1990 BMW 325i w/ S52 Swap

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As the decent E30s still out there reach for ever higher miles or higher prices, engine swaps make even more sense. No longer just a tuner’s choice, this can be a great way to keep a high-mileage car on the road while simultaneously boosting performance. This clean 325i received the M-built S52 from a Z3M a few years back and was given a new lease on life. With 240hp on tap out of the same silky inline-6 that many fell in love with in the E36 M3, this car should haul some serious butt while looking fairly subdued other than the lightweight but pleasantly right-sized wheels. The interior is in nice shape given the age and mileage with a few cracks but impressively tear-free bolsters. The seller sounds knowledgeable and thorough despite the brief description, the real question is if a 230k mile E30 chassis can command $11k.

Click for details: 1990 BMW 325i S52 on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: Think you can build it cheaper? M3-off

Race cars are a fickle friend; countless smiles on the track come from often well counted currency leaving the pocket of the driver off-track, as the sometimes referenced 10:1 ratio of time spent preparing for the track versus time on track ultimately results in huge bills. So, what costs separate a $5,000 M3 from a $25,000 M3 – certainly, with that huge chunk of change it would seem certain that one could build a reliable racer rather than forking over what would seem to be an unbelievable amount to purchase a non-street worthy, home-brewed racer, right?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 on eBay

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1997 BMW M3 Coupe with 26,000 Miles

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the last day was the “24 Hours of E36 M3” here at GCFSB. But, as both Andrew and Paul have pointed out, it’s a great package that offers competent performance, a budding aftermarket support for parts, modifications and maintenance, and still can be run as a daily driver. They are, perhaps, almost a bit cliche; the E36 M3 became the go-to, market defining package and continues to this day to set the bar. It seems there’s one on our page weekly, yet the brace of examples that precede this post offer us the opportunity to compare values. This particular M3 Coupe is offered in retina-burning Dakar Yellow with the blackest of black interiors:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 BMW M3 on eBay

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1998 BMW M3 Coupe

If you’re a regular reader of this site you’ll know that I’m a big fan of the E36 M3 and have absolutely no problem saying so. Where haters see the blandest, most under powered M3 in the history of the nameplate, I see a perfectly proportioned bridge between the go kart E30 and the upscale E46. I came of age during the E36 years and though they were few and far between in my neck of the woods, I was well aware that they were something special. Of the two body styles offered during the ’95-’98 production run I prefer the sedan, mainly for the increased sleeper look but also for the daily drive practicality. However I am fond of the coupe as well, especially a well kempt car that hasn’t been stanced, tracked, thrashed or otherwise tampered with. This ’98 coupe in Estoril Blue Metallic over Dove Grey leather is an excellent example of an unmolested car and with just 119,000k on the clock I think this E36 represents the reasonable end of the M3 spectrum.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 BMW M3 Coupe on Cars.com

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1990 BMW 325is S52 Swap

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The S52-E30 swap makes a lot of sense to me, and I hope to some day try one out – if not own one. We’ve seen examples that range from Eastern Europe-y to So-Cal slacker, but today’s silver 325is takes a decidedly more subtle approach. Yes, it’s modified, but the E36 DS2s look good, as do the Alcantara centers on the seats. Overall it’s a pretty great package that, if the seller’s claims of no issues at all hold true, make this an exceptional E30. My biggest issue with this sale is that the motor came from an M Coupe, which makes me sad. Maybe that M Coupe got was totaled… but let’s just pretend it got an S62 swap. Either way, this seller took an opportunity and did an E30 swap right.

Click for details: 1990 BMW 325is on eBay

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S52’d 1989 BMW 325i

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We (along with every BMW enthusiast site) go through so many iterations of E30s, but if you could finally go out and get one, how would you want yours? The answers are as diverse as coffee preferences. Sure, the starting point is energetic and standard, but there are a million ways to take it.

Personally, with the E30 M3 boat sailed, I think I’d want to get a little crazy with an engine-swapped example. While the E28 M5’s S38 is a dream, the E36’s S52 is among the most popular choices and readily available (as well as significantly cheaper to maintain). Today’s 325i has some issues that will make it continue to be a project, but the heavy lifting has been done to make it a true hoonmobile. A PPI has been done, which is more than many of the passed-on projects we see here can offer. Once the to-dos get sorted, it’s a good-looking E30 that is ready to be made great.

Click for details: 1989 BMW 325i on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1988 BMW M3 S52

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:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 BMW M3 on eBay

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2000 BMW M Coupe – REVISIT

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The low mileage Estoril Blue BMW M Coupe we featured last month is back up for sale, on offer at $1,250 less than when we first came across it. Looking to drive a modern icon? I think everyone will agree the Clown Shoe, as it is sometimes called, could be the BMW equivalent of the air-cooled 911 in terms of collectability.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW M Coupe on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site November 29, 2014:

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Tuner Tuesday: 1995 BMW 525i S52-Swap

When I start to recount stories of my early driving years and my family’s run of German automobiles, I’m sure it sounds like we ran a used car lot. Fair enough; before I was old enough to drink we were on to our 5th BMW with a Porsche on the way – and still a few more to come. One of my favorite cars would probably be a bit of a surprise to some, though; when the climate control failed on our E32 735i 5-speed it was replaced by a 1995 525i. Now, normally the 525i is a bit of a downer – too much car with too little motor. But several updates over the life of the 525i meant that by 1993, the 525i was a bit of a sleeper – especially when equipped with a manual. The update from the M20 to the M50 motor and then the addition of VANOS gave the car a mini-M5 feel. It screamed up the tach and felt much quicker than it looked. But for some the M50 just isn’t enough motivation to leave the 525i alone:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 525i on eBay

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2000 BMW M Coupe

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As Wagon Week comes to a close, we’ve got a little halfling. If you were to ask a layperson if a shooting brake was a wagon, they might say yes, and the hatch certainly taps into some of the same styling cues. Can we at least count them as longroofs? Regardless, I’ve made my love for the clownshoe known, and it’s looking like I better consider them a little more seriously as even S52-engined years are climbing in value. This is a clean example in Texas, but it’s not extraordinary and is a bit weak on description.

Click for details: 2000 BMW M Coupe on eBay

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