For Sale: 1979 BMW 3 Series in Bethesda, Maryland

Vehicle Description

*Note: I have reduced the price of this car as a result of the AC unit needing replacement (it was a hot summer in DC and I worked that AC unit hard; too hard, I guess). To replace the entire AC system/compressor will cost ~$2400 (to do it right. I have written estimate if you're interested). I have no time to make or see these repairs through. As a result, I'm discounting the price of the car for over double the cost of the repair. If you live in a mild climate or can make the AC change yourself, it's an even better value than I'm highlighting here. 

For sale is an all-original, mint condition 1979 BMW 320i (E21). The exterior and interior are in near perfect shape and the car rests in park as if it was still on a showroom floor – boxy, yet perky, too. This BMW E21 is basically a time machine; the moment you open the door you’ll flash back to the look, smell (even the songs) that defined an era. This is THAT car and it’s as fun to drive at it is sensational to look at.    

I was floored when I saw this BMW for the first time and was devastated to be informed I’m being transferred back to Alaska – no place for a car of this build or pedigree. I’ve only had it a few months but it was exactly the car I hoped for when it arrived (the prior owner was transparent about it needing some fundamental work done). So, in June of this year, I had installed new brakes, pads, rotors, shocks (all around) along with new tie rods, wipers – you name it. All of the work was completed by one of the most decorated BMW specialty shops on the east coast (BMW Excluservice); when I pulled up, nearly every person in the shop came out to look at the time capsule sitting in the parking lot. Not hard to figure why because, in many ways, it was like it just rolled off the factory floor. Did I mention the smell of the leather interior?

The incredibly beautiful period color combination is a collector's dream. The 100% original paint has only normal nicks (treated). Original Sierra Beige paint gleams especially glossy and bright in the sun. The interior (caramel) leatherette upholstery is flawless and the seats are surprisingly comfortable. The carpet is original Berber in amazing condition (save for one coffee spill in the back). There have been some minor modifications: an Alpine Bluetooth deck and new Sony speakers. The tires have also been upsized to 15” alloy wheels with brand new Continental Contact touring tires. No other modifications beyond that. This car remains as it was when it was driven off the factory floor; it’s truly the most exquisite classic BMW I’ve ever seen in the U.S. – and I’ve been looking a lot.

This car has lived in a garage its entire life (Marin County, CA Salt Lake City, UT and Windemere, FLA). I had it trucked to Bethesda, Maryland where it now sits in a garage and is driven about 60 miles a week. Based on records, I understand this car has always been covered and garaged. The prior owner passed along records spanning nearly 3 decades from BMW of San Francisco and I have receipts for all of the work I’ve had done to it since taking ownership.

For my driving purposes (cruising to the country club and the DC Metro) it purrs along just fine, runs strong and smooth and does especially great on cool days on the open road. It’s not happy idling in traffic on a hot day (think 87 degrees and above). The temperature needle rises to about ¾ - but immediately drops back down as soon as she's back on the open road. The car starts, runs and drives true blue. It’s a 4 speed and won’t win you any races off the line, but it will get looks about every time you pull up to a light (you get used to it). I can’t guess how many times I’ve had people ask if they could take a picture of the car when I’m downtown (free country, snap away).

I’m not mechanic, a car investor or someone who looks to “flip” items of value. I’m looking to pay myself back for the initial car investment and the cost of the updates/repairs needed to make it a very safe, functional and reliable vehicle. I’m on the sentimental side and really want this car to be in good hands. The right buyer will be as excited as I was to find this incredible sedan and knowledgeable enough to know there’s *probably* no equal on the planet (or, at least in the U.S.). I'm happy to answer any questions though my time with this gem has been limited. 

Vehicle Details

  • 1979 BMW 3 Series
  • Listing ID: CC-1634822
  • Price: $17,000
  • Location:Bethesda, Maryland
  • Year:1979
  • Make:BMW
  • Model:3 Series
  • Exterior Color:Sierra Beige
  • Interior Color:Camel
  • Transmission:Manual
  • Odometer:99067
  • Restoration History:Unrestored
  • Exterior Condition:Excellent
  • Seat Material:Leather
  • Bucket Seats:Yes
  • Engine History:Original
  • Engine Condition:Running
Listed By:
Private Seller

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