The first BMW 3 series wasn’t just historical, it also set standards with its driver-focused angled dashboard that later became the norm in succeeding models (via BMW). However, there were numerous types of E21s produced between 1975 and 1983; base models ranged from the 316 and 318 to the more powerful 320. The entry-level BMW E21 316 featured a four-cylinder engine generating 98 bhp, which was more than enough at the time, considering it only weighed a little over 1,000 kg (via Autoweek). On the other hand, Musk’s 1978 E21 was a higher-end 320i variant, which was deemed a “halo model” given its array of upgrades.
Among its various notable improvements included an independent suspension setup, an improved 125 bhp, and a top speed of 112 mph. Its blend of sporty and luxury, not to mention its historical significance, makes the E21 quite desirable even in the modern era. For instance, an older 1977 BMW 320i was sold via Sotheby’s for almost $30,000 in 2020. If that’s the case, then it certainly sounds like a car that Musk would want to be holding onto for a long time. But, did Musk even keep his first car?