Featured

Junkyard Gem: 1985 BMW 318i Sedan

A four-cylinder BMW E30, found in a Silicon Valley boneyard last summer.

19 - 1985 BMW 318i in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin
  • 19 - 1985 BMW 318i in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin
  • 19 - 1985 BMW 318i in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin
  • 15 - 1985 BMW 318i in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin
  • 14 - 1985 BMW 318i in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin
  • 04 - 1985 BMW 318i in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin
  • 99 - 1985 BMW 318i in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin
  • 07 - 1985 BMW 318i in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin
  • 09 - 1985 BMW 318i in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin
  • 10 - 1985 BMW 318i in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin
  • 11 - 1985 BMW 318i in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin
  • 13 - 1985 BMW 318i in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin
  • 20 - 1985 BMW 318i in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin
  • 23 - 1985 BMW 318i in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin
  • 25 - 1985 BMW 318i in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin
  • 27 - 1985 BMW 318i in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin
  • 30 - 1985 BMW 318i in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin

Internet Car Experts say that the BMW E30 is far too valuable to ever show up in a cheap self-service wrecking yard nowadays, but I continue to see them regularly. Sure, you'll have a much easier time finding the E36 and E46 versions of BMW's 3 Series in your local Ewe Pullet, and even the E90s are showing up in quantity these days, but I still see plenty of 1984-1991 E30s during my junkyard travels. Here's a nimble four-banger E30, spotted at a Silicon Valley yard last summer.

The M10 four-cylinder BMW engine goes way back, all the way to the early 1960s. 2002s had M10s, as did the very first 3-Series: the 320i. This one is a 1.8-liter rated at 101 horsepower; that's quite a bit less than the 121 horses in the 325e of the same year, but it also made the car 150 pounds lighter.

A surprisingly large proportion of U.S.-market E30s had automatic transmissions, but this one has the base five-speed manual.

The 1985 318i four-door sedan had a list price of $16,925, with the two-door priced at $16,430 (that's about $44,725 and $43,420 in 2022 dollars, respectively). Moving up to the six-cylinder 325e four-door that year meant spending at least $21,105 (around $55,775 today). If you'd headed to your local Toyota dealer in 1985, you could have bought a brand-new AE86 Corolla GT-S for $9,298, which meant 112 horsepower in a car that weighed 131 fewer pounds than the 318i. If only we had a time machine, eh?

You'll find one in every car.

Even in the land of the AE86, you could buy the 318i new.

The most powerful argument against the midlife crisis.

BMW 318 Information

BMW 318

Share This Photo X