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Converting to American.

Posted by jimmy_bones 
January 12, 2010 10:22PM
Upon arriving to Germany, one of the first things I did was bought me a 1988 BMW 325i. I love this car and it is one of the best E30's I have ever owned. I want to take it back to America with me when I leave here in 2011. They have a thing here that if it is 25 years or older you don't have to do any conversions on it. And the problem is that it will only be 23 when I leave. I am trying to figure out what all I have to do other than change out the dashboard from kilometers to mph. And converting glass also. The thing is i have windows that have different DOT on them. My drivers side and passenger side front windows say DOT 90 on them as do the tiny windows on the rear doors. The rear doors windows are DOT 45 and the front and rear windows are DOT 27. What is the right DOT for American spec. And what else do I need to do to convert it. If someone could help me out on this I would greatly appreciate it.


Thanks Jimmy.
January 12, 2010 10:35PM
Not to dodge the question, But this sounds like the kind of info that a phone call to the right government agency could solve for you with a high degree of accruacy. After all, they can tell you exactly what they check and what they care about. To directly answer your question though, I haven't the foggiest idea sad smiley

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1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

January 12, 2010 10:46PM
Well the Department of Defense workers that are here that run the movement of outbound and inbound vehicles was no help. I'm going to go to an actual BMW Dealership here in a few days and see what they can do for me. I wish I can remember what the specs were for my 1984 320i that I sold a few years back. And I have been trying to get a hold of one of my friends who went through alot of problems trying to get a skyline back from Japan when he left there a few years back.
rkj
January 12, 2010 11:10PM
Quote
jimmy_bones
Upon arriving to Germany, one of the first things I did was bought me a 1988 BMW 325i. I love this car and it is one of the best E30's I have ever owned. I want to take it back to America with me when I leave here in 2011. They have a thing here that if it is 25 years or older you don't have to do any conversions on it. And the problem is that it will only be 23 when I leave. I am trying to figure out what all I have to do other than change out the dashboard from kilometers to mph. And converting glass also. The thing is i have windows that have different DOT on them. My drivers side and passenger side front windows say DOT 90 on them as do the tiny windows on the rear doors. The rear doors windows are DOT 45 and the front and rear windows are DOT 27. What is the right DOT for American spec. And what else do I need to do to convert it. If someone could help me out on this I would greatly appreciate it.


Thanks Jimmy.

Hey Jim

In the mid 80's I worked for an old customer of mine doing gray market cars (he loved the cars so much he wanted everyone to have one!), bringing them in and federalizing, building labs to test them in Texas. Even transporting cars all over the country. I don't know if the requirements have changed but given the crap I used to have to change out and put up with with the cars I'd say have fun with your 88 and come home and buy another, they're not that expensive smiling smiley

Rick
January 12, 2010 11:14PM
Yeah but here is the odd ball part of my BMW. Has the M series logo on it. And I have been trying to track down some information on it and find out if someone just threw the logos on it or, it is an actual M series. And trust me if you seen this car you would fall in love with it to. I had someone offer me 1500 for it for the condition it is in.
January 13, 2010 06:35AM
Quote
jimmy_bones
Yeah but here is the odd ball part of my BMW. Has the M series logo on it. And I have been trying to track down some information on it and find out if someone just threw the logos on it or, it is an actual M series.
People slap those M logos on non-M cars all the time. (I don't know why -- maybe they think it'll make the cars go faster or something...) Anyway, if you had an M3 you would know it: big bulging fenders, rear wing, and a 4-cylinder engine that screams like a banshee. Oh, and about a $15K price tag. If you have none of those things, you have a 325 that someone put a sticker on. You can get the stickers over here, too.smiling smiley

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
January 13, 2010 08:56AM
Quote
Dave_G
Quote
jimmy_bones
Yeah but here is the odd ball part of my BMW. Has the M series logo on it. And I have been trying to track down some information on it and find out if someone just threw the logos on it or, it is an actual M series.
People slap those M logos on non-M cars all the time. (I don't know why -- maybe they think it'll make the cars go faster or something...) Anyway, if you had an M3 you would know it: big bulging fenders, rear wing, and a 4-cylinder engine that screams like a banshee. Oh, and about a $15K price tag. If you have none of those things, you have a 325 that someone put a sticker on. You can get the stickers over here, too.smiling smiley

There was a group of M-Tech cars that BMW put on the road which weren't M3s. Basically it was like the 325iS but had a special interior decoration package and a special suspension package. I don't believe the engine was any different but it may have had an M3 type transmission. That was a Euro car only though...anything in NA is just a regular E30 with a badge slapped on it sad smiley
January 13, 2010 10:23AM
show us some pictures!
seriously though, as an owner of a grey market car, I can tell you that the hassles are often times much greater than the rewards of owning a non-usa car.

'93 190E 2.6 » days
'92 318ic » weekends
'85 280TE » resto
January 13, 2010 10:29AM
Quote
Archeo-peteriX
There was a group of M-Tech cars that BMW put on the road which weren't M3s. Basically it was like the 325iS but had a special interior decoration package and a special suspension package.
I didn't know that. Thanks for the education. smiling smiley

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
January 13, 2010 11:09AM
January 13, 2010 02:02PM
Quote
jimmy_bones
... if it is 25 years or older you don't have to do any conversions on it. And the problem is that it will only be 23 when I leave.... What is the right DOT for American spec. And what else do I need to do to convert it. If someone could help me out on this I would greatly appreciate it.

Jimmy,

You have several options:
  1. See this for what's required for US importation: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/import/
  2. Leave the car behind in Germany for a couple more years until it's 25 yrs old.
  3. Sell the car and forget it.
  4. Move to Canada! We still allow importation of cars, with no conversions required, if they are 15 years or older .
January 16, 2010 10:12PM
Sounds like the solution is to bring the car to Canada get licensed and then bring to US.
I think for this car the changes would be minimal though. Head lights, windshield primarily. The speedometer may not be an issue but a complete cluster is available here for about 35 dollars from someone who has parted out a few of them. I paid 35$ for a used windshield that did not have any cracks or rock marks. Just had to clean up the old gasket sealer someone put on it. Bumpers might be the most obvious problem.

The talk with a dealer may be helpful if he can see some money in for himself. I can appreciate you wanting to bring the car home.

Bob in Everett
January 17, 2010 07:34AM
Here is a picture of the car.
Attachments:
open | download - my 88 bmw 320i.jpg (42.5 KB)
January 17, 2010 07:37AM
Sorry its not that great. It was actually a nice day here for once.
January 17, 2010 09:42AM
The M-badge - if original to the car - can be compared to the iS or eS badge in the US, just being a bit sportier than the stock stuff.
January 18, 2010 03:11AM
Quote
Archeo-peteriX


There was a group of M-Tech cars that BMW put on the road which weren't M3s. Basically it was like the 325iS but had a special interior decoration package and a special suspension package. I don't believe the engine was any different but it may have had an M3 type transmission. That was a Euro car only though...anything in NA is just a regular E30 with a badge slapped on it sad smiley

Hi,

I think I know someone who owns one of these North American (non) M E30 cars. He owns an elegant men's clothing shop down the road a pace from my office. I said hi to him in a the local grocery store parking lot. We started chatting. He did not seem like the type of person who would glue an M to his car. I asked "What does the M mean?" I wanted to leave the question open ended allowing for a wide range of answers. He replied "Oh, it does not mean anything really. The seats have an unusual fabric. DO you have any idea where I might buy more of the fabric? I've never seen another car with this fabric." I answered him, "No, not really. I'd guess I would start with a BMW dealer." The car is navy blue on the exterior. The interior is navy blue as well. The seats have navy blue fabric with a thin, diagonal red and light blue stripes. I think either BMW or M in white is also woven into the fabric.

If you really want to see it, perhaps I can arrange for some pictures.

Cheers, Kelly :-)
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