Couple Run Vol. 1 – a 928 and my 323RS
My swiss friend owns some nice classics so every time I am near zuerich we meet and shoot some pics….today, I am flat floor with backpain…still want to use the time for your classic car „enlightment“
That little beamer was kind of compensation for selling my 1977 911 Targa and after 20 years with the 323i still it was a fabulous idea. Just recently rebuild engine with Hartge specs…sharper cam, a bit more compression its such a joyful ride. The transmission has the long fifth gear extra so for highway use its a joy to do 170km/h with 4000rpm only.
The first series 3 bmw (e21) has pretty much the same form factor like the predesassor 02 series. Also bmw followed the seventies muscle car idea and implanted the m20 6banger from the series 5 models into that small chassis.
2 or 2,3 Liter up to 143hp was a lot of punch. My retired bmw master mechanic told me that early eighties, about once a week a crashed 323example arrived at BmW‘s shops in Munich. The customers were not used with that power when rain or snow covered the streets. Also the stock tires were 185/70/13. Not the amount of rubber for driving fast with no weight in the back. Still, I used the Beamer the first 10 years and 20.000km with that wheels. Later I upgraded to 195/50/15 on 7×15 alloys. Mostly I used the car for roadtrips to the cote Azur every August. The famous corniche road you meet a lot of rich and famous with their ferraries and lambos from Monaco. The speed limit was 110 along the coastline with a lot of tunnels. They did not care about any speedlimits and so I tried to follow them to hear the sound of the 12 zylinder engines – roaring and singing …what a blast.
These days I wouldnt take the risk for speeding tickets, but when you are young you just dont care if you can follow supercars on windy roads.
With the milage of 210k the compression of one zylinder went down and so I
surfed the web for an replacement engine….cheaper than a rebuild mostly. A friend gave me the adress of an Bmw employee who had an e30 Alpina engine with only 17k Km on the clock in stock.
This 2,5 liter engine, about 210hp would be a perfect replacement. But when my mechanic master saw the 323 he made up his veto. Thats an original 323 with original paint and not any rust….you should rework the original engine with matching numbers. If you sell that car one day you will get your reward in market value.
Well, again I searched the web for tuning the original engine. Hartge had a 323 RS version. After study of the engine upgrades…I gave in to keep the original engine with little upgrades. 280 degrees cam instead of 260 and a bit more compression. Headers instead of that cast iron stuff. New pistons, rebuild valve system…new bearings, clutch, overhaul transmission, new exhaust….brakes, suspension. If you rebuild an engine for yourself, you look also to anything else because the car is disassembled anyway.
After that four month rework I drove to switzerland to break the engine in….also
some excursions. Now the new engine has 10k miles on it and new projects take
my attention. Still…I would not swap THAT Beamer back for an old 911 – no Sir 😉
23 additional images. Click to enlarge.