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  • Writer's pictureMike Kent

Living with an Icon - The E30 M3

The E30 M3. It rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? Muttering it within an earshot of an enthusiast will, without fail, spark a conversation. Maybe they used to own one. Maybe there used to be one in the family. At some point though this car left an impression. After spending some time with one I can feel why but when tasked to put pen to paper...Well, here's my attempt to explain it.

The numbers angle doesn't work. In fact, numbers are not kind to the E30 M3 and its power plant - The S14B23 engine. Four cylinders, 192 HP, and a 5 speed manual transmission. Not exactly the type of stats you'll go around touting. Lap times aren't very friendly either. Not in stock form when up against modern machines. No one recently has looked at the lap times from Nurburgring for an E30 M3 and thought, must have.

The ///M magic starts to present itself when you stop thinking about the numbers. There's no such thing as a manufacture record lap time on your favorite back road and they'd be no need for any touting when pulling into Cars and Coffee. It seems like any enthusiast, no matter if branded with an alternate badge or not, will nod in respect. A respect that seems to simultaneously be sent to both the vehicle and the owner. I think we're getting somewhere...

It's a feeling scarcely found in the current automotive landscape for the "today" vehicles. I reflect back on the resounding celebration a lot of my clients had back when BMW announced they're covering maintenance during the vehicle's New Car warranty. By no surprise their service schedule also drastically received an overhaul. Very few prospective owners batted an eye and the stapled 1,200 mile services were seen as an annoyance to some. And... BMW was paying for it. Still, it wasn't surprising to see CBS data shrugged off and services coming in late by a fair amount...

This is not the case with current E30 M3 owners and specialty shops like Enthusiast Auto Group. There is a mechanical bond that's formed and a want to take care of the vehicle that emerges. An almost responsibility that's felt to keep an icon in the best shape possible. A sense of pride when rolling down the street saying, I'm taking care of mine and it's taking care of me. The one I drove has yet to receive anything but a safety check from EAG and is far from perfect by their standards, but with 16x,xxx miles on the clock I was blown away with how well it drove. No way could have that been accomplished without a slew of owners dedicating time, effort, energy and money. To them, thank you. To prospective owners: No matter if it's on the road, the track or in the garage... You're in for an experience. One you'll be sure to talk about whenever you see another one.

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