Sound of Mu­sic

New Zealand Classic Car - - Words And Photos: -

and the 323i at $43K, while the four-cylin­der 318i fol­lowed a year later at $34,500. By that time, the larger-en­gined ver­sions had risen in price, while the 323i was re­placed by the 325i in 1986. When the last of the E30s ar­rived, in early 1991, a four-door 325i SE cost a hefty $79,800 with man­ual trans­mis­sion and $84,900 with an au­to­matic one.

Hot prop­erty

A rac­ing class for the model was cre­ated 14 years af­ter the last new E30s ar­rived here, al­low­ing 1.8-litre and 2.0-litre ver­sions plus an open cat­e­gory for clas­sic M3 ver­sions. The E30 spawned the largest one-make class in New Zealand, with age­ing, used 3 Se­ries sedans hot prop­erty as po­ten­tial race cars. M3s have long been prom­i­nent on New Zealand race tracks, and the E30 se­ries won no fewer than 12 ma­jor tour­ing-car cham­pi­onships glob­ally be­tween 1987 and 1991. The car has in­spired Con­rad Timms of M3 Mo­tor­sport Ltd to de­sign and make se­lected parts for the model in New Zealand.

The list of driv­ers who raced E30 M3 sedans reads like a who’s who of down-un­der mo­tor sport, with names such as Peter Brock, Jim Richards, Paul Ra­disich, Trevor Crowe, Mark Thatcher, Rob­bie France­vic, Brett Ri­ley, Tony Longhurst, Al­lan Grice, and Gra­ham Lorimer. Sadly, Denny Hulme suf­fered a fa­tal heart at­tack while rac­ing the Ben­son & Hedges–liv­er­ied yel­low-and-white M3 at Bathurst in Oc­to­ber 1992. took us through a BMW high-per­for­mance driv­ing course. Frank ran the mo­tor sport divi­sion of BMW Aus­tralia, and, in 1987, the JPS-BMW team car­ried Jim Richards to vic­tory in the Aus­tralian Group A cham­pi­onship.

By com­par­i­son, I also drove E30s on closed roads in Ger­many with sev­eral Asian driv­ers, who, when asked, could not ap­ply suf­fi­cient brake-pedal pres­sure to ac­ti­vate the car’s ABS. Then there was a late ’80s episode of see­ing how long it was pos­si­ble to hold an M3 at 230kph on a quiet Ger­man au­to­bahn de­void of any speed lim­its.

Ex­pe­ri­ences linger, like that drive into the high coun­try in the M3 to the Ho­tel Schloss Pich­larn half a world away. On ar­rival, the wait­resses, dressed in tra­di­tional Aus­trian cos­tumes, served din­ner, and, next morn­ing, the sky was bright and cloud­less. It was an ab­so­lutely stun­ner of a day as we drove through pic­ture-per­fect scenery. All was silent, apart from the oc­ca­sional ring­ing of bells from cows dot­ting ad­ja­cent slopes. So ideal, so pris­tine, it was the supreme place to ponder the mer­its of the E30 range and the M3 per­for­mance flag­ship. Even then, the signs were clear that here was a clas­sic in the mak­ing.

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