For whatever reason, BMW’s E30 3 Series has reached collector car status. Today’s Nice Price or No Dice drop-top adds an e36 M3 drivetrain to the equation. Could that make it all the more collectible?
So it seems that the general response to yesterday’s 2017 Chevy Colorado Z71 diesel was “no trucking way!” As much as we pay lip service to the desire for smaller, more wieldy trucks, few of you were willing to pay $26,000 for the opportunity, especially for one with 130,000 miles on the clock. It was the combination of the size, the miles, and that price that sealed the Colorado’s fate, giving it a 73 percent No Dice loss.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and note that I think that classic cars are like pornography. Now, I’m picturing your puzzled expressions and imagining the cross-firing of synapses from processing that statement, so allow me to explain. The idea of what exactly pornography “is” had to be determined by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1964 case Jacobellis v. Ohio in which a theater owner was charged with obscenity for screening the Lous Malle film, The Lovers. When tasked with codifying what exactly construed obscenity and thus pornography, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, wrote in his decision-concurring opinion that when it comes to porn, “I know it when I see it.”
You see, I think the same concept applies to classic cars. There’s no specific age, nor class of car that automatically identifies a model as a classic, but at a certain point, you just know a car is a classic when you see it. The BMW E30 3 Series, it would seem, has reached that point. See?
Now that the model can arguably be considered a classic, it’s not wholly unexpected to see E30s being restored, rejuvenated, or resto-modded to make them feel fresh again. With its later M3-sourced S52 engine and partner-in-crime gearbox, this 1987 BMW E30 convertible is just such a car.
It’s hard to tell whether a lot of work has gone into bringing this Bimmer up to snuff or if the basics were there, to begin with. What we can tell from the pics at least, is that the end result is a chef’s kiss of a car. I mean, just look at that awesome color combination. The burgundy top and interior are just out of the ordinary enough to be eye-catching without being garish or clownish.
Top that off with what looks to be impeccable condition — check out that crack-free dash — and this looks like a place you wouldn’t get tired spending some quality drive time. The only really questionable component here is the period-correct but totally useless car phone on the center console. That is probably screwed in place and has been left there to cover up the mounting holes. Another fly in this convertible’s ointment is a somewhat wonky-fitting top. That could probably be addressed by a professional top fitter, or you could just drive al fresco and not worry about it.
The big six looks at home in the E30’s engine bay, but here too there are a few things to note. First off, is that painter’s tape on the A/C port? Also, what drivetrain did this car have when it left the factory? If it was a four-cylinder car then the pumpkin in the back is likely not long for this world. The ad calls out mileage as 65,000, but that seems low for the car and we don’t get any history on the replacement drivetrain bits so that’s a bit of a mystery.
On the plus side, the install looks reasonably tidy, with an aftermarket radiator and electric fan to keep things cool. The suspension has received some upgrades to the bouncy bits, but it appears that all the bushings are OG. For wheels, the car comes with a nice set of BBS baskets and praise be whoever it was that decided to keep those silver. Euro bumpers and a ducktail spoiler round out the car’s visual accouterments.
Taken all together, this looks to be a very attractive package. With a clean title, it should be ready to roll for any new owner as well. The reason given by the present owner for the sale is to “make room in the garage for other toys.”
Should you, or anyone, be toying with the idea of buying this Bimmer, now would be a good time to discuss its price. That’s $23,000 and yes, that’s a lot of cabbage. However, as we discussed earlier, the E30 has now reached classic car status, and finding a good one is getting harder to do at anything less than classic car prices.
What do you think, is this M3-powered beauty worth that $23,000 asking as it’s presented in its ad? Or, classic or not, is that just too much for any E30 that’s not a real M3?
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