In an article I penned for The Truth About Cars back in 2016, I covered some of the development of the Wedge Era and how those spectacular show car designs channeled their design language down to more pedestrian models. One of the stars of that article were the cutting-edge looks from Giugiaro’s ItalDesign – the firm, and man, responsible for some of your favorites such as the basic shape for the Audi Quattro. But while the Quattro launched its brand into the luxury realm and redefined the 80s, the undisputed German star of the wedgey wonders was the BMW M1.
Like the Quattro, the M1 redefined and refined BMW’s core mission, helping to launch the Motorsport division along with the 3.0 CSL and 2002 Turbo. While Giugiaro had also had his hand in the M1’s design, the genesis of the shape lay in the much earlier Paul Bracq designed Turbo concept. Bracq, in turn, had undoubtedly been influenced by the late 1960s creations of both Giorgetto Giugiaro (at Ghia and ItalDesign) and Marcello Gandini (Bertone), as well as the efforts and splash rival Mercedes-Benz had made in 1969 with the C111 concept and record setter.
But while Daimler was hesitant to enter serial production with such a departure from their tried and true sedan designs, the M1 proved to be just the spark BMW was looking for to ignite the fire in driving enthusiast’s minds. It was, at the time, the Ultimate Driving Machine:
Edit 10/01/2017: After fixing a few more things and covering about 10,000 more miles, the buyer of this unique 325iT has it back on the block again in a no reserve auction. – Ed
The E46 wagon has emerged as perhaps the last bastion of good, clean, simple German longroofing. Modern wagons are bulbous, overstuffed with features, and crazy expensive. The biggest options on today’s 325i Touring are color choices, while the mechanicals and general usability remain refreshingly simple: no sunroof, inline-6, 5-speed manual, manual seats. Manual, but in Tanin red leather, just the kind of curveball reader/seller Rob clearly likes. A nice, plain white exterior? Why not add discreet M-pinstriping and anything-but-discreet Creamsicle Orange lower valences? The 7-spoke Style 4s are nice but plain – leave them for the all-season tires and you get summer-rubber on blackened Style 68s! The colors may jump all over the place, but if anything they draw attention to a sweet car that represents a simplicity we have all but lost.
This drop-dead gorgeous Westy looks like a brand-new late-model example but is really a completely restored and OEM+ upgraded 1982 model completed just last year. Reading through the long description inspires empathy for the restorer as you hear about taking everything all the way down – interior, exterior, pop-top, running gear, camping equipment – and building it back up with new or redone parts beyond factory spec. The new bumpers, mirrors, and later sunroof pop-top were all done in the same factory Pastel White to perfection. As it only has 53k total miles on it, the interior fabric was all perfect, but they decided to go in and redo the foam and bolsters. Dynamat was installed throughout the van, ensuring a quiet and solid ride. You’ll be able to hustle up big hills thanks to a rebuilt AAZ 1.9 liter turbodiesel, manage corners on new shocks, and bring it all to a halt with new brakes. As you’d imagine, this is no bargain Westy, but it’s damn near the nicest you’ll find.
This Vanagon does my favorite kind of bait-and-switch. At first glance, the unwavering white paint/black trim looks at best plain. White wall tires on steel wheels exaggerate its age, giving the overall impression of yet another old beater camper van. This impression matched with the $26,750 asking price furrowed my brow immediately, but elicited a rewarding closer look. Checking out the details on this High Top, you see that the plain white paint is actually a recent and well-done respray. Inside, we find a nearly perfect interior with a new wood-laminate floor to match the cabinets. All camping items work including the propane stove and heater, water pump with filter, refrigerator, and external ports. It has 184k miles but still returns 20+ mpg and appears to have received the maintenance and care to keep it going for another couple hundred thousand. The 6’7″ standing height means even my 6’5″ brother could be comfortable, though the fold out bed might not either of us very well. It’s an under-the-radar Adventurewagen that is perfectly eccentric as is.
Happy Friday everyone! It’s time to take another trip down Fail Lane, this time focusing on a first-year E36 M3 that has covered just 57k miles. It’s pretty much perfect in white on DS1s, some of my all-time favorite wheels. Inside, black Vader sport seats flash the M colors and everything looks as good as could be hoped in an E36. So, sounds like a really nice lower-mileage future classic, albeit one of about a million right?
Well, folks, we’ve discussed at length the crazy rise of ///M values, with the early M cars leading the way and just about all the others benefiting from the rising tide. As E30 M3s head to the strong side of $50k, a newer model must be better, right?! We all know that’s not the case, as the E36 M3 has in fact remained amazingly reasonable and is one of the best performance values on the market. The Lightweight models have reached into the $30ks and $40ks, but you can get really nice, standard M3s for low-to-mid teens. One with 20k miles might crack $20k, but this seller is asking almost $37k for a car that is, at best, worth half that. “The prices of these cars are rising everyday,” he says. He also thinks he can throw a football over them there mountains, go invisible whenever he wants, and play guitar better than Prince.
You’re wrong, dude. So incredibly, failingly wrong on this Friday.
Here’s a nice Weekender for your weekend with just 71.5k miles and a lot of potential. Actually, to be pedantic, the Weekender option was just a third-row bed on tin tops, but it’s come to be a colloquial name for any Vanagon with a folding bed but no kitchen. So, technically, the Multivan is a tidy little package that offers the comfort and sleepability of the full Vanagon camper without the stove, fridge, or sink. With a camp stove and some Platypus bags, however, you could whip up a fresh batch of great time camping with some friends in this thing. Bidding has been extremely hot for this kitchenless Westy despite some paint and minor electrical defects.
As the supply dwindles, Iâ€™ve been spending time looking at various clean, mostly original E30s. Today, however, we have a 1991 325i that has received the business under the hood, namely an S52 swap from an E36 M3 plus an Active Autowerk supercharger. That heady combination puts out 357 horsepower at the wheels and 411bhp at the crank, plenty to make this 2800-pound coupe punch well above its weight class. The mechanical build is too plentiful and thorough to fully recount here, but it has Raceland coilovers, Stoptech brakes, and just about all the bushings, mounts, and miscellaneous performance parts you can stuff under an E30 to help handle 250% of its original power. The interior looks ready to rumble too with black suede Recaros and NRG wheel and some other subtle racy bits, but this car is about go, not show. The exterior has a little clear coat peel and dents but the deeper front lip and M3-esque Zender spoiler should distract any passerby. It all adds up to a package that looks pretty standard-modded-E30 good but will smoke just about any non-exotic on the road.
“This is not the greatest E28 in the world, no –
This is just a tribute.”
Yet again, the “Manofied Racing” Alpina tribute – a well thought-out and thorough interpretation – is back on eBay. It popped up twice a couple of years ago, a few months apart, but obviously had no bites at $32,500. Two years on it has received a respray but lost its Alpina stripes on everything but the front and rear flight decks. Despite the impressive boom in the ’80s BMW market, this one apparently didn’t get to set whatever price the seller deemed more than generous. It’s down to $25k now, but I’m guessing a low-$20ks offer might get a serious discussion started.
The below post originally appeared on our site April 15, 2014:
You can’t walk two steps into the E28 community without confronting someone looking for Euro bumpers and lights, selling them, or yelling about how much better they look than the diving boards. For many, the cost of sourcing the parts, hacking up the ends of their 5er, and welding in smaller bits is worth it. The more authentic route is to find a true Euro market car, like today’s ’84 520i. It has passed between serious enthusiasts for quite some time, and is now being sold in favor of an E30 M3 project. I’m typically a go before show car guy, but I enjoy seeing people who daily drive low, unique cars just like this one.
The slammed XYZ suspension and reproduction Hartge front spoiler indicate that this 520i is far from stock, with an M20B25 out of an E30 and a serious amount of effort put into redoing all the mounts and inner bits to make daily driving a reality as long as you don’t have to confront such mountains as a slightly inclined driveway, or perhaps a small speedbump. After the effort gone into making this a head-turning daily Euro, the seller is thinking he can get very strong E28 money.
Alright, folks, it’s Thursday. We’re almost to Friday, and it’s time to start thinking about weekend fun. I love taking the M5 out for a weekend cruise, but I’ve always wanted to try out rallying. It has typically seemed cost-prohibitive, as most autosports do, but today we have a kickass, fully-prepped E30 rally car that looks ripe for the picking.
From the inside out, what started as a lowly 325e has been converted to a serious race machine. The S52 swap doubles the horsepower of the original eta engine, while the suspension has been redone with ix and Bilstein parts. The interior is full rally spec, with an approved cage, seats, and a giant e-brake handle just like Ken Block. Outside, an ix-style M-Tech kit supplements the raised suspension while a FINA-tribute sticker job makes it look like the all-business machine that it is. The custom skid plate that goes back to cover the transmission both looks awesome and is extremely useful – pretty much the general theme of this dirt-tosser. There are clearly tons of regulations that I’m ill-equipped to comment on, but it sounds like the seller knows his stuff and assures us it’s ready to go racing.
It would surely be a lot to dive into and the future investments will be serious, but a no-reserve auction means you could at least get behind the wheel for a really good deal.