Zinnoberrot for the Zealous: When E30 M3s Sell for $250,000

Lot #34096 says more about the state of collectibility than it does the motorsport that its heritage belies. It’s easy to make complaints about the perceived value of the E30 M3 in the modern era, and complain we will. 15 years ago, nay, 10 years ago, it would be unheard of that a 2.5 liter commuter would fetch triple digits, but here we are with a 1988 model selling on Bringatrailer.com for $148,000 more than the last BaT trophy holder for “most overpriced.”

What could account for the outrageous prices of these vehicles? Could it be the nostalgic allure of it’s German Touring Championship legacy? That would be reasonable if the specific car had ever stretched it legs on any of the German tracks that had hosted DTM in the late eighties and early nineties, but this one saw nary 250 miles per year. And while the car is one of the winningest touring cars in history, it only took two drivers to championships during its time in the flagship German series. Is it the fault of wealthy Gen X’ers and Millenials that have gone the way of the Boomer, and turned the market into everything that we feared? The classic car market? We think that is more likely. That light-hearted assertion in conjunction with the low supply of average variants seems to boost popularity, and thus demand for all. We’ve seen it happen to third generation RX-7s and Integra Type-Rs. It was only a matter of time and money. With our best Jim Cramer impression, we tell you to “BUY THAT 190 E 2.5-16 EVOLUTION” and do it now.

Buoying the already violent market for non-M cars hurts availability for enthusiasts. What could have forever been the cheap alternative for the average enthusiast to go fast and turn fast, has fallen to the will of the silver-cuff-linked and unapologetic garage queener. The will of the many in this case, dies in the sandstorm powered by the winds of leather bound checkbooks opening and closing by the few.

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We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting, like that of a new romantic relationship, so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.

Photo Credit: Bringatrailer.com