Price Fixing? BMW 1M Roundup

BMW followed the age old recipe for the 1M and enthusiasts responded. Put a big engine in a small car, flare the arches a bit and slip on some wide rubber but keep the price in the range of mere mortals. What’s not to like about the 1M then? Well, they didn’t make many – 740 were imported, making it more rare than the previously rare E28 and E24 M models. That created an artificial demand right out of the box, and unfortunately these cars hit the market at the same point that the European collector car market really started taking off. That means that these cars have suffered effectively zero depreciation since new – rare for any car, but especially for the small sport sedan market. In fact, not only have they not depreciated, you could have bought one of these cars new in 2011, drove it moderately for the past 3 years, and you could have sold it for a profit today. The 1M, in all of its 335 horsepower twin-turbocharged goodness, hit the market at around $47,000 in 2011 – add a few options in and you were around $50,000 for most. Available in only three colors, these limited production cars have a cornered market and are piggybacking on the value increase of the 1980s M-cars – the spiritual predecessors of this car. Today, there are no less than 7 1Ms on Ebay, mostly in the $57,000 range. It seems almost like price fixing – we often see a wide spread of values even on very similar cars, but these 1Ms are all around the same price regardless of color, miles or number of owners. Which is the one you’d want?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 BMW 1M on eBay

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Rare Shark Sighting – A Trio of low-mileage 633CSIs

I still remember when my father purchased his first German car. It was a 1982 BMW 633CSi in metallic grey with tan leather and a 5-speed manual, with the original BBS Mahle wheels. It was otherworldly to me; long, lean and low compared to the Toyotas I was used to being carried around in, the BMW had a feel of quality that the other cars I had been in couldn’t match. It snarled with a wonderfully raspy exhaust note and I felt invincible inside. The 633 was also the first car I displayed at a show myself; in that case, I proudly spent hours cleaning it and getting it ready for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix in 1993. At that point, the 6 was still a pretty new car – but even then, it was rare to see 6 series and since then it’s even more rare to find them. The best of the bunch are arguably the ones that came after my father’s car was made and got the post 1983 E28 chassis updates. Although considered the lesser model due to the lower displacement motor, in fact the 633CSi was only 1 horsepower short of the 3.4 that made its way into the 635CSi replacement for the United States in 1985. Today, there are three lower mile examples of these clean coupes up for sale – which would you choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 BMW 633CSi on eBay

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10K Friday: A44ordable Audis – 5000CS quattro Avant v. 5000S quattro v. V8 quattro v. 100 quattro

The Type 44 Audi was an impressive advance for German automobiles, a huge leap forward for Audi in a new marketplace – but also nearly the cause of its demise. It was an aerodynamic, futuristic sedan when both BMW and Mercedes-Benz seemed to be producing cars stuck in the 1970s. It was the blueprint for most modern luxury sedans from not only German companies, but many of the advances were copied by the Japanese, Italians and Americans for their large sedans. Yet, by 1990 Audi nearly pulled out of the American market thanks to some creative journalism from 60 Minutes, who in their effort to prove Audi was at fault for some unintended acceleration cases nearly killed off the company entirely. In part as a result of their efforts, it’s become quite rare to find clean examples of them today – but it’s also because they were such good, long-lived and solidly built machines that few have lower miles today. While I recent featured a few 20V turbocharged examples in the 20V Turbo comparison, today we’ll look at a few of the lesser appreciated examples, starting with a clean 5000CS quattro Avant in Canada:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Audi 5000CS Quattro Avant on Hemmings

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1995 BMW M3 Lightweight

There are plenty of people that think that the E36 M3 came to the U.S. in neutered form, but if you drive one you’ll realize that they’re pretty capable cars right out of the box. But BMW knew that the M3 would be hitting the track, and right out of the box they offered a more track-focused version. Stripped down and with extra aerodynamic equipment, the Lightweight was an instant hit with club racers and track addicts, but many enthusiasts still felt that they deserved the full-fat M3. However, if the recent trends with the E30 have taught us anything, it’s that even the less-special versions of the special cars will still command stronger money, and the Lightweight is certainly one of the more special E36 cars. Details like the moveable splitter and stackable rear wing, along with those great Motorsport-colored flags and forged wheels; I’ve loved this car since the first time I saw one pop up at the track in late 95:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 Lightweight on eBay

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1990 Audi 90 Quattro 20V – REVISIT

The 1990 Audi 90 Quattro 20V that I wrote up early last month is back up for sale, with a substantially lowered “Buy It Now” price – now only $2,800 from $4,200. Clearly the seller is motivated to move this car, but these are solid, good performing and long-lived cars that are reasonably easy to work on. Parts are a tad bit hard to come by and expensive these days, but the price makes this rare Audi compelling.

The below post originally appeared on our site May 5, 2014:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi 90 Quattro 20V on eBay

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Motorsport Mondays: 1988 BMW M3 DTM Tribute

I know this probably comes as a surprise, but in general I try to stay away from posting E30s. There are several reasons for this; first, it seems like we have an E30 posted on this site nearly every day. In part that makes sense as it’s one of the best small sports sedans ever produced and there are many different versions, but we like variety here at GCFSB and I like to find the lesser appreciated examples of German motoring. Then there’s the second reason I stay away – the market on these cars is just nuts, especially when you’re talking about the M3. You could list all of the merits of the E30 M3, and there are many to choose from, but at least in my mind the bubble that these cars are experiencing just isn’t justified. Sure, they’re solidly worth $30,000 to maybe $40,000 for the best, show ready examples in my mind – but at double that amount, I find it hard to explain. After all, you can get so many equally (if not more) rare, equally (if not better) performing, and equally attractive cars both from within BMW and from other manufacturers too for less money. When cars like this go through bubbles, to me they just become unappealing. I remember going to the track when these cars were throw-aways; it’s not that I wished I had bought one when they were more affordable, it’s more that I wish the folks with money hadn’t soured the experience for me. Such is the market today that even non-original, less than pristine examples are commanding a serious premium over other desirable cars. The perfect illustration of this is today’s DTM-liveried 1988 M3:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M3 DTM Tribute on eBay

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Barn Find: 1983 Audi Quattro

Sometimes when opportunity knocks, you need to answer the door. If you haven’t been following the trends of all of the mid-80s metal on its way up the charts, pretty much every single one of our favorite cars has quickly been appreciating over the past year or two; many upwards of 100%. I’ve called it the “E30 effect”; I’m not sure if I coined that phrase or I picked it up somewhere – I don’t think so, but lack of sleep and a screaming two year old blur the lines time to time. But regardless, I don’t really think it was the M3 that started this all – I blame the early 911 trends from about two years ago. Suddenly those 911s crested and blasted past $100,000, and enthusiasts looked towards the next fun, race-bred and good looking transportation; the E30 M3 was a natural choice. Because of M3 appreciation, suddenly everything around the M3 is being pulled up, too – the 944 Turbo, the M5, M6 and 500E, and of course, the Quattro. But as I’ve covered previously, finding a good, clean and well sorted example with reasonable miles can be exceedingly difficult. Audis woes in the late 1980s and early 1990s meant that many examples fell into disrepair; at one point a few years ago, I was even offered a Quattro for free if I could take it away. Opportunity knocked, and I didn’t answer the door – though it’s a long story and you can blame General Motors for that one. In any event, today on Ebay a barn-find, low mile and all original Quattro has popped up and once again there’s a knocking at the door:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Audi Quattro on eBay

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1990 Audi 90 20V Quattro

While the Audi 100 Avant I wrote up the other day was certainly a treat to see, for most late 1980s and early 1990s Audi enthusiasts, the cars that they’re interested in are the quattro all-wheel drive models. There are certainly many popular ones to choose from; recently we’ve seen the 4000 quattro and S4 quattro really take off, but the 200 20V quattro and Coupe quattro also grace these pages on a regular basis. One car we don’t see much of, though, is the 90 20V quattro; effectively the same car as the Coupe underneath, these 90s were rare when new and are more rare today. Featuring the awesome 7A 20 valve 2.3 motor and the legendary quattro drive system, unlike the earlier 4000s they were galvanized, meaning at least some could survive life in the environment which they were designed to conquer:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi 90 20V Quattro on eBay

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Double Revisit: Early and Late 4000 Quattros – Which would you choose?

Two of the 4000 Quattros I wrote up in December are still on the block. Which of these all-wheel drive wonders would you choose? The first of these cars is a Zermatt Silver 1984 example which needs some love, but is now available at a much more realistic price point – less than half of what the asking price was in December.

The below post originally appeared on our site December 6, 2013:

-Carter

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White Christmas Sunday: 1987 Audi 4000CS Quattro

Last week’s 1985 4000S Quattro was a death toll in the days of the affordable clean 1980s Audis. There was a point in the not-too-distant past where you could buy clean examples of Coupe GTs or 4000 Quattros for under $3,000. But those days, like most of the decent Type 85s, are long gone and if you want to play in the early Audi market it’s going to cost you. While we’ve seen really clean 4000s and GTs push up towards and over $10,000 in the past few months, the trend is pulling up even the less-pristine examples. Such is the case with today’s all-white 1987 4000CS Quattro; a car with high miles but some potential for the right buyer. Will it be a White Christmas for you in this 80’s snow icon?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi 4000CS Quattro on eBay

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