Caveat Emptor: “1988 BMW M3”

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck in today’s collector world, you might still be looking at a turkey. So valuable have some cars gotten that it’s worthwhile for enterprising individuals to undermine the market with a less-than-honest example. The problem is that it seems all too easy for those sellers to misrepresent the vehicle, so it then becomes incumbent upon the buyer to investigate the background. Beyond that, though, sometimes I think buyers are so eager to get a “deal” that they’re often willing to overlook what’s highbeaming them right in the eyes.

Case in point; today’s E30.

Obviously, the M3 is a hot and desirable car. That’s nothing new and we’ve talked about it plenty of times. But there are quite a few less-than-desirable examples out there. It’s also possible to create a replica of the M3, because of the relative plethora of replacement parts or wrecked examples. Granted, this comes up in the 911 and muscle car market a lot more, but it’s happening for BMWs, too.

So while the photographs of this “1988 M3” look great at first glance, what’s wrong with what you’re looking at?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: “1988 BMW M3” on eBay

1991 BMW 318i


As I scour the ads each week for noteworthy vehicles to feature here on GCFSB, I come across a fair amount of E30 BMW M3s on the market. These original M3s are now the darling of the collector set. I was a bit intrigued by them when I was running my E30 325is two decades ago. Nowadays, they don’t do much for me. This is party due to my preference for the 2.5 liter inline-6 that powered my 325is and partly because their collectability has made them all but impractical for use as a daily driver. If you still want some E30 four cylinder goodness, why not check out this 318i for sale in Maryland? This car has undergone a partial restoration and is a non-sunroof model with a 5-speed manual, a combination suited for the purists out there.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW 318i on eBay

1993 BMW 318i Baur TC4


We’ve reached a point where the BMW E36 has probably dipped about as low as it will go in terms of value, with exception of some mint M3s on the upward tick and the exclusive M3 Lightweight. Most of us are familiar with all the different models of this range, including some of those which did not make it to US shores, like the Touring. This 318i Baur TC4, however, is a different proposition altogether. The relationship between BMW and Baur goes back a ways. Baur is a coachbuilder based in Stuttgart, Germany that has been collaborating on BMW convertibles since the 1930s. Their targa variants of the E21 and E30 3 series helped them gain notoriety, but they didn’t stop there. When the E36 3 series debuted in the early 1990s, Baur decided to try something different.

What you see here is a rarity amongst modern day automobiles, the four-door cabriolet. From the side profile, you’d be hard pressed to figure out this was a convertible of some sort, with fixed door frames and a canvas roof which would fold discreetly behind the rear seats. This 318i Baur TC4 is claimed to be the first on US shores. While it wouldn’t be an easy claim to verify, it is probably valid, as a little over 300 of these unique open-roofed sedans were made.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 BMW 318i Baur TC4 on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1991 BMW 318is M62-swap

Dismayed that the E30 M3 is priced unrealistically for most? Me too, and we’ve heard it plenty of times. Not only have M3s gotten pricey, but so have low mileage, pristine original 325s and even 318s. But the wonderful nature of the E30 is that you can build one yourself, as the amazing support and knowledge base that exists in the community coupled with interchangeable parts and plenty of gutsy engine options creates a near limitless amount of permutations. While quite a few swappers follow the tried and true S50/2 path with their hotted up 3 series, today’s car goes one step farther with an E39 M62B44 V8 and a 6-speed stuck into an otherwise mostly unassuming 318is:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW 318is M62 on eBay

1985 BMW 318i

318E301Since joining GCFSB, I’ve resisted the temptation to write up an E30, mostly out of irritation at the overbaked market for the 80s era 3-series. Although we’ve recently featured some nice examples on the site, I’m tired of seeing so many rusted out, half-finished projects for sale with unreasonable price tags attached. And while there are some admittedly well-preserved and desirable cars out there, I can only stare at $150k M3s for so long before becoming bored. What traditionally made the E30 such an attractive proposition was that it offered all the best features of a sporty German sedan – a sorted chassis, a zippy motor and a manual gearbox – for not a lot of money. But as their prices have climbed upwards, so that even tired examples are no longer very cheap, the allure of the E30 has faded, at least for me.

I’ve relented, however, for the sake of this example. That’s because it’s so nice to see such an apparently clean, well-preserved and original E30 on the market. The price isn’t too bad either.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 BMW 318i on Craigslist

1992 BMW 318i Convertible

Every day I log onto Facebook, I see a few people I know out on the West Coast of the US complaining about the weather this winter. However, it’s been unseasonably warm on the East Coast of the US. To all those on the left coast complaining, I say it’s about time I had a break from the usual. I’ve had a lifetime of bad winter weather. And with warm temperatures comes the desire for drop top motoring. This 1992 318i Convertible for sale is an original California vehicle closing in on 200,000 miles. The great pictures in this ad really do a great job of showcasing just how well-preserved of an E30 this is.

Click for details: 1992 BMW 318i Convertible on eBay

1992 BMW 318i Individual Convertible

I’ll be honest, I don’t particularly enjoy summer. I was happy that I was sent to South Africa for half of the month of August for work, as their winter season is much more agreeable with me than the hot and humid east coast summers here in the US. Now that fall is right around the corner, its the one time of year I would thoroughly enjoy a convertible. This 1992 BMW 318i Convertible is one of a few treated to the Individual program, with Neon Green paintwork, color matched basketweave alloys and M-Tech interior.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 BMW 318i Individual Convertible on eBay

1990 BMW 318i Touring

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The E30 Touring influx continues to flow, helping pull prices down and increasing the variety of available models. Having the fastest possible option is always a nice idea, but there is something extremely appealing about having a base model workhorse that wasn’t originally available here. This 318i won’t be a racer, but it will be useful! It’s right-hand drive, which immediately makes me think of using it as a small-town mail or newspaper delivery vehicle. With even US-spec E30s going for more money all the time, does rarity and a funny steering position rationalize dropping almost $10k on a base model?

Click for details: 1990 BMW 318i Touring on eBay

1990 BMW 318i Touring

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As we round out Wagon Week, let’s take a trip to Deutschland to look at one of the cleanest, most compact longroofs around. The E30 Touring is just now importable to the US but is still quite a rarity on these shores. In Europe you can find them in all varieties and in all sorts of condition, but today’s little 318i is quite a gem. Having covered less than 50k miles in its quarter century, it looks stunning inside and out, especially with the always-excellent Shadowline trim option. The grey cloth looks clean as new and I much prefer it in these cars to the ubiquitous leather we get in Bimmers here; it’s a nice reminder that, while very cool, this is also a utilitarian, base-model little wagon. These days we Americans are starting to have access to some great E30 Tourings including the beefy 325ix, but it’s hard to beat this red 318i for good-looking simplicity and value.

Click for details: 1990 BMW 318i Touring on

1990 BMW 318i Touring

The E30 Touring is among the tastiest variety of European forbidden fruit. I first laid eyes on one in an issue of EVO magazine some years ago and I’ve been a fan ever since. The story goes that BMW engineer Max Reisböck was worried about having enough space to go on holiday with his expanding family and so he fabricated a long roof from a wrecked E30 sedan. Just think about that for a second, a guy built this car without the knowledge or backing of management and here it is today, one of the most coveted vehicles of the era among BMW enthusiasts. Without that passion to go out and just make things happen, who knows if BMW would have ever gone on to build some of the best looking wagons of all time.

Its silhouette is as good looking today as it was when it first debuted in 1988, unlike some other wagons of the era. Though red is one of my least favorite colors on any car, here it’s kinda working for me. I don’t know why but the combo of the tuning fork Fox Racing wheels and the Red exterior just make the car enjoyably quirky. Further upping the quirk factor is the fact that this car is a RHD model, which combined with the 5 speed manual acts as a fantastic theft deterrent. I’ve never had the opportunity pilot a vehicle from the right side but I’m sure hoping that changes in the near future because doing so unlocks the level 5 enthusaist badge, or so I’ve been told.

Click for details: 1990 BMW 318i Touring on eBay