Let’s say you want to start a car collection, and for ease of argument’s sake, let’s say you’re really into BMWs. Which is the model you want? You could be a 507 enthusiast, love the classic 3.0 CSL or 2002, envy every E30 or lust over the modern muscle the company produces. But odds are if you’re reading these pages you, like me, gravitate towards BMW’s Motorsport models.
Within the Pantheon of classic models, there then comes the difficult decisions. How do you choose between the E30 M3 and the 1M, for example? Well, Enthusiast Auto Group has a suggestion. Why not have them both? Or, even better, why not assemble all of the greatest hits from BMW’s M division over the past 40 years and put them together into one curated, turn-key package?
Update 11/11/18: Auto Kennel has dropped the asking price from $109,990 to $99,990.
Just as with Andrew’s 190E 2.5-16 Cosworth Evolution II, a series of modified M3s were run past the FIA to introduce new aerodynamic equipment and changes to serial M3s. Also dubbed the Evolution, three separate models were brought to market to homologate the changes. The last was called the Sport Evolution and brought the most amount of changes in the run. Thin glass and lightweight bodywork was carried over from the Evolution II, while the Sport gained adjustable front and rear spoiler extensions and wider arches in front. Under the hood, the 2.3 S14 was replaced with a 2.5 version of the motor which cranked out 238 horsepower. There were a host of other minor changes, all of which added up to a very special – and very quick – package. A total of 600 were produced; though this was the last of the specials, it was also the most prolific. To help differentiate them from the other Evolutions (if the spoilers weren’t enough), the Sport Evolution also got unique bumper trim and Nogaro Silver painted 16″ BBS wheels, along with special Recaro seats inside. While they are the most frequently produced E30 M3 special, they’re still arguably the most desirable and collector friendly. Since they were never officially imported to North America, it’s quite a treat to see stateside. Presented in Brilliant Red 308, today’s Sport Evolution is one of the better examples on the market:
While the name “Evolution” become synonymous with Mitsubishi’s WRX-fighting Lancer for the X-Box generation, the term had much greater meaning for racing fans in the 1980s and 1990s. That was the period where homologation really took off; in order to be eligible to race, the FIA stipulated a certain amount of vehicles generally matching the race version of a car would have to be produced. This resulted in some great race-inspired production cars, and in order to best each other on the race track manufacturers would be forced to modify those cars. In order to have the modifications legal to race, the maker would have to introduce those significant changes to the road-going model, too. Those changed models would be termed “Evolution” to differentiate their model changes. As a result, enthusiasts ended up with ‘Evo’ versions of the Ford RS200, the V8 quattro, the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 and, of course, the M3.
The M3 Evolution I was first introduced in 1987 with only a slightly revised motor. The Evolution II followed in 1988, and signaled the first real changes in the lineup. Major alterations to the aerodynamics, bodywork, chassis, and engine netted more power, more downforce and less weight for the FIA-regulated 500 units sold to market. Iconic even within the impressive normal M3 production, these fan-favorites generate feverish bids when they come to market.
But there is an even more desirable variant: The Sport Evolution. BMW Motorsport GmbH maxed out its E30 development in an all-out attempt to dominate the world’s racetracks. A new 2.5 liter S14 cranked out nearly 240 horsepower, while the same ‘add lightness’ recipe was prescribed; lightweight glass and body panels were met with adjustable front and rear spoilers. Signature 7.5″ wide BBS wheels were now darker Nogaro Silver and 10mm closer to the body thanks to lower suspension, while special Recaro seats kept you firmly planted inside from the g-force they were capable of generating. It was as if BMW took all of the best aspects of the E30 and distilled it down into an even more pure form. Produced only in Jet Black or Brilliant Red, 600 of these super M3s were rolled out to fans and remain arguably the most desirable model in the run:
There is nothing that I can say here that will matter at all. I won’t convince you that the E30 M3 is overpriced – maybe, compared to some of the other limited run homologation vehicles like the Sport Quattro and even the asking price on Paul’s 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II two weeks ago this Sport Evolution is downright cheap. Despite that, I could tell you that for the for the asking price of this car you could have a whole fleet of very interesting cars. Heck, you could buy a lesser E30 M3 and still have a huge chunk of change left over to buy many other vehicles and even maintain them. Some houses are less expensive than this car. College for most is less expensive than this car. The average worker at Walmart won’t make in a decade what the asking price is here. But none of that matters, because if you’re even still reading I’m just making you tread water until you can see more photos and drown in the eye-watering price:
I almost threw up when I went through my saved eBay searches today and saw a stock Alpineweiss E30 M3 with 67k miles that was asking $59k and had been bid up over $40k. The ceaseless rise of the E30 is just crazy, folding values over on themselves and dollars into sellers’ pockets. I still love the M3 as a car, but the insanity surrounding them has tainted my love with disgust and disdain. As I tire of the creampuffs setting new records every time they come up, I become more interested in what I’ve grown to think the E30 M3 was about: making it into the Bimmer/racer you wanted. I’ve joined the scorn at removing the S14 before, but as I fall more in love with my S38 every day, I now see it as the ideal E30 swap. With more character, rarity, and power than the standard E36 swaps, getting an M3 (or any E30) with one of these beasts interests me greatly. Today’s E30 M3 comes fully redone after a big-mileage life, and looks extra awesome for it. A Sport Evolution bodykit backs up the significantly improved grunt on the outside, and the creator has made an awesome choice with a plaid interior on ///M seats. At this point in time, this is my ideal E30 M3.