We’re an odd group, enthusiasts. Normally you’d assume that we’d be excited to see each and every example of rare cars that pop up. Sometimes, even semi-rare cars excite us. Occasionally, it’s just a plain-jane base model that’s not often seen that will peak the interest of the masses. Yet the excitement usually isn’t there; instead, what results is a form of cyber-bullying as every keyboard warrior attempts to find each and every wrong detail with a particular example. It could be something from small details – paint chips, a scratch, a rust bubble to things that are downright esoteric; my complaint, for example, that the RS2 color “RS Blue” appear correctly on B4s instead of the more commonly associated Nogaro Blue. It could be omission of mechanical details, incorrect listing information, a slip of the fingers in typing in a VIN. Seriously, does it matter? Well, it does when it comes to top-dollar collector cars. In the case of today’s car, the second E30 M3 Evolution II in as many weeks here on the site, my microscope attention focuses on the wheels:
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While as of late I have not been a huge fan of the early M3 market or the resulting insanity involving all-things E30, I have to admit a very soft spot for the box-flared high-revving wonder. I’ve loved the E30 M3 since I first learned of their existence; trips to the track in the early 1990s with my father only heightened my respect for what was really one of the few track-ready cars out of the box. Back then, it wouldn’t be uncommon for half or more of the instructor group to be zipping around the track in one of the many M3s that would turn up to hot lap. I even remember one of the first times I got to lap around Lime Rock was in a M3. On the back straight (No Name, which ironically is named and isn’t a straight) I looked over at the first kink in horror as the driver, a soft spoken friend of my father’s, whipped the M3’s engine into a frenzy above the indicated redline. Surely, pistons would emerge from the hood in just a moment – but they didn’t, and with reckless abandon he flung the car into the uphill, barely lifting off the throttle for turn-in, then cresting the hill with a touch of opposite lock and the wheels spinning. That’s what the M3 did – it turned otherwise normal, law abiding individuals into hooligans. But it was because of the natural balance, the race-bred motor and the success on the track that this car encouraged you to drive it at 10/10ths. Or even, occasionally, 11/10ths – plenty have encountered hard objects in their lifetime. But now, these cars are no longer the go-to track rat they once were; they’ve become collector royalty – and few are as collectable as the special editions like this Evolution II:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M3 Evolution II on eBay4 Comments
Let me go on record as stating that I personally have no problems with replica cars. Especially when you consider the price of exclusive originals or cars that are non-existent, tributes and replicas offer people the opportunity to see cars they would otherwise never get to experience. Several of the Auto Union Grand Prix cars, for example, have been built as exacting replicas of the originals that no longer exist; see them in the flesh, and they’ll make your spine tingle just as much as if Nuvolari or Rosemeyer had piloted them originally. But then there’s a secondary tier of making replica cars that are either just expensive or hard to come by; Sport Quattros, S2s, AMG and Ruf models as well as the exclusive RS have always been popular, and an increasing trend over the past few years has been replica M3s. Of course, when the real deal is only a few thousand dollars, making a replica isn’t economically viable. But prop the price up to near six figures, and suddenly the pain and expensive of creating a replica becomes not only popular, but perhaps even lucrative:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 BMW M3 Tribute on eBay8 Comments
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I generally try to stay away from the E30 crowd, mostly because I really don’t think the current values on the M3 are justified. For under $10,000, it was a great track car. For under $20,000, it was a great occasional driver and memory of fun times in the DTM. At $30,000, it starts to become a show car that you’re not willing to drive to the store. Past that, it’s pure speculation and there seems to be no end in sight. Likely, that won’t be the case but if the Hemi bubble taught us anything it is that there will always be something new for people to latch on to. Of course, I watched a Mecum auction this past weekend and saw a Hemi Barracuda hammer for a few million dollars, so I guess the market on those cars still hasn’t returned to anything resembling normal.
Will the E30 M3 drop back down? Well, it can’t stay on this trajectory for long, that’s for sure. Cars have tripled in value in the past two years, a trend which is simply unsustainable. They’re no longer values – they’ve become the absolute top of the 1980s BMW market outside of the ultra-exclusive M1. And why? Don’t get me wrong, the E30 M3 is a cool car. But exclusive? They made 16,000 of them, for goodness sake. Compare that to some other notable BMWs – 450-odd M1s, about the same amount of pre-war 328s, or 250 507s. To put that even into more perspective, BMW made only about 6,000 E24 M6s and a scant 2200 E28 M5s. Rarity isn’t on the side of the M3, but few have ever accused the automobile market or enthusiasts with any sense of sanity, so the climb continues. Now, in my mind there are some E30 M3s that deserve the attention and loftier prices, and the Evolution models have to be one of the most deserving. With a touch more power and a little less weight, the M3 Evolution was closer to it’s track-winning relatives than the standard production M3. As they only made 500 of each run, they’re rare to see – but the market is such that for some who got in at the right time, they’ve reached their stop on the crazy train:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M3 Evo2 on eBay11 Comments
Care to roll the dice? From what I can tell, this 1991 BMW M3 appears to be an Evo-spec car, though it is not listed…7 Comments