and appropriate pedal box...
Very true; I converted my old 300ZX TT from an auto to a manual. All of the mounting points etc are present, it's just a component swap.
Advertisement

tobinen

1,014 posts

30 months

[news] 
Friday 22nd June 2012 quote quote all
Chain driven engine, Shirley?

Not sure what to make of it really. Shed is an appropriate desciption!

louiebaby

5,598 posts

76 months

[news] 
Friday 22nd June 2012 quote quote all
Someone on here has to buy that, surely?

It looks like it needs a new boot, and clearly a retro stereo is in order, but other than that, it looks pretty tidy...

mik_jg

71 posts

74 months

[news] 
Friday 22nd June 2012 quote quote all
tobinen said:
Chain driven engine, Shirley?

Not sure what to make of it really. Shed is an appropriate desciption!
I think it's a bit sharp money-wise. I mean, I've been offered a 2000 Merc S500, properly loaded to the tits and in great shape, for £2k...

mik_jg

71 posts

74 months

[news] 
Friday 22nd June 2012 quote quote all
louiebaby said:
Someone on here has to buy that, surely?

It looks like it needs a new boot, and clearly a retro stereo is in order, but other than that, it looks pretty tidy...
Apart from the non-matching moulding from the second-hand rear door on the driver's side

SprintSpeciale

431 posts

30 months

[news] 
Friday 22nd June 2012 quote quote all
For £750 you could probably get an hour (possibly two, if you haggle) with one of Max Moseley's special friends. You get to choose the time and place of the event, your instrument of choice, and the scars will heal in a week or so.

Clearly, some people reach the stage where that type of masochism is too safe and predictable - they need their pain to arrive unexpectedly, in an unforeseen manner, and to leave a lasting legacy of hurt. But they don't want to spend more than a grand.

For them, there's Shed.

Kawasicki

2,608 posts

120 months

[news] 
Friday 22nd June 2012 quote quote all
semi trailing rear suspension....death on a stick

louiebaby

5,598 posts

76 months

[news] 
Friday 22nd June 2012 quote quote all
mik_jg said:
louiebaby said:
Someone on here has to buy that, surely?

It looks like it needs a new boot, and clearly a retro stereo is in order, but other than that, it looks pretty tidy...
Apart from the non-matching moulding from the second-hand rear door on the driver's side
Good eyes. Apologies. It's still a do though.

em177

1,656 posts

49 months

[news] 
Friday 22nd June 2012 quote quote all
mik_jg said:
I think it's a bit sharp money-wise. I mean, I've been offered a 2000 Merc S500, properly loaded to the tits and in great shape, for £2k...
Im sorry but what has that got to do with anything!? :P

mrtwisty

1,571 posts

50 months

[news] 
Friday 22nd June 2012 quote quote all
Kawasicki said:
semi trailing rear suspension....death on a stick
Yep, every person I know who ever drove or was a passenger in a car with anything less than fully independent rear suspension is now dead...

BigTom85

965 posts

56 months

[news] 
Friday 22nd June 2012 quote quote all
Predictable shed is predictable wink

I always really wanted an e30 325i touring though, perfect shed for me, but I'd rather spend 2-3x shed budget and buy one worth pampering.

KrazyIvan

2,598 posts

60 months

[news] 
Friday 22nd June 2012 quote quote all
Strip it, track it, leave it where it breaks down.

Other then that I wouldn't touch it, too much chance of the car deciding it no longer likes its manual conversion.

NickGibbs

458 posts

116 months

[news] 
Friday 22nd June 2012 quote quote all
SprintSpeciale said:
For £750 you could probably get an hour (possibly two, if you haggle) with one of Max Moseley's special friends. You get to choose the time and place of the event, your instrument of choice, and the scars will heal in a week or so.

Clearly, some people reach the stage where that type of masochism is too safe and predictable - they need their pain to arrive unexpectedly, in an unforeseen manner, and to leave a lasting legacy of hurt. But they don't want to spend more than a grand.

For them, there's Shed.
Arf!

Captain Muppet

8,063 posts

150 months

[news] 
Friday 22nd June 2012 quote quote all
Kawasicki said:
semi trailing rear suspension....death on a stick
Last E30 I bought had a welded diff too. One morning I died twice just from looking at it.

mik_jg

71 posts

74 months

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Friday 22nd June 2012 quote quote all
em177 said:
Im sorry but what has that got to do with anything!? :P
If the most you can afford is £1k for a motor, buy something sensible. If you want a cheap bit of tacky bling for not much money (and there's nothing I love more) then drop 2 grand into an S500 rather than £750 for this smile

B'stard Child

7,113 posts

131 months

[news] 
Friday 22nd June 2012 quote quote all
mrtwisty said:
Kawasicki said:
semi trailing rear suspension....death on a stick
Yep, every person I know who ever drove or was a passenger in a car with anything less than fully independent rear suspension is now dead...
Yep - I've died and been re-born so often I'm think of a name change to hey-zuez

Not a huge fan of this weeks SOTW mind - why not convert the thing to a proper stick and pedal

Edited cos I missed the fact it had been converted properly.....

Edited again cos I messed up the formating


Edited by B'stard Child on Friday 22 June 10:47

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