Your Cars: Gary Preston’s BMW E30 M3

We all remember where we were when special moments happen, Mansell giving Senna a lift back to the pits, Senna’s crash at Imola and Murray Walker poking Mansell in his swollen and bruised forehead(funny). Mine was when  I was lying in a hospital bed after throwing myself off a motor bike at high speed and smashing myself up. It was then I decided to get myself into four wheels when I healed. What car was it to be? Well there was going to be only one car that would do.  It had to be the most successful touring car ever and in my opinion in DTM guise one of the best looking race cars ever.

The hunt was on for a BMW E30 M3 and how hard could it be? Well not as easy as I thought, after researching about the car while trying to get back on my feet it was obvious these cars prices were on the rise. I got to know what to look out for and what to avoid, after many phone calls and daily scouring the various car websites daily for a couple of months there was still nothing. Then checking on my phone while waiting for my daughter to come out of school a new one appeared and had only been on the website for 15 minutes! A phone call was made and I was off to see another one the following day.

On arrival it was obvious I’d found a clean one, on examination things just got better. No damage, wax oiled and genuinely cared for with a great history including original German logbook. With the test drive complete and I knew I’d found the one I wanted, the price negotiated and it was mine and in my garage within the week.

Iconic. Check. Motorsport history. Check. Performance to match. Check.

What I had bought was a 1990 diamond black 215bhp E30 M3, classed as the late model it was a pretty standard car with a few subtle upgrades. The previous owner had  fitted  a supersprint stainless steel exhaust which looks and sounds superb, the brakes have been changed and  upgraded the suspension which has lowered it slightly but not ruined the ride. My additions are purely cosmetic and include the Alcantara steering wheel and gearknob from the Sport Evo other than that the interior is standard with cloth sports seats and the luxury of having air con and heated seats!

Added Alcantara steering wheel and gear knob make nice touches

Problems I’ve had with the car are quite small really, a distributor and rotor arm decided to implode on a trip to a Ford show which I took as a sign the M3 was not happy mixing with the blue oval! The car’s Motorsport DNA is really evident when driving the car with its pinpoint steering, dogleg gearbox and one of the best chassis developed for any road car. Being left hand drive has never been a problem and I think adds to the driving experience, traveling to Le Mans for the last 4 years has been the best way to exploit the car and all it capabilities, driving on the ‘right’ side of the road accompanied by some glorious French roads reinforce just how special this car is. I joined the BMW car club GB and also joined the M power register, which is great if you have any problems or queries. The car goes to various car shows through the summer where you can chat to other owners or just admirers of the car.

The Ultimate 80s weapon? Gary seems to think so.

The M3 normally goes into hibernation for 6 months and is back out when the sun shines and the temperature rises, service wise it is looked after by a local  BMW M specialist even though most of its history it has been looked after by Munich legends who brought it across to Blighty in 2000. It has also worked as an investment; having recently had it valued its now worth nearly double what I paid. Would I ever sell it? I doubt it very much as it’s the car I watched in the DTM, British touring car and even the Birmingham super prix as I was growing up and now it’s in my garage!

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You can follow Gary here.

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