Celebrating 30 years of the M3, Monterey’s sensory overload and a right royal experience at Windsor Castle
The moment I first drove a BMW M3 popped up from the depths of my brain as soon as this month’s cover image landed. I was back at Goodwood 15 years ago with the Classic Cars team, there to test 10 very different cars assembled for a track day classics feature. To be honest I wasn’t very excited about the prospect of the BMW M3, despite its legendary status. As I slipped into the admittedly grippy Recaro seat I expected swift laps defined by cool dynamic efficiency. What I discovered was one of the most driver- connected experiences of my life. A car that eagerly did everything I wanted, and was probably capable of doing a lot more, while still offering uncannily civilised road manners. So all of the hype was justified. A car that deserves a big celebration for its 30th birthday with lots of petrol to glug and a twisting Tarmac adventure park to play in. So we invited our favourite examples of its descendants to see which of them received the biggest cluster of E30 genes. I don’t think any quite match its telepathic and pure responses, but some come pretty close for a lot less money in the current market.
I haven’t had the chance to ask him yet but I’m sure that new columnist Gordon Murray would have good things to say about the original M3 – he’s made a huge name for himself designing pure driving machines for track and road. It’s a genuine privilege to welcome him to the pages of Classic Cars and I can’t wait to hear more of his opinions and experiences over the coming months.
The distilled driving pleasure of the BMW M3 is a stark contrast with my trip to Monterey. This annual celebration of extravagance played out in the concours, racing and auctions is always sensory overload, but subtlety can shine through, like the Lancia Astura that surprised everyone when it won at Pebble Beach.
Back home I was plunged into the British equivalent of Monterey car week, where the richness of cars is still delightfully overwhelming. From Ferrari 250 GTO to Dubonnet Xenia, the concours contenders in the courtyard of Windsor Castle alone had my head in a spin.
After all that I sought simple refuge among the rusty car parts and musty automobilia of Beaulieu Autojumble. Pure pleasure!
Enjoy the issue.
Windsor Castle did excess discreetly Monterey Car Week isn’t over-inflated, says Phil Delahaye typified Pebble Beach glam