Thanks to a Road & Track tuner feature, AC Schnitzer (along with Ruf, TechArt and HPA) was one of the first tuners to really catch my imagination. Big chunky 5-spokes and wings fore, aft, and midship were plenty to turn middle-school me into a daydreaming Autobahn master. In this day and age and much like the cars they tune or the pop stars we are force-fed, aftermarket design has become a caricature of hyper-stylized aggression. There was a time, however, when bodykits and wheels were subtly aggressive extensions of classic designs. This 325i sedan is exactly that, having received a bodykit, exhaust, wheels, and suspension that make it look more like an appetizing foreign model rather than a crazy tuner cartoon. Originally a Euro model that was imported to Japan and then Florida, it’s covered 43k miles on the road and nearly half that amount in shipping. The automatic is a bummer, but with so few miles and such beautifully restrained modifications it can be forgiven. The exhaust and suspension will help make the drive more exciting (as long as it doesn’t have the sad sound of good exhaust droning across an auto trans’ overly-smooth revs), and the bodykit and wheels will put a smile on any BMW fan’s face. Eventually a manual swap and some engine mods would help it keep up with its appearance, but for now it’s a very cool E30 that won’t break the bank.
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In these dark days, E30 M3s even well above 100k miles can crest $50k, a baffling amount of money. The craziest thing is that the E30 M3 isn’t even that rare. Nearly 17k were produced, some three times more than were required for homologation and three times more than the E28 M5. There are certainly rarities within the M3 family, from the Evolution I and II models to Cecotto, Ravaglia, and Europa Meister editions. And then there were these convertibles, of which about 800 were released over three editions from 1988 to 1991. This car comes from the final and most-produced batch, whose S14 now produced 215hp instead of 195hp. You’re going to need that extra power to move the incredible 400 extra pounds the convertible is saddled with. We talk about severe driving penalties associated with convertibles, but I have to imagine this is one of the most egregious examples. With just 21k miles covered and rare to spare, the seller is hoping for $130k to pass this M3 to the next climate-controlled secure location.
Click for details: 1991 BMW M3 Convertible
I’ve talked a fair bit of trash about right-hand drive cars here, specifically some E30 325i Tourings. A lot of the E30 wagons we’ve seen imported now that their 25-year waiting period has ended have been base- or low-option Brits, bringing along the need to get comfortable hugging the fog line and rowing the gears with your left hand. This longroof has the rare factory M-Tech package as well as some show-stopping 17″ gold BBS rims to help you look like a gangster out of Run Lola Run. Inside, recovered M seats look outstanding, but the ubiquitous cracked dash strikes again, echoing a chipped front spoiler that looks fixable. Wrapped in Alpinweiss, the seller is pretty right as long as you can handle right hand drive – “this is the one you’ve been looking for!”
Click for details: 1989 BMW 325i Touring on eBay
The 318is usually receives praise for being the entertaining baby of the E30 family, underpowered but a handling master. This Wee30 has received the popular S52 swap from an E36 M3 automatic, thankfully mated here to 5-speed from a 328i. The modifications don’t stop there as the seller went OEM+++ with items like E36 M3 front control arms, E30 M3 rear suspension and brakes, and a tight Z3 steering rack. The list continues with great non-OEM upgrades like Ground Control coilovers and a custom intake on the cold side with new headers and a straight pipe on the hot. The slicktop body is straight despite a rear-end collision in its history, and the whole thing received a decently-done fresh coat of Brilliantrot two years ago.
With a reserve auction and Buy It Now of $10,500, this extremely well-done E30 will likely go for less than $10k.
Click for details: 1991 BMW 318is on eBay
As the supply dwindles, I’ve been spending time looking at various clean, mostly original E30s. Today, however, we have a 1991 325i that has received the business under the hood, namely an S52 swap from an E36 M3 plus an Active Autowerk supercharger. That heady combination puts out 357 horsepower at the wheels and 411bhp at the crank, plenty to make this 2800-pound coupe punch well above its weight class. The mechanical build is too plentiful and thorough to fully recount here, but it has Raceland coilovers, Stoptech brakes, and just about all the bushings, mounts, and miscellaneous performance parts you can stuff under an E30 to help handle 250% of its original power. The interior looks ready to rumble too with black suede Recaros and NRG wheel and some other subtle racy bits, but this car is about go, not show. The exterior has a little clear coat peel and dents but the deeper front lip and M3-esque Zender spoiler should distract any passerby. It all adds up to a package that looks pretty standard-modded-E30 good but will smoke just about any non-exotic on the road.