It must be tough living in the shadow of the E30-gen 3 Series. However, that’s exactly what the E21-gen 3 Series has to do. When any enthusiasts think of classic 3 Series’, they almost always think E30. It’s the go-to for small, classic Bimmers and for good reason — it’s superb. However, the little E21 was a great car too and it was actually the first-ever 3 Series model, making it a bit more special than the E30.
This new video from Top Gear brings us a very special, but also very dirty, E21 3 Series. The specific E21 in this video is a Baur, meaning it had a sort of soft-top convertible roof. It’s quire rare and unheard of, which just makes it all the cooler. However, this specific car was also gross. The past five years of it’s life were spent left alone, in a workshop. The 14 years prior to that, it was left in a barn. So it was pretty disgusting.
That’s what the Top Gear Clean Team were tasked with fixing, though. They were only given eight hours, which seems cruel, to completely clean up, polish, and detail the entire car. They didn’t do any sort of paint correction or trim replacing, only washing, polishing, and detailing. However, afterward, it looked like an entirely different car.
On the outside, just a solid wash made the world of a difference. However, the fabric roof required quite a bit more elbow grease, as the two hosts scrubbed it until their hands turned back from grime. One they were just finished cleaning it, the E21 Baur looked like an entirely different car.
It really began to transform once they hit it with machine polishers, which wiped away years of faded clearcoat to reveal a rich, beautiful red paint. They didn’t have time to fix any stone chips in the paint or corrosion on its trim but it still looks fantastic even without those things.