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E30 M3 Ownership Concerns

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  • E30 M3 Ownership Concerns

    I just wanted to raise a couple questions with you guys on the purchase and daily use of an e30 M3. I believe for many of you, the car is not your only transportation. Understand that I am a younger enthusiast and a fairly new driver, and for a couple years I've tossed around the idea of selling my perfectly fine, very low mileage, 2003 Chevy S-10 for a decent M3.

    Is this unwise?

    From an enthusiast's perspective(otherwise known as "pluses"): I gain the car I love so dearly for it's awesome racing heritage/history, aesthetics and driving experience. I also enter a great community of collectors, and gain overall satisfaction from ownership.

    From a more practical standpoint("minuses"): It could be a liability moving from the reliable and easily maintained 2003 to the punchy and needy(periodic valve adjustments, BMW Stealerships) E30. I know a lot rides in the actual ownership history/condition of the chosen M3. Also, the mod bug may bite and I plunge into further expense. Furthermore, this car really only appeals to those who understand it's heritage(this falls into both categories).

    Please share some wisdom with me--what would I be in for? What are typical operating costs?

  • #2
    Most E30 M3 owners could afford an E36, or even E46. Some could easily buy a Porsche.
    1989 M3 cinnabar red/black
    2001 540i 6 speed titanium silver/black


    • #3
      Like I always say, it depends on how anal you are and if you can work on the car yourself. If you can change oil, cap and rotor, plugs, alternator bushings, flywheel sensors, do exhaust work, etc, and you don't care about everything being perfect you can operate the car on a low budget.

      I did this for 6mo or a year when I first got the car and wasn't anal about it but I wasn't confident mechanically and got raped financially. Now I'm mechanically capable of taking care of the car but I got to be anal so I'm still spending lots of money. :sosad:
      "It is needless to say that self-propelling vehicles, like other machines, will never do as much for one who does not understand them as for one who does."


      • #4
        Working full time?

        Done with school?

        If the answer to both questions are no, I would wait (unless you're sponsored by parents :yeah: ). It will definitely be more expensive and require more maintenance than the truck. Not to mention parts availability (you may not be able to get stuff same day). Also, the truck is way more practical.

        Wait till you can put the time and money into one. Plus, if you commute a lot, you may not wanna rack up miles on a collector car like the M3.

        To answer your question, ownership costs really depends on the condition and mileage of the car, how much mechanical ability you have, and if you have parts connections. This amount can really vary. If the car has been maintained, I'd say at least a thousand a year, assuming you have a shop do it.

        I'll probably end up paying more for an M3 later on than right now, but by then I'll have a nice garage for it, and all kinds of disposable income to throw at it.
        Last edited by S14addict; 07-11-2006, 08:54 PM.
        Manager's reply upon my exiting a customer's E30 M3 after moving: "Hey your zipper's down!"
        Mine: "Holy crap, its not what it looks like!!"


        • #5
          i waited until i graduated college and got a job. i then waited another year to have money saved up to buy the car outright with cash. i still have the '95 4runner i bought at the beginning of college and drive it regularly.

          i've kept a fairly low budget overall by doing ALL the work myself, but have spent a few thousand on parts while trying to diagnose a problem. 2 years later and it's still not solved.


          • #6
            I drive my M3 every single day. I commute relatively far to work each day and travel in my car often. I purchased the car last year at during my last year in college. Again it is a reliable car if you look after it. I look after mine religiously. My best advice is to spend time and buy the right car. Theres not many out there and even fewer that are good examples. On top of that I would make sure that you find a good shop to do any work you do not feel comfortable with. Good luck with whatever you choose to do.


            • #7
              you will not realize the true potential of this car if you are driving it daily on streets. If you start doing track/auto-x then the chances of things going wrong will increase and you risk of being tied up when the car is not running. I would wait until I could afford another reliable car along with this one.

              - Tire is the other control arm bushing.



              • #8
                for me, having an m3 needs at least a daily driver car. future problems may take days or weeks (even in some shop) to fix it, not to mention the availability of parts.
                If you can afford to keep your current ride and an e30 m3, I suggest you do that, but if not, stick with what you have right now and wait til' you can..
                It's nice to have but too expensive to maintain( x3 parts, labor etc..price)..


                • #9
                  I agree that the opinions above are all true. Basically it all comes down to how much commitment you can allocate to the car in terms of time. money, and patience.

                  My M3 is a daily driver and have never regretted eversince I made that decision two years ago. The best part of my day is the drive to and from work. I got the car for me to drive and enjoy it while I still can (because who knows what will happen tomorrow).

                  Like what everyone says, if you can do some of the maintenance stuff yourself then that will save you a lot of money. If not, find a shop that you are comfortable with. Daily and preventive maintenance is not bad but you have to be ready also for the unexpected stuff.

                  If you can afford it, get one, drive it everyday, enjoy it, BUT take care of the car religiously. Not to the point of being anal but to the point of making sure that it will get you from point A to point B in a fun way.


                  • #10
                    Only you know how baddly you want this car. My advice would be to be patient and finish school, get a good job and in the meantime search for the best deal on the best car. Search the site and get educated about the 15K rule and also know what to look for before looking at prospects. Save up the cash and have it ready because every now and then a smokin deal will come up and there are hundreds of other people like you looking to buy.

                    88 M3 - LACHSSILBER/M TECH
                    89 M3 - ALPINEWEISS II/SCHWARZ
                    85 323I S52 - ALPINEWEISS/SCHWARZ
                    91 M TECHNIC TURBO - MACAOBLAU/M TECH


                    • #11
                      I had the same dream for so long aswell..but I put it on hold till I got my life together. finished school, got my dream job and making $$. have a daily driver then bought my M3. not to offened anyone, but for me, e30 m3 is not for shoul be able to backed it up, meaning get used to spending a bit of $$ for maintenance and mods if you wish. and enjoy the ride.
                      :burn:RED DRAGON


                      • #12
                        I was very close to buying an E46 M3 but then the chance came up to buy my dream car E30 M3 and the choice was so very simple

                        In the seven months of E30 M3 ownership, I have had three notes left on my car inquiring about purchasing it from me and four people who have stopped my on the road asking me to sell. I have never heard of any other car that brings this type of attention
                        October 1987 build date.


                        • #13
                          My E30 M3 is my current daily driver, and I will likely put over 20K on it my first year of ownership. I have the money to spend on it when stuff breaks, and another car to drive when it is in the shop. I was considering getting an RS6, 993 C4s, or something of that sort, but after driving those, then the E30 M3, for the money, it was no contest which car to get. I have no desire to own an E36 or E46 M3, except maybe a gutted E36 as a track car. The original M3 is the only one that will do for me, now with 120K miles and counting...

                          1989 BMW M3
                          2000 Audi S4
                          1997 Suzuki Bandit


                          • #14
                            Well I am indeed still in school. Many of you have reaffirmed better judgement on my part, though the temptation to achieve ownership is still prevalent. It's just more logical to wait untill I have a strong foundation, as in after college and in full-time work. Every day is a reminder of why I'd sell the truck in a heartbeat (lack of interior space, underpowered, lack of E30 M3ness). To address those who brought up maintenance issues, I'm lucky to have a couple very good mechanics in the family.

                            For the next few years I will live vicariously through each of you on this website. Anyone up for a joyride?

                            I just remembered that some rich kid drove an E30 M3 last year at a local school. Mommy and daddy paid for mods and maintenance; he himself probably couldn't pick an S14 out of a lineup of V8's.


                            • #15
                              The old E30 M will serve you right no matter what you choose to do. But, you can't daily drive it,
                              then take it to the track and try and set lap records and not expect there to be times you'll need
                              a second car. Heck, even if you don't track it, there will be a few times you'll need transportation.
                              There's no OBD or computer to tell you that the car is stumbling because your oil cap isn't on right,
                              or the car won't start because the AFM isn't plugged in.

                              Get a qualified pre-purchase inspection done, and perform regular mainteneance and should be fine.
                              Don't forget, it's an old car that needs preventive measures.
                              Good luck.

                              Disclaimer: Remember, I know absolutely nothing, but it doesn't prevent me from having an opinion or suggestion. :