HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: Iconic 1988 BMW M3 racing machine built for...

Pick of the Day: Iconic 1988 BMW M3 racing machine built for the street

The homologation special was derived from the wildly successful touring car champion


Some collector cars are enduring icons, cars that signify the era in which they were created and become mythic not only to those who were around when they were new but to later generations as well.

The Pick of the Day, a 1988 BMW M3 coupe, is an excellent example of an icon from the 1980s, and already a performance classic for younger generations of collectors and enthusiasts.


The M3 from the E30 era was built by BMW’s competition department to compete in German touring car (DTM) racing against Mercedes’ latest, the 190E Cosworth. They also created the homologation-special M3, basically a street-legal version of the racing car built to fulfill the requirements of competition.

The people at the BMW M department did a better job than even they likely thought possible as the M3 would take 1,500 wins in the DTM series, and to this day is the most successful touring car competitor of all time.  

The homologation car for production came out in 1986 with a 192-horsepower 16-valve inline-4 and radical box-fendered styling; only the hood and roof were shared with the standard 3 Series coupe.

Check out this video from BMW Group Classic on the E30 M3:

Over the production run of 1986-1990, BMW built somewhere around 18,000 M3 road cars, which might sound like a big number, but really was not. When new, the original M3 was hard for dealers to sell, being high revving and stiffly sprung, and there was a pretty serious premium over the cost of a standard 3-series BMW. They were enthusiast-built cars produced specifically for enthusiast drivers.

There was a time around 15 years ago when a pristine example of an E30 M3 could be bought for as little as $25,000. I had a friend buy one with 23,000 miles in 2006 for that amount, and the car was immaculate. He asked my advice when he bought the car, and I told him to go for it and take good care of it. He did just that, adding another 7,000 miles over an 8-year period and doubling his money when he sold it in 2014.

m3, Pick of the Day: Iconic 1988 BMW M3 racing machine built for the street, ClassicCars.com Journal

Since then, the M3 has become a sort of halo car of the modern classic era, and a number of excellent examples have sold in excess of $100,000. The E30 M3 is currently a hot car on the collector car market, and it will continue to be so as it was a poster car of a generation.

This BMW M3 is being offered by a Farmingdale, New York, dealer on ClassicCars.com and looks to be an affordable example. Finished in Diamondschwarz paint over a Black Leather interior this is a 3-owner car that has covered just over 100,000 miles. While the mileage means it will never be a top-tier example, it is an E30 M3 that you can drive and enjoy, which is the best part of owning one of these cars.

m3, Pick of the Day: Iconic 1988 BMW M3 racing machine built for the street, ClassicCars.com Journal

The M3 has received numerous period upgrades, according to the dealer, including a Dinan engine performance chip, EVO lower air box intake, H&R sport springs, Koni adjustable shocks (stock springs and dampers included), front strut tower brace, R134a AC conversion, and Euro headlight grills.

The M3 includes a comprehensive service history file and is ready to drive on its next adventure, the seller notes.


The asking price for this M3 is a reasonable $59,800, and one that would be as welcome at the BMWCCA Oktober Fest as it would be in the Monterey Motorsports Reunion BMW car corral.

To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.


  1. Hey thanks for reading. Regardless of what you think of the pick I love these cars as do others and it was the pick I made and it did get lots of comments and likes when I posted it to facebook today.

    On a side note what cars would you like us to highlight? I would love the feedback and can search for some of those.


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