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1988 BMW E30 M3 Evolution 2

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1988 BMW E30 M3 Evolution 2


BMW’s M3 has its origins in motorsport. The company wanted a car that could compete in the DTM race series (German Touring Cars) and one that would conform to the FIA’s Group A regulations.

The 1985 Geneva Motor was the venue for the grand unveiling. Immediately apparent were the myriad of changes over the standard car. On the outside, there was a large rear spoiler, a deep front splitter and flared wheel arches that could accommodate wider tyres.

Every body panel was altered except for the bonnet, the roof and the sunroof – a unique car. Suspension and braking systems were comprehensively upgraded too.

Under the bonnet however was where the real magic happened. The E30 M3 was fitted with a special high-revving 2.3-litre four-cylinder motor producing as much as 197bhp.

Test figures from the day suggested the M3 could sprint from 0-62mph in a little under seven seconds and would top out at around 145mph on the autobahn.

The engine was mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, unusual in its dogleg layout, whereby first gear was down and left. All characterful stuff.

Rules in racing change thick and fast and in order to comply, BMW had to create homologation specials in limited volumes.

The second of these, the Evolution 2 (EVO 2) was produced in 1988. Just five hundred of these beauties rolled down the production line, before being sold all over the world.

Power was now boosted to 217bhp, increasing the car’s already rapid acceleration. Larger wheels were specified along with a deeper front splitter and an additional rear spoiler.

The M3 EVO 2 was also put on a crash diet, so thinner side and rear window glass was used and the bootlid made of thinner steel.

The M3 of course remains in production today, though as each generation passes the power increases along with the car’s dimensions. Clever technology helps even the ordinary driver feel like a racing driver, but along the way something has been lost.

The E30 M3 requires concentration to get the best out of it and if you get it all wrong, there’s no safety kit to help you out. It’s raw, alive, thrilling, challenging perhaps, but never dull.

These cars rarely surface on the market and are now immensely collectable and we are proud to be able to offer this one for sale. Interested? Well read on and find out more.

The Vehicle

This left-hand drive Nagaro Silver M3 EVO 2 was delivered to its first owner in June 1988, being number 183 in the production run. We are reliably informed it spent some of its early years in the Isle of Wight.

Fast forward ten years, it was bought by a Mr Ashby from a dealer in Chiswick. He kept it for two years before selling it on to a friend, in whose family it has remained ever since.

It was part of an extensive collection of cherished cars and has resided in a heated and dehumidified garage for the last two decades. The owner sadly passed away some five years ago and his brother has recently reawakened it from its slumber in order to facilitate a sale.

He has carried out some recommissioning work in order to get the car running properly and we are told it now runs smoothly. It is a lovely original example, and has covered 163,500km (c 101,400miles).

On the Outside

With a known history of well over twenty years, we can be sure the car had no paintwork during that time. It is quite possible that the car still sports all factory original paint.

The front spoiler has some marks and above the front bumper there is a small dent and some stone chips. The door mirror backs also have some small stone chips and as do the leading edges of the front wings. One mirror also has an area of paintwork bubbling.

The is also a small dent in the roof above the passenger door and the rear spoiler has a tiny area of damage in one corner too.

The wheels look to be in good order, though new BMW monogrammed centre caps would just finish them off nicely. The tyres have plenty of tread but are old and show signs of perishing. Replacements are needed.

There’s a sliding steel sunroof for that alfresco vibe and it appears to operate as it should.

On the Inside

E30 interiors are a delight. A simple dash, with everything easy to read. Controls logically laid out and easy to use.

The chequered cloth seats, of the sporty variety up front, are in good order, though there are some marks to the leather sections, especially in the middle of the rear seat cushion.

A retractable sunblind is fitted to the rear window, a nice period touch.

The carpets and mats appear to be in good condition, though perhaps a steam clean might lift them a tad.

The boot is remarkably clean, as is the wheel well, which houses a full-size spare. The boot mounted tool kit is present and still boasts all its bits and pieces.

It should be noted that the speedometer reads in miles per hour, but the odometer reads in kilometres - a km speedo overlay is included.


Lift the bonnet and prepare to be wowed by that wonderful M-Power engine, here with a white, EVO 2 air box. It has just had new plugs fitted, the injectors cleaned and the fuel tank drained and refilled. We are told it now runs as it should.

A new gearbox was fitted by Munich Legends back in 1998 under warranty at a cost we are told of around £6,500 so there should be no issues in this regard. The clutch was changed too.

The M3 has had little use in the last 20 years, covering less than a thousand kilometres in the last fifteen years. Even though it has been safely stored during its leisure time, there are signs of surface corrosion on some of the car’s underside. A good scrub up and a generous coating of underseal would be a great place to start.

The car has not been MoT’d since 2014, so we would suggest a good look at the many photographs we have provided.

Clearly the car will need an element of recommissioning and we would imagine there may be some areas that need to be addressed before submitting the car for an MoT.

History Highlights

There is a generous sheaf of bills from the M3’s early years and a reassuringly full service book. Over the last twenty years, the car was maintained by the late seller’s brother, a trained mechanic with his own garage.

Recent work carried out includes a new radiator and track rod ends. The fuel tank was replaced around ten years ago along the with fuel pump and all the fuel lines.

Occasional servicing was carried out, as befitting a car that mostly stood idle and the current oil looks nice and clean.

UPDATE: The BMW has just passed its MOT with a couple of minor advisories - the tester commented that there is a small amount of surface rust under the sills in a couple of places. The paint has been broken there where someone in the distant past has jacked it up incorrectly; neither the 'dent/damage' nor the corrosion are significant and could be dealt with simply if required. 

We include an online HPI report run at the auction start which shows no finance outstanding and no insurance markers for theft or damage.

What We Think

We know this rare beast is going to attract a lot of interest. Whilst acknowledging that a little work is likely to be required before that first thrilling drive, it should be borne in mind that this is an unmodified and we think completely original car.

It is still a fast car even by today’s standards. It is a driver’s car, capable of engaging in a way that is now missing in its later brethren.

Undoubtedly still on an upward trajectory price wise, we believe the car will sell for between £60,000 and £80,000, though the sky’s the limit.

A true ‘80s icon, sitting here with us, waiting for its lucky new owner. So come on, put down that Easter egg and place a bid. You know you want to!

Inspection is always encouraged, within government guidelines of course. The car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon. To arrange an appointment please use the ‘Contact Seller’ button at the top of the listing. Please feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

If needed, please remember we have a network of suppliers we work with regularly including: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Footman James for classic car insurance, Classic Concierge for storing your car plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping.  

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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  • Location: Abingdon, Oxfordshire
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: 163,500km
  • Chassis Number: WBSAK010902191489
  • Engine: 2266
  • Gearbox: Manual
  • Colour: Nogaro Silver
  • Interior: Grey Check Cloth

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