After a gruesome and challenging 6 hour drive which could've/should've been done in 3.5 hours had Hamburg had its infrastructure in order I encountered the BMW E30 Touring I had bought on Ebay over a week ago. It wasn't just the time it took us to get there that caused a problem though:

The Journey

We left Groningen, the Netherlands, at 9:30 am, heading for a village in the Ludwigslust area of Germany. A one way trip of 365 km of almost entirely German Autobahn, which should've taken 3.5 hours. It didn't though. While the first 2 hours and 45 minutes went as planned, once we reached Hamburg the trouble began. Endless traffic jams.

My trusty 14 year old Peugeot 406 coupe, which I've owned for 2 years/50+k km and which besides normal maintenance (consumables) never needed anything other than a €5 exhaust mounting piece, didn't like Hamburg' traffic jams consisting of staying in first gear for close to two hours. I was in the passenger seat at that time so I don't know exactly if my buddy who was driving screwed up with the clutch pedal, but right after we escaped two hours of traffic jams with a detour he informed me the car wouldn't shift in 1, 2 any more. 3, 4 and 5 were hard to reach as well. As we were almost at our destination and after a few accelerations from 0 in third gear we still did manage to reach the home of the BMW owner. We decided to let it cool down for over an hour, while I inspected the BMW, dealt with all the formalities and we had our very late lunch.

It turned out the BMW was as described, so I bought it. I'd won the Ebay auction, so no haggling or negotiations involved. As the Peugeot cooled down we took the fully packed BMW to lunch. After lunch, driving back to the Peugeot, we found out the BMW overheated when idling. When driving everything was fine though. At this time the Peugeot wouldn't shift in any gear at all, unless when the engine was shut off. After fiddling with the Peugeot for a while I noticed the clutch pedal had sunk into the floor almost entirely. This was the cause why it wouldn't shift while the engine was running.

So there we were, with a Peugeot that wouldn't shift and a BMW that would almost overheat when idling. In a foreign country, with a drive through traffic jam riddled Hamburg ahead of us. Both cars wouldn't make that trip. Now what?


After some more fiddling with the Peugeot, topping off the (not that long ago refreshed) brake/clutch fluid that looked overly brown and no progress at all my friend had a brilliant idea. He pulled the clutch pedal back, towards the position it should be in. Problem solved. The Peugeot didn't give us any problem after that.

Anyway, back to the BMW. Trying to circumvent the potentially catastrophic combination of unending traffic jams and overheating within minutes when idling we decided to plan an alternative route. Right trough German countryside, staying away from Hamburg (and Lüneburg) completely. We encountered very few problems during this trip, but it did took us ages. At the end the entire trip took us 15 hours, while total driving time according to Google Maps is 7-7.5 hours while taking the fastest route.


The BMW is dirty, a bit rough, but has potential. It came with a ton of spares. A full set of steel wheels with winter tires and BMW hubcaps, a front seat to replace the utterly trashed driver seat, the factory side skirts, a front wing (no idea why), an original steering wheel to replace the aftermarket one and a case full of other smaller spares. Apparently the previous previous owner had dismantled another E30 and threw some usable parts into the Touring when he sold it. This could be a little gold mine.


As seen in the pictures the indicators of the BMW work, which is odd for a BMW. I guess the BMW itself realized this as well, as the front left one broke an hour or two after we replaced the broken rear left bulb. What also works is the check control panel: it indicates a problem with the coolant. Like I mentioned before: the car overheats when left idling for more than a few minutes. There's an issue with the driver door as well, the seals aren't great and the hinges need some grease at the bare minimum. Another minor issue is that the central locking does unlock the rear left door, but doesn't lock it. It needs a radio, and the heating of the heated seats doesn't work on either side. The BMW drives absolutely beautifully though, and I like that sound of the straight six.

The Plan

My plan is to fix this BMW up, and than ship it to the US as I have before. While it's optically not as perfect as that one it didn't cost as much either. I'll have to wait a little while though, as it's only 24 years and 9 months old at the moment. The car was built in early December 1989 and first registered in Germany late December 1989.


I've fully rewritten this story after an overly tired post last night, so I thought setting a new post time was appropriate.