1988 BMW M3 Europameister with 28,000 Miles

Seller boisterousness and bravado is always a thing which interests me, and its something which comes out in droves when we’re talking about rare cars. In the U.S. market, many people consider the M3 to be rare, though it’s very far from being the most rare M product from the 1980s and it’s not hard to find multiple good examples for sale any day of the week. But rare does describe the limited edition models of the E30 M3. In total, 7 different limited edition models were produced. The best known are the Evolution series, but there were others that did not get the performance boost of the Evo models. One such example was the Europameister model shown here. They were built to celebrate Roberto Ravaglia’s successful seasons in both the European Touring Car Championship. Painted only Macao Blue Metallic with Silver Nappa leather, they were effectively loaded luxury versions of the normal M3. With only 148 produced, they’re indeed quite rare to see – especially stateside:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M3 Europameister on Classic Driver

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1988 BMW 320is

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I’ve focused heavily on the now-importable forbidden fruit of Volkswagen recently, but the models VW kept from us tend more towards the funky instead of the fast. One of the tastiest BMW offerings that never came across the Atlantic is the “Italian M3,” or E30 320is. As a reminder, these were standard E30 chassis heavily upgraded with M parts, including the M3’s S14 but with a shorter stroke to circumvent Italy and Portugal’s heavy taxes on engines over 2000cc. It produced almost as much power as the M3 with a little less torque, and the same Getrag dog-leg gearbox ensured a powertrain experience as close to the all-conquering M3 as any. The suspension setup was similar as well, but an M-Tech II bodykit provided a much more subtle, gentleman-racer look compared to the E30’s legendary box flares. Carter featured one of the few in the US (and one of 2,542 in the world) a while back. It was for sale by the oft-derided Enthusiast Auto Group, well known for snagging low-mileage examples of rare BMWs and proceeding to ask exorbitant amount of money for them. That car with 50k miles was left on the auction block despite a high bid of $29k. It was also pretty much all-original, which is not the case here.

This 320is has had quite a few owners, starting with 3 in Italy, two in Germany (including the current seller), and 8 years with one in the UK. The British owner spent heavily to elevate his 320is to a true track weapon with an FIA M3 roll cage, race seats and 4-point harnesses, and a fully upgraded suspension. Other OEM+ items like E30 M3 rear brakes, E36 M3 chain tensioner, and M Coupe differential cover complete a package that is well thought-out and is surely an exceptional performer on road and track. In an effort to make it more streetable, the Recaros and roll cage are supplemented by by a custom rear seat-delete parcel shelf. It’s racy for sure, but none of it looks so extreme that it couldn’t be enjoyed regularly on the road. The exterior follows a similar path with jagged M-stripes crossing the beautiful Delphin grey. They’re vinyl, so you can take them off if you want to return to its original sleeper status. With the performance parts it’s packing and the rollcage peaking out of the back windows, I’d leave them on to proclaim BMW Motorsport for all to see. It will be in Germany until early next year which complicates the sale a little, but if the rare and unique 320is is your style, I’d say it’s worth getting in touch with Norbert to see what you can work out.

Click for details: 1988 BMW 320is on eBay

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1988 BMW M3 Evolution II – REVISIT

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In an effort to capitalize on the market, we’ve seen increasing numbers of E30 M3s come to market – and the most highly sought models are the specials like this 1988 Evolution II model. We saw this car come to market in March with a $100,000 Buy It Now price. Some details were wrong and it failed to sell. It’s back 6 months later, and at least one detail – the exhaust – has been reverted to a more stock looking system; a nod to the greater demand (and value) of originality. But fitting that exhaust, along with a few other minor changes, will cost you $5,000 apparently as the Buy It Now has been increased to $105,000 now. We’ve yet to see a really clean E30 M3 break into the 6-digit price range, but they’ve been close. Is this the one?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M3 Evolution II on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site March 22, 2015:

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Double Take: Red E30 M3s

Ahh, red E30 M3s. Sure, these boxy bulldogs look good in just about any hue, but red as a symbol of lust and speed is not the exclusive property of the Italians. Red also plays an interesting part in the E30 M3’s history, as the striking, orange-tinted Hennarot was discontinued after one year in the US and supplanted by Zinnoberrot, a deeper and more classic hue. Both are beautiful in their own right, but Hennarot’s intensity and rarity has elicited more fandom and desire in an already-vociferous market.

Today we have two beautiful M3s from the same seller and in the same price range, each a shining example of its chosen red with a couple of unique touches.
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Click for details: 1989 BMW E30 M3 on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: M3-off

Last week, I pitted a wickedly turned up 944 Turbo against a much more tame E30 M3. My feeling was that the M3 was overpriced in comparison to the 944 Turbo – especially when you considered the performance envelope the 944 was capable of. That particular example was churning out in excess of twice what the M3 was producing from the legendary S14 – not exactly an apples to apples competition in anything but pricing. To equal the playing field a bit, this week I have two different racing M3s – the first and last of the two door variety. How does a very tuned E30 compare in value to a E92?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M3 on eBay

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Feature Listing: 1988 BMW 320is

Edit 7/15/2015: This 1988 320is was relisted due to non-payment from the high-bidder!

This past weekend, Hagerty sent me a lovely email announcing the five cars that I should have bought when they were cheap. It should come as no surprise that the BMW E30 M3 was amongst them. Long considered the throw-away of the M lineup, their meteoric rise towards the top of the German collector car market has been pretty well documented. One of the lesser known aspects, though, is that combined with the Porsche 911 and a few other select cars, these market leaders have redefined the market in its entirety. Now all 1980s cars in good condition have been on the rise; we’ve seen $15,000 Volkswagen GTis and Audi 4000 quattros, mid 20s for good 944 Turbos and the R107 SLs have been the latest to surge upwards. So while I can gripe that the market is overpriced, it would seem that for the foreseeable future, the market is going to be high on these cars. How high? Hagerty now puts a condition 1-2 M3 between $45,000 and $70,000. We’ve seen even more for special editions. So, the clever and budget-minded enthusiast needs to look towards lesser known but equal provenance vehicles. Obscurity is your friend here, and the base 320is fades into the background of E30s perfectly. Outwardly, there’s nothing to hint that this is anything more than a stripped base-model 3-series. But as you can tell from the picture with the hood raised, the truth is far from that. That’s because the 320is was effectively a budget M3 underneath, perhaps in the most fitting tribute to the famous World War 1 “Q-Ships” the Germans have been able to produce. It is a truly special car, and this is a special example.

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Boxflare Showdown: M3 v. Quattro

This one has been brewing in my head for some time, and required only two things; the right two cars. I think, in this case thanks to the help of our reader Martin, I might just have the right two candidates. While BMW enthusiasts love to tout the virtue of the boxflared M3, they often overlook the importance of the Quattro. The chunky, Giugiaro-designed Audi made it to the market with its bulging quarters a full 5 years ahead of the M3, yet the DTM star is arguably much better known than the all-wheel drive Rally champion. Both were certainly important to the development of their respective corporate brands; both have illustrious careers as race cars and both are considered by connoisseurs to be the best design of those that followed. Quietly, while the market-star M3 has soaked up the headlines, good condition Quattros have also been appreciating, and with far fewer of them produced than M3s they’re a more rare sight today. They’re also, generally, much older and fewer were taken care of in the way that the M3s were pampered. Add little factory support and an even worse balance of the number imported to North America – only around 10% of the total of North American bound M3s – and it’s a hard match up. Yet, today we have two overall great condition cars to consider. Who wins the boxing match? Let’s start with the odds-on favorite M3:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 BMW M3 on eBay

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2 Liter Terror: 1988 BMW 320is

There’s something I can appreciate about the 320is versus the M3. On the surface, the M3 with its iconic boxflares and big wing is the DTM star you want, right? But if you’re a connoisseur and you’re looking for the driving experience, the narrow body 320is offered nearly the same experience. Sure, it was down a bit on power thanks to the destroked 2.0 S14 compared to its more illustrious brother. But it was lighter too, being a base model. The same thing happened in the Audi Coupe world in the 1980s; on paper, the Quattro was the model you wanted. However, if you were an enthusiast, the last of the 1987 Coupe GTs offered the same performance as the Quattro did thanks to their lighter weight and upgraded engine over earlier models. The result is that these narrow-body cars offer discrete performance in a less showy package for those in the know. aSo that means that the 320is is a lot cheaper than a normal M3, right? Not so fast….

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 320is on eBay

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Apocalypse Now: 1988 BMW M3 Evolution II

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:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M3 Evolution II on eBay

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Diet M3: 1988 BMW 320is

We often speak of sleepers on these pages, but in truth none of the cars we typically cover are truly sleepers. Cars like the E28 M5, 500E and Audi S4 all sported bigger wheels, special badges and fatter exhaust. Often you see flared fenders, special lights and in most cases you can see the lowered stance hinting at a stiffened suspension. Inside are special and unique interiors with heavy bolsters, badges and enough electronic gizmos to make a Brookstone blush. Sure, they generally wear the same clothes as a German airport taxi, but honestly unless you’re blind not going to mistake them for anything picking you up outside Frankfurt Flughafen. But there are some serious sleepers available if you like discrete performance and complete anonymity. I’d argue that likely the best is this particular car – the BMW 320is:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 320is on eBay

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