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:
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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: