Back in the eighties a few cars had a badge that many only dreamed of owning. Rolls Royce, Bentley, Ferrari, Porsche, etc. These were brands that were considered out of reach for most of us. Including BMW and Mercedes Benz. Two German makers up there among the most admired machines on the planet. So, when the opportunity came for me to get behind the wheel of a BMW 323i with a little damage to its front i.e. headlights and bumper.
Offered at humble money well I just had to dive in. When I went to purchase its new headlights they were expensive, something I had been expecting. What I hadn’t expected was to be told that a Ford Capri headlight was the same and for a lot less money. Hey, I thought, we’re on our way! With the car fixed and ready for its first night out yours truly behind the wheel. I admit to just climbing in and spending a few minutes enjoying the moment to myself.
The interior layout was something to behold, with an air of sophistication that you just don’t get from a Ford. For instance, I liked the way the door opener worked hidden in the door handle, a nice touch. Also, how the dash lit up red which for the time was very fancy. This really shows how long ago the 323i was around, its heater was incredibly powerful.
Having a powerful heater back in the eighties was fairly unusual too. While a sunroof was opened using a manual handle. Most important of all however was the six-cylinder engine and the sound it made through the twin exhaust pipes, even at 2,500 rpm it was music.
Appreciating the stability of the BMW when driving was another tick in the proverbial box. It had ample power and also handled well. As a motorway cruiser, I doubt there were many that could provide equal measures of comfort, silence, and power. This was truly a great car to own at a time when BMWs were individually designed to stand out.
Today, that individuality appears to have been lost with every BMW mirroring each other. For me, this was one of those cars I truly enjoyed driving and owning. From its solid build quality and high-performance engine. I always regret this was a car I let slip away. Very fond memories of it remain and I continued to believe it was one of the best-looking BMWs ever built.
Trevor Ferguson 22-9-2022
BMW 323i Specification
|Cost||£10,898 (4 door; 1985)|
|Engine||6cyl 2315cc 150bhp 12v|
|Performance||Max 112mph 0-60 in 8.3 secs|
|Average Fuel Consumption||25.4 mpg|
HOW MANY STILL MOTORING IN THE UK?
|323i CABRIO AUTO||Licensed||2|
|323i CABRIO AUTO||SORN||13|
|323i SE AUTO||Licensed||504|
|323i SE AUTO||SORN||422|
HOW MUCH CAN I EXPECT TO PAY?
1984 – 323i Convertible: Top Asking Price £11,900
1985 – 323i 2 door: Top Asking Price £9,800