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1991 BMW 318iS

  • Price: Ask a price!
  • Condition: Used
  • Make: BMW
  • Model: 3-Series
  • SubModel: 318iS
  • Type: Coupe
  • Year: 1991
  • Mileage: 143,000
  • VIN: WBAAF9312MEE72091
  • Color: Red
  • Engine size: 1.8L M42 4-cylinder
  • Number of cylinders: 4
  • Power options: Power Locks, Power Windows
  • Fuel: Gasoline
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Drive type: RWD
  • Interior color: Black
  • Safety options: Anti-Lock Brakes, Driver Airbag
  • Options: Sunroof
  • Vehicle Title: Clear
  • Location: Barrington, Illinois, United States


Sweet classic low-mileage BMW coupe, rescued from a storage unit. Great project car with a ton of potential. There aren't a whole lot of unmolested, low-mileage E30 318iS still running around, and that's a shame. They're tough little cars with modern engines that are a blast to drive and don't cost a lot to maintain. If you're not familiar with these cars, they were only offered for one model year, in one combination - a DOHC 4-cylinder engine with a 5-speed manual and a short 4.10 diff ratio. Take it from me, they are a joy to drive.
This is the better-looking "facelift" model, with plastic bumpers, sleeker front fascia and larger taillights. The car is more or less the same as it left the factory. It still has most of the specific sport options, including blackline window trim, all five 14" BBS 'basketweave' wheels and the rear trunk lid spoiler. These cars were also offered with an M-Tech suspension package that included firmer springs and sway bars, although I have not verified that those parts are original.
The low-mileage M42 runs OK and stays cool. Gauges and warning lights all look good, even the odometer and oil change indicator work. An aftermarket stereo is installed with the stock BMW speakers. All four wheels still have their hub caps, and the original plastic BBS 'socket' for removing them safely is included. Manual crank sunroof, power windows and six-button on-board computer round out the options list. A/C is installed but not functional. Front lip spoiler is missing, as usual, but the hard-to-find fog lights and brake ducts are all there and the facia panel is in good shape.
I've installed a brand-new battery, and I have some documentation from the previous owner. Among other things, the radiator, expansion tank and seals had been replaced before the car was stored. Tires look OK, but they are at least ten years old according to the date stamp I found. The original full-sized spare is included, but the tire is bad. The only significant mechanical problem I found was the brakes. They are very soft and will barely stop the car. It feels like the vac booster or booster valve is on the way out. Please keep in mind that while the car will start and drive, it doesn't really stop. There are no fluid leaks, the hydraulic clutch still works, and the brake reservoir is full.
So the car does start and run, but it is most definitely a project car. Idle is rough, it stalls occasionally when it's cold. I'd drive it, but not at high speeds and not for hours at a time. Please don't expect to find a daily driver. I'd assume it needs all the usual E30 stuff (FCABs/RSMs/RTABs).
I'm not a professional mechanic or body man, so take these disclosures with a grain of salt. Here's a comprehensive list of the problems I've found: Clearcoat is wasted across the roof and down the pillars. The original tan vinyl BMW "sport" interior has been replaced with the standard black vinyl "comfort" seats & matching rear bench. All are in decent shape. The frame rails are clean but there is some cosmetic rust on the driver's rocker panel. There is a perforation behind the door and some bubbling in front of the the rear wheel. I don't think a body shop would have much trouble with it, rocker repair panels are still available from BMW, among several other vendors. The spare tire well and trunk pockets are solid, but there is evidence that the trunk seal has failed. I've noted a DOT-R replacement hood and evidence of bodywork on the driver's side behind the door, as reported by the Autocheck vehicle report in 1993. Front driver's fender is crinkled, bumper covers are both cracked. Dash is cracked too. Driver's inner door release is broken. Sunroof crank has fallen off. Trunk seal has failed. Rear exhaust section is cracked behind the resonator flange and the hack job muffler is held on with flex pipe and baling wire.
This car is also for sale locally, so I reserve the right to end this auction at any time. Thanks for checking out my listing, please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have. This is an AS-IS/WHERE-IS sale...caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware.
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