1988 BMW M3 Evolution II

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 eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 1988 BMW M3

Remember 2007? I know, it doesn’t seem that long ago, right? Yet, back in 2007 you could take a pretty nice E30 M3 and turn it into a race car, and no one would scream at you, call you bad names, or think you insane. That’s because back in 2007, though many appreciated the E30 M3 it wasn’t the superstar of the German car market that it is today. As a result, it was still reasonably common to see E30 M3s turn up at the track, and properly built they were still the match for many newer cars. A friend of mine moved from a 2002 to a M3 in the early 2000s; after an engine rebuild, he needed break-in miles on the motor, so at a Lime Rock Park event he tossed me the keys. Out on track, it took me approximately 3 turns to instantly feel comfortable. The poise and balance of the E30 was amazing, and though I couldn’t use the upper range of the S14 and had to lug around one gear up from where the car should have run I was able to run down many E36 and E46 M3s without much difficulty. Coming off track, the owner was all smiles and laughing – “Imagine if those other M3 guys knew you were running a gear up!” he laughed. Today, E30 M3 racers may be one of the cheapest ways to get the M3 feeling – but while even the most nicely prepared ones were at most $20,000 – $25,000 only a few years ago the market surge has reached even non-street legal cars:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M3 on eBay

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“Beginning and End” Drop Top Double Take – BMW M3 Duo

Could the M3 market get hotter? I bet it can, because there are a massive amount of enthusiasts who follow and lust after the cars, this author included. But in my general searches for cars this week popped up one of the more strange ads that I’ve seen in some time; it was an advertisement celebrating the beginning and end of M3 production, but in convertible form. And it was for not one, but two M3s – an E30 and a E93. Now, frankly right now it doesn’t really matter what type of E30 you come up with, there’s someone who wants it. But the convertibles, though more limited production than the coupes, are a bit of a different market. In short, they’re desirable, but for a different reason than the motorsport heritage that started the M brand. 2013 saw the death of what we associated with M3; a naturally aspirated 2-door overachiever that in many ways defined the market for small performance sedans. Is this listing a fitting tribute to the legend or just an attempt to capitalize on M3-mania?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 and 2013 BMW M3 Convertibles on eBay

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Fake It ‘Til You Make It: 1986 BMW M3 Tribute

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 eBay

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1974 BMW 2002 S14

The surge in popularity of the E30 M3 has drawn into stark contrast what an incredible deal you can get on classic BMWs, and the 2002 is not only a fan favorite but also a great example. In many ways, the E10 spawned the idea of the small German performance sedan and since inception they’ve not only been popular choices as transportation, but indeed great tuning and racing platforms. However, a recent surge in prices have brought many to the market as owners try to capitalize on the increased value, so we’ve seen some great labors of love turn up for sale. This is one such case; a restored and resto-modded 2002 with a great match for a powerplant – the venerable S14:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1974 BMW 2002 S14 on eBay

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1988 BMW M3 Europameister with 17,000 Miles

Ah, the E30 M3. Already the stuff of legends before the recent price surge, the original small M that was a revolution on the race track has similarly revolutionized values of mid-1980s German cars. Not only has the E30 M3 increased monumentally in value, but in fact it has pulled up nearly the entire BMW lineup along with it. It’s not alone, though – other rare performance German cars have been ascending alongside it. From the Quattro to the 500E, once cheaply attainable and fun cars are suddenly the stuff of speculation. Is the trend sustainable? The early 911 would seem to indicate it is; after all, there are only so many E30 M3s left today and there are many more people that want them than good examples. Just the other day, I finally stopped with my wife at an example I had eyed for many years – 7, to be exact. In that entire time, it had never moved – it’s just sitting under some pine trees off the beaten path in the woods of Rhode Island. Why did I finally stop? Well, there’s a part of me that would love to have an E30 M3 – but there’s more of me that hoped I could flip it and get enough money to buy some cars that I could drive and enjoy off the proceeds. Needless to say, I didn’t walk away with it; as with many, the owner “knows what it’s worth” and is hoping to restore it to former glory once again.

When he does, there’s a fair chance it may hit the market just like this 1988 Europameister example. Originally a limited-production model of 148 examples built from October to December 1988 to celebrate the European Touring Car Championship of Roberto Ravaglia. Ironically, despite being named to commemorate a racing car, the Europameisters were mostly fully loaded luxury variants of the E30. Being one of the lowest production variants of the E30 M3 in great condition and with ridiculously low miles, you can bet it won’t be cheap – and it’s not.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M3 Europameister on eBay

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Dueling Double Dos: 1970 2002 S14 v. 1968 2002 M20 Turbo

One of the great things about personalizing a car is the variety of ways that it can be carried out. Some people choose to return their car to near original showroom shape while others wildly modify the car with a total lack of regard for originality. The 2002 has traditionally been one of the favorite modification platforms as BMWs go; out of the box, it was blessed with good handling and balance, distinctive looks and it’s a car that’s easy to work on. Most that are in a condition that need or warrant modifications can be had fairly inexpensively, and the myriad of directions you can take means that possible permutations and combinations of parts rarely leave two looking identical. Today is such a case – two fairly similar platforms that take two very different directions – which is your favorite and why?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1970 BMW 2002 on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: Mild or Wild M3s

Going to the track is like any other addiction; it has its highs and lows. You may start going with a stock car, but soon you’ll feel the need to modify the suspension, beef up with wheels and tires, throw on some racing brakes, strip the interior and all of that heavy stuff that slows you down like air conditioning, sound deadening, and seats. Then you drop a cage in and hit the track; all smiles, no doubt, but it’s been an expensive journey and your track weapon is really only good at fast laps for a small percentage of its existence; the rest of the time, it just sits or is exceptionally uncomfortable and inconvenient as a daily driver. Plus, modern cars have gotten so expensive and complicated, with enough computer aids that they can nearly lap themselves. What is an enthusiast to do, then? Well, you can look towards some perennial favorites that helped to establish the reputation of BMW; the M3. In this case, I have two examples that are set up to hit the track – a racer E30 and a street-drivable but track-biased E46. Which is your flavor?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 BMW M3 on eBay

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#FailFriday – 1990 BMW M3

Last week, Nate wrote up a 1991 Volkswagen Corrado G60 that we summarily picked apart. It was horrible. But what was great was Nate’s critique and the universal comments that agreed. One of our readers, Ry, suggested that we make it a habit – and so enter a new segment we’re going to call #FailFriday. My nomination to open this segment is one of the darlings of the car world right now, a 1990 BMW E30. This car looks pretty good from afar, but get closer and in my opinion it’s far from good. Calling all backseat drivers, keyboard warriors and internet vultures – let’s pick this one apart:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 BMW M3 on eBay

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Motorsport Mondays: A Tale of Two ’02s

Last week, I put a neat 2002 up on our Facebook Fanpage. Sporting crazy Zender flares, an even crazier rear wing, and most crazy a S14 E30 M3 engine transplant, it sure looked the part and generated a lot of interest. Well, the good news! It’s back up on Ebay this week, along with an added M10-swapped Targa Newfoundland Rally veteran that makes an interesting comparison. What’s your flavor?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1972 BMW 2002 S14 on eBay

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