Learn More
SHARE
THIS
LISTING
1988 BMW (E30) M3

1988 BMW (E30) M3

INQUIRE ABOUT THIS VEHICLE

Details

Price: Contact for Pricing

Mileage: Estimated 320K Chassis Miles (Total Mileage Unknown)

Engine: S14B23 Inline 4-Cylinder Engine (22K Miles Since Documented Rebuild)

Transmission: 5-Speed Manual Transmission

Exterior color: Sterling Silver Metallic Exterior (244)

Interior: Black Leather Interior (0203)

Additional features:

M-Tech I Steering Wheel

Crack-Free Dashboard

Map Light Mirror

Premium Sound

Kenwood Stereo w/ Matching Illumination and Bluetooth

13-Button On Board Computer

Air Conditioning Delete

15” Style 5 Basketweave Wheels

Dunlop Direzza DZ102 High Performance Tires

Documented Mechanical and Cosmetic Restoration

California / Colorado Car

Background

1988 BMW (E30) M3 exterior photo

The 1984-1991 BMW 3 Series, known generationally as the E30, is the one model more than any other that earned BMW its Ultimate Driving Machine reputation. E30s are one of our specialty vehicles at Glen Shelly Auto Brokers. The most iconic E30 was the M3, which was built specifically for racing homologation by BMW Motorsport in an era where the M badge was worn exclusively by M Cars. BMW Motorsport transformed the regular E30 into one of the most successful Touring Cars of the era with a completely revised suspension, aggressively flared fenders, front and rear aerodynamics, and the high compression, high-revving S14 engine. The S14 breathed through a pair of dual throttle bodies into a shortened version of the M88 head above a revised four-cylinder M10 block. It was high strung and lightweight, putting out nearly 200 horsepower in the initial 2.3-liter version. As a result, the E30 M3 was wildly successful in Motorsport, cementing a legacy that endures through BMW M GmbH today.

Summary

 exterior photo

This 1988 Sterling Silver Metallic over Black leather BMW M3 came to us from a fellow BMW enthusiast who wanted to see his cherished M3 sorted and sold to a good home. He sold it to us on the condition that we finish where he left off and restore it into a good, running E30 M3. It represents a rare opportunity for E30 M3 ownership. This is a mechanically sound and documented driver-quality example that can be affordably purchased and therefore enjoyed without guilt. If you missed getting on the ship of E30 M3 ownership before it sailed—due to stratospheric appreciation earlier this decade—this is your chance to get on the boat! The known history begins with the Carfax. It reports this M3 residing in California until coming to Colorado in 2004. In 1998 it reports the odometer going from approximately 200k miles to 2,000 miles, likely due to the cluster being replaced with a zero-mile unit. From there the new mileage is documented regularly in the Carfax and in the maintenance records; the odometer currently reads 117k miles. The total mileage is unknown, but summing the two would put the estimated chassis mileage around 320K miles—a bragging point for your next Cars and Coffee!

In 2004 the documentation picks up and shows an on-going extensive mechanical and cosmetic refurbishment. The records show the majority of the mechanical work being completed by old-school BMW specialists European Motors in Omaha, Nebraska (the Colorado-based owner had a relationship with this shop). The work included electrical repairs and replacement of the reverse light switch, power windows, power door locks, cruise control and module, exterior and interior lights, ignition, and a remanufactured ECU. The engine was overhauled, including the crankshaft, pistons, timing chain components, oil pump chain, cylinder head, valves, and valve guide seals. All associated gaskets were done at this time, along with the cooling hoses and spark plugs. At present, the overhauled motor has approximately 22k miles on it. The front seats were then restored with foam repairs and fresh matching black leather covers. In 2009 it was sold to the previous owner, a fire fighter and automobile painter, who did a lot of his own work including the suspension bushings, brakes, and lots of other routine maintenance. He also had a new windshield installed, then repainted the exterior himself from Salmon Silver to Sterling Silver Metallic using slightly more metal flake than BMW’s recipe. You would notice if I didn’t point it out and it works very well with the E30 M3’s lines. The previous owner split his time between a fire-fighting job in Hawaii and Colorado, driving the M3 sparingly in the short months that he was home.

We purchased it from him last fall and set about finishing the restoration. We started by replacing the fuel pump, fuel lines, and fuel filter. Then we replaced the fan clutch, radiator hoses, power steering reservoir and high pressure / return lines, all of the brake lines, and the accessory belts. From there we flushed all fluids, including the coolant, brake fluid, engine oil, differential oil, and transmission oil—along with the transmission output shaft and shift selector seals. The exhaust needed to be re-hung, along with new gaskets. The next order of business was to remove an ancient alarm system, clean up the trunk wiring, and install a modern Kenwood stereo. The suspension was refreshed with Bilstein touring front and rear shocks and shock mounts, along with fresh rear wheel bearings. We chased an intermittent ABS light by replacing both rear wheel speed sensors and the ABS control module, but neither has been successful. We suspect it is a rear ABS wiring harness issue.

Next we tackled a few minor cosmetic issues. First, we repainted the front bumper cover and front of the hood to correct several scratches (I have pictures of before and after). We also installed color-matched tow hook covers. Then we had the headliner replaced with an Alcantara anthracite headliner (the same material I put in my E34 M5 Touring) and had the wheels checked for trueness and refinished by wheel specialists Woody’s Wheels. They are wearing OEM BMW center caps and fresh Dunlop rubber. The end result of our collective efforts is an excellent driver-quality E30 M3. The records from both previous owners and the work we completed are included with the sale. Virtually every mechanical component has either been rebuilt or replaced at some point. Make no mistake, E30 M3 ownership is expensive, and this example will certainly need continued care and maintenance. However, this is your opportunity to join the club of E30 M3 ownership, and have the luxury of actually being able to enjoy it, too!

Exterior

1988 BMW (E30) M3 exterior photo

The Sterling Silver Metallic paint is good condition; it was a decent repaint, perfect for a driver quality example. Close scrutiny does reveal minor imperfections to the finish, but overall it is ideal for the mission of this M3. The rear spoiler does have some light cracking in the upper surface, typical for most dry climate E30 M3s. There is no notable rust; the previous owner reported repairing some rust in the front windshield cowling, passenger floor, and the battery tray. All body panel gaps are correct and the Carfax reports no accidents. All VIN stickers are present except for the hood and passenger front fender. Inside the engine bay, the valve cover has some peeling paint, but could be refinished in the theme of your choosing. The windshield is crack-free and the side and rear window glass is lightly tinted. All trim is in place and correct. We added a replacement M badge after I photographed the detail images.. The sealed beam headlights are crack-free. The indicator, markers, and taillight lenses are likewise in good shape with the exception of a crack in the right front turn signal lens. The fog lights are crack-free. The Basketweave wheels are perfect with no curb rash and fresh center caps thanks to being recently refinished. The Dunlop Direzza DZ102 tires have less than 1000 miles on them.

Interior

 interior photo

The interior is also in very good shape. The carpet has glaring tears or stains. The headliner is in excellent condition thanks to being recently replaced. There is faint odor from it being stored for a long time (I have the nose of a bloodhound); I wouldn’t classify it as offensive—just old car smell. The front seats are in good condition with only light creasing. They were recovered with rebuilt foam padding; the receipt is included in the records. The rear seats are in good condition with some visible creasing. All seat functions work with the exception of the passenger side fold forward. The dashboard is in very good shape and free of the typical E30 dashboard cracks. The M Tech I steering wheel is also in good shape with some wear. All instrument cluster functions work, including the odometer and trip meter. There are no warning lights or check panel warnings, we removed the ABS bulb as previously mentioned. The 13-button onboard computer and map light mirror function correctly. The Kenwood stereo sounds great; the right front speaker is scratchy. The premium sound speakers are intact, but the driver’s tweeter sail has a broken clip. The shift knob and boot are excellent and a removable aftermarket cup holder is present. The center console and all HVAC controls work, the blower motor is quiet at all speeds, the heat blows warm, and the air conditioning has been deleted. The power windows and sunroof function correctly. The power door locks work, but can be finicky. The trunk carpet has some light staining, the tool kit is complete, and the center cap tool and jack are present.

Mechanical

 engine photo

The mechanical condition is excellent. The S14 engine starts on command, idles smoothly, and pulls very strongly to redline. There is no excessive valve train or timing chain noise and it does not leak. It runs cool even on hot days. The clutch take up is correct and the shifter is tight and precise—not the spoon in the bowl of spaghetti that most E30s are. The Bilstein Touring suspension is sporty, yet compliant and the suspension bushings are tight with no slop. The brakes are quiet and strong with lots of pad life left. There are no excessive driveline or wheel bearing vibrations, there is some slight noise as would be expected with a thirty year old car. It passes and we pay for emission in the State of Colorado. This E30 M3 is your chance to join the fraternity of E30 M3 ownership. It looks fantastic in person and always receives compliments out on the road from people who know what it is. It hits the sweet spot in a population of cars that are either too perfect to use without guilt or too needy and costly to bring up to par—it is the E30 M3 that you can use and enjoy!

VIN Decode

 exterior photo

VIN Decode

  • VIN: WBSAK0305J2195358
  • Type: 1003
  • Model: M3 – USA
  • Development Code: E30
  • Chassis: LIM
  • Steering: LL
  • Doors: 2
  • Engine: S14
  • Displacement: 2.30
  • Power: 197 Horsepower
  • Drivetrain: RWD
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Color: Salmon Metallic (184) (original color)
  • Upholstery: Black Leather (0203)
  • Production Plant: Dingolfing

Options

  • 401 Sliding / Vent Roof Electric
  • 410 Window Lifts Electric Front
  • 530 Air Conditioning (removed)
  • 540 Cruise Control
  • 551 On-Board Computer
  • 675 BMW Sound System