This 1988 BMW M3 is a sad sight for any fans of this iconic 80s halo car, but a potential diamond in the rough for someone looking to get into one of these modern collector cars on the cheaper side of things. Still, you’re going to have to pony up a fair amount of capital, even for a basketcase like this. The M3 is in rough shape, and apparently wasn’t much better when the seller got his hands on it as a complete car with a running drivetrain. Not to worry – it wasn’t numbers matching, as it had an S52 from a later M3 swapped in. Still, a shame to see one so rough. Find it here on eBay where bidding is over $22,000 with no reserve.
The seller actually includes a link to a web forum post that documents when he bought the car for a little over $5,000 and laid out his big plans for reviving the then-tired M3. It was still pretty rough, but a previous owner paid a shop to do the engine swap, so it had to have been good enough to justify that labor charge. The S52 inline-six is your bread-and-butter E36 M3 engine, and a very common swap for when the high-strung S14 grenades itself or otherwise needs a costly rebuild. The shame of it is that even if the original engine was kaput, pairing it with a rough project like this would undoubtedly bring more money, but 2o years ago drivers weren’t worried about saving a rebuild-worthy S14.
What’s truly a shame here is that the seller spent a few years hemming and hawing about what he should do with the car, leaving it outside in the relentless Arizona sun for the last few years of his ownership of the car, The interior was partially disassembled and the dash is of course completely cracked due to prolonged sun exposure. E30 M3s typically have leather seating surfaces, and it looks like the back seat has been removed and the cloth bucket seat dropped in place as a hold-over. The carpet has also been stripped out, but it looks like the foam padding is visible in the picture here, so perhaps it wasn’t tossed. The paint, as you can see, was never all that good, but has suffered further from years outdoors.
The seller’s attitude in the listing seems to match what was displayed in the forum posts, which is a general lack of interest in seeing this car completed. The seller did apparently get the frame straightened, which should tell you a thing or two about how poorly this M3 was treated for the last decade or so. The car will come with boxes of parts that are shown in the listing, but it’s not all that impressive. Some original equipment pieces like the grills and headlights are also shown. Overall, given how hot the market remains for E30 M3s, there’s little doubt this one will find a new home that will rebuild it – but it’s a shame how long it’s been in a neglected state.
This content was originally published here.