If you’re gonna do it, do it right.

When a late-winter storm blanketed suburban New York City with enough snow to keep most people off the roads completely, there was one small white BMW gliding gracefully across town. When that E30 slid to a stop in front of Jason Cammisa’s childhood house, the 14-year-old’s life changed forever.    

Cue the Hollywood action sequence: seatbelt buckle. Tachometer to redline. Rear wheels spinning. Snow flying. Smiles on faces. Gear shift. Sideways round a curve. More smiles. More revs. More sideways. Repeat.

The pilot was named John, an anaesthesiologist by day, Jason’s friend’s dad in the evening, a high-performance driving instructor on the weekends — but a superhero behind the wheel. He flung that white BMW sideways for what seemed an eternity.

The BMW E30 was a graceful ballerina, pirouetting down empty white streets; up and over crests with its screaming engine breaking through the eerie silence that only happens during a big snowfall. Except the BMW M20 wasn’t just an engine. It sounded like an orchestra of straight-six saxophones, conducted by a rhythm section of rev-limiters. Impossibly smooth and airy at low revs, the engine’s wail became angry and purposeful for the last thousand revs. But like a powerful tenor belting out a crescendo, the M20 never sounded strained. That effortless power and sharp tone is the kind of stuff that gives conductors chills.

No matter how sideways the BMW E30 got, John always managed to pull the car straight again. After a (short) lifetime of watching rear-wheel-drive cars fishtail out of control up slippery hills, Jason watched from the back seat, in awe, as the expert behind the wheel harnessed this “problem” and turned it into his advantage. Not sideways enough? More power. Not enough wheelspin? Grab another gear. Need to reign it in? Countersteer and ease off. John’s right foot was effectively attached to a second steering wheel – and the BMW’s rear axle was a willing accomplice, following his instructions every time.

By the time they arrived at their destination, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Jason had learned two new things: one, no art in that building could possibly be more exhilarating than what he’d just experienced; and two: he would own a BMW E30 someday.

Someday finally happened.

It was many, many years later, and there it was, sitting on the dirt driveway of a farm. Covered in grime. And loaded with a full set of smelly winter tyres in the back. But it was the right car: a BMW 325i with the high-revving, catalysed 167 hp engine. Sport suspension. Power steering. 15-inch BBS wheels. Everything it needed to go fast; nothing to slow it down.

And it was a “wagon”. The Touring was never sold in North America — it was a unicorn there. A Lazur Blue metallic unicorn with a gleaming roundel on the hood.

As the saying goes: if you’re going to do it, do it right: if it was going to be an E30, then it needed to be a 325i. And if it was going to be a BMW 325i, it needed to be a Touring. This BMW 325i Touring was doing it right.

Crisscrossing North America.

In its time in America, this 325i Touring has visited both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. It’s romped in the rural roads of the Appalachian and the Rockies— and practically every mountain range in between. It’s been covered with rubber dust playing with friends on race tracks, then cleaned for car shows, taking home a first-place trophy in the Concours Class at the Legends of the Autobahn show during the famed Monterey Car Week. It’s done serious business as a grocery-getter, and less-serious business as a road-trip machine for friends. It’s appeared in videos for BMW Classic and on Motor Trend’s YouTube show Ignition, receiving over a million views. It’s been driven almost 170,000 miles, likely creating almost 170,000 smiles, too.

But most important, it’s gone for snow-covered scrambles everywhere. It’s been crossed-up in cities, sideways in suburbs, and drifting in the dales. It’s a rolling, rear-drive remembrance to that first, indelible experience in the snow-covered white BMW E30. And to John, the magnificent driver who first showed Jason what a Real Car could do when driven by a Real Driver.

To Protect and to Preserve.

Today, this BMW 325i Touring lives with Jason in the hills of the San Francisco Bay Area. It doesn’t snow there. It doesn’t rain either for most of the year. So more often than not this 325i Touring can be found where it belongs: on curvy roads or at local car shows. And if you look hard enough, you can see the awestruck gleam of that 14-year-old boy in Jason’s eyes every time he drives it.

Long, low, and rear-drive: the Touring’s proportions show that it means business.

Jason Cammisa’s E30 Touring receiving an award at Legends of the Autobahn in Monterey, California.

Jason Cammisa’s E30 Touring receiving an award at Legends of the Autobahn in Monterey, California.

The crescent-shaped intake manifold is a visual trademark of the M20 six-cylinder.

The 325i Touring is painted in its original Lazur Blue metallic, which sometimes looks blue and sometimes purple.

The 325i Touring is painted in its original Lazur Blue metallic, which sometimes looks blue and sometimes purple.

The five body styles of the E30: Touring, Convertible, Sedan, Coupe and M3.

All form, all function: the E30’s interior remains a marvel of usability.

All form, all function: the E30’s interior remains a marvel of usability.