1989 BMW 325i Convertible with Rock 'n Roll Provenance Is Today's Bring a Trailer Pick

1989 bmw 325i convertible 5 speed
1989 BMW 325i Convertible Is Today's BaT PickBring a Trailer
  • This E30 BMW was formerly owned by Ann Wilson, lead singer of Heart.

  • The wild body kit is backed up by in-period modifications to the 2.5-liter engine, including a turbocharger.

  • Add all-black livery, and this 3-series is full of rock 'n roll attitude.

It's always fun to find out what kind of unusual cars music icons drive, whether it's Lady Gaga's first-generation Ford F-150 Lightning, Sade's Mazda RX-8, or Tom Morello's '71 Dodge Demon 340. The lead singer of Heart, Ann Wilson, in the late 1980s had a BMW 3-series convertible. And as it turns out, she went a little crazy on the mods.

1989 bmw 325i convertible 5 speed side
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Witness the wild 1980s excess of this 1989 BMW 325i convertible, our pick of the day at auction site Bring A Trailer (which, like Car and Driver, is part of Hearst Autos). With an impossibly wide body kit, BBS wheels as deep-dished as a Chicago pizza, and a Cessna-sized spoiler out back, it's got the all-black swagger of a rock legend clad from head to toe in stretchy leather. Even better, and not unlike Wilson herself, it's got the pipes to back up the attitude, with an IHI turbocharger paired with an aftermarket exhaust, and a factory five-speed manual transmission and a limited-slip rear differential.


If you were a fan of Ann Wilson before, how can you not like her more after finding out this was her ride at roughly the same time that Alone was burning up the worldwide charts? She could have just been ferried around in a limo with one of those 1980s V-shaped, trunk-mounted TV antennas, but Wilson was clearly far too rock n' roll for that.

1989 bmw 325i convertible 5 speed rear
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The body kit is said to be from Flossman Auto Design, a German contemporary of the Koenig customization company. In the build sheet, the kit is referred to as a Koenig, which is the better-known company, but the term here may be used as a generic term. Flossman specialized in BMWs, and the cosmetic alterations were performed in New Jersey.

The staggered-width 15-inch BBS wheels are massively wide at 9 inches up front and 11 inches out back, with 225- and 285-series Yokohamas mounted. It rides on an aftermarket lowered suspension from Hartge with Bilstein shocks in the rear.

1989 bmw 325i convertible 5 speed engine
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Under the hood is an IHI turbocharger kit said to be either from CarTech or Dinan. It's intercooled and was claimed by the installing dealer to be good for 275 horsepower, more than 100 hp over stock. Mileage is listed at 12K, which fits with a busy rock musician's touring schedule, and recent work performed by the selling dealer includes oil and filter changes.

1989 bmw 325i convertible 5 speed interior
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The original modifications were completed by January of 1990 at an eye-watering cost of $69,890. Adjusted for inflation, that's nearly $170,000. (This does, at least, appear to include the price of the car.)

two letters from a secretary
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The sale includes various Heart memorabilia, including some delightfully testy correspondence between Ms. Wilson's personal secretary and both the BMW dealer and the shop that modified the car. This car is an unusual and rare piece of rock 'n roll history, and despite the 1980s excess, somehow it manages to still come of as seriously cool by 2024 standards.

Which, of course it does, because Ann Wilson and Heart were no one-hit wonders. There's no reserve on this auction, which ends June 5th.

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