Thursday, October 17, 2013

15k: Salvage Drifter: 1989 BMW M3 E30

Sometime in the last decade the BMW E30 M3 market took a huge leap from what you'd expect to pay for a 200 horsepower '80s BMW drift machine to insane air conditioned garage queen prices.  There is nothing wrong with a classic car finding its market audience and appreciating, but it seemed to leave behind thousands of other BMWs that are equally competent (E36 M3, E30 325is, E24 M6, E28 M5, E34 M5..etc).  Regardless, it is always surprising when a cheap E30 M3 pops up on the radar, even if the title is salvaged.  Find this 1989 BMW E30 M3 for sale in Martinez, CA currently bidding on ebay for $14,000 with a few hours to go.

The original M3 was conceived by BMW as a homologation special, built in limited quantities to meet the "street car" requirement for Group A touring car racing.  The M3 featured very visible flared fenders and a mean aero kit; in fact, the only shared body panels with the base 3-series were the bonnet, roof panel and sunroof.

The 2.3 liter S14 inline-4 cylinder M3 engine is a 7,000 rpm redline fun-box that is good for 192 horsepower.  The S14 won't push you back in the seat like many newer engines, but it revvs freely to its redline and compliments the M3's 2800 lb curb weight well.

This E30 M3 only has 95k miles on the odometer, but at some point in time it was issued a salvage title due to minor front end damage that was repaired.  Many folks make a big deal about a salvaged title and it will hurt future sales value, but often a clean title car can suffer even more damage but not get the insurance write-off due to various circumstances.  However, selling the salvage title car, even at a significantly lower price, will always be harder. 

See a better bargain ///M car ? email us here:


  1. Somewhere along the way $15,000 became a cheap price for these. The world has spun of its axis. Just saying

    1. For $15,000, you could get:
      E39 M5 (2x cylinders, 2x hp, 2x doors)
      1994 Viper RT-10, supercharged with a salvage title (recently featured on Jalopnik)
      MkIV Supra N/A
      About four Miatas
      or the clean 1969 LeMans posted a few weeks ago - for half the price! Outrageous.

    2. Find me a 911SC for $15,000 and I'll show you a car that needs $15,000 in work to get into reliable driver condition.

      But yeah, $15,000 can buy you a beautifully restored 240z. And a Miata. And a tent to live in after the missus (or mister) kicks you out.

    3. That sounded like a challenge, so here you go: (I wish you could embed links here)

      Ugly wheels, but comes with the original Fuchs-style.

    4. Nice finds slowcarSLOW-MPGlol, I'm going to feature one of those as a story. Both look to be good drivers for the cash.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Ha ha all that needed was a "challenge accepted" pic.
      #1. 225k miles, but looks really nicely kept. I'm not a fan of the pre-993 Targa, but since I didn't specify, I'll go with it. Without knowing 100% of the history and without seeing any underbody pics (floors look very clean though), I can't say, but it doesn't *look* like it'll need $15k in the near future. But I'd probably spend $5k on an interior freshening and a thorough suspension freshening (if it needs it)... not that it impacts the mechanical reliability at all. Nice find! Especially with the H4's. #2 (below) has the DOT lights... nasty.

      #2. Barn find, 7k miles since 1989. I'm wary of that, but overall a really nice looking car. Valve covers (or whatever the source of that oil is) will need to be addressed soon, but I've seen plenty worse on cars that go for twice as much. I'll keep an eye on this auction ($12k reserve not met, 4 days left) and if it stays under $20k, someone got a phenomenal deal.


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