bmw 323i E21
Like every racing lover we all had a model that has marked our childhood or youth, an unforgettable one despite the passage of time, sometimes it is only a desire that never happens, other times, that desire changes by a great one, but from time to time those yearnings of childhood come true and often involve linking to one brand or another.
When we think about BMW, its 3 Series always come to mind and especially the M variants, which led many to become fans of the Bavarian brand with models like the E36, which we already presented to you, as well as the rest of the generations up to the current F80. However, the most representative M3 and the one that was the true icon of the brand and the first of the aforementioned saga was the E30, but there is a precedent to this, the E21, that constitutes the first BMW 3 Series of which we are going to talk to you in this post.
A vehicle of the year 1982 that José Antonio, its current owner, acquired several years later, fulfilling his dream of youth, when only the wealthiest could buy one. When he could buy one, this original model from Switzerland appeared, from its characteristic sign comes, which is the horseshoe on its front. Considering that this car was manufactured until the 83, we can deduce that we are facing one of the latest versions which includes all the available extras, such as: power steering, sunroof, electric right rear-view mirror, fog lights and Recaro seats that, according to José Antonio, they are very difficult to find due to its shortage, having a high price.
Mechanically, this unit equipped a 2.3-liter six cylinders in line engine, which, through the Bosch K-Jetronic injectors system, provides a power of 141CV. All this power is exploited by the five-speed Sport with limited-slip differential, which was the most sporting option offered by BMW, in which, the fifth gear established a transmission ratio 1: 1, unlike the ECO box in which it was used to lower consumption. This unit features McPherson suspension on the front axle and independent rear that provide excellent performance even today.
The passing of the years has demonstrated the excellent reliability of the vehicle that, added to the great care provided by the González family, has contributed to its excellent state of preservation. An example of this is that when the car is washed, it is dried with an industrial heater to eliminate any traces of moisture that could damage it on rainy days, the rest of the days it is dried in motion. Another sample is that when they acquired it, they decided to repaint it completely despite not having great flaws on the paint to leave it untouched as you can see in the images.
Father and son usually enjoy their E21 on the different regularity rally that are organized in Galicia. They have their 2002 BMW and Porsche 911 to take as reference, but the 323 has characteristics of modern vehicles thanks to the disc brakes on both axes, the front ones being ventilated; the limited-slip differential or the sport gearbox that assures satisfactory recoveries in almost any gear and allows to maintain the rhythms required in this specialty. According to José Antonio himself, the 2002 is more docile and agile in its reactions, however, the 3 Series in terms of chassis is much more permissive, although it has a more delicate behaviour taken to the limit.
The great virtues of this model were tested in numerous competitions in which BMW took advantage of the platform of this vehicle to develop the E21 Group 5 that stood out in 1978 for dominating in the class of two litres against the Porsche 934 and 935. It also participated in the European Touring Car Championship and endurance races such as the 6h of Mugello or the 24h of Spa. Likewise, he obtained outstanding results in Group 2 rallies of the time and to this day they are still used on the historic categories with his predecessor the BMW 2002.
The car that Jose Antonio in his childhood contemplated from afar with the firm desire to obtain it now it’s own by him and, in spite of the initial cost in the purchase of the car, it is an investment that according to himself, was worth, not only for the increase of the value of the precursor model of the E30, but also for all the hours and all the passion employed in it, which have been rewarded simply with the enjoyment provided by the vehicle that is already a member of the family.