I get to see a lot of nice cars in our parking garage over at 343 Industries, and one of those nice cars happens to be what many would call the “Genesis” of all M cars: the E30 M3. Recently I caught up with one of my colleagues to talk about his Bavarian beauty. After our chat, Chiyo agreed to be featured in The Driveway segment we do.

Continue Reading Below

Below is what transpired:

Name: Chiyo

Car (Year/Make/Model): 1988 BMW M3 (photo credit goes to Mukul Soman at www.mukulsoman.com)

BMW E30 M3 the driveway 1 750x501
BMW E30 M3 the driveway 3 750x501 BMW-E30-M3-the-driveway-2

Time of Ownership: 3 years. I purchased the car in 2013 from a BMW Service Manager. The original owners purchased it for their daughter as a graduation gift, but she actually didn’t take ownership because it was a manual transmission. The owner’s then drove well into the new millennium until the father’s unfortunate passing. The next owner held onto it until eventually they needed to see it in order to help finance the purchase of an E60 M5. At the time I also owned an E92 M3 and wanted to see what the fuss was about and if the moniker “God’s Chariot” was warranted.

What Made You Buy It?: I suspected that the price inflation wouldn’t be slowing anytime soon and right then was the cheapest I’d ever be able to purchase one. So I started looking in earnest in the summer of 2013 and bit the bullet a few months later.

Things You Like: While I love driving (and it certainly can be an immensely enjoyable ride) for lack of a better word, it just looks cool. It’s an 80’s box on wheels, with classic bottlecaps filling out the iconic box flares. Even the smell exudes that aroma of quintessential 80’s German luxury.

Things You’d Change: Not a lot. The steering ratio was ridiculously slow (4 turns lock to lock) so that was promptly swapped out for a quicker Z3 rack. I’m generally not into heavy modifications as I like to (for the most part) enjoy vehicles as the engineers intended. If for instance I want to drive a faster car, there are other cars that can fill that need.


Modifications Done: It’s been lightly modified with H&R sport struts and springs as well as the aforementioned steering rack. A small diameter Sparco steering wheel was swapped in to quicken the steering feel as well.

Any Adventures?: Sadly, no. To be honest, the skyrocketing value has me driving it less and less frequently which is a complete shame. I know. That said, I’ve recently acquired a track rate 1989 M3 that my friend and I are preparing for the 2017 track season so all is not lost.

BMW-E30-M3-the-driveway-6 BMW-E30-M3-the-driveway-5

Costs: Beyond regular maintenance, I snapped a bolt swapping out a leaky water pump. I ended up towing the car to the shop to complete the swap so that was several hundred of dollars I would’ve preferred not to spend. The car is nearly 3 decades old, just barely younger than I am. If you’re going to jump into owning a car of this vintage, just have an emergency fund handy because you will need it.

What’s Next (Next car, next adventure, etc.)?: Like I said, my friend and I are currently working on a project prepping our 1989 M3 for 2017. Beyond that I’ve always romanticized the idea of resto-modding an old classic. 911’s are too pricy these days so I’m always keeping an eye on an early 240z or roundie 2002!