BMW 320i E30 Baur Cabriolet (78 of 95) copy (2).jpg

Auction Starts:

Wednesday, 08 December, 2021 - 08:00

1985 BMW 320i Baur Cabriolet (E30)

When the E30 was originally launched in 1982, it was only offered in a two-door saloon shell, with a four-door version appearing soon after. BMW had no immediate plans to offer a cabriolet, although they knew there was a demand for a soft top. So, in co-operation with Karosserie Baur, they offered a roof conversion as an optional extra, which saw the main roof skin and rear window removed and replaced with a folding canvas roof. This was a design that had seen success on the earlier E21 where it was known as a ‘Top Cabriolet’ or TC. The Baur E30 is known as the TC2.

BMW introduced its own full Cabriolet E30 in 1987, but Baur continued with its TC2 conversion into 1991. When the curtain came down on the Baur E30, 10 865 had been made in Europe (1 806 right-hand drive to the UK) and a further 3 561 assembled in South Africa.

The TC2 was more than just a cabriolet, offering Targa and landau-style open tops as well. To do this, the roof splits into two parts across the B-pillars. These two parts could then be individually removed – just the front out gave what the Porsche crew know as a Targa (and the brits as a Surrey Top), while removing just the rear section offered a landau rear opening. Whipping both out transformed the E30 into a full cabriolet.

Because it was necessary to stiffen the shell so that neither safety nor performance would be compromised, Baur designed a reinforcing frame/cage that runs under the roof gutters and C-pillars and connects across the boot and roof by lateral bars to form a rollbar. Two holes are drilled into the frame of the side windows to locate the frame, and then the whole construction is welded to the existing E30 structure. Unfortunately for many of the European cars, the locating holes let in moisture, causing rust between the frame and the car body. Once visible from the outside, it is usually too late to repair.

A European Baur conversion would have set you back £3 795 in 1987, which being seriously expensive resulted in some backyard conversions on standard E30 shells. But it was reasonably easy to identify a genuine article because it carried an identification plate from the factory on the left door jamb that detailed the factory name (Karosserie Baur), car build number and the specified roof colour.

The first TC2 Baur was numbered B40001. Therefore, a Baur with the number B50381 would have been number 10 381 in the Baur production line. The European build process saw complete two-door sedans built by BMW and then sent to Baur in Stuttgart for conversion to the Top Cabriolet; the Karosserie chopped off the lid and added a black cage/frame which meant that the Baur frame didn’t match the car’s bodywork colour.

Once again South Africa did it a little differently: frames attached before the bodies were painted so ours have nice uniform colour top and bottom. We didn’t get the door jamb-mounted Baur plate or stamp in the roof section either, but we did get arguably the best drop-top driving weather and scenery in the world.

This Example:

Description by seller:

A one-family-owned car. The family business supplied pressed body panels to BMW South Africa’s Rosslyn factory and their relationship with the firm resulted in the car being bought directly from the factory – together with a BMW 745i.

The service book confirms that the purchase of the 320i Baur was done on 8 October 1985 and that servicing initially took place at the factory. When the owners moved back to Germany for a few years, the 320i Baur went along for the ride – for this reason there are things like a 160km/h max speed which remains on the dash (the tyres were only rated for this number on the autobahn).

On return to South Africa the car was used as a daily, and although the mileage wasn’t excessive, the Pretoria sun did take its toll on the dash, and the driver’s seat right-hand bolster wore from sliding in and out. The E30 has been parked up for the past few years, with usage limited to a monthly trundle around the block.

But that has all changed recently, with the car getting a thorough check-over to make it fit for many more road trips and family fun.

The original owner’s handbook/service book, radio instruction booklet, antenna cleaner, Motorplan pamphlet, cubby hole torch (not working) and spare key are still present in the car and so too are the odd bumps and bruises that an honest car of this age has picked up over life. These have been cleaned up to some extent but evidence has been left behind to pay homage to the car’s interesting family history.

The operational side is where the real focus has been and jobs done in the last month include:

  1. Cam belt
  2. Water pump
  3. Engine mounts
  4. Fuel pump
  5. Fuel filter
  6. Air filter
  7. Oil filter
  8. Oil
  9. Exhaust manifold gasket
  10. New tyres (Dunlop)
  11. Front brake pads
  12. Brake fluid
  13. Replaced interior blower fan
  14. Spark plugs
  15. Spark plug wire carrier replaced
  16. Coolant system flush
  17. Coolant
  18. New header tank
  19. New air hoses (throttle body system)
  20. Assortment of hose clamps (from BMW SA)
  21. New accelerator cable
  22. Speed control lever repair
  23. New fuse box lid
  24. Interior light wiring (cubby hole, ashtrays, boot)
  25. Seatbelt inertia reel re-tension
  26. Roof re-upholster (middle section)
  27. Windscreen chrome trim insert
  28. Rear bumper replaced with less tarnished second-hand item
  29. Tools – German BMW-sourced
  30. Non-working immobiliser removed
  31. Cubby handle replaced
  32. Gear selector brush replaced
  33. Boot lid dent repaired and resprayed
  34. Hand brake lever thumb button repaired
  35. Oil pressure sending unit switch repaired

The end result is that the car drives brilliantly. The windscreen has a small chip (filled) but keeping the original windscreen stickers seems more fitting than replacing it with a fresh one. As mentioned, the right-hand side driver’s seat bolster is worn, there are some paint scratches on the inner door frames (likely from jewellery) and both doors have nicks from keys or similar. Front wheel arches have scuff marks and the rear valence has a dent at lower left side of the number plate. Chrome work shows some age, as do the bumper rubbers.

Electric windows, interior fan, speed control, the roof-mounted ‘CHECK’ panel, dash lights and National radio/tape all work, and this rare South African-assembled early BMW 320i Baur TC is ready to make more memories.

Available to view by appointment in Johannesburg.

Reminders to bidders:

  • A buyer's premium of 5% (which includes VAT) for cars and bikes applies.
  • The minimum buyer's premium is R5 000 incl. VAT for cars and bikes (eg. if R50 000 is bid, buyer's premium = R5 000 and total cost = R55 000).
  • The maximum buyer's premium is capped at R100 000 incl. VAT for cars and bikes (eg. if R3 000 000 is bid, buyer's premium = R100 000 and total cost = R3 100 000).
  • Classic Car Africa aims to present each lot as accurately as possible but it is the responsibility of the bidder to be 100% satisfied with the condition of the lot before placing a bid.
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Quick Facts

Reference: LOT-000098
Seller: Private
Year: 1985
Manufacturer: BMW
Model: 320i Baur Cabriolet (E30)
Derivative: -
Service History: Other
Mileage: 0 Km
Engine Size: 2-litre
Engine Type: Straight 6-cylinder
Fuel Type: Petrol
Transmission: 4 Automatic
Layout: Front engine - rear-wheel drive
Power Output: 125 BHP
Exterior: Red
Interior: Cream

Photo Gallery

BMW E30 320i Cabriolet (32).jpg
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BMW 320i E30 Convertible - 6.jpg
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Bidding Information - 1985 BMW 320i Baur Cabriolet (E30)

Estimated Price Range:

R 125,000.00 - R 165,000.00

Highest Bid:

R 0.00

Total Bids:


Starts In:

Start Date:

Wednesday, 08 December, 2021 - 08:00

End Date:

Wednesday, 15 December, 2021 - 18:00

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