The BMW E30 is an iconic luxury vehicle produced by BMW between 1982 and 1994. It was of BMW’s most popular models with more than 2.33 millions units being sold internationally.
In the last few years, the BMW E30 Cabriolet has become a highly sought after vehicle with collectors. It’s no wonder! Its sporty performance, luxurious interior and retro appearance makes it a desirable vehicle.
The E30 is a wonderfully smooth vehicle to drive and the perfect example of German engineering. Every E30 owner we talk to just loves their car!
This post is going to take a closer look at the history of the BMW E30. We’ll also share a few the most common soft top convertible roof repairs that we perform on the E30.
The History of the BMW E30
The BMW 3 Series is one of the most successful categories of motor vehicles ever made. The first 3 Series model (E21) was designed in the 1970s to replace the ageing 2002 coupe. The E21 was a small car that was a lot of fun to drive. It was a great success for BMW, selling well in both Europe and the United States.
By the early 1980s, BMW was ready to update the 3 Series and launched the BMW E30. When launched in 1982, it was only available as a two-door coupe. A four-door E30 became available in 1983 and the E30 convertible was released in 1984. The convertible roof was made by Baur — a famous Karosserie (coachbuilder) that has been building folding roofs for BMW since the 1930s.
On the outside, the E30 looked similar to the E21, with those distinctive double headlights on the front. However, there were dozens of changes to the interior and engine of the vehicle. Those changes included a revised suspension system, more aerodynamic design, a sloped hood, and sportier performance.
The excellent build quality and design of the E30 was immediately praised by critics and car enthusiasts. That is why the E30 barely changed until it was replaced by the E36 in 1994.
The E30 behaved like sports car but had the features of a luxury passenger saloon. It might seem like an unusual combination, but it proved to be popular and the car quickly became a status symbol in Europe. It was particularly popular with wealthy young people, or Yuppies as we used to call them!
Another reason for the E30’s popularity was how easy it is to drive. The power of its sporty engine is perfectly matched with finely tuned suspension and steering. That means you don’t have to fiercely concentrate when you are driving it — like you might when behind the wheel of a Ferrari or Porsche. The stability and easy handling of the E30 makes it an excellent daily driver.
The first minor update to the E30 came in 1985 when the 325i replaced the 323i. A diesel-engined 324d was also introduced. The first major update happened in 1987, when the Series 2 E30 was launched. A station wagon variant was added and the M10 4-cylinder engine was replaced with the M40.
Many changes were also made to the external styling of the E30. They included new rear lights, headlight reflectors, front bumper, and much more. These vehicles also had better rust protection, which may be worth keeping in mind if you are looking for a second hand E30!
In 1986, at the peak of their popularity, the BMW E30 sold a staggering 329,460 units! By the early 1990s, their popularity had started to wane and buyers were moving to the E36.
Incredibly popular today
The incredible build quality of the BMW E30 means it is easy to find one that is still in great condition. The boxy styling of the E30 has aged well and it continues to turn heads! It is a sporty little car that captures some of the glamour of the 1980s.
Like other older cars, the cabriolet variants of the E30 do have the occasional issue with their convertible roof. They often require careful operation and the occasional bit of user assistance! Checkout the following videos of Adam operating the E30’s folding roof. Note how he has to give the roof a “helping hand”.
The roof sometimes needs assistance because the E30 has tension straps inside the roof headlining that slacken over time. When the tension straps aren’t as taut, it can make the fabric bulkier when it folds. The driver needs to help pack the fabric into the storage compartment so the convertible roof can close properly.
We sometimes see BMW E30s with new fabric fitted to their convertible roof. The fact that drivers are willing to replace the fabric shows how much they love their E30s! Unfortunately, when new fabric is fitted to the E30, it can be tight against the frame and adjustments may be required to allow smooth movement of the folding roof. Cayman Autos can make this adjustment for you.
One of the most common soft top convertible repairs we carry out on the BMW E30 is repairing a broken mounting point on the roof motor. The mounting point often breaks due to the age of the vehicle and stress on the cast housing. Once it has broken, cabriolet owners will find that their roof will not operate fully through its cycle.
Broken roof frames are another common problem we encounter with the BMW E30. Fortunately, we can repair this issue very easily. We use a local engineering company to weld and repair the E30 frame, restoring your roof to its former glory!
The final issue we regularly see with the E30 convertible is a folding roof that is out of sync. When you have a roof like this, it will refuse to open or close in the correct order. The good news is that this is one of the easier soft top convertible roof repairs for the E30. We can reset the roof system fairly easily, restoring full function to your beloved E30.
About Cayman Autos
Cayman Autos is the largest specialised convertible roof repairer in the UK. We have a 100% success rate on all convertible roof repairs and our repairs come with a 1 year warranty. The E30 is one of our favourites and a regular visitor to our workshop -– more down to its age and wear rather than design faults.
We charge £60 plus vat to diagnose the fault. If it is something simple, it will be included within this fee. We carry most parts in stock including second-hand and refurbished parts. Our team always looks for the most economical repair possible for our customers.
For more information on the services that we provide, Contact us today on 01306 885566 or visit us at 17B Vincent Rd, Dorking RH4 3JB, UK.
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