The original BMW 3 Series, the E21 generation, is often forgotten in the annals of automotive history, often being eclipsed and overshadowed by its successor, the famous E30 BMW 3 Series. However, the E21 3er was actually a great car in its own right and is the OG BMW 3 Series, so it is quite special. But what’s even more special is this ALPINA-tuned variant, the ALPINA C1 2.3.
One of ALPINA’s first ever 3 Series tuning efforts, the C1, is one of its best looking ever. While the E21 3 Series wasn’t always considered to be a great looking car, this ALPINA C1 looks the absolute business. That lower front lip, the rally-looking foglights, that sharknose grille and the little decklid spoiler all come together to make a genuinely great looking car. Even the interior is awesome, with its funky ALPINA-colored cloth seats and chunky steering wheel. It just looks like something that you wanna get in and drive.
Speaking of driving it, the ALPINA C1 wasn’t just better looking that the standard car. Based on the BMW 323i of the time, the C1 used the same 2.3 liter I6 engine but created 170 hp, up from 141 hp. While that wasn’t nearly as much as the ALPINA B6’s 2.8 liter engine with 200 hp, it was still plenty enough to be fun. ALPINA claimed a 0-60 mph time of around 7.5 seconds, which was actually quite quick in in early ’80s.
This particular 1983 ALPINA C1 is currently for sale and is in superb condition. Both the exterior and interior have nary a blemish on them and it looks as if it could have come straight from the ALPINA factory in 1983. The ALPINA body work looks fantastic, as all the livery and added aerodynamics gives it a sort of 3.0 CSL vibe that looks really cool. The interior is funky in a typical late ’70s/early ’80s sort of way. Those ALPINA colored cloth seats look awesome, too.
With 60,000 original miles, this car has barely been touched, considering its 33 years old. While it isn’t the fastest car out there and would be left behind by even a Volkwagen GTI of today, it’s still an awesome piece of history and probably a fantastic car to drive.