I’d like to try a social experiment if you’ll allow me; I’d take an E30 M3 listing and say absolutely nothing about it. My hypothesis is that it wouldn’t matter; the car would still generate lots of comments both positive and negative, outlining both the strengths of the E30 and the rapid appreciation of the market. The convergence of factors that has resulted in the M3 market as we see it today is the evolution of not only a naturally occurring timeline coupled with a increase of personal wealth vis-a-vis the ownership group juxtaposed with those who actually ponder ownership. This, in turn, can be viewed as in part the skeuomorphic racing details of the M3 coupled with the natural analogue interface of the E30 chassis. Immersion in the marketplace has resulted in datafication as we try to quantify the various appeals of the models and even sub-models, while the scalability of the marketplace seems to utilize fuzzy logic – models constantly morphing in and out of vogue as the relative price of ownership fluctuates. Modularity in the E30 platform has not helped but convoluted the matter. Coupled with the emergence of internet fora the M3 is the first truly viral car. The rapid influx of various examples in order to take advantage of these previously stated confluence of factors has resulted in, ironically, crowdsourcing in an effort to elicit an explanation:
All posts tagged 1988
Nate’s M5 post yesterday brought up an interesting point; we see M5 and M6 models come up for sale quite often, but it’s a mix of tired original and clean modified examples that usually appear. While some of these modified cars appear to be well presented, they are sacrificing an original example to create a personal expression. That may not be the worse thing if you really like what the seller did, but I would postulate that there are more potential buyers who want unmodified examples of the originals than warmed-over cars. In line with this, we have a clean 1988 M6 to look at – but one that has been been altered in several ways. Do the mods make it more or less appealing?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M6 on eBay
As 80s Bimmers ramp up in their collectibility, so too comes the heat with which enthusiasts argue for their personal preferences. E28 M5s are a nice example of this, as their values creep up following the contemporary and now-absurd E30 M3. The E28 hosts a much more vehemently debated preference than the M3, that of the vast different between the bumpers present on US models (disparagingly called “diving boards” and other silly things) compared to the much slimmer treatment given to the Euro models. Many have attempted conversions, but the historically-low prices of E28s made it reasonable to grab some Euro bumpers from a 524td, graft them on, and paint them Schwarz. The value of cars with the conversion is as debated as their looks – yes, it took work and is a desirable aesthetic, but it’s also an impersonation that involves hacking into a classic. For the record, some people (like the author) appreciate and enjoy the big US bumpers, as that’s how we first saw and lusted after the E28 M5 anyways.
Today’s example is, from all angles, gorgeous. From the door jambs to the engine bay, the trunk to the paint, you can’t tell that it’s covered 135k miles. It’s really one of the cleanest I’ve seen. Seemingly in contrast to the thorough like-newness of this US E28 M5 is a Euro bumper and headlight conversion. However, these are no 518i bumpers – this is a real, OEM M5 bumper conversion. That kind of effort and cost can’t be overlooked when valuing this car. But even with an all-correct conversion and truly stunning condition throughout, is any E28 M5 with 135k miles worth the same as a perfect, low-mile E30 M3?
Click for details: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay
The E28 M5 still gets me excited, whether I’m driving mine or just pass one on the road. Today I saw a well-used but sweet example with throwing stars, Euro bumpers, and a nice Dinan badge complementing the standard trunk emblem. While that owner clearly went down the deep rabbit hole of modification, today’s low-mileage example looks almost entirely stock on the outside other than a slightly lowered stance. Some work has been done under the hood though, with the reportedly-howling Euro headers and a chip ensuring this M5 lives up to the legend of hauling ass. It’s not perfect – a few blemishes in the interior and the commonly-scraped front spoiler – but the completeness is what catches my eye here. The full trunk carpeting, first aid kit, and fully-functioning electronics are all items worth paying a little more for. With low (for an E28 mileage), this is a good M5 that could easily be made great.
Click for details: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay
If for some time the Porsche 944 is one of the most under appreciated cars in the 1980s German car world, the 924 is even the more red-headed stepchild. But get past the stigma of the 924 as the “poor man’s Porsche”, and the details are quite good. They’re nice looking, aerodynamic coupes that are rear drive for enthusiasts. Like the rest of the Porsche lineup from the late 1970s and 1980s, they had great build quality overall and were solid products. Many of the “big brother” 944 items work on the 924, too – especially true in the later 924S models, so they can be updated and modified just like the 944s. They enjoyed a rich racing history in both naturally aspirated and turbocharged variants, with the first “Carrera GT” being a 924 model. Plus, the 924 was the development model which resulted in the much more prized 944 and 944 Turbo. And within the lineup, there are really some great hidden gems of classic cars that can be had on a budget. Today I have two nice examples of some of the rarer models of the 924; a late run 924 Turbo and a last of the breed 924S Special Edition: