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Is it Realistic to Try to Make One "Like New"

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  • Is it Realistic to Try to Make One "Like New"

    Can anyone comment on how realistic it is to make a reasonably clean, low mile E30 M3 "Like New"? I bought one new in 1990, modified it and drove it until a guy who worked for me totalled it. Since then I have gone through several BMWs and think that I still like the older M3 better than any of the newer ones I have owned since then. The thing is that I worry that I can't restore one I buy now to that condition. The interiors take a real beating it seems and there is the issue of rust and trim parts. I would guess the major parts, like the engine and suspension can all be bought or fixed to be like new. Could you guys be kind enough to give me your thoughts on this and recommendations? Thanks...

  • #2
    Sure you could restore an E30 M3. I suggest you get parts at cost and are very resourceful though or else it could get ridiculously expensive.

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


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    • #3
      Yes, parts are $$$ if you don't plan in advance.

      You can actually find a low mileage "like new" car. CrazyDesi found a nice 50 something mile car last year. //MBaller found a nice 60 or 70 mile car 1.5 years ago. I found a 30 something mile car 3 years ago.... It did take me a full year to find though.

      You will need to know what to look for in purchasing an E30 M3. You will also need a good mechanic to go over it. You cannot buy a car sight unseen.

      There are no rust issues whatsoever. Thou, there are areas that can develop rust, but unless your unit-body is Carbon Fiber (Mclaren) or Fiber glass (old corvettes), then a car will develop rust eventually. Fortunately with our cars being classic (soon), we can point you to these areas that may potentially have developed rust. The little coating of old cosmoline also helps preserve the bonnet area. :p

      Also, there are no problems with the trim, seats and interior components. The only thing that can ruin your interior is the sun. If you like to leave your car out in the sun a couple hours a day (x 12-16years) then you will have cracked dashes and seats. This is the norm. There are those with E36's with worse interiors than I have seen in E30's. If you moisturize your seats every other week and keep it out of the sun, the only degradation would be from your butt which will cause abrasions to the surface. Your seats will never crack, just rub-away.

      You will have to be PROactive with this little car. Change hoses, replace bushings, gaskets, belts , etc, if they haven't been replaced in the last 8 years.

      Visit some of the links on our links page, the first column. You might find more useful info. Here's Brandon's site. http://www.bayareamotorsport.com/ You can find a short blurb on :
      Where can I find E30 M3s for sale?

      What are some issues to out look for when buying an E30 M3?

      What is the "$15K Rule"?

      found on on this page: http://www.bayareamotorsport.com/page10.htm

      Welcome to S14!


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

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      • #4
        Thanks for the replies. I've been reading the threads and see there are more performance parts available npw than in 1990. I bought a set of Schrick cams from Hartge with a chip, some Stahl headers and Motorsport valve springs. (Made more power with the stock chip and the new cams than with the Hartge chip...) The 2.5 stroker kits and Gruppe A headers and exhaust and other stuff wasn't readily available then. Thanks for the links. Any specific places to find cars listed? Thanks again.

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        • #5
          Depending on how much you're willing to pay and your patience, I would agree with Magnus.

          The car I've listed below may or may not still be for sale, but it is probably as close to as new as you're going to find for sale today. It is located in the NY area and owned by Gordon Medenica. I would not doubt the car is MINT. But with "new", you will pay the "like new" price as well. Here's the information on the car, which is for sale via the BMW car club classifieds:

          1990 M3 VIN WBSAK0317LAE34204 White/black, 18k miles, late production w/airbag, absolutely perfect, essentially new, completely stock (not even a chip), original tires, spare never used. Consistently serviced, regularly exercised, museum quality, concours condition. $30,000. 914 738-7342; [email protected].
          (NY)

          Other websites you may want to try would include:
          www.cars.com
          www.autotrader.com
          www.roadfly.com
          www.turnermotorsports.com
          www.m-series.com

          Or you could search cars available in Europe and import one, but that's opening another can of worms! Look at my can of worms
          http://home.earthlink.net/~ljamesliu/index.html

          Hope this helps!
          1989 E30 M3 Cabrio - Nogaro Sliver / Black - 1 of 786
          1990 E30 M3 - Sterling Silver / Black
          1991 E30 318is - Sterling / Black (Mtech II project)

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          • #6
            OK. I started by checking Roadfly and German Used Cars. Found a 1990 White with 24,000 Miles for $17,000, bbut have had trouble contacting the owner. The pictures and write up suggest this one might be a real deal, since the guy went to Asia and its been in storage for 6 years? The one for $30,000 is owned by a guy who knows too much... As long as the body and paint are excellent and the interior doesn't need a complete redo, and the engine is sound, its not going to cost a lot to get it right, as long as I don't want to rebuild the engine. Suspension and exhaust and other modest stuff doesn;t add much, but going to a 225-250 stroker setup would add $10,000 or more. So, staring with a $30,000 stocker sounds wrong. More for the collector or idiot?

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            • #7
              I agree that finding parts today is a million times easier than in 1990.

              Having to rely on magazines and local tuners to inform of mods back then was not the most informative. Also the prices for imported stuff was just crazy. Now with the emergence of the internet, a deal can be had at just a click.

              Also the amount of information that is on the web is mind blowing. You can get better specs on new cars before they come out on a site, then through the Companies. I have seen time and time again how companies are scooped by non employees. I have also seen spy shots of cars taken from the web and shown in magazines.

              In 13 years time I believe that we are at a different standard of living, which also make it easier for some of us to tune our cars than in the past. Personally in 1992 when my brother and I shared the expense of our first e30 m3, the only mod I was able to afford was some BBS rims,new tires and a tape deck. While today, you can see the ability of younger people to mod there cars without having to sign their life away for the next 5 years. This is providing they aren't living beyond there means, and having their parents help.

              Thank god for the internet.

              You can join the E30 M3 Special Interest Group (sig) through BMW CCA. We tend to see things on sale before the general public does. Also, there are some people that refuse to sell things to non SIG drivers.... It's a close and intense club, at times.....
              http://www.bimmers.com


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

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              • #8
                Agree, Magnus... How do I join the SIG group?

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                • #9
                  Call your local BMW CCA and ask to join the E30 M3 SIG. It's an additional $12 bucks on top of the yearly cost of $35 for regular membership.

                  http://www.bmwcca.org/index_flash.shtml


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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Welcome to S14.net,
                    Joining the BMW CCA is one of the most cost effective ways to open a wealth of information in locating an E30 M3(Roundel Magazine classifieds).
                    You should go to some CCA sponsored autocrosses, or driving schools(a lot of instructors drive E30 M3's)to see if anyone has one for sale.
                    sigpic

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                    • #11
                      Thanks for the good advice.

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