Lightly Restored: 1988 BMW M3 – SOLD!

by | Jan 2023 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Free For All Friday

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February 17, 2023, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

January 21, 2023 Update – The seller replaced their original Craigslist ad with a fresh listing. The description, pictures, and $85,000 asking price all remain the same.

It seems a common trend these days is for certain cars to experience a rapid rise in value, followed by a plateau, and then a mild reduction in price until it settles in at a number that is still higher than what you could have previously bought it for. The E30-chassis BMW M3 is one such vehicle, as it was formerly the track day beater of choice for weekend racers around the globe before becoming a collector car seemingly overnight. You can’t touch them for less than $25,000 these days, which is the price of entry for a fairly tired example. This 1988 BMW M3, last listed in January 2023 on Craigslist in Seattle, indicates how we see most of them today, which is to say, partially or completely restored. The seller is asking $85,000, and comparing that price against the model guide shows that the seller isn’t that far off in their listed price, with the average sale price recorded as being a hair over $70,000:

It can be bittersweet for some enthusiasts to acknowledge that a car has begun to take off price-wise. Of course, there is always hope it will come back to Earth, but I’ve yet to see that happen unless it was a somewhat dubious car in the first place to have a price premium slapped on it. I can only imagine what some buyers paid for a Chrysler TC by Maserati or a 20th Anniversary Ford Mustang when they were new. I’m sure dealers gouged out their most loyal buyers when that special edition offer came around. The E30 M3 is a better example of what happens when the market wakes up to the virtues of a certain car that has always been good at what it was made to do. The E30 M3 has always been a car that road test editors and consumers alike agreed on in terms of its virtues, but those same audiences were also quite content having it remain a cheap track day hot rod. At some point, it’s not exactly a surprise that the market dynamics catch up and the valuation matches just how good the car is inside.

The Hagerty YouTube Channel features this BMW E30 M3 Buyer’s Guide:

The E30 M3 has always been a fantastic road car, but its limited-production qualities were seemingly overlooked in the 90s and early 2000s. The other factor was just the driving experience itself, which is to say a somewhat frenzied and high-strung power delivery that suddenly became charming when we realized BMW wasn’t going to make cars like that anymore. The Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 Cosworth, its primary competitor, has seen a similar rise in value over the last few years for the same reasons. The days are gone when you could buy a homologation car for everyday use, making the E30 M3 and other cars more special than they once were. Our subject car has been treated to a glass-out respray in the original paint scheme along with a few different chassis and powertrain upgrades; fortunately, the suspension and exhaust elements can be returned to stock if the next owner wants to experience the car as the factory intended. Hopefully, the records that date back to 2002 show evidence of detailed engine maintenance, so the next owner isn’t left wondering if the S38 will someday need a rebuild.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“This 1988 BMW M3 was purchased by the Seller for a private BMW collection here in Seattle in June 2018. The M3 is in excellent condition inside and out, with every function working perfectly. It is stored in a heated warehouse under a cover and is not a daily driver. It is driven occasionally during BMW Club events.

The previous owner had a glass-out complete respray of the M3 in the original factory Salmon Silver metallic (Lachssilber 203) with no accidents reported. The M3 shows 100k miles and now offers service records from 2002, a clean Carfax report, and a clean Washington title in the seller’s name.

Recent compression evaluation shows 210 psi across cylinders 1-4. The original BMW 15″ BBS basketweave wheels and springs will accompany the M3.

Equipment configuration includes:
• H&R springs
• Bilstein shocks
• Aluminum rear shock mounts
• KMAC camber plates
• Tuner Motorsport ECU performance chip
• Sport Evo-spec valvetrain, flywheel, and air box
• Borla exhaust with a Supersprint center section
• New front Brembo 4-piston brake calipers, rotors, pads, and stainless-steel lines
• New rear brake calipers, StopTech rotors and pads, and stainless-steel lines
• New Hella Euro ellipsoid headlights
• New Wiechers carbon-fiber front strut bar
• New leather-wrapped center console
• Rebuilt 3-piece 17″ BBS LM wheels with custom power-coated centers
• New 215/40 Pirelli P Zero tires

Serious buyers will receive additional detailed information.”

High cost of entry: do you think the E30 M3 deserves the lofty price tag that many consider the “new normal”? 


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