Exterior photo of 1988 BMW M3

1988 BMW M3



Price: SOLD

Mileage: 157,500 Miles (Chassis)

Engine: S14B23 Inline 4-Cylinder Engine (80K Engine Miles)

Transmission: 5-Speed Manual Transmission

Exterior color: Diamond Schwarz Metallic Exterior (181)

Interior: Natur Leather Interior (0295)

Additional features:

H&R Sport Springs

Bilstein Sport Shocks

EVO III Rear Spoiler w/ Carbon Fiber Gurney Flap

Depo Smoked Euro Smiley Headlights

M-Tech I Steering Wheel

Crack-Free Dashboard

Bavarian Restoration Refurbished Instrument Cluster

Map Light Mirror

Premium Sound

Alpine Stereo

13-Button On Board Computer

S50 Timing Tensioner

15” Style 5 Basketweave Wheels

Dunlop Direzza DZ102 High Performance Tires

Complete Mechanical / Cosmetic Restoration

No Rust – Bare Metal Restoration

Excellent Windows Out Re-Paint in Diamond Schwarz

Enthusiast Owned

Records Binder

Clean Carfax


1988 BMW 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 M stood exclusively for Motorsport. 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.


 exterior photo

This 1988 Diamond Schwarz Metallic over Natur tan leather BMW M3 came to us on consignment from a fellow BMW enthusiast and E30 M3 collector (owner of seven of them at his peak). He purchased it in 2011 and restored it into an exceptionally clean and stock example with a few tasteful upgrades. The known history goes back through two the previous owners, in Littleton, Colorado and Alburqurque, New Mexico. That original motor spun a bearing at approximately 125K miles. The original motor was replaced with a documented 49K mile S14 out of an M3 that was being built into a race car. The original for sale post from is included in the records, along with the Carfax from the donor M3. When the engine was swapped, an S50 timing chain tensioner was added and the clutch was replaced. The current owner rebuilt the engine harness, replaced the spark plugs, wires, distributor cap and rotor, coolant hoses, accessory belts, and the air filter. The suspension was refreshed with front control arms and bushings, rear subframe bushings, and trailing arm bushings. Fresh H&R Sport springs and Bilstein Sport shocks were mounted with fresh shock mounts. The wheel bearings were replaced, along with fresh brake pads and rotors. The interior and all glass were removed and the chassis was stripped, refinished, and painted. Rust in the lower windshield cowling and battery tray was repaired, and the front bumper cover / spoiler were replaced, along with an Evo III rear spoiler with a carbon fiber gurney flap. The entire car was then refinished in the original Diamond Schwarz Metallic. The final bill totaled over five figures in 2012. All weather stripping, including door seals, were replaced following the re-paint. Inside the Natur leather seats were recovered and black carpet was installed. When the crack-free dashboard was re-installed the blower motor, heater core, and heater valve were replaced; the air conditioning plumbing was removed at this time. The instrument cluster was rebuilt (the odometer gears still worked, but the trip meter was inop, a sign of immanent failure). The window and door seals were replaced, along with the armrests, and a single-piece M3 shift knob and boot. The original 15-Inch M3 Basketweave Wheels refinished with fresh center caps and mounted fresh Dunlop Direzza DZ102 high performance tires. In preparation for sale, it was given a complete inspection and replaced the shifter cup, left rear CV axles boots, water pump, and motor mounts. As it sits it is a wonderfully restored M3 that is stock with the exception of a few very desirable upgrades. It comes with a record binder of the previous sale ad, Carfax reports for both the chassis and the replacement motor, receipts and invoices for parts and the paint-work. The tool kit is complete, along with the M3-specific jack and wheel center cap tool. As it sits, this is a turn-key E30 M3. It presents fantastically, always drawing compliments and is ready to be enjoyed by its new owner.


1988 BMW M3 exterior photo

The Diamond Schwarz metallic paint is super glossy and is nearly perfect thanks to its recent refinishing. Close scrutiny does reveal minor imperfections, the worst being a light scratch behind the driver’s side door, another on the driver’s side skirt, and very minor pitting on the lower leading edges. The carbon fiber gurney flap has been painted on the upper side and has some clearcoat scratches on the lower side, but both could be refinished inexpensively. There is no rust whatsoever and all body panel gaps are correct. There is one broken mount on the left front bumper cover, causing it to sag slightly. The VIN stickers were removed when the chassis was prepped, but the firewall VIN inscription is in place. The windshield and window glass were replaced in the restoration and are crack-free, and not pitted. All trim is in place and correct. Replacement M badges were added after painting. The smoked “smiley” projector headlights have clean lenses and are a functional OEM upgrade from the US market projectors. The indicator, markers, and taillight lenses are likewise in good shape with the exception of a crack in the left front maker lens. The foglights have been deleted with color-matched covers. The Basketweave wheels are perfect with no curb rash and the Dunlop Direzza DZ102 tires have less than 400 miles on them.


 interior photo

The interior is excellent shape. There are no odors and it has never been smoked in. The carpet has no tears or stains. It was died black before being reinstalled. Clean M3 seats are hard to come by, and the leather covers on these are nearly perfect front and rear. The leather is soft and supple, and all seat functions work. The dashboard is likewise in excellent 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. The 13-button onboard computer and map light mirror function correctly. The Sony stereo functions, but the antenna is not hooked up. The premium sound speakers are intact, but the driver’s tweeter sail has a broken clip. The center console and all HVAC controls are extremely clean; the blower motor is quiet at all speeds, the heat blows warm, the air conditioning has been deleted. The power windows, sunroof, and door locks function correctly. The trunk carpet is clean and the tool kit is complete.


 engine photo

This E30 M3 is in excellent mechanical condition. It feels as tight and crisp as the day it left the show room. 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 H&R Sport / Bilstein 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 driveline or wheel bearing vibrations, and interior is free of leaky seal wind noise or rattles. This E30 M3 is the sweet spot in a population that are either too perfect to use without guilt or too needy and costly to bring up to par. It would cost significantly more than we are asking to build and has many exclusive bits.

VIN Decode

 exterior photo

VIN Decode

  • VIN: WBSAK0302J2197052
  • Type: 1003
  • Model: M3 – USA
  • Development Code: E30
  • Chassis: LIM
  • Steering: LL
  • Doors: 2
  • Engine: S14
  • Displacement: 2.30
  • Power: 197 Horsepower (originally)
  • Drivetrain: RWD
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Color: Diamond Schwarz Metallic (181)
  • Upholstery: Natur Leather (0295)
  • Production Plant: Dingolfing
  • Production Date: 11-20-87


  • 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