Zesty in Zinnoberrot: 1988 BMW M3

  • November 11, 2020
Why We Like It

The E30 M3 is the most iconic of all modern classic BMW models, if not one of the most since the company’s inception. Aggressively styled with purpose and looking ready to fight, the M3 was built specifically for racing homologation by BMW’s legendary M GmbH Motorsport division. First shown at Frankfurt in 1985 and produced from March 1986 to June 1991, the original M3’s production satisfied the requirements of both the DTM (German Touring Car Championship) and FIA Group A Touring Championship. While the regular E30 3-Series was a highly competent and sporting road car, the M3 was a true demon, with an improved suspension, boxed flared fenders surrounding wider wheels and tires, tweaked front and rear aerodynamics, and the uprated, high compression, high-revving S14 engine, which was produced in four tune levels (192hp, 197hp, 212hp, and 235hp), depending on the destination market and production requirements for racing.

zesty-in-zinnoberrot-1988-bmw-m300Y0Y 9e6sNi5i9Hc 0x20m1 1200x900The M3 is without doubt one of the most successful track touring cars in history, dominating pretty much wherever it was campaigned from 1987 through 1993. While not huge, production was still somewhat considerable due to rabid enthusiast demand, with 17,184 coupes and 786 convertibles built. North America was not excluded from the fun, with nearly one-third (5,300) of the production run being AK03 192 hp North American spec cars. The original E30-series M3 was such a resounding success that M3 models have continued with every 3-Series BMW line produced since.

Visually striking in Zinnoberrot (Cinnabar Red) paint over Black leather, this 1988 BMW M3 is a clean, rust-free example of the increasingly harder to find E30 M3 generation. The seller states it’s a low-mileage example, and while 109,000 miles isn’t excessive, “low” might be a little bit of a misnomer, but on the flipside, this car’s price isn’t excessively high either. Anyway, it’s highly original, has never been repainted and has clearly benefitted from storage in a temperature-controlled garage when not in use. It also sports the rare Sport Evolution body upgrades and comes with all history and documentation dating back to the original purchase, as well as three sets of keys. According to the seller, the car’s dashboard is crack-free, which also extends to the rear-spoiler paint, another typical issue. The black leather seats remain in great shape, the rear seats still look virtually new and all instrument cluster functions work, including the odometer and trip meter.zesty-in-zinnoberrot-1988-bmw-m300S0S jvlPr6JIiU4 0x20m1 1200x900

All in all, the subject car appears to be a well-cared-for example of a true modern legend. E30 M3 prices have accelerated to “bonkers” levels over the past couple of years, with Hagerty’s Price Guide ranging from $33,500 for a #4 condition driver with known issues to $56,000 for a good #3 car, $92,000 for an excellent #2 example, and $139,000 for a #1 concours-ready car. Bring a Trailer’s online auction sales for the past several years confirm Hagerty’s numbers, with the majority scale ranging between $30k to $65K, as well a few low mileage outliers hitting the $80k-$100k+ range. And of course there’s the well-publicized 8k-mile, $250k example…At just a tad above Hagerty’s valuation for a #3 driver, this M3 appears to be realistically priced to sell and actually enjoy, leading us to feel it’s fair market.

zesty-in-zinnoberrot-1988-bmw-m300L0L a9vTlDoAWXH 0x20m1 1200x900

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