1989 E30 325is: Michael Mitchell
1989 BMW E30 325is #EC64447
2.5-liter M20 inline six-cylinder, 168 hp/164 lb-ft
March 13, 1989
Michael Mitchell (since 2006)
Greer, South Carolina
For some people, a BMW isn’t a BMW unless it’s powered by an inline six-cylinder engine. In that case, the last word in E30s is not “M3” but 325is. The “s” stands for sport, and it made the 325is a genuinely sporty two-door, with performance nearly equal to that of the M3 but with vastly reduced maintenance requirements and better creature comforts.
The 1989 325is you see here, #EC64447, represents the best of the breed, with small, body-colored bumpers and a stylish three-spoke M-Technic steering wheel, plus the rest of the “is” upgrades: M-Technic sport suspension, limited slip differential, 14-inch cross-spoke wheels, front and rear spoilers, fog lights, leather-covered sport seats, on-board computer, and power sunroof.
Relatively light at 2,811 lbs., a 325is can cover the zero-to-60 dash in just 7.4 seconds, only 0.5 second slower than an E30 M3. Today’s cars are faster and more capable, to be sure, but few offer the low-stress driving enjoyment of these six-cylinder E30s.
“It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of today, but it’s relatively easy to work on, and it’s fun to drive,” says this car’s owner, Michael Mitchell, curator of the BMW CCA Foundation’s archive.
Despite having been brought home from the hospital in a BMW—Michael is the son of BMW NA legend Rob Mitchell—this car is Mitchell’s first BMW, purchased on November 16, 2006.
325is #EC64447, it left Crevier BMW in San Diego on July 31, 1989. Its first owner paid $29,425 for it, and he took it with him when he moved to Florida and then South Carolina, putting 104,644 miles on it over a decade and a half. In February 2006, he sold it to longtime CCA member Michael Turner, who began converting it into a track car before deciding it was too nice and too slow.
Once the car was Mitchell’s, he replaced some of the too-stiff bushings with stock parts, but he kept Turner’s sportier suspension and 7.5 x 15 Ronal wheels. So equipped, it’s perfect for daily driving or back-road enjoyment.
“I’ve driven the car to three Oktoberfests, entering it in two concours and taking third in Super-Clean both times. I’ve also driven it to the car corrals at Daytona and Sebring, and in a couple of autocrosses,” he says. “It’s my weekend fun car, and it’s great on the rare chance I get to have a nice drive in the mountains. It’s just a blast to drive.”