Most of the time we’re writing about 1980s E30s coming up for hassle-free importation we’re looking at tourings, as they were never brought here. Today, however, reader Bruce has alerted us to an intriguing E30 convertible from Japan via Canada. It’s still left-hand drive, but is in great condition after 90k miles and comes with the same plaid cloth and leather interior that was in the S38 M3 featured earlier this week. The biggest detraction is the automatic, but if you’re looking for some classy and easy top-down cruising, this would be a nice option.
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I’ve alluded to my M5 ownership throughout my posts here, but haven’t really put together a more informative piece about what it’s been like to own my dream car. No, the experience has not always been a dream, but having a firm belief going into ownership that the car is a dream has been a great baseline attitude when something breaks or the mechanic’s bills come. To quote Walter Sobchak paraphrasing Theodor Herzl: “If you will it, dude, it is no dream.”
With E30 M3 prices staying sky high it’s time to look for a new German halo car to lust over. I’m going to throw out the often overlooked yet very similar Porsche 944 Turbo. Both the M3 and 944 Turbo were launched in the middle of 1980s and are front engine, rear wheel drive German sports cars that weigh in at less than 3,000 pounds. While the M3 has been described as a ballet slipper for its incredible handling and driver connection, the 944 is more of a soccer cleat. It wasn’t built so much for finesse but rather rugged sprints and the ability to pack a powerful punch.
Here we have a low mileage 951 that looks especially clean and sharp in black. With only 67,000 miles this is one of the lower mileage examples I’ve seen aside from the Turbo S models that tend to be garage queens. Luckily, there’s a stack of service records to go with it which should alleviate any pre-purchase stress.
Model: 944 Turbo
Engine: 2.5 liter turbocharged inline four
Transmission: 5-Speed manual
I took a job in Boston a year ago but left the 944 back in Cary, and I’ve finally decided that there’s no reasonable way to keep the 944 up here. I’ve never driven it in the salt, it’s stayed garaged, and I’d rather see it go to a new home rather than gather rust parked on the street here.
The car has 67k original miles, it’s rust-free, and the paint is overall very good for it’s age. The guys at European Performance (highly reviewed shop where I have my work done) tell me the engine pulls just as hard as the ones they remember when they were new 25 years ago. Less than 2k miles ago, this car had it’s major engine service items done. New kevlar belts rated to last 45k miles before service (I would still change them at 30k), new OEM rollers, new OEM water pump, and everything else that comes with the service. I have a receipt from European Performance for all of the work. It’s also had a recent tune-up for all of the fluids, ignition system, filters, vacuum hoses, gear oil etc. Clutch was done less than 20k ago, also has brand new master/slave cylinders. This car is ready to go for another 30k miles (have the timing tension checked every 15k though, plus synthetic oil changes). It never leaks any oil onto the garage floor. Also, it is completely stock except for replacing the stock center console (aka cassette holder) with one out of the 968 RS (not shown in interior photo). The sunroof, electric windows and pop-up headlights still work flawlessly, unlike many examples out there.
The car has a few faults. The AC no longer works, the brakes will need servicing soon, there’s a slight tear on the shift boot and the driver seat, the driver seat power height adjuster motor is burned out (the main adjusters are manual), the front end has some rock chips and speed bump scrape (visible in photos), the driver side rock guard is almost gone, and there are a few minor scratches. The stock head-unit got really confused by a burned CD and no longer works. Luckily, it’s a standard DINN unit and a new one can be picked up at any car stereo place. I would replace it myself, but I figured the buyer probably had their own taste in what they wanted in a head-unit. I’d replace a lot of this stuff (the brakes and shift boot specifically), but working full-time in Boston means that my time back in Raleigh is too limited to really get work done on the car.
Also, the Carfax report to save you some time: http://www.carfax.com/cfm/FSBO.cfm?report=64E48BA27BB72D9CC974EA4FB630FDBA
The most expensive Porsche is a cheap Porsche. This one has a stack of service records, it’s been wrenched on by professionals, the miles are low, it’s been garaged all of it’s life, and it’s been loved.
30k 1994 Feb – 30k service (with timing), brakes flushed fuses replaced
30k 1994 June – new starter, new heater valve,
33k 1996 May – air flow sensor replaced
37k 1997 June – cam covers resealed
40k 1999 July – entire clutch assembly replaced, cruise control repaired, front and rear brakes replaced.
52k 2004 Dec – Timing/balance belts replaced. Timing tensioner replaced. antifreeze, water flange outlet replaced
56k 2005 May – master/slave cylinders replaced, brakes flushed
59k 2007 July – new front/rear brake pads
64k 2009 January – master/slave cylinders replaced again
65k 2009 May – new fuel filter, new spark plugs, distributor, ignition wires
67k 2011 July – timing belt, water pump, front main seals, oil filter housing gaskets, balance belts, rollers, radiator fan switch, turbo boost valve
I lived in Boston for seven years and can confirm that it’s no place for a great condition 944 Turbo. To make things worse you could only really drive this beauty half the year. You can tell from the write up and service records that the owner not only took care of the car but actually really cared for it. This is the type of person you want to buy a car from. There are a few maintenance projects should you want to get this closer to excellent condition. I think $12,000 is a fair price for this 951. Seeing that it wasn’t snatched up right away makes me think it is more realistic that it will go for $11,000 but the owner obviously thinks it deservers top price given its condition and care.
Another revisit for us. This happens with really conspicuous cars, particularly ones that just don’t seem to find owners who want to hold on to a car for the long haul. We first posted about this car back in 2008 and it is now up on eBay again for sale by We Be Autos.
The car didn’t sell at $48k and then again at $38k, garnering bids only up to $20k back then. It is now up with a buy-it-now price of $29,995.
The car has 77,800 miles on it and has taken on the Mallet moniker in homage to the AMG Hammer name. The seller says there is $40,000 in receipts, which are worth checking out to see how recent the “mechanical restoration” work was done.
Very cool car, that would have been one of the most awesome things on the road when new. I appreciate all the photos of the car, but wish they weren’t all taken in a dimly lit Mad Max style warehouse.
The seller has posted a video of the car:
The below post originally appeared on our site July 29, 2008:
I love everything about this car. A monster 6L motor, all black on black color scheme, classic late 80′s styling with AMG monoblocks, light colored wood interior, etc, etc… It’s a cherry ride. But honestly, unless this car is a documented AMG one-off, I’d be very curious to see who’d justify the $48k buy-it-now. It’s an incredible car, but c’mon… I hope the seller and community rise to the occasion to prove it authenticity because it’s a fantastic car.
This V12 equipped BMW e32 has been in a private collection nearly it’s entire life. The original wheels and tires were even removed and plastic wrapped to preserve them. The seller speculates this might be the best original e32 in existence and he’s probably right.
I remember my wife and I coming very close to buying a 750il of the same generation over 10 years ago. It was a very impressive drive for sure. While of course it’s huge with the extended wheelbase, driving it didn’t feel like yacht. It’s a BMW after all and a really fine piece of engineering being the then flagship model. And that V12 is very deceiving. Incredibly smooth and builds speed with real authority.
The sellers’s account says it all:
1988 BMW 750il V12. 11K Miles. Loaded, CD, Phone, Limited Slip. Cirrus Blue. Dealership collection history since new. Driven from 88-89 for 7K miles, then put into the collection housed in a climate controlled multi million dollar facility. This is quite possibly the finest V12 E32 on earth. I dare say it is. As new in every manner, fully functional in every manner and absolutely as perfect as a car even 1 week old could ever be. All original other than the addition of the very rare, expensive and highly sought after OEM BMW BBS Style 5 Staggered 18″ wheels and Bilstein Sport Shocks. This OEM wheel setup on the car now looks incredible and drives even better. With this setup, this is the best overall driving sedan I have driven in my life and I have to say possibly the best looking too. 88 7 Series Dish wheels and OEM Pirelli 7000 tires perfect too now plastic bagged.
The 1988 BMW E32 was considered quite a marvel when it came out. It was the sedan of all sedans, but at the same time became to be known as kind of a lemon in its day. A very over engineered car that boasted things never seen before on any automobile. Hi powered V12 with dual Electronic throttles synchronized by a computer and dozens of other things that put this over $70,000.00 when it came out in 88. This car set the standard for high end sedans at the time and really in terms of build quality combined with engineering may be a near close rival the the finest sedan of all times, the 96-99 V12 Mercedes S600 W140. However, this came first and set the bar! Raved or loathed, the 750il was a marvel and when fully understood by those that work on them, not a lemon at all. I think it took the mechanics about 5 years after this cars release to catch up to how it worked, thus creating lots of the issues these cars had. Working on E23s and E32s, I can say that the E23 had more inherent issues vs an E32 even being 1/2 as complex. I can also tell you that the BMW and Benz V12s from 88-99 are GOOD engines. Mclaren used them in their famous supercars. This era V12 is actually better than some of the later V12s that both BMW and especially Mercedes built after.
The $36,200 buy-it-now price is very high as expected, but considering what this car cost new, and the fact that it practically is brand new, half price doesn’t sound so bad!