1988 E30 M3 for a Fender-Blistering $39,000!

Illustration for article titled 1988 E30 M3 for a Fender-Blistering $39,000!
Nice Price Or No DiceIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

BMW claims to build Ultimate Driving Machines. And while a number of their mid-eighties efforts belied that assertion, Nice Price or Crack Pipe has an E30 that ultimately you're going to want to drive.

The love flowed rich and fast yesterday for the Datsun 510- just not for a 510 that happened to have been shoved through the ricer on its way to the West Coast JDM-gasm show. That bad boy racked up a 75% Crack Pipe vote despite its clean enough to eat off of it VG30 installation.


As we noted yesterday, the 510 had been considered the poor-man's BMW due to its similar boxy shape and sporting pretensions. At the time, BMW gave little notice to the aspirations of the Japanese wannabes, because they were too busy taking the racing technologies that their M-Technik group had been developing into their road cars. The first fruit of this labor was the homologation of the M1 supercar, and the next was the the E30-based M3, an example of which is our debate club subject for today.

Illustration for article titled 1988 E30 M3 for a Fender-Blistering $39,000!

Now, BMW drivers have a reputation as being a bit egotistical, and wearing their cars as extensions of their manhood for all to see. Whether that's true or not, the cars themselves are almost always a cut above the ordinary. The M-series cars have also always been a cut above that.

This 1988 M3, in steel gray with a charcoal interior, has stepped out of a time machine. While many of the first generation M3s have been beaten to death, this car, with only 37,000 on the clock, appears factory fresh. The second-owner seller claims the car has been consistently garaged, and, while not restored, has been refreshed as needed. That condition is reflected in the asking price, which is sitting in the nose-bleed seats at $39,000. Actually, he'll sell it without the Evo pieces for $5,000 less.

Illustration for article titled 1988 E30 M3 for a Fender-Blistering $39,000!

Now, KBB doesn't go back to '88, but for an 1989 M3 in excellent condition, they quote a private party price of $12,650! This M3 had better do more than just carve canyons, it should also bring you your beer and slippers when you're done, and feign ignorance of your whereabouts when the cops arrive shortly after.


But that's not to say this is an outrageous price- after all how many low-milage E30 M3s do you come across? So, do you think $39,000 is a fair price for so ultimate an example of this driving machine? Or, does that ultimately drive you to look somewhere else?

You decide!


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It's a terrible shame. So many BMWs really are very, very good cars. The level of performance they can deliver stands far above what their restrained, elegant styling might suggest. The exterior speaks to a pragmatic aesthetic, just enough steel and paint to cover the chassis and interior, with maybe a teeny bit added here or there to add just a little bit of panache - not much.

Within that minimalist sensibility, however, beats a heart of austere competition. It seeks to win. It seeks not just to win, but to triumph, to win with an opening lead, to turn around at the finish line and watch the battle for second. It clings to the earth and then thrusts it away.

But so many of the people who drive these excellent cars somehow misunderstand them. In some peculiar fashion, the belief is that, "if I have an excellent car, I must be an excellent driver." That is not the case. Bienfang artist's stock, Staedtler-Mars graphic pencils and good light do not make the monkey's scribbles any less chaotic. But the association remains. It becomes self-reinforcing. The BMW driver purchases Oakley sunglasses, Florsheim shoes and Tommy shirts. He has begun to attach subjective value to objects whose value can only go down.

Everything manmade must eventually fail, wear out, become obsolete and crumble to dust. The Florsheims will wear out. The Oakleys' UV protection burns away over time. The suspension bushings and headrests and piston rings will all wear thin.

It's a car. A made thing. Unless you've been pouring gold beads into the radiator, its value has not gone up.

BTW, gold's value is also artificial. Just so you don't get misled.

Crack pipe. #bmw