For Jeremy, his 1981 BMW 323i is special because it was built in the same year that he was born. Although registered in 1981 the car was actually built in October 1980.
Jeremy explained to me that he had always wanted to have what he termed as a “birth year car” in his collection.
“I always loved the idea of having a car that was the same age as me,” he said.
Having previously owned an immaculate E30 320i convertible and an E30 325 M-Tech 2, Jeremy has always been a fan of 1980s and 1990s BMWs and when the option of purchasing this BMW came along he jumped at the chance after discovering that, for him, it would be a birth year car.
As a young school boy Jeremy fondly remembers one of his friend’s fathers having an E21 BMW. “It was a relatively new car then, I suppose, but it seems that every year this guy’s father gave the car a birthday, whether it was a mechanical tickle up, new upholstery or a new stereo.”
Apparently he kept this car for 30 years until it apparently caught fire in a parking lot.
“For me as a kid,” said Jeremy, “I just loved that car and it certainly explains why I have always loved the BMWs of that era.”
Jeremy’s 323i is an Australian special edition version that was fitted with a Momo steering wheel, Recaro sport seats, air conditioning, limited slip differential, Bilstein suspension, M-Technic front and rear spoilers and 13-inch BBS ‘basket weave’ alloy wheels. In Jeremy’s mind all this added up to be one very cool 1980s car.
“It was a wet winter’s day and I was looking around some local car yards. I ran into a guy I knew who had always had interesting cars, we got talking and he said that he had this BMW he was thinking of selling. Within a few hours I had met up with him again to view the car and after a good drive out on a winding country road, putting the BMW through its paces, I decided that I just had to have the car. It really revs out and the handling was really surprising for a car of that age.”
Since Jeremy has owned the car he has touched up a few chips on the BMW’s bonnet and resprayed the beautiful BBS alloy wheels but other than that the 323i has needed very little doing to it. The car is extremely straight and clean and looks like a very genuine example. Although the BMW has logged a high mileage extensive mechanical work has been carried out over the years.
Although Jeremy is spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding on what car in his collection to exercise he says that his ‘Birth Year Car’ is definitely one of his favourites and certainly gets out once a week for a drive through the North Canterbury countryside.
I can certainly see the appeal of this Bavarian rocket as a very usable classic car that not only looks the part but one that also has a connection to the owner that only a child of the 1980s would understand.