Supercars On A $50,000 Budget: This E30 BMW Is Better Than An M3


Alpina is a great alternative to M, and this is one of its rarest cars.

Everyone knows that the M Division is the best tuner of BMW cars in the world...right? In a recent Motor Trend Head 2 Head, the BMW M6 actually lost to the Alpina B6. This result surprised some. How could BMW's own tuning division not build the best 6 Series? Alpina has actually been building tuned BMWs longer than M, and its philosophy is a bit different. Rather than build cars that are solely race-focused, Alpina builds grand tourers that are well-balanced. Not only are Alpinas awesome, they are also pretty rare.

The E30 BMW 3 Series has been a huge topic of conversation over the past year or so because collectors are starting to jack up the prices of them. Prices of the E30 are starting to heat up and M3 prices have already reached nuclear levels. We have seen some rarer examples like the M3 Evo sell for around $140,000. This price might make sense because only 600 examples of the M3 Evo were ever built, but what if there was a way to buy an even rarer E30 for around one third the cost? The car that we are referring to is the Alpina C1, which is Alpina's first model that was based on the 3 Series. We found a nearly perfect 1986 model that is currently up for sale.

The seller is Oldenzaal Classics, a dealership located in the Netherlands. The dealer wants $48,000 for the car and shipping to the US is available. So, what makes this E30 worth almost $50,000? For starters, only 50 examples of the C1 2.5 were ever produced, making it even rarer than the M3. The C1 was based on the 323i with a 2.3-liter line-six engine. When BMW released the 325i, Alpina responded by increasing the bore to 2.5-liters as well as reworking the intake manifold, installing harder valve springs and a hotter cam, and using a larger throttle body. The larger 2.5-liter engine produced 185 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque, numbers that were right there with the M3 (the Alpina's torque figure is actually higher).

Alpina claimed that the car could do 0-60 mph in 7.1 seconds which is about the same as the M3. Like with the M3, the C1 has the same timeless style that E30 fans have fallen in love with. However, with the Alpina you are getting an even greater dosage of style. The M3 was built to be simple and race-oriented, but the Alpina looks far more stylish to our eyes. That isn't to say that the M3 isn't stunning, but the Aplina is more chic. This 1986 example is painted in Royalblue-metallic, which is the original color. The car was recently repainted and new headlights, fog lights, emblems, and moldings were fitted, giving it a fresh appearance. Even the chrome pieces on the bumpers are like-new.

After the repaint, all of the gold Alpina stripes were added correctly. In addition to the exterior, the car was just given a full service where it was fitted with a new oil filter, air filter, fuel filter, thermostat, distributor, spark plug wires and spark plugs. The car also comes with a full service history, which can be seen in the pictures for added peace of mind. This is truly a stunning collectible that would be perfect for any BMW fan. If an M3 is too expensive, the Alpina C1 may be the next best thing.

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