Remember how we grimaced as an increasing number of E30 M3s started to break the £50,000 threshold? We hadn’t, it turns out, seen anything yet.
What you’re looking at here is another >£50k E30, only this one isn’t an M-car. Yep, this 325i Sport went under the hammer for a patently absurd £51,187 at a Silverstone Auctions sale in Birmingham last weekend. The result eclipsed Silverstone Auctions’ upper estimate of £35,000, following a bidding war between two rival punters. For those of you on the other side of the pond, £51k is about $65,000. More than a base C8 Corvette.
It’s the latest in a long line of normal-ish cars that have gone for silly amounts at auction. Who can forget the $121,000 A80 Toyota Supra, or that barely used Honda Integra Type R that sold for $64,000?
The E30 that bagged the ridiculous figure at the NEC Classic Motor Show is, at least, a beautiful example. First registered in 1991, it’s among the very last of the 325i Sports to leave the factory, and has covered a “fully verifiable” 6794 miles. The current owner bought it in 2007 with 5200 miles on the clock and has ensured it’s been well stored, regularly run and serviced as necessary.
Plus, if you’re going to buy a non-M3 E30, a facelifted ‘M-Tech 2’ 325i Sport is - specific market oddities like the 320iS aside - the car to go for. Each example has a purposeful-looking body kit, 15mm lower suspension and a close-ration five-speed manual gearbox. Nothing was changed under the bonnet, but with a 171bhp 2.5-litre M20 straight-six sitting under the front-hinged hood, that area didn’t exactly need any attention.
Does any of this make the NEC auction result any more understandable? Nope - not really.
The classic car market has been showing signs of cooling, but it seems shock auction results like this one are still very much possible. We shudder to think what we’ll see next…