1990 BMW M3

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I have a confession to make. Speaking as a former owner of a BMW E30, I’ve fallen out of love with them. Blasphemy, right? Hear me out. I feel as if this car has become a bit of a hipster in the world of modern classics. It’s a fantastic car, with plenty of engine options and body styles to choose from, not to mention good roadholding abilities. But somehow the myriad of aftermarket modifications coupled with the M3 pricing craze that has trickled down to the rest of the range leaves me a bit unmoved. After piloting GCFSB co-manager Carter’s race prepped Audi Coupe GT this summer, it made me realize there are plenty of other interesting, more exclusive machines out there that can be had for much less money. Subsequently, my attention has shifted to some nineties rarities like the Audi S6 Avant and Porsche 968.

This E30 M3 for sale in California isn’t a clapped out high mileage example, but it has been used and is described as reliable. Perfect, then, for the person who might want to use one of these early ///M machines daily.

Click for details: 1990 BMW M3 on eBay

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Year: 1990
Model: M3
Engine: 2.3 liter inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 125,000 mi
Price: No reserve auction

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Description
Up for sale is my 1990 E30 M3– Red with Beige (Natur Leather) interior. It has a build date of 03/90 and ~125,000 miles on the odometer. The car is immaculate inside and out. It has a clear title in hand. Private party inspections are welcome.
This car has has been a pure joy to drive and own. As an owner of 4 BMW’s I have meticulously maintained and cared for this car – mechanically and cosmetically. I have all receipts from repairs and upgrades dating back to the original window sticker!
The car has matching VINs on all panels. and still has original paint
The trunk-mounted toolbox is complete and the owner’s manual, plus other BMW documents (e.g., service folders, etc.) from the original sale, are included along with the original keys.
Vehicle Condition
Exterior – 9/10
• The body and exterior paint finish of this 25-year old classic are good to extra clean condition.
• Original paint and no rust.
• Windshield and windows all original.
• Front bumper, hood and fenders has some rock chips

Interior – 9.5/10
• Dashboard is perfect – no cracks.
• Leather seats in good condition
• There is some loose stitching but nothing bad
• Carpets, headliner and door panels are in very good to excellent condition.
• All gauges and controls are fully operational.
• Original stereo works perfectly and sounds great.
• Power windows and sunroof are all fully operable.
• Cruise Control works perfectly.

Mechanical – 9.5/10
• Believe it or not, this car has been the most reliable of the BMW’s I have owned. You could drive this car anywhere right now!
• Motor pulls strongly and idles perfectly. Valve adjustment last performed at 115,000 miles.

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So far there has been a lot of bidding activity on this M3 and the reserve is now met. With that, we’re into the $30,000. From other com parables we’ve seen, I tend to think this one will probably hover around the $35,000 mark, as anything close to $40,000 and above these days is reserve for the lower mileage, show quality cars. It’s impossible to say, but I keep wondering if there is a bit of a bubble on this market for M variety E30s much in the same manner as we saw with Hemi powered Plymouth ‘Cudas around the middle of the last decade. Now those cars are trading for much less than they were at their peak. As always, time will certainly tell.

-Paul

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16 Comments

  1. So you liked E30’s before they were cool?

  2. @Barry, ha. The 325is was my first car (in 1998). I still like them and was considering a 318is for a while. But I think at this point there’s a lot of other stuff out there I’d prefer.

  3. “…made me realize there are plenty of other interesting, more exclusive machines out there that can be had for much less money. Subsequently, my attention has shifted to some nineties rarities like the Audi S6 Avant and Porsche 968.”

    Well said!!!

  4. My old roommate had an E30 M3, and I spent a ton of time driving it throughout the years. They’re great cars, but those who wax poetic about them online usually haven’t spent a lot of time driving them. They’re really cool cars, but I’ve also fallen out of love with them too. They just don’t live up to the hype most people spew.

  5. The E30 M3 was a cool little car with a great racing heritage that was replaced by better car, that was replaced by a better car, that was replaced by a better car, that was replaced by a better car. I think that the real driver behind today’s prices is that all of the guys who had pictures of M3’s (and 911’s) hanging on their walls in 1990 couldn’t afford them then – but they can afford the memory now. In that respect they are probably worth every penny, if only for the memories. But on the road, you better get out of the way of that kid in his Hyundai cause it will flat smoke you in your 2.3.

  6. Ah, this is why I daily drive a Mercedes 190E 2.3-16. Nearly as satisfying to drive as the M3, I’m told (haven’t actually driven an E30 M3 myself) yet without the exorbitant price. So, yes, I could drive the 190E in this week’s SoCal rain with no worries (plus I get to watch that oh-so-cool mono windshield wiper). That’s got to be worth something, right?

  7. “YOU BOUGHT THE WRONG CAR!!!” – Clarkson

  8. Too funny. Top Gear rules.

  9. so this car is hovering at 30k already?…and it obviously has some body panel fit issues,just look at the gaps between the driver’s side hood/fender and passenger.
    not to mention the carfax seems to have a red flag….none of which is addressed by the seller…WTF??
    sorry but have people become blinded for their desire to own “God’s Chariot” that they will overlook these glaring points???
    as someone mentioned earlier….each generation of car that followed was better than the one it replaced in every performance aspect, hell in every aspect….but sometimes a car holds a special little place with people even though it ain’t the fastest, best handling, or best of anything anymore…
    but this car that is being advertised ain’t that car….sorry

  10. @Mdriver, right? And the seller wraps up the mechanics and service with a couple bullet points that have less detail than fortune cookies. “Maintenance – great!” lol. My last gas fill up had more specifics than that.

  11. Once again, the mob hates on the “overpriced” E30 M3…is something overpriced if it actually sells for that price? And consistently?

  12. Just to clarify my comment – hope I am not considered one of the haters – I said that you should buy it because of what it means to you (in my case what it meant to me back in 1990) but be realistic about what you bought. It is a piece of history, drive it, look at it, enjoy it, but don’t expect to be blown away by its’ performance.

  13. That seals the deal for E30 M3’s.
    The very last step in the process of cars becoming truly collectable and on the sky is the limit train to truly amazing prices. That is, Whining from previously potential buyers. And based on this cars history in Motorsports and it being the one and only regular production sold in the United States BMW collectable. Hang On Folks!

  14. The e30 M3 was hand built back in the time when building the best car possible was the priority. They have this amazing racing heritage, and will always be a very admired car in auto history. Most of us, myself included can’t afford one, but the fact of the matter is that this is what they are selling for now. Period. Every time one is posted, or there is a discussion online about one, the majority of the comments is about pricing and not about the car itself. I realize that GCFSB is about cars for sale and pricing is a huge factor, but when these cars pop up it’s the only factor anyone wants to talk about. Was it replaced by faster and better handling models? Yes, but does that make them better? (poor elders) Hope everyone enjoys a good weekend!

  15. Point well taken, Richard. In my case, I think I’d just get something different than an E30 this time around, just to mix it up. Sure the M3 and 325is are two different animals, but other cars have caught my attention. I guess it’s been a case of “been there, done that” for me. Still perfectly decent cars, though! We appreciate everyone getting involved in the discussion on all our posts. We’ll certainly be watching this and adding it into our Hammertime archive, once it sells:

    http://germancarsforsaleblog.com/hammertime-the-sold-archives

  16. @Charles & Richard…I think, wait…speaking for myself…my only problem with the car is the fact that for 30k it should not have obvious accident issues & odo concerns….but apparently that does not matter to the bidders.
    I believe as you that something is worth what someone else is willing to pay and the market will dictate price…..BUT this example is just crazy….I have skin in the game as I have an 89 so as the price rises I smile…though I would never part with it….at least for now.
    and these were not hand assembled..they came off the regular assembly line in Munich….the S14 however was built in the M factory in Garching and then mated to the chassis in Munich…
    I have liked all the M3’s, call me a fanboy if you want LOL

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