Feature Listing: 1990 BMW M3 Sport Evolution

While the name “Evolution” become synonymous with Mitsubishi’s WRX-fighting Lancer for the X-Box generation, the term had much greater meaning for racing fans in the 1980s and 1990s. That was the period where homologation really took off; in order to be eligible to race, the FIA stipulated a certain amount of vehicles generally matching the race version of a car would have to be produced. This resulted in some great race-inspired production cars, and in order to best each other on the race track manufacturers would be forced to modify those cars. In order to have the modifications legal to race, the maker would have to introduce those significant changes to the road-going model, too. Those changed models would be termed “Evolution” to differentiate their model changes. As a result, enthusiasts ended up with ‘Evo’ versions of the Ford RS200, the V8 quattro, the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 and, of course, the M3.

The M3 Evolution I was first introduced in 1987 with only a slightly revised motor. The Evolution II followed in 1988, and signaled the first real changes in the lineup. Major alterations to the aerodynamics, bodywork, chassis, and engine netted more power, more downforce and less weight for the FIA-regulated 500 units sold to market. Iconic even within the impressive normal M3 production, these fan-favorites generate feverish bids when they come to market.

But there is an even more desirable variant: The Sport Evolution. BMW Motorsport GmbH maxed out its E30 development in an all-out attempt to dominate the world’s racetracks. A new 2.5 liter S14 cranked out nearly 240 horsepower, while the same ‘add lightness’ recipe was prescribed; lightweight glass and body panels were met with adjustable front and rear spoilers. Signature 7.5″ wide BBS wheels were now darker Nogaro Silver and 10mm closer to the body thanks to lower suspension, while special Recaro seats kept you firmly planted inside from the g-force they were capable of generating. It was as if BMW took all of the best aspects of the E30 and distilled it down into an even more pure form. Produced only in Jet Black or Brilliant Red, 600 of these super M3s were rolled out to fans and remain arguably the most desirable model in the run:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 BMW M3 Sport Evolution at Lusso Fine Motorcars

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1995 BMW M3 GT

While you’re no doubt familiar with the great lament of the de-tuned E36 M3 and the inflated price of the very limited Lightweight model, Europe enjoyed a full spectrum of Motorsport performance. One of the potent additions to the lineup was that of the M3 GT. Intended to homologate racing bits and aerodynamic tweaks for the E36, 350 limited BF99 examples were produced in early 1995. The motor was turned up to 295 horsepower with hotter cams, special oil pumps and Motorsport oil pan and revised computer controls. They also had stiffened and lowered suspension, a strut brace and a 3.23 final drive. Outside new spoilers front and rear increased downforce, and like the Lightweight the GT wore the M forged double spoke staggered wheels. Harder to spot were the aluminum doors the car wore to help keep weight down. All were painted 312 British Racing Green and featured Mexico Green Nappa leather interior with Alcantara bolsters, special Motorsports badging and carbon fiber trim.

They’re a very special and rarely seen variant of the E36 M3, and increasingly in this collector market that means a higher asking price:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 GT on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 2012 Audi R8 LMS Ultra

If you were a gentleman racer over the best part of the past decade and a half, there was only one natural choice for your steed; the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car was, and still is, the most popular choice for factory supported full race cars to buy brand new. But we can thank the success of the Cup formula for an entirely new lineup of racers, from the Lamborghini Super Trofeo to the track-oriented Laguna Seca Mustangs. In the FIA mandated GT3 field, the advent of the Pro/Am designations have similarly diversified the field from the standard Porsches to new entrants, from the seemingly outrageous Bentley Continental GT3 to the Aston Martin Vantage GT3. But while those names may seem like newcomers on the international circuits, the reality is that both the heritage of Bentley and Aston Martin lay exactly with those gentleman racers. No, the real newcomer to the block is the Audi R8; a name steeped in Le Mans history but a chassis built for the street, the GT3 effort resulted in the popular and sonorous R8 LMS Ultra, as Audi shifted its focus from showcasing quattro all-wheel drive in racing to the lightweight technology incorporated into the new mid-engined racer:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2012 Audi R8 LMS Ultra on Race Cars Direct

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Motorsport Monday: 1971 Porsche 911S-Spec FIA Race Car

Newer 911s not your thing? For a long time in the 1990s and even into the 2000s, it was very popular to modernize older 911s with updated bodywork, wings and giant motors to make them more effective machines. More recently, though, we’ve seen a return to the original roots of the car; simplified, wingless designs with more narrow bodies, built in the style of the original cars. To me, they’re much more attractive versions of the 911, expressing the very pretty original silhouette; purposeful, compact, and aggressive. They’re even more neat when they’re in spectacular colors, and today’s 1971 is a shining example of just that:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1971 Porsche 911S on Albion Motorcars

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Shark Week – 1980 BMW 635 CSi FIA Group 2

Edit 2017: Updated advertisements of this car indicate it is a recreation of the original, and still for sale for 190,000 Euros

I spent a solid chunk of my childhood dreaming of cars like this. In fact, I bet if I went through some old notebooks from high school and college, a poorly drawn likeness of just this car would be scrolled in the side margin. As Clarkson would say, this car is pure “strong pornography”. I still feel that all cars should have wide tires, big chin spoilers, wide flares, a roll cage, side exit exhaust, and stripes and sponsor graphics all over them. There are few things to me that look more “right” than the fat-flared race cars that the FIA helped to create. BMW is known for quite a few of them, but the FIA rules created some memorable models from every German marque. Heck, even Opel got in on the action. Touring car racing in the 1970s and 1980s was more stock-based than today’s carbon fiber tube frame bespoke race cars; imagine that there used to be a time when the cars that were racing were actually based on cars that you could buy! Amazing concept, I know.

In the early 1980s, the FIA changed the grouping rules for all race cars, including touring cars, in order to keep them closer to the specification of their market counterparts. Previously the rules had allowed companies to take advantage of loopholes. Slantnose Porsches? That’s because the FIA rules didn’t specify that the headlights had to remain in the stock location. The same went for fender flares and spoilers, and the late 70s saw some impressive displays of aerodynamic tweaks. Before they all went to pasture, though, BMW decided it should go racing with the new E24 chassis to replace the 3.0 CSLs that had raced and won in the European Touring Car Championship. The new 635 CSi Group 2 was born, and while it didn’t appear to be quite as much of a wild child as the “Batmobiles” had been, it wasn’t a slouch by any means. With a reported 300 horsepower, 1100 kg weight, wheels so wide they required additional fender flares to tuck them under the body, the new 635 CSi was a potent contender in the ETCC. However, rules changed in 1982, and more strict regulations of the renamed Group A cars meant the wild flares went away. As with any obsolete race car class, the remaining examples were sold off, to be raced and modified by their privateer owners. Finding an original car outside of the factory is therefore pretty rare and finding a fully restored original spec car is just about impossible, but we stumbled across just one such example in Luxembourg – today’s 1980 Group 2 635 CSi:

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Year: 1980
Model: 635 CSi FIA Group 2
Engine: 3.5 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: TBA miles
Price: TBA

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 BMW FIA Group 2 635CSi at Art and Revs

BMW 635 Group 2
FIA HTP

Price : Please call

For more details, contact us directly on +352 661 700 777
To be contacted by email

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I know, the amount of information provided by the seller is overwhelming. Despite this, I did a little digging and this car appears to be a car that was run in 1980 and 1981 by a driver named Dieter Schmid. It seems it was originally run by BMW Italia, then purchased by Mr. Schmid and run independently in the colors it is now presented at the 1981 ETCC Grand Prix of Brno where it finished 6th. Schmid finished 3rd at the ETCC Pergusa race, what appears to be its last official race and also its best result. I was able to find one photo of the car from Brno in 1981, courtesy of Racingsportscars.com. It’s not clear at this time what happened to the car after 1981, but perhaps that information is forthcoming. As it is presented now, the car appears to be completely restored to original or better than original condition.

Now, the value. This is the tricky part. Few of the original Group 2 BMW 635s survive, and most that do were modified at some point. The last one that came up to auction was the much more famous Jim Richards JPS ATCC car, itself modified from the original spec. It was estimated to sell between $180,000 and $200,000, but by all accounts that estimate was high given the condition of the car. With a good restoration and in good running condition, but without serious race provenance, I would guess the value of this car in the $150,000 to $180,000 range, but my guess is the ask price will exceed that. Because they weren’t as successful, the Group 2 635 CSis don’t command the prices of the 3.0 CSL race cars. These cars are now eligible for all sorts of vintage racing series and are loved wherever they show up. Running the original motor won’t be cheap, but then the car itself isn’t particularly cheap, so $50,000 engine and transmission rebuilds probably won’t scare the potential owner away. Although this car appears to be in show condition, I sincerely hope the new owner has the fortitude to drive the car on the track, or at very least do some Goodwood Festival of Speed appearances. We’ll keep an eye on this one and when more information on this Megashark becomes available, we’ll update everyone.

-Carter

2004 Porsche 911 GT3

Read through most automotive blogs comparing newer sports cars and you’ll often find the same entry in the comments: “X car’s purchase price buys you a lot of Porsche Cayman.” For good reason, too, as the Cayman has become the performance benchmark for an entire category of both new and used sports cars. To borrow a line from everyone’s playbook, the Cayman’s purchase price buys you a lot of Porsche 996 GT3. A performance staple in Europe as a track day special starting around 1999, the GT3 was the street going version of the GT3R and the GT3 Cup. While most car companies build performance cars that people buy and modify to take to the track, Porsche built a modified track version of its performance car for you to buy right from them. Stripped out and with boosted performance, handling and braking, the GT3 was only a touch slower than the more powerful Turbo. The U.S. first received the GT3 in 2004, the year of today’s model:

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Year: 2004
Model: 996 GT3
Engine: 3.6 liter flat-6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 43,395 mi
Price: $49,900 Buy It Now

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Porsche 911 GT3 on ebay

Excellent condition. Always Garaged. Meticulously Maintained. Smoke-free. Purchased from a private party in 2007 with only 3000 miles.

Location: Huntington Beach, California. Buyer responsible for pickup or shipping.

Payments: $500 Paypal deposit within 48 hours of close, and balance as a bank issued check or cash within 7 days.

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This particular GT3 has the PCCB ceramic brake option, an option which I think honestly most drivers could do without, but does give you the attention-grabbing yellow calipers. With 381 horsepower on tap – over 50 more than a brand new Cayman S – performance of these cars is still staggeringly good. This is a car that you can comfortably arrive at the track in, blow the doors off most race cars, and then cruise home with the air conditioning on. As with all higher-performance versions of the 911, the GT3 requires more maintenance than a standard car, and it’s a touch more expensive. Known faults with these cars included coolant leaks from glued fittings, but they’re repairable and shouldn’t dissuade a potential buyer from the car in general.

A fair amount of GT3s have seen occasional track duty, but that’s to be expected from what is essentially a track car. This particular model seems to be quite clean and well cared for. The silver is understated but classic Porsche. Probably like most, I think the 996 isn’t the most attractive 911 that’s been produced; but the simple yet aggressive race look of the GT3 would be enough to convince me. Historically special editions of the 911 seem to hold or gain value, so while this may not be the bottom of the GT3 market yet, it could be a good time to get a clean one to drive and hold on to. At $57,500, this is entry level Cayman money – but if it were my money, I’d walk away from the dealership and find one of these special cars to enjoy weekends and the occasional trip to the track.

-Carter