1991 BMW M3 Convertible

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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.

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1987 BMW 528e

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This beautiful Burgundy 528e is one of the nicer non-M E28s we’ve seen in a while. The red and brown tones come together to underscore what this model is all about. The eta-engined Bimmers of the late 80s were value judgments from the get-go – are you ok with going a little slower in exchange for torque and fuel mileage? If so, you’ll still get the handling and killer good looks of the E28 while being primed to crush long miles without heading to the gas station every few minutes like in my M5. There are some compromises to be made with this particular example as well, like accepting that the real mileage is unknown due to a replaced cluster and knowing there are a couple small spots of surface rust hiding in the Burgundy next to seams. The flip side is extremely conservative bidding on the no-reserve auction for this nice daily-driver quality E28.

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1989 BMW 325i Touring

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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

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1993 BMW 525iT

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There’s something about beige wagons that just screams KIDS AND DOGS. The E34 5-series tourings seem to scream it extra loud to me, perfecting the mix of country and classy, sedate and sporty, unsuspecting and utilitarian. The E34 was the last 5-series to really embrace the long, straight line aesthetic so easily accentuated by a longroof. In 1992 the 525i received the M50B25TU, getting single VANOS and putting out 21hp more than the earlier M20B25. It doesn’t make it a speed demon, but there’s no denying the versatility of the silky-smooth little inline-6. This autobox-equipped wagon has covered just 65k miles and the interior, exterior, and engine compartment look it. I dream of a OEM+, M5ish E34 wagon some day, but as a daily-driving family hauler this 525iT will impart subtle class to any road it graces.

Click for details: 1993 BMW 525iT on ebay

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1985 Volkswagen Vanagon Adventurewagen

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This Vanagon does my favorite kind of bait-and-switch. At first glance, the unwavering white paint/black trim looks at best plain. White wall tires on steel wheels exaggerate its age, giving the overall impression of yet another old beater camper van. This impression matched with the $26,750 asking price furrowed my brow immediately, but elicited a rewarding closer look. Checking out the details on this High Top, you see that the plain white paint is actually a recent and well-done respray. Inside, we find a nearly perfect interior with a new wood-laminate floor to match the cabinets. All camping items work including the propane stove and heater, water pump with filter, refrigerator, and external ports. It has 184k miles but still returns 20+ mpg and appears to have received the maintenance and care to keep it going for another couple hundred thousand. The 6’7″ standing height means even my 6’5″ brother could be comfortable, though the fold out bed might not either of us very well. It’s an under-the-radar Adventurewagen that is perfectly eccentric as is.

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1983 Volkswagen GTI

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When I met Lon, he was in Washington on his yearly pilgrimage to see friends and search for rust-free Mk1 Volkswagens. He lived in Iowa and had a farm filled with interesting VW breeding experiments. GTIs mated with trucks, diesels injected wherever possible, etc. He knew that our sweet little truck was getting more than a little rough around the edges – a cracked exhaust manifold was the final need that broke my dad’s patience – but he also looked at it with the same optimism and appreciation that I did. I was just a couple of months into having my driver’s license, and the passing on of my beloved Rabbitamino was hard to swallow. Lon seemed to be the right person to pass it on to, someone who would make it better and give it a new life in a way I wasn’t prepared to do. The pain of loss was dulled when he let me drive the Mk1 GTI he had already picked up on his trip – a low and tight little mongrel featuring a Quaife differential and a short-geared diesel 5-speed. Howling through the gears and hitting fourth before 40 mph, he offered to trade me the GTI and its trunk full of VW race parts for the truck and a little cash. 16 year old me was not in the driver’s seat for our family’s car choices, however, and my dad wanted another truck. We ended up with an incredible Toyota 4×4 that is still kicking ass and taking names, but that drive in (and missed chance at) Lon’s sweet GTI has always stuck with me.

Thus, the Mk1 GTI is still a bucket list car for me, but I’m thinking I need to either jump on one soon or cross my fingers and hope I win the lottery down the line. This beautiful Royal Red example has covered roughly 2k miles in the last 9 years after the owner bought it in Chicago and took it to New York to tuck away, drive on weekends, and take to shows. It’s not completely original – new snowflakes have been acquired by the owner over the years, and it has a stainless steel Techtonics exhaust – but it’s damn close. We’ve seen impeccable, fully restored GTIs, but original examples like this carry an extra air of gravity and provenance. Whatever the seller invested 9 years ago, I’m guessing it was a heck of a lot less than the nearly $10k the auction is reaching.

Click for details: 1983 Volkswagen GTI on eBay

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1980 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup

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Longtime reader Sam was selling his “Blue Colonel” Rabbit Pickup in Portland but saw another extremely clean Caddy for sale at the same time. It looks like the Blue Colonel has sold, but this beautiful little LX – leatherette and wood dash included – is still looking for a new home. It’s covered 134k gentle miles and spent most of last 15 years in a temperature controlled garage. Everything looks original in the best of ways, including the clean engine compartment. $6k is a pretty common number for diesel Caddys, but we’ll see if this excellent gas pickup can swing that much too.

Click for details: 1980 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup on Craigslist Portland

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1995 BMW M3

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In start contrast to yesterday’s very clean but crack-pipe-priced Friday Fail M3, we have a well-tuned, low-mileage E36 M3. The yin to yesterday’s yang, this black 1995 coupe has mild engine mods including a Jim Conforti chip and intake while the suspension modifications are a bit more extensive, dropping it low over the lightweight Fikse wheels. With just 89k miles, it hasn’t traveled that much more than the white devil and is in nearly as good of shape – it’s just not being advertised as the ridiculous creampuff investment that the looney toons at Earth Motors were hocking. With a reserve auction and Buy It Now right under $16k, this is a clean and fast M3 that epitomizes their performance value right now.

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Friday Fail: 1995 BMW M3

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Happy Friday everyone! It’s time to take another trip down Fail Lane, this time focusing on a first-year E36 M3 that has covered just 57k miles. It’s pretty much perfect in white on DS1s, some of my all-time favorite wheels. Inside, black Vader sport seats flash the M colors and everything looks as good as could be hoped in an E36. So, sounds like a really nice lower-mileage future classic, albeit one of about a million right?

Well, folks, we’ve discussed at length the crazy rise of ///M values, with the early M cars leading the way and just about all the others benefiting from the rising tide. As E30 M3s head to the strong side of $50k, a newer model must be better, right?! We all know that’s not the case, as the E36 M3 has in fact remained amazingly reasonable and is one of the best performance values on the market. The Lightweight models have reached into the $30ks and $40ks, but you can get really nice, standard M3s for low-to-mid teens. One with 20k miles might crack $20k, but this seller is asking almost $37k for a car that is, at best, worth half that. “The prices of these cars are rising everyday,” he says. He also thinks he can throw a football over them there mountains, go invisible whenever he wants, and play guitar better than Prince.

You’re wrong, dude. So incredibly, failingly wrong on this Friday.

Click for details: 1995 BMW M3 on eBay

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1991 BMW 318is S52

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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

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