After many anticlimactic years that saw Mercedes and Audi trade titles back and forth as the only DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft) competitors, BMW has announced that they are returning from their 18-year absence and are fielding six E92 M3 DTM cars. Adding to the excitement is the announcement that DTM will be bringing a 12-race series to North America starting in 2013. Judging from BMW’s success in the ALMS (American Le Mans Series), we’re in for one heck of a racing season.
In a way, all us youngsters will finally get a chance to relive the ‘Golden Era’ that saw BMW E30 M3s battle it out against Mercedes’ 190E AMG for manufacturer supremacy in the late 80’s. To us gear heads, the very mentioning of ‘Golden Era’ gives us goosebumps as it simultaneously reminds us of Warsteiner livery M3s tearing up European racetracks. It wasn’t racing as we know it today – it was war. Every race was a battle against a hated enemy, blood was shed, no car was ever left undamaged, egos boiled, and no race was ever an easy win. Due to its success in the various touring Car Championships in Italy, Australia, England, and other European countries, the E30 BMW quickly became what everyone lusted after. In the late 80s, everyone wanted one, the E30 M3 adorned bedroom walls, terrorized local tracks, and became the car to own.
In fact, it’s still the car to own. When you give it some thought, there’s no vintage car as well respected, versatile, affordable, and brilliant to own with as much pedigree as a BMW E30 3 Series. And which was the greatest? Well the E30 M3 DTM of course! So as an ode to BMW’s Touring Championship roots, let’s run through an (overly) simplistic guide to having your very own parked in your garage in a matter of weeks.
The two problems you’ll quickly run into are availability and price. While they’re not Pebble Beach Ferrari expensive, a good example will set you back around $35,000 – or the price of a new BMW 3 Series. But once in a while a bargain is to be found. Get started by purchasing this ‘project’ E30 M3 for sale in Vaughan, Ontario, that at $8,000, is less than a quarter of the price of a showroom condition E30 M3. Aside from needing a new fuel pump, fuel tank lining, and some TLC, it looks like it’s got plenty of life left in it. Pending everything else works well, we’ll then give it the full DTM treatment.
On the inside we’ll need to chuck the seats, install a rear roll cage and two Recaro racing seats. You could go mental and install a full cage, plastic windows, rip out most of the dash, and leave the passenger seat behind, but we’re all about usability, so let’s keep it simple and affordable.
Moving on to the outside, the rusty bits that the ad mentions will need to be taken care of. Once mended and sanded down, the body will receive the Alpine White treatment to prep for the legendary Warsteiner livery. In the meantime, hunt down some gold BBS RS wheels and a set of racing springs. Then roll some low profile tires around those BBS wheels and install it all once the M3 is back from the spray booth. To truly get the M3 up to DTM spec, a myriad of parts would have to be sourced, but something tells us we’d already be content with a properly running stock E30 M3. Last but not least comes the decals. Lucky for us Eastern Canadian folk there’s a man in Montreal who prints exactly the decals we’re after and sells the full set for $595 + tax. That’s M stripes, sponsor and BMW factory decals Dekra numbers, and driver’s name all in one, printed on durable high quality 3M vinyl and shipped within a week.
That’s it. You now own a car reminiscent of the world’s most successful, legendary, and desirable Touring Car. Go find a track, a friend with a Mercedes-Benz 190 E, cue the German rock, and relive the Golden Years. (See below).
Programming: Tune in on April 29th to see BMW trade paint with Mercedes and Audi at the Hockenheimring Baden-Wurttemberg as a new era begins.