BMW 3 Series (E30): you should definitely know that about the 3 Series E30

A BMW 3 Series attracts tuning fans like moths to a flame. As a used car, every generation of the compact BMW went through the valley of wrapped wheel arches, lowered chassis, sound systems suitable for festivals and the lavish sill and spoiler boom. In backyards, would-be touring cars that were involved in accidents often mutated into true works of art with spatula.
This brings us to the first tip of this buying guide: look out for largely original specimens. Even an untouched body has some weak points. This is shown to us by Andreas Boje from Hamburg, who specializes in repairs and restorations of classic BMWs (

Classic car fans can use that

“The first thing to do is look around the lower front fender edges behind the wheels and take a look at the gusset plates there,” he says. In the preliminary check, we first take a look at the typical problem areas of the E30.

If possible, take a look behind the inner fenders

We’ll start with the left front wheel: Remnants of dirt collect behind the inner fenders, which over time clog the water drains on the underside of the fenders. Gammel there, on the A-pillar and at the front end of the sill are the result.
Watch out for caked dirt and rust. The area around the gusset plates mentioned is in the spray water area behind the front wheels. There are no original repair panels, the refurbishment is time-consuming. No wild welding seams should be visible here and certainly no holes. The BMW professional calculates around 2000 euros for the renovation of both sides, including the production of new metal sheets.
BMW 3 Series E30

The most important question is: Will the BMW 3 Series E30 of choice rust? If so: Where and how bad is it rotting?

With some E30 the sheet metal was bent with force

The next look is at the rear wheel arches: on all E30 variants, they are flanged to the rear from the middle of the wheel arch at the factory. In order to accommodate lush tires, the sheet metal was sometimes forcibly reshaped. At the rear, inspect the area around the towing eye on the right: this is where a lot of E30s show signs of wear and tear.
It continues around the corner. We bend down and look into the wheelhouse over the right rear wheel: behind a mudguard are the fuel lines, this is also where unkempt specimens often get rotten. Front right again gusset plate and fender check. Opening the bonnet: Rust on window frame or battery box? If these points are rust-free, it goes on stage.

If there are small bumps

Selected products in tabular overview

Product test Presto - test winner Price-performance winner

test winner

Presto mobile dent removal system

EUR 14.90

2.2 (good)

Product test Gliston

Randalfy dent removal tool

53.99 EUR

3.1 (satisfactory)

Product test Manelord

Manelord dent set

58.99 EUR

3.4 (satisfactory)

Product test Quixx

QUIXX dent repair set

EUR 19.95

4.1 (sufficient)

Product test Amazon

Gwotfy suction cups

15.23 euros

4.5 (poor)

This is the current market situation for the 3 Series E30

Basically, the following applies to the E30: the more special, the more expensive. Two- and four-door are the cheapest, especially facelifted and four-cylinder. Here the selection under 10,000 euros is comparatively plentiful. It will be more expensive if you are looking for a touring or a convertible with a six-cylinder. The 325i in particular is popular, good touring with this engine is available from 15,000 euros.
The prices for a well-kept 325i Cabrio have more than doubled within ten years and no longer start below 20,000 euros. With the M3, however, the market is relaxing. Entry is possible from 60,000 euros if one appears on the market. An insider tip for connoisseurs is the sporty four-valve 318iS, which is still available for less than 15,000 euros.

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BMW 3 Series E30: You should take a close look here

That’s how easy it is to get spare parts for the BMW

BMW has discontinued sales through the Classic Shop, but original parts are still available through the dealer network. The prices are sometimes steep. Example: An original water pump for the six-cylinder costs 180 euros, comparable reproduction parts are available from 30 euros. In the case of reproductions, it is advisable to ask in clubs or forums beforehand whether they are any good.
It is also expensive for specific parts for the convertible, iX and M3. Original covers for the convertible top are available for a good 2000 euros, a rear spoiler for the M3 costs around 700 euros. Sources of supply:,; used parts:

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