1988 BMW M6

Though theyre the juggernaut of BMW performance today, the reality is that there were quite a few stumbling blocks and it took many years for BMW Motorsport GmbH to establish themselves as the benchmark for German performance. Though many consider the M1 the genesis of BMW M, in fact the brand was born nearly a decade earlier with the introduction of the 3.0 CSL. The high performance E9 was built together with BMWs competition department, a relationship which ultimately resulted in the birth of BMWs Motorsport division. A few years later, the new entity would give birth to an equally legendary creation, the 2002 Turbo. But when it came to the first car to carry the M badge, it was of course the legendary M1 with its motorsport derived M88/1 double overhead cam inline six screaming in the middle of the car. Youd think this recipe carried over to the sedan range, but that was not immediately the case. First, BMW produced the M535i in the E12 chassis. Though the E28 model of the same designation was mostly an appearance package, the E12 model was turned up over the rest of the range but not with the M88; BMW instead relied on the M30 to power the M535i. Then, there was a year where nothing happened; the M1 was out of production, the E12 was replaced by the E28, and ostensibly BMW had no real performance models.

That was remedied at the 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show, where a juiced up version of the 635CSi was offered. It was labeled the M635CSi; but unlike the M535i, under the hood wasnt the venerable M30 that powered the normal 635CSi. In its place, the Motorsport division decided to slot the M88, now with /3 designation; the result was 286 horsepower a staggering figure at the time, considering that the contemporary Porsche 930 was considered fairly bonkers with a little over 300 horsepower and though it looked much larger, the early E24s only weighed about 200 lbs. more than the Porsche. Coupled with some aerodynamic tweaks, heavier duty suspension, brakes and larger wheels and tires, the result was the menacing presence worthy of the nickname Shark. For all intents and purposes, this was really the first M car for the masses. BMW brought its M lineup to the United States for 1987 with the renamed M6, and that model was lightly revised for ’88. Power was down to 256 with the catalyst-equipped S38, but ’88s picked up some visual appeal with revised headlights and slimmed corners, as well as body-color painted bumpers that make the ’88s and ’89s look a lot more polished than the ’87s.

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High-mile, well-maintained E30 M3 for sale

Another rare, attractively-priced E30 M3 has come up on eBay that could give someone the chance to fulfill their dreams without destroying their bank account.  We’ve seen examples go north of $30k, with the majority of the market in the mid-teens these days.  High-mileage M3s have become the last affordable way to get in the ultimate homologated BMW sports car, and this one comes in decent condition considering it’s covered 190k miles.

The mileage means it’s going to need a bit of work, but getting an M3 for under $10k is practically grand theft auto these days.  The engine looks very clean considering the mileage and age, and the interior and exterior each have highs and lows.  The Cinnabar Red looks pretty good though the front fascia has seen a lot of road.  The seats have normal E30 wear but aren’t falling apart, and the rest of the front interior looks pristine.  With less than day left and reserve off, the bidding is at $7,900.  If people say you have to spend $15k to get a nice M3, this one will give you plenty of breathing room to make it gorgeous.

-NR