BMW E21 is the body designation for the first BMW 3 Series compact executive car, produced by the German automaker BMW from 1975 to 1983. This series was the immediate successor to the BMW 2002 and was superseded by the BMW E30.
Paul Bracq, Director of Design at BMW from 1970 to 1974, is credited with setting the design direction of the E21 3 Series, while Wilhelm Hofmeister is credited with first drawing the small forward wedge at the base of the C-pillar, a strong design trait of the first Three-series. In 1975 Claus Luthe replaced Bracq and became the owner of the project. In July 1975, BMW’s Board of Management first presented this new model series in the Munich Olympic Stadium for public appraisal. The frontal view of the new car was dominated by the BMW trademark kidney grille standing out clearly from the radiator cover. The styling of the new car bore a resemblance to the BMW E12 5 Series. The wedge shape of the two-door model was distinctive, extending all the way to the unusually high rear end. The suspension incorporated rack and pinion steering and MacPherson strut suspension at the front, and semi-trailing arm type independent suspension at the rear. The power assisted brakes were discs on the front wheels, while the rear wheels had drum brakes. Initially, a Getrag four-speed manual was the standard transmission fitment. Five-speed overdrive Getrag gearboxes were fitted as standard in 1980, but close ratio 'sport' gearboxes were available at the car's release as an option. Alternatively, purchasers could opt for the ZF 3 HP-22 three-speed automatic transmission. The cockpit design of the E21 marked the introduction of a new design concept, with the center console and central dashboard area angled towards the driver. This feature has become part of BMW’s interior design philosophy for many years. As a sign of passive safety, all edges and control elements within the interior were rounded off and padded.
Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen GmbH is an automobile manufacturing company based in Buchloe, Germany selling their own cars, based on BMW cars. Alpina works closely with BMW and their processes are integrated into BMW's production lines, thus Alpina is recognized by the German Ministry of Transport as an automobile manufacturer, in contrast to other performance specialists which are aftermarket tuners.
One of the first Alpina cars was the B6 based on the E21 with only 533 units produced over a 6 year period. This car, #66, was brought stateside by a returning serviceman, but unfortunately had a blown engine. Following suit with many European Alpina enthusiasts, the original engine was replace with a Metric Mechanics M30 3800 Rally engine producing 285 HP, a lightened flywheel and HD clutch and pilot bearing, and short shifter kit. The car was completely restored from the ground up, and painted in a very striking Dark Blue Metallic. The original Alpina interior was of course retained.
Alpina BMW's are among the most collectible post war German cars and are rapidly increasing in value in today's market. This unique example has the further distinction of increased power and performance beyond what even Alpina envisioned at the time- although they did install an M30 in the E30 a few years later, called the 333i, most of which were sent to South Africa for racing.
This car will make a nearly unbeatable track car as well as a great car for the show or touring circuit.