EV­ERY­DAY SU­PER­HERO

AN ICON OF ICONS, THEE 30 M 3 TOUR­ING CAR IS ONE OF THE ALL-TIME GREAT S —AND WE’ RE LUCKY HEREIN NEW ZEALAND THAT, ON ANY GIVEN WEEKEND, WE CAN STILL WATCH DREAM MACHINES LIKE CON­RAD TIM MS’ BEAU­TI­FULLY RE­STORED ‘92 D TM WORKS MA­CHINE RAC­ING DOOR TO DOOR

NZ Performance Car - - Contents -

CON­RAD IS A MAN WHO LIVES AND BREATHES BMW MO­TOR­SPORT, SO IT MAKES SENSE THAT HIS OWN RACE CAR WOULD BE SOME­THING VERY SPE­CIAL. HE HAS NOT ONLY RE­STORED HIS REAL-DEAL FAC­TORY-BUILT DTM E30 TO ITS FOR­MER GLORY BUT ALSO RACES IT REG­U­LARLY

con. Think about that word for a sec­ond. Not many nouns have the abil­ity to de­scribe an en­tity, be it liv­ing or inan­i­mate, while im­part­ing quite the same grav­ity. With a mere ut­ter­ance, any sub­ject is trans­formed from the mor­tal to the im­mor­tal, the mun­dane to the un­for­get­tably out­stand­ing.

Within the con­straints of au­to­mo­tive — par­tic­u­larly mo­tor­sport — cul­ture, it’s a term that picks out the great­est from among the greats. Mar­ques like Porsche, Fer­rari, and Nis­san lit­ter the ranks of brands that have de­signed iconic four-wheeled mas­ter­pieces, de­noted by names of equal sig­nif­i­cance — 911 GT3, F40, and Sky­line GT-R — con­cise yet phys­i­cally proven sym­bols of ex­cel­lence and achieve­ment above their peers.

Born of a need to com­pete at a world-beat­ing level, a car with a slightly shorter moniker lurks among that elite crop of pro­duc­tion ma­chin­ery that qualifies as iconic, iden­ti­fied by just one let­ter and one num­ber: M3.

Although the badge has spanned a num­ber of gen­er­a­tions of BMW’s flag­ship mid-sized sports sedan, the E30 chas­sis with which the com­pany’s M-Di­vi­sion kick-started the leg­end in 1986 still stands as the most in­stantly rec­og­niz­able and in­nately ‘BMW’ of the five in­car­na­tions produced to date.

The E30 M3 came about through the need to ho­molo­gate a car to com­pete in the FIA’s Group A cat­e­gory of the time — es­sen­tially, a pro­duc­tion-car-based for­mula aimed at in­creas­ing man­u­fac­turer in­volve­ment with mo­tor­sport, both in Group A ral­ly­ing and tour­ing-car rac­ing, and one that spawned man­u­fac­turer show­room spe­cials and two dis­tinct com­pe­ti­tion are­nas in which BMW man­aged to achieve ex­ten­sive suc­cess with the M3.

While, at first glance, the M3 was rem­i­nis­cent of a com­mon-or-gar­den-va­ri­ety E30 two-door sedan, the clever en­gi­neers of Mu­nich had ef­fected a num­ber of be­spoke al­ter­ations to cre­ate the car — most no­tably from the out­side, the ag­gres­sive sil­hou­ette formed by a deeper front air dam; those oh-so-’80s boxed wheel arches; and, of course, an an­gu­lar rear spoiler, aft of the shal­lower an­gled C-pil­lar, which com­prised one of the 12 unique body pan­els that set the M3 apart from its pedes­trian sib­lings.

Be­neath the bon­net, a 2.3-litre DOHC four-cylin­der pro­duc­ing 143kW — the S14 — although, later evo­lu­tions of the car saw ca­pac­ity in­crease to 2.5 litres and power rise, ul­ti­mately, to 175kW — fig­ures not too shabby for a nat­u­rally as­pi­rated pro­duc­tion car of the late 1980s through to early 1990s.

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