Journal: Which Is Your Favorite '80s DTM Street Icon?

Which Is Your Favorite ’80s DTM Street Icon?

Petrolicious Productions By Petrolicious Productions
June 13, 2013
22 comments

There’s an irresistible fitness for purpose demonstrated by homologation cars. It’s this pared-back, lean, mean, and no-nonsense attitude that we love about the best of this very special breed of street car, a raw aggression that bursts out from the box-flared arches of this week’s featured competitors. “Competitors” couldn’t be more apt in this scenario, each car bred by their respective parent company for battle against each other in DTM, or German Touring Car racing, of the ’80s and ’90s. Today, both are highly-collectible, either one among the finest-handling sedans ever built.

First up is a 1988 BMW M3, the original, and in the mind of many, best version of M’s most iconic and biggest-selling car. Black over black Recaros, this particular example is no spring chicken with a solid 150k+ miles on the clock, but presents nicely as a good driver with nice, but not perfect cosmetics—we wouldn’t be afraid of thrashing it within an inch of its life and parking it with dirt and bugs in the grille for a few days.

The auction is light on hard information, but even if it contained an index and chapters we’d still never bid prior to an inspection, either in-person or by a reputable shop—it’s worth noting there’s frequently room for negotiating this service into the purchase price. If treated well, these cars can be very robust, and provided there’s no hidden electrical or mechanical gremlins, mileage should be no deterrent—let it shine as a driving tool and leave photoshoots on manicured lawns to the other guys.

Alternately, you could have a Euro-spec 190E 2.3 16. With a race-bred, medium-capacity, high-revving four cylinder similar to the Beemer’s, we’d never, ever tire of imagining its Cosworth heritage while revving it out to 7,000. Located in Canada, and with roughly half the mileage of the M3, it should be a relative breeze to import as its 1985 build date easily surpasses the Federal 25-year-and-older requirement.

No, we’re not fans of the clear corner or taillights, either, and to call the amplifier install as “sloppy” would be charitable, but the car otherwise looks presentable—with some proper lights, a buff with cutting compound, and an afternoon or two of detail it could shine. Again, a pre-purchase inspection is mandatory, with reliability directly in proportion to the level of care it’s been treated with over the years. While the E30 may have the ultimate advantage in sharpness, it’s not by a large margin, and there’s something incredibly alluring about this car—maybe because it’s the less obvious choice?

Which modern classic tin-top racer’s for you?

1985 Mercedez-Benz 190E 

Click here for the Mercedes details.

1988 BMW M3 

Click here for the BMW details.

Join the Conversation
Related

Leave a Reply

Frantisek Simon
Frantisek Simon

190e for track, m3 for fun.

Hans-Arvid Svellingen
Hans-Arvid Svellingen

Alfa Romeo 75 Evoluzione. Came over one by chance and ended up with it;) The 1.8 turbo hasen’t the same finesse but a charm of it own. A totally uncompromising car. Only 509 were built in the spring of 1987. The race pedigree were hampered by a lack of funding from a struggeling Alfa Romeo company. Still an M3 is company in comparison :p

JB21
JB21

I was hoping somebody would mention that!!

Paul Wilson
Paul Wilson

I got a Renault 5 GT Turbo and my last daily was an 1988 Ford Fiesta XR2 and before a 205 GTi Mi16. I would say that i have had could not go and buy a brand new car, you can’t move for crap plastic and i can’t distinguish between any of them because they look like jelly from the same mould. My advice is to always, always get something 80’s and older and drive with a smile on your face, cannot beat fixing a clutch with a screwdriver only or paying just £30 for a full steering rack with… Read more »

Erwan Brillot
Erwan Brillot

Damn, tough-one … I’d said BMW (don’t say as always :-)) because I saw a mint one this morning on the road and it looks beasty.

Hudson Valley Chronic
Hudson Valley Chronic

These are both the sort of vehicle a misanthrope like the protagonist in this song might sell his soul for:
http://biffthuringer.bandcamp.com/track/automobile

Leucea Alexandru
Leucea Alexandru

Eternal rivalry. Bmw E30 M3 is in my heart.

kknappc
kknappc

What about the forgotten 1990-91 champ? Audi V8!

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

M3 for me, the awful gearbox ruins the 190 Cossie IMO

Inigo Loy Colmenar
Inigo Loy Colmenar

easily fixable with stiffer bushings

Derek Sugiono
Derek Sugiono

They have the same gearbox…

Musa Suleymanov
Musa Suleymanov

190E Evo II the best…

Robert Goldstein
Robert Goldstein

I love them both, but I am a BMW guy…E30 M3 all the way! I will say that the 190 2.3-16 EVO II is awesome too!

Inigo Loy Colmenar
Inigo Loy Colmenar

I think it is a little misleading to call a 190E 2.3-16 as a 190E. I wouldn’t call an E30M3 a 325 or an E30.
I think the bias is showing here…:-)

Inigo Loy Colmenar
Inigo Loy Colmenar

As an owner of a 190E 2.3-16 and an active member of the 16V community, we are getting ready for our next So Cal meet and we are trying to set up this meet with E30M3 owners. I think it would be a good opportunity for the 2 communities to get together and check out each other’s cars.

Josh Clason
Josh Clason

When and where is the meet? We have been trying to line up a 190E 2.3-16v for a video and would love to meet some owners.

Inigo Loy Colmenar
Inigo Loy Colmenar

Josh,
I was in correspondence with Afshin to discuss the possibility of featuring my 16V but he never emailed me back. The date for the meet is July 6th. The tentative location is Santa Monica and Malibu
Thanks,
Gil

Afshin Behnia
Afshin Behnia

Hi Inigo,
Sorry about that! Please contact me again and we’ll organize it!
Cheers,
Afshin

Xander Cesari
Xander Cesari

I agree with Motoring Con Brio’s assessment of the overexposure, though that doesn’t detract from it being an excellent car. (Also, the world of excellent auto blogs is small; Bradley Price’s Automobiliac led me to both Petrolicious and Motoring Con Brio.)

I like the Cosworth connection on the 190E and due to the aforementioned overexposure it’s kind of the ‘other’ guy. I think it’s a bit more race bred with less consideration for the street, which is always neat.

That said, boxy fender flares get me [i]every time[/i]. Automotive design kryptonite right there.

Josh Clason
Josh Clason

As to answer this question above I would take the E30 M3 over this particular 190E as the price for the MB seems too high. If it was more in line with the prices they normally fetch (~10k) I would be inclined to pick the 190E 16v which is a massively understated car in my opinion.

motoring con brio
motoring con brio

Let’s get this out of the way: I love the E30 M3. It is one of my dream cars and I hope to someday own one.

With that said, I believe it now suffers very badly from overexposure. Collectively, I think it’s about time we all stopped talking about it.

Josh Clason
Josh Clason

Haha there is no doubt that it is having a bit of its moment in the sun. On the plus side it seems that the crazy prices they have been fetching the past few years are now starting to come back into something a bit more reasonable and I think that it the exposure is on a downward slide. I think you will get your wish soon enough!