Bob’s BMW E30 318i “Design Edition” (1991)


The E30 was the second generation of the BMW 3-series, replacing the by-then dated looking E21. It’s timeless design was spearheaded by Claus Luthe, with exterior styling done by Boyke Boyer (on behalf of all E30 lovers… thank you Claus and Boyke!). The car came in a range of body styles including a two-door coupe, four-door sedan and even a convertible. It’s the two door models that are most desirable with the enthusiasts today.

Most BMW E30’s carried the incredible inline-six M20 engine (available in a range of different capacities from 2.0 up to 2.7). Despite the fact the M20 was used in the first generation 3-series, for the E30 it was treated a Bosh K-Jetronic fuel injection system (LE-Jetronic on post 1982 cars) which increased it’s power output significantly, but also made it more responsive, fuel efficient, and easier to use. With a redline north of 6000rpm, you have to experience one of these great engines to truly understand what all the fuss is about.

The Owner: Bob, Age 37, Lives in the UK
The Owner: Bob, Age 37, Lives in the UK

Dream Car: E30 325i Sport “M-tec 2” coupe in calypso red.

In 1991/1992 BMW celebrated the phasing out of the E30 with a limited-run of what called the “Design Edition” model. These cars weren’t any different to other cars mechanically speaking, however they featured unique loud paintwork (Daytona Violet, Neon Blue, and Neon Green) and pin-striped interior. These cars are actually one of the rarest BMW’s going, with only in the region of around 200 made, and of these a small handful were convertibles.

Being a “Design Edition”, in Neon Green, AND a convertible makes Bob’s car exceptionally rare. In fact Bob’s car is one of just fifty cars that left the factory like this. As soon as we saw it, we knew it was something a bit special, so we reached out to Bob to find out more. It turns out the car is in incredible condition, and in the hands of Bob, it looks as if it will stay that way too! Read the interview below to find out more.

BMW E30 318i “Design Edition” (1991)

BMW's last run of the E30 model didn't involve loads of performance upgrades (they'd already proved that was possible). Instead they released a line of cars with loud paintwork and unique pinstriped interior – known as the "Design Edition" cars.
Model Year 1990
Model 318i, E30
Make BMW
Keywords 90’s, bmw, classic car, classic german, convertible, German, Original


  • This isn't Bob's first foray into E30 ownership – he used to own a 1989 320i coupe, but a blown head gasket amongst other issues meant it was ultimately sold.
  • It didn't take long for him to start looking for a new one though, and when this "Design Edition" cabriolet came up, he couldn't help himself.
  • "Design Edition" E30's are rare beasts, with only in the region of 200 made. This one is even rarer though. In "Neon Green" and being a convertible, that makes it 1 of just 50 cars like it!

Interview with the owner

  • When did you first purchase the car?
    Back in June 2020.
  • Well these are pretty rare, how did you manage to get this one?
    Well, where shall I start.
    In my first few years of driving, money wasn't that great so I could only afford jalopies.
    I would buy a car, didn't matter what it was, as long as it was cheap and had a few months Tax and Mot. Once the MOT ran out, rather than putting them through another test, I'd just sell or scrap it and buy another.
    Fast forward a few years, I financed my first 'decent' car, a 2001 Ford focus 1.6. Although I liked the focus, I had owned it for 2 years (which was a record for me). I was very bored of it and decided to sell it.
    I went scouting Ebay for another cheap motor. I bidded on, and won a 1989 BMW 320i coupe for £601. I fell in love with it instantly. However, a suspected head-gasket fault made it a short lived ownership. I sold it just 3 months later for £925 to a chap who planned to use the chassis for PBMWC racing.
    I wanted another one ever since. In June 2020, after years of saving and searching, I found this beauty. Although I was looking for coupe, I couldn't resist it!
  • What's it like to drive?
    I love driving it, takes me right back to 2009 when I owned my last E30. This one is still on standard suspension so is a bit of a boat at the moment but the power is there now and I have more plans in the future.
  • Do you know the current BHP?
    Yes it's got 115 bhp.
  • It looks in fantastic condition… has it been restored?
    Partly, yes.
    In the first few months I had only covered around 300 miles. It developed an intermittent misfire which made it undriveable and I decided to take it off the road for winter. Storing her my garage I decided to give it and ignition service and clean up the engine bay.
    But, the more I looked, the more problems I found and ended up with a full head rebuild, head-gasket and replaced all sensors along with many other parts.
    It took 5 months to finish and starting the engine up for the first time was a great experience. Finally, it was running great and better than ever.
    I've had her back on the road again since April and covered almost 500 miles already. It's still a bit of an ongoing project and I plan to overhaul the suspension over next winter.
  • Has the car been modified in any way?
  • Do you plan to do any modifications to it?
  • Nice, we like that… what have you got planned?
    Being this is a limited edition, 1 of only 50, Neon Green, design edition models, I have to keep it as original as possible so I'm going for the OEM+ look.
    So not steering away too far from its current looks, my plans are to overhaul the suspension, 16" BBS RS wheels or very similar, maybe BMW style 5's and tidy the interior up.
  • Is the car a "keeper" or will you sell it one day?
    For the right price, anything is for sale.
  • Do you own any other interesting cars?
    Yes, well maybe it's not interesting, but my daily is a 2012 VW Passat Sport Estate.
  • Ok final question – ignoring cost, and assuming you couldn’t go and sell it for profit… what’s your dream car and why?
    E30 325iS M-Tec 2 coupe in calypso red. That colour alone is amazing. Many E30 lovers may dream for an M3, but I prefer the sound and smoothness of the 2.5 litre 6-cylinder.
Owner: Bob
Model: 318i, E30
Make: BMW
Keywords: 90’s, bmw, classic car, classic german, convertible, German, Original

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