With more and more automakers introducing new products at their own dedicated events to avoid sharing the spotlight with rival companies, the golden age of the car show seems to be over. Nevertheless, it’s highly unlikely these will completely go away, and we can say the same about niche car shows. Even the smaller events are determined to stick around, as is the case with the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show.

Held earlier this month in Birmingham, UK at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), it hosted two of BMW’s greatest hits as the M3 E30 sat alongside the M3 E46. As you would expect, both performance sedans were in excellent condition and provided a nice contrast between the Brilliant Red paint of the older car and the Phoenix Yellow of the newer one.

Enthusiasts will immediately notice that’s not a run-of-the-mill M3 E30 since we’re dealing with the rarer Sport Evolution. It’s one of the only 600 cars ever made and the final iteration of the sports sedan. The engine displacement was bumped to 2.5 liters to extract 238 horsepower and 240 Newton-meters (177 pound-feet) of torque.

The M3 E46 was far more potent courtesy of a bigger inline-six 3.2-liter engine making 338 hp and 365 Nm (269 lb-ft) of torque in the standard model featured at the show. Of course, BMW also had the M3 CSL that lost weight and gained power to become an automotive icon. The car showcased at the event seemed to be a time capsule, and as the years go by, the design is somehow getting better.

Choosing between the two is downright impossible, but if someone were to put a gun to our heads, we’d likely go with the M3 E30. Thanks to its huge motorsport success, it’s the car that truly put BMW M on the map of performance machines. BMW fan or not, we can all agree a homologation special is among the most desirable cars out there.

Source: Twin-Cam / YouTube