BaurThis page is dedicated to Baur models of the E21 3 series. Baur professionally converted BMW cars to cabrios, and did so for the 2002, the E21 and the E30. We cover the E21 part.
The idea behind Baur
If you want to convert a car to cabrio, you face several problems. The first and most important one, is that by shaving the roof you sacrifice stability and strenth of the shell. Without a roof and given that the doors do not help to reinforce the shell structurally, all you have left between the front and the rear of your car to hold it together is the underside. The E21 isn't a car that handles particularly well with stock suspension, so without a roof it would be even worse. That's why Baur opted for a reinforcing arcade at the B-posts. Basically, the car keeps a skeleton of a roof which provides structural support (and protects the head of the passengers if the car rolls over).
To my best of knowledge, all Baur E21 conversions are identical. You could, however, buy a converted 316, 318, 318i, 320/6 or 323i. I think the most popular Baur was the 320/6, followed by the 323i, and then the four-cylinder based editions. Unfortunately, I don't know how many of each were produced.
The production numbers
Thanks to BMW Germany and Baur, I have the total production numbers from Baur. Over a period of five years (1978-1982) a total of 4595 Baurs were produced. Production peaked in 1981, when a total of 1157 cars were converted that year. Given the limited production, a true Baur is a rare thing. Here's a graph that shows the production on a per-year basis:
Classic Cars Baur article
The UK-based car magazine "Classic Car" has published an article about Baur productions over three BMW models (2002, E21 and E30). Including pictures of each model, tech details and more. Ironically, they got the production numbers totally wrong. Their number (137,137) refers to the total amount of E21 323i built by BMW, and even then it's still wrong because the exact numbers of 323i built by BMW is 137,107. Also, the power output is 143HP and not 139HP. So far for my nitpicking...
Still, it's definately worth to read though.
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