This Low-Mileage BMW E30 M3 in Perfect Condition Just Sold for an Insane $250,000

The age of quarter-million-dollar E30s is upon us.

BY BRIAN SILVESTRO | Road & Track

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The first-generation BMW M3 has had collector-car status for a while now, with prices steadily growing as collectors begin to realize what a special driving experience the car can deliver. Clean versions routinely sell for as much as brand-new M3s. But this perfectly kept, 8000-mile example painted in red? It just blew the whole E30 M3 market out of the water.

This M3, a 1988 model painted in Zinnoberrot over tan, just sold for an absurd $250,000 on Bring a Trailer. Yes, that is the correct amount of zeros. It’s the most expensive E30 we’ve ever seen change hands publicly, blowing away prices for even the rarer, more powerful EVO models sold in Europe. Showing exactly 8099 miles on the odometer, the car looks absolutely flawless, with a perfectly reflective red finish, a seemingly untouched interior, and a spotless engine bay. A look at the underside would make you think this car just rolled off the factory assembly line—it’s that clean. If any E30 is worth a quarter-million dollars, it’s this one.

In preparation for the sale, the seller also made sure to keep maintenance up to date, replacing the crankshaft seal, clutch fork, release bearing, exhaust hangers, exhaust gaskets, timing chain tensioner, clutch slave cylinder, and accessory drive belts. So theoretically, the buyer could get in and accumulate as many miles as they’d like without worry—though we suspect a car original as this will be tucked away in a safe location to accumulate value instead.

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This 1988 BMW M3 shows just 8k miles and is finished in Zinnoberrot over tan. The car is said to have been sold new in California, and remained with the original owner until his passing in the mid-1990s. It was then garaged and driven occasionally by the original owner’s family before being acquired by the seller in 2010 and moved to Missouri. Power is from a 2.3-liter DOHC inline-four paired with a five-speed manual gearbox, and equipment includes power windows, cruise control, and air conditioning, plus a factory Sport Evolution rear spoiler, front splitter, and tow-hook cover. The seller states that the car was serviced in April 2020 with fluid changes and a valve adjustment, as well as installation of a new timing chain tensioner, clutch slave cylinder, and accessory drive belts. This E30 M3 is now offered with service records, owner’s manuals, the factory wheels and rear spoiler, a clean Carfax report, and a clean Missouri title in the seller’s name.

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The body is finished in Zinnoberrot and features M3-specific side skirts, front and rear bumpers, and fender flares. Modifications include a BMW M3 Sport Evolution rear spoiler, front splitter, and tow-hook cover, though the factory items will accompany the car. The seller notes that the driver-side front fender has been refinished, and that the passenger fender shows a paint-depth reading slightly higher than the rest of the body.

Replacement BMW 15″ basketweave wheels wear BMW center caps and are wrapped in Dunlop Direzza DZ102 tires that were installed in April 2020. The factory wheels are included in the sale and wear 205/55 Goodyear Eagle NCT tires stamped with “327” date codes. Braking is provided by four-wheel ventilated discs, and the brake fluid and ABS speed sensors were replaced in 2020. The seller notes that the factory spare remains in the trunk, and it is believed that it has never been installed.

The interior is trimmed in Natural Tan leather with matching carpets and door panels, a black dash and center console, and factory BMW-embossed floor mats. Amenities include air conditioning, power windows, cruise control, and an AM/FM cassette stereo.

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A factory M-Tech 1 steering wheel frames a 160-mph speedometer, an 8k-rpm tachometer, and gauges for fuel level, oil temperature, and coolant temperature. The six-digit odometer shows just over 8k miles, approximately 640 of which have been added by the seller since February 2010.

The 2.3L S14B23 inline-four was factory rated at 192 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. Maintenance completed in February 2020 included a replacement shift shaft seal, a new fuel filter, and changes of the transmission fluid, coolant, and engine oil. An S52 timing chain tensioner was also installed, along with a new oil filter housing gasket, lower oil pan gasket, alternator bushings, and reconditioned injectors.

A cold-start video can be viewed above.

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Power is sent to the rear wheels via a Getrag G265 five-speed manual gearbox and a limited-slip differential. Service completed in April 2020 included a new crankshaft seal, clutch fork, and release bearing, as well as a differential fluid exchange and replacement exhaust hangers and gaskets. A new front splash shield and new left and right front wheel well housing shields were also installed.

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The Carfax report shows registration history in California and Missouri since the first entry in 2005, and indicates no accidents or other damage. The seller has provided exterior and interior overview videos below.

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Where does the E30 3-Series market go from here? Nowhere but up, we suspect. BMW isn’t making any more of these cars, after all, and as more people who grew up when they were new earn enough to spend big money on them, desirability will increase exponentially. And anyone who’s looked at non-M E30 prices lately will tell you these aren’t the sub-$1000 beaters they once were. Such is life.This content is imported from {embed-name}. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

Disclaimer: Bring a Trailer is owned by Road & Track’s parent company, Hearst Autos.

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