VANGUARDS BMW 318I CONV. NEON GREEN
The convertible version of the E30 went into production in right-hand-drive form in June 1986, six months after the left-hand-drive domestic models. It was initially only offered with 6-cylinder engines, but in response to customer demand the more economical 4-cylinder 1800cc engine was added. This was followed in April 1991 by the 318i 'Design Convertible' edition which, although developed by the Motorsport division, was a purely cosmetic exercise using the standard 318i mechanical package. Made in limited numbers and offered in just two metallic colours, Neon Blue or Neon Green, it featured BBS cross-spoked alloy wheels, anthracite sports seats and other extras which, at under £20,000, made it a very attractive showroom proposition.
The engineering and design development of the E30 convertible's hood was done by Shaer Waechter of Dusseldorf who succeeded in designing a mechanism that BMW approved for factory production despite previous contractors Baur and Karmann submitting proposals. Engineers dubbed the hood's folding action 'top-dead-centre' and had to support the hood frame with six transverse hood bars and seven longitudinal side bars. A total of 28 Teflon seated bearings were used on this large 4-seater's hood which were claimed to be life-long maintenance free and gave the hand operated mechanism, which packed neatly away under a panel behind the rear seats, a very smooth easy to use action. Power operated systems were developed later but the initial sophisticated and very watertight design remained.
Engine: 1796cc 4IL SOHC
0-60mph: 12 seconds
Max speed: 116mph