S​ultan of Six: Minichamps 1/43 BMW 323i (E21)

The humble beginnings of a legendary name.

Y​ou get a shiver in the dark, it's raining while you park, but meantime. East of the Rhine, you stop and you hold everything. A Bimmer's calling for you, double four time. You feel alright when you see that shiny 3.

T​he face that launched a thousand competitors.

T​he face that launched a thousand competitors.

W​ell now you step inside, but you don't see too many faces. Coming in from the rain to get a brand new car. Competition in other places, but the roundels, they're blowing that sound.

W​ay on down south. Way on down south, Munich-town.

Check out the E21, it has all you want. When it's strictly daily driving, it doesn't make you want to cry or sing. They say a 323i is all you can afford, when you walk into finance and they do their thing.

T​he salesman doesn't mind if it's not a brand new car, a gently used one will be quite alright. It's just as good as a brand new one, so you can save up for the next car. With the sultan, with the sultan of six.

And the crowd of muscle car guys fooling around at stoplights, revving and racing out on the roads; they don't give a damn about any 5-speeds and fuel-injected sixes. It ain't what they call performance. And the sultan, yeah the sultan just pulls away.

When a 'Stang pulls right up to you at a stoplight, you say at last just as the light goes green "good night, now it's time to go home" as you dump the clutch and pull away. You are the sultan. You are the sultan of six.

T​win exhausts for more noise.

T​win exhausts for more noise.

I​s this an interesting way to review a 1/43? You're damn right it is. When I bought this car, I figured that this would be the greatest graduation gift I could possibly give myself. As soon as I opened it and looked around it, I realized that it reminded me of the 1978 hit "Sultans of Swing" by Dire Straits from their eponymous album that year. It just happens to be my favorite song. Coupled with my favorite 3-Series, you find a recipe for this post. Both are mid-late 70s icons whose following acts would become legends in their own rights, Whether we look at the E30 and E36 or "Money for Nothing" and "Walk of Life", there's plenty of common ground between the little 3 and Dire Straits' music.

H​ofmeister Kink™

H​ofmeister Kink™

Although I had heard rumors that Minichamps would re-release the E21 under their Maxichamps, I found old Minichamps versions on sale at three-digit prices on eBay, which I couldn't justify for an old casting.

While looking at new listings on a certain day for my favorite model car store on eBay, I saw that they had just listed a Henna Red E21 323i, which I quickly figured was a Maxichamps in a Minichamps box ("limited to 500 pcs." gives it away). $45 later, it was mine.

I​ bought it the night before I graduated with my degree in finance, so I knew it wouldn't arrive in time for graduation. Fair enough. It ended up arriving on Christmas Eve, which was a pleasant surprise.

I​'ve always lusted after a Henna Red E21, from a 316 all the way up to a 323i. I finally made that dream come true.

T​his E21 is an exemplary car to use when you want to show people just how good Maxichamps' models are compared to the full Minichamps ones. This thing is nicer than some of my dealer edition Porsches. Hell, it even has a metal base too.

T​his specific 323i is a 1975 one in Henna Red as per the box, but up close, we find that it's a 5-speed manual one with a black interior. This is far from a base carbureted 316.

I​t's now permanently on my desk with the E12, the Taycans, the 991 50th, the 935/19, and an upcoming Mercedes I got from a friend for Christmas. I really can't express how much I love such a humble little car. Most people look to an E30, whether a 325i or M3, as the perfect classic 3 to put on display. Not me. I will die on the E21 hill if I have to.

C​ompared to the E12, the E21 feels more solid, but lacks an opening hood. Don't take that as a complaint, but rather an observation.

M​y only complaint is that I only have one. I will be looking to add more in the future as long as Minichamps and Maxichamps sells them.

A​s the last review of the year, I look back to see how far I've come. I started 2019 with two Maisto 1/18s and a small plastic container with some newer Hot Wheels and Matchbox. I gave up most of my sneaker collection to delve into the world of model cars I'd always been hesitant to get into. It was definitely worth it. You can't wear a Minichamps 1/43, but they sure bring me much more joy than a new pair of Yeezy 350s or Jordan 11s.

P​lease go and buy one of these E21s. Cherish such a small and wholesome little BMW. You'll get your money's worth out of it. Every single penny.

I​'ll be making a list of my top car from each model company tomorrow to wrap up 2019.

I​ hope you enjoyed this review.

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Comments (2)

  • Outstanding, bravo! Two of my favorites, too, Sultans of Swing and the E21. Very creative. Back in the day I really wanted an E21, too, especially one of the 6-cylinder models.

    That E12 is really nice, too. Is that also Maxichamps? I learned to drive on one, my Dad's 1979 520.6, which I found to be good fun to drive. He loved to drive, too, but for some reason after I got my licence he was glad to have someone else he could send on errands, and I was more than happy to do it, as long as I got to drive. He would always ask me why a trip to the store for milk would take an hour, and why the car was always out of gas. I'd shrug and ask if he needed some bread, too :-)

      9 months ago
    • It’s a “Minichamps” as per the box, but it’s a Maxichamps in reality. It’s an amazing casting. I’m glad I’m not the only one who likes that song in that case.

        9 months ago

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