BMW E46 1998-2006

2 years ago

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Graham Leigh 5 months ago #

Lawrence Glynn’s 700, E21 323i, E46 M3 and G20 330e

All the way from Australia comes this month’s Readers’ Cars offering, and it’s a four-for-one bundle in the shape of Lawrence’s eclectic collection. “I got hooked on BMWs when my older brother bought a beautiful new 2002 in Inka orange in early 1973,” he says. “I was just starting a mechanical engineering degree, and I was blown away by the high quality of the BMW’s engineering. I decided I would have a BMW just as soon as I could afford one”. Lawrence picked up an E21 323i in 1978, which set him back almost twice his annual salary, but he says it was worth every penny. But, when he emigrated to Australia in 1982, the E21 had to, sadly, go towards helping to fund his family’s new life Down Under. But Lawrence could not let the idea of an E21 go, and, in 2008, upon early retirement, he treated himself to another E21 323i, this time a rare, Australia-only Motorsport Edition.

Lawrence now decided to add an E46 M3 to his lineup. “I tried both manual and SMG and settled on SMG – it’s a different skill to get the best out of it, and I find it just as involving as a manual but more fun,” he explains. His preferred colour, Estoril blue, proved elusive, but in 2010, he found one and bought it. “This is the perfect balance of size, power, comfort, analogue enough but with decent safety nets should the need arise, and it looks really good,” he enthuses.

After resisting the urge to spend his pension fund restoring his Motorsport Edition E21, in 2012 a local club member decided to sell his E21 323i JPS Edition (another Australia-only special edition), which needed no restoration. “I spent about two weeks unsuccessfully trying to convince myself I did not want to buy it!” laughs Lawrence. The Motorsport Edition was moved on, and the JPS took over the driving nostalgia role and prime car show duties, attracting lots of attention from those who fondly remember the iconic black and gold JPS Team BMW cars from multiple touring car race wins in Australia in the 1980s.

In 2018, the opportunity arose to buy a BMW 700, and Lawrence was not going to turn it down. “It was touted as being the only one in the country but had rarely seen the light of day since the late 1980s, which I thought was criminal given the important role this model had in saving BMW from sale to Daimler-Benz. So I bought it to take to shows and tell the story,” he says. His is one of just five 700s in Australia, with just three of those on the road, but Lawrence’s is the most prolific entrant at car shows, attending up to 15 a year. “Every show I go to, people come up and tell me they have never heard of the 700, and they all enjoy the storyboard I have about the Quandt rescue of BMW,” he enthuses “It gives me a lot of pleasure to spread the word,” he smiles.

The final addition to the fleet is Lawrence’s current daily, his G20 330e. “A lot of my drives now rarely exceed 3km (1.8 miles), hardly enough to get the temperature gauge moving. So, the hybrid is perfect. And on the open road, the electric motor’s instant torque swiftly joined by the petrol engine power makes overtaking a joyous occasion” he says. With all bases covered and all garage spots filled, Lawrence’s fleet is complete (for now), and he’s going to be enjoying his eclectic quartet for a good few years to come.

Lawrence Glynn’s 700, E21 323i, E46 M3 and G20 330e

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