Reader Submissions: BMW M3 Owner Loves Racing Heritage And Kool-Aid

BMW M3 Owner Loves Racing Heritage And Kool-Aid

Petrolicious Productions By Petrolicious Productions
November 18, 2014
18 comments

Owner: Mark David

Year, Make, and Model: 1991 BMW M3

Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

Photographers: Joshua Rizo and Sudhir Vijaykumar

I do not recall a time when cars were not an important part of my life—whether putting together plastic models, drawing them, reading about them, dreaming about them, etc. They have always been a focal point. Also, my dad is very mechanically inclined, able to do everything from engine rebuilds to paint and body work on our family cars. From young I have been immersed in all things automotive, and this affinity remains while other interests have long since faded.

My taste in cars was initially driven by my dad’s fondness of Japanese brands; however, I think a turning point was seeing footage of David Hobbs and Hans Stuck co-driving (flying, actually) a beautiful Marlboro-liveried M1, and at approximately the same time, witnessing Michèle Mouton dominate the Acropolis rally in a Quattro (I think it was the Acropolis). The German marques then trumped everything else.

In the summer of 2006, I bought an ’87 325is to use as a daily driver, started tracking it, and was forever a fan of the chassis. From then on I knew there would always be an E30 in my garage. And, like most non-M E30 owners, I pined for the iconic Motorsport version.

I started looking for an E30 M3 in 2008 and had a list of important “must haves,” which significantly narrowed the market and made my search an exercise in diligence and patience:

-No rust

-Clean title with no major collisions

-All original (or mods must be easily reversed with no artifacts left behind)

-Low mileage

-No window tint

-No Henna or Diamond Schwarz color

A full four years after starting the search, in September of 2012, I saw an ad on AutoTrader for a car that looked promising. Initial perceptions were great, negotiations with the seller went well, and the car passed a pre-purchase inspection (at Bullet Performance) with flying colors.

Production of the E30 M3 ceased in December of 1990, totaling 300 US-market cars for the 1991 model year. 49 were Sterling Silver on Silver. My car is an 11/90 build, meaning very few US cars came off the assembly line after mine—and maybe four more silver/silver examples?

With many E30 M3s converted for track duty, a lot of street cars modified to a very high degree, and even more that have rusted out, been wrecked, or simply neglected, I feel blessed to call this clean, stock, low-mileage car my own; an answer to my prayers, really.

It exceeded all of my requirements and expectations. The first time I saw it I knew I had found the car of my dreams. It came very well-documented, the price was less than market, and it had relatively low mileage (94.6K miles on the odometer at the time of purchase).

The S14 mill is tough for me to love in traffic, but absolutely sublime if roads permit the tach needle to arc past 4k rpm. The chassis wants to carve corners, not avoid them, and is stable and predictable at speed. But you know all this. The steering wheel, the gear shifter and the pedals, as they relate to my driving position, are absolutely perfect. The M3 makes a very mediocre driver like myself look like I know what I’m doing.

A large part of my affection for this car stems from its racing heritage. It’s an awesome feeling to own and drive a car that in competition guise owned the WTCC and holds the title as “Winningest touring car in the history of motorsports.”

How BMW managed to get well-developed, mid-engine-quality handling from a front engine car with very basic suspension geometry and components is, well, what put Bavaria on the map, right? The E30 M3’s ability to manage weight transfer is like none else and the result of phenomenal suspension tuning. Mind-blowing, when you consider the E30 platform was originally designed for mass production, with all the constraints and limitations that come along with it, and was to see duty as a coupe, saloon, convertible, and touring. This wasn’t conceived as a dedicated sports car that benefitted from single-purpose design and manufacturing. Am I totally drinking the Kool-Aid? Sure.

What I also love is that ambient light plays well with the Sterling Silver surfaces. The color really shows off the box flares and aero features. Now it is completely stock with the exception of H&R Sport springs, M Tech II steering wheel, ZHP shift knob, and Euro grills.

I would love to track my M3. But, alas, this car is irreplaceable, and therefore I can’t take it to Buttonwillow, Cal Speedway, or Willow Springs. If something goes wrong during a track weekend, it would take me a very long time to forgive myself. So, my drives are relegated to nearby highways and canyon roads, which are a lot of fun if hit at the right time (5am on a Sunday morning). I also have a “business loop” that I run twice a month, with the highlight being a fast 90° right hander that leads into a very “engaging” on-ramp. It’s a lot of fun.

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Sumit YadavdzamaludinzenSusan LisaCandice Clings CandiceGaurav Sharma Recent comment authors
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Sumit Yadav

Thanks for sharing this article, it was very informative and very interesting. I like the looks of the car very much, look is very attractive. The features described here also are very good, hope to buy one of them soon.

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dzamaludinzen
dzamaludinzen

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Susan Lisa
Susan Lisa

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Candice Clings Candice
Candice Clings Candice

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Gaurav Sharma
Gaurav Sharma

Love to race with sport cars and its has huge fun.
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Ganga Devi
Ganga Devi

BMW is the sensation in latest and old cars and i love to drive the cars of BMW.
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Mikage Slang
Mikage Slang

Very beautiful car, but the parts must be expensive. To save money you can do your car shopping using deal or coupons.

Mikage Slang
Mikage Slang

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angelasamson
angelasamson

Car is awesome, i like to get for my self
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Mark D
Mark D

Hello all, Mark here, humbled owner of the subject car. Sorry for the delay in commenting, but my work schedule has not given me any spare time. @Paul Santos – Yep! Just in case the hood latch breaks at Autobahn speeds? @Wes Flack – Cheers! Nice collection you have there. If I had more covered parking I would get an M-Tech II ‘vert, an S50B32 powered coupe, and a late model Touring 🙂 @Christian Baumann – Thank you! I am waiting for the US version of the DVD to become available. Hope it happens soon. @CHRIS DAGNOLO – Chris, you… Read more »

alfavirusnz
alfavirusnz

The E30 M3 is an icon car that is on my bucket list to own too. I`ve owned and worked on several icon cars but a good example of this model has alluded me – you`ve just increased my resolve. Other cars, even later version M3`s are faster but this has superb balance and looks. Everyone who has been lucky enough to own one, and the articles and books written about M3`s say this is the best one. Wish they were cheaper in my country though – they command very good prices here.

Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson

I agree with Chris, this certainly is a stunning example. Good as can be in my opinion, although I personally wouldn’t rule out Henna or Diamond Schwarz. The E30 M3 manages the feat to look good in every colour it was offered in, I think.

elma sherry
elma sherry

why are you so hot BMW ! wish could have like this ! Ah my excitement it’s on over the moon..
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CHRIS DAGNOLO
CHRIS DAGNOLO

ABSOLUTELY STUNNING EXAMPLE. I doubt there are any better. I have a buddy who owns a white one with the red / blue motorspoets flag draped across the fender. He said most people don’t even know what it is these days! Hard to believe for those of us who know it as an icon car! Thanks for sharing and what a tribute this is to patience and perseverance! Congrats on a life long car!
Chris

Christian Baumann
Christian Baumann

Dear Mark, wonderful car! Car of my dreams when I made my driving licence 1990 …
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Wes Flack
Wes Flack

Yes, I also enjoy the kool-aid daily. Over the last eight years, I have bought 5 e30s, and sold none. While I would like an M3, I think I get more enjoyment from the racecar, the 2 sedans, the 318is, and the vert. 😀
.

Paul Santos

The hood flips forward! I have to add that to my car ownership bucket list along with car with flip up headlights and car with engine under glass.

timmy850
timmy850

I had a 1978 Mazda 323 (GLC / Familia) with a flip forward bonnet. It was good that you could pop it open slightly for better cooling, but I pulled it off that many times to work on the engine I lost count!