10 July 2017

More than an old car #26: BMW E21 320

BMW is a common name known to everyone--it can either mean the car itself or the self-deprecatory 'Bus, MRT, Walk'. There are a myriad of models being produced and I believe some of you are driving one. As with all older cars, they are subjected to the government's restrictions and some of you may recall the well-loved E30 series that are still present here. However, this 1982 BMW E21 320 is often described as 'forgotten', mainly because they remain rather obscure till today.

The E21 was the first generation of the 3-Series [eg 318i, 320i... in today's context]. It was designed to be the successor of the 02 Series and was unveiled to the public in 1975. The E21 had the trademark 'kidney grilles' standing out from the front and the wedge-shaped car was unusual at that time. The centre console and the dashboard were curved towards the driver, and this design still remains in all of BMW's cars today. It was equipped with a 1990cc BMW M20 6-cylinder engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 181km/h and an acceleration of 10.7 seconds [0-100km/h]. The E21 320 was 4.36m long and weighed 1090kg.

Production ended in 1983 with more than 1.3 million made, of which around 390,000 was the 320 model. This specimen is currently the only one left in Singapore, as I have never come across another one. The owner has maintained it well and surprisingly it still has a normal plate. It does projects a unique image compared to the cookie-cutter designs present today, and I hope the owner continues to keep this antique running!

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