Given that BMW did not import any 3-series station wagons prior to the 2002 (E46) 320i, seeing an earlier version is unusual to say the least. But there is a significant drawback to BMW’s first ever station wagon besides scarceness.
The story behind the wagon is a great one and reminiscent of the creation of the 2002 back in the 1960’s. The car sprang from a one-off personal project by prototype engineer Max Reisböck who built his own car based on an accident-damaged 1984 323i.
Reisböck moved the C-pillars from the sedan to the back of the body, and incorporated modified BMW pieces for many of the new parts needed.
You can see why the BMW executives who saw shown the finished product were sufficiently impressed to put the car into production.
The major change for the production model was the tailgate: in the previous photos you can see how Reisböck’s version had only a hatch that went down to the top of the tail lights; by contrast this was changed to include the section between the tail lights. Better, but still not great for loading large items even though a 3-er wagon is never going to be a beast of burden.
I saw this monochrome black 325i wagon a couple of years ago, and I recall that at the time it was for sale and had some Alpina modifications. The wheels are certainly an Alpina type style and the blacked-out appearance is not factory.
It really looks like a great example of the breed, and if you are partial to station wagons an E30 BMW must surely be an intriguing prospect. But given the compromised tailgate, personally I’m not too disappointed that they are basically unattainable here.