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1990 BMW 325i M-Tech II

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This post is in our archives. Links in this post may have been updated to point to similar cars available to bid on eBay.

Right out of the gate I have to say there are a few things that I really don’t care for on this car. The M badge on the trunk is obnoxious, I do not like the current marketing gimmick of slapping the “fastest letter in the world” all over BMW models and it’s even tackier on a classic E30. I don’t know if the seller thinks it is a clever or what but with these classics I believe that only an M engine justifies an M badge. Also, AC Schnitzer wheels have never been my thing, not even as a winter set. In my opinion chubby little wheels are not a good look on any car but especially here. An E30 needs OEM basket weaves or some generation of M3 wheel to maintain the classic look. However those are both personal cosmetic dislikes, both easily remedied, so I find it easy to look past them and see the potential in this example of a unique E30.

After all, there is a whole lot to like here. The Recaro cloth seats look immaculate and I can tell you from personal experience that they’re very, very comfortable. The M-Tech II wheel is one of my favorite BMW wheels of all time, great thickness, perfectly cut out thumb rests and visually pleasing unlike the monster airbag wheels that followed. The M-Tech II tiller does come in two different sizes, 365mm and 385mm respectively. I’ve only gotten my hands on the smaller of the two but I can’t imagine the larger one being a better option. The seller doesn’t note which wheel he put in so that’s something I’d want to find out early on. Outside the car looks pretty darn clean for living up in the great white north. Again I’d need more information as far as the car’s life story is concerned but overall it looks like it has lived on easy street. Of course looks can be deceiving, especially with these cars so serious homework would have to be done to determine if this car is worth your time. As you’ll see in the gallery at the bottom of the page, the dash is cracked so that’s something that’ll need attention rather quickly and there’s also no A/C, a deal breaker for a Southern California resident like myself. However if you don’t need cold air on your face and couldn’t care less about a visible fault line in front of your eyes all the time, then perhaps this E30 is for you.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 BMW 325i M-Tech II on Kijiji


Year: 1990
Model: 325i M-Tech II
Engine: 2.5 liter Inline 6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 37,903.6 mi
Price: $15,900

This February 1990 325i M Technic II is a Japan-market car (more info on this model: http://www.e30zone.net/e30zonewiki/index.php/325i_Sport#Japanese_M_Technic_2)

I bought the car from Japan because of the low kms, excellent condition and unique colour combination. It was a 4-speed automatic originally which I had converted to 5-speed manual. I have all the parts for the automatic and they will accompany a sale of the vehicle.

The car is in very good condition. There is no rust, the seats are like new with no signs of wear, the headliner is immaculate. There is a very bad crack in the dash however, and the A/C is not working. AC Schnitzer rims, Recaro sport seats.

Partial list of the parts replaced:

-Koni Sport Shocks front & rear ($680)
-new springs front and rear ($400)
-suspension mount kit with rear shock mounts from Turner ($195)
-two pages of parts associated with the transmission swap including Sachs clutch kit, clutch master cylinder ($913)
-throttle cable
-four tires ($1130)
-BavAuto shifter rebuild kit ($314)
-driveshaft from Turner ($736)
-lower control arms right & left

Copies of all invoices are available.

Fun car but I have four BMWs and need to thin the herd (also looking to sell an Alpina B10 Biturbo).

More pictures here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/wb46n0g3mfz2qkm/AAAhQIDm12cuHUg4-C4g7wuIa?dl=0

Things to consider here are where this car came from, the reputation of the shop or individual who did the 5spd swap and the low mileage. The first two could work in your favor during negotiation but the third works in that of the seller. 38k on the clock is low for any classic BMW but for an specialty E30 it’s really impressive. I can’t say whether the asking price is fair or not without knowing a whole lot more about the car but taking it at face value, I’d say yes. New tires, Koni sport suspension and whatever new parts related to the transmission swap might just make up for the cracked dash or A/C but not both of them. What I think does make up for those two issues is the tidiness of the interior, the highly desirable seats and steering wheel are worth a couple grand in this market and after all, they’re inside an E30, that alone should be reason enough to consider this example. The only way this thing could get better is if it was a South African model with the Uberkaro check seats, painted in the 1991 only special order color of Granitsilber Mettalic and had an 3.2L M30 in the engine bay. I know, that’s just greedy and I should be happy that this is a clean legit M-Tech II with a reasonable price tag.

-Andrew

15 Comments

  1. Stirling
    Stirling May 19, 2015

    This is my car so I’ll weigh in on two things.

    U.S. readers should note the price is in Cdn $, so that is closer to $13,000 in your money.

    The ///M badges were on the car when I got it. Having seen a lot of E30s in Europe with M badges I wasn’t convinced it didn’t come from the factory that way. For example the Dutch M Technic brochure does feature them (http://www.e30zone.net/e30zonewiki/images/f/f7/Brochure_BMW_M-Technic_04-05.jpg), but the Japanese one does not. Discussion of this matter here as well: http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=74859.

    While I wouldn’t affix these badges to a car that originally didn’t have them, I’m reluctant to remove them from a car that could have had them from the factory.

    Thanks for the excellent write-up!

  2. Richard
    Richard May 20, 2015

    Some M-tech Cars came with the M-Badge from the factory. Not all of the owners just “slapped” it on there. But it allows the writer to squeeze a few more compelling sentences with a hint of controversy. Mission accomplished! Disappointed because I love what the Blog is trying to do, but lack of research, coupled with writing that is more fluffy than informative seems to be commonplace. Would love to see it become better.

  3. grbbenny
    grbbenny May 20, 2015

    My brother and I imported a dozen or more of the MTechnic 320i and 325i from Japan a few years ago. All were automatics and all had the M badges on them. What was the auction rating on this car?

  4. Stirling
    Stirling May 20, 2015

    @grbbenny It was a grade 4.0 car. I’ve learned my lesson regarding 3.5 and less.

    Did you import your cars to Canada, or…?

  5. grbbenny
    grbbenny May 20, 2015

    Yes, it seems to be a big drop from 4.0 to 3.5 in terms of quality. We had a little sideline business in Calgary importing German cars from Japan and reselling them. We probably sold over 100 over 3-4 years. We finally stopped when our trusted broker went out of business after the tsunami.

  6. Andrew
    Andrew May 20, 2015

    Thanks for the response, was hoping to get some more information about the car from the seller and here it is!

    Interesting that some cars did come with the ///M badges on there, I thought they were a newer marketing gimmick but little did I know BMW has been doing it since the 80s!

    That dutch brochure is great, forget the cars, where can I get my hands on that oh so stylish BMW tench coat or “sjaal”?!

  7. Andrew
    Andrew May 20, 2015

    And I learned something today, that’s really what I love about writing for the site, I learn new details about cars.

    Sometimes I find out information through research and sometimes it is through comments. Either way, I become better informed.

  8. Scott Saylor
    Scott Saylor May 20, 2015

    Whoa boy, check the facts. M Tech badging was used on cars before the first M Car (the M Tech Badge with a model number). Aesthetics aside, any car with M Tech upgrades can rightfully wear an M Tech badge. Just take a look at the M235i! I had a M Tech girl badge badge on my 325is for a while before I the front valance resprayed. Take a look. https://thesaylors.net/BMW_325is.html

    Let’s take this opportunity to school the GCCSF Editors on this morning…

    “There are several BMW models which BMW Motorsport made changes on, without them becoming M-Cars. This succession of styling (M-tech I, M-tech II) and performance cues came from BMW Motorsports; e.g. BMW 530i M packet or 325i M packet etc.

    Vehicles which have been modified by BMW Motorsport, but are not full M Cars, may feature “M” badges, whilst full M Cars will have “M” badges with the model number (e.g., “M3” or “M5”). Two exceptions would be the M Roadster and M Coupe models, both Z3, Z4 and 1-series variants, which only have an “M” badge with no number displayed on the trunk. These cars are full M Cars.

    In recent years, there have been ‘M’-badged accessories available on BMW’s standard fleet as factory options or as part of the “M Sport” package (which is more expensive than the optional Sport package). Examples of this include the E39 and E60 5 series sedans which had optional aerodynamic packages that were strongly influenced by the M5’s styling (for example, bumpers with larger intakes). It is not unusual to see “standard” BMW vehicles with “M” badges or ribbons accenting their design. The plain motorsports badge simply stands for the ‘M-tech’ upgrades equipped on the vehicle (e.g., suspension, brakes, looks or any other modification that has been developed by the M division), therefore the ‘M’ badge on these vehicles should not be confused with the true ‘M’ vehicles (except the Z-cars, as mentioned), as they are not fully fledged ‘M’ cars, just equipped with ‘M’-tech upgrades. BMW has offered these ‘M’ options on their standard vehicles since the late 1970s which explains why these vehicles carry ‘M’ badges straight from the factory. In comparison, vehicle maker Audi also employs this same type of nomenclature. There are fully fledged ‘S’ models (S4, S5, S6, S7 and TTS), as well as an optional “S’-line package that can be equipped to their standard vehicle lineup.[23]

    An example of ‘M’-badged vehicles in recent times include the E60 BMW 550i and E63 BMW 650i. The standard BMW 5 Series and 6 Series only had a choice of either a manual or automatic transmission, but the ‘M’ Sport package had an optional Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG) (a gearbox shared with the M5 and M6)[24] until after the 2007 model year.”

    Cheers!

    Scott

  9. Brad
    Brad May 20, 2015

    This is an honest question: what is “unique” about the colors? It seems utterly common.

  10. Andrew
    Andrew May 20, 2015

    I’m well aware of the history of the “M” division and the differences between those vehicles that have been mechanically modified, those that are full M cars and those that simply have “M” badged accessories.

    It is just my opinion that the badge is kind of tacky and shouldn’t be paraded around unless the vehicle is actually mechanically superior other models in the line. For example one of my favorite BMWs is the E39 540i/6 and while that car features M-Tech II suspension, M steering wheel, shift knob and door sills, it doesn’t have any “M” branding on the exterior unless you count the wheels. I like that car precisely because it doesn’t have “M” badges all over it like many of the new models and apparently some older ones as well. If it did then I don’t think the M5 would seem as special which would be wrong because the M5 is damn special given that it is tuned differently.

    In the end none of what I think or any of us think really matters because BMW will go on naming their cars whatever the hell they like, no matter how little sense it makes because it helps sales. Adding an M in front of the name is just another way for them to justify a price bump and maybe keep a few enthusiasts like myself interested in their bloated new cars*.

    *Making an exception for the M235i which is my favorite new vehicle I’ve driven in the past year.

  11. Andrew
    Andrew May 20, 2015

    Wasn’t referring to the color as being particularly unique just the car overall given that it was a Japan import.

  12. Brad
    Brad May 21, 2015

    Andrew: the seller’s copy calls his own car a “unique color combination.” Isn’t statistically speaking black and gray about as common as they come (to say nothing of the prozac aesthetics)?

  13. Andrew
    Andrew May 23, 2015

    Ah, that’s what you were talking about, yeah I agree with you, black with grey is quite common.

    Would be far more interesting if it was the blue two tone offered in Japan and South Africa.

Comments are closed.