1970s / BMW / German / Rust in peace

Rust in peace: BMW 320i (E21)

bmw-320-e21-14We photographed this 1977 BMW 320i in a self-service junkyard in Salt Lake City, Utah. Finished in a relatively rare shade of yellow, the 3 earns the honor of being one of the rustiest late-1970s BMWs we have ever seen in the metal.

Nearly every body panel on the 320i is chewed by rust and the previous owner appears to have tried to stop it by loosely applying several coats of POR-15. The area below the windshield is only half-painted, leading us to wonder what exactly crossed the owner’s mind; did he finally realize the full extent of the rust and give up, or did he not buy enough POR-15? We’ll likely never know.

The odometer reads 122,000 miles (196,000 kilometers) but we doubt they are original as the interior and the engine bay both look like they have been around for at least twice that long.

2002 and 1602 values are going through the roof and E30s have built up a surprisingly loyal following but E21s are kind of the black sheep of the BMW lineup. They are not as sought after by Bimmer enthusiast and nearly no parts had been pulled from the example pictured below even though it had been on the lot for nearly two months when we took the photos. However, it was sitting several cars away from an early-2000s E46 3-Series which provided an interesting insight into the evolution of BMW’s bread-and-butter model.

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