Wednesday, January 27, 2010

1980 BMW 318 Baur Convertible - A Rolling Restoration Project

During the 70s and 80s it was tough being a car geek in the US. Because of safety and emissions regulations that were stricter than those found in most countries, we didn't get some of the most interesting cars. The Baur edition BMWs are perfect examples. They was offered through BMW dealers in Europe but never officially reached the US. "Officially" being the key word.

What the European car companies wouldn't send to us, gray market importers often did. This Baur 318 convertible is one of those cars.

Baur's relationship with BMW started in the 1930s. In the 1960s they started building BMW 1600 convertibles. This led to the 2002 TC (Top Cabrio), the first BMW with the targa style roof. Baur continued the TC tradition with the E21 (like this car and called TC1) and the E30 (Called TC2. Baur still offered E30 TCs even after BMW started offereing their own E30 convertible. The BMW built convertible is based on a Baur design.) To the best of my knowledge, the last Baur BMW TC was a very unique E36 4 door TC4. (Shown below, courtesy of

Baur is an interesting company that does more than just chop tops. They also assembled the M1 for BMW and the 959 for Porshce. Today they are involved in R&D for numerous European car companies.

The car being offered on Craigslist could be a unique rolling restoration project. I've seen a few Baur 323 convertibles in the US, but this is the first 318 Baur I have ever seen. Interestingly, besides the small 4 cylinder engine, it also has an automatic transmission. (This is a 318, not a 318i. It has a carb, not fuel injection.) Most of the work it needs is minor; some interior pieces replaced, gaskets, that type of stuff. The only issue that should be attended to right away is the leaking heater core. Nothing ruins a nice day of driving quite like hot antifreeze spraying everywhere. The car will also need paint at some point.

Located in Baltimore, MD, click here to see the eBay listing.

Click here to find Grey In The USA, a really good blog dedicated to gray market cars.
is a nice website dedicated to these cars. It's written in German and has a ton of good photos.

1 comment:

pickles said...

RE: plug for Grey In The USA-- I LOVE this blog, I just wish he/she'd update more often. We car nuts can't get enough.