AHH, 1987. The dulcet tones of Whitney Houston and Kylie Minogue, Bob Hawke as PM… sweet times.
It was a sweet year for BMW, too, as the local distributor decided to get into the Australian Touring Car Championship. And in a BIG way. Six E30 BMW M3s, no less, all built by the late – and truly great – Aussie racing legend Sir Frank Gardner.
The black and gold JPS cars swept the ATCC in 1987 – including posting the M3’s first ever pole position anywhere in the world at Oran Park in February that year.
It also beat home all of the visiting Euro M3s that came down to Bathurst that October – many of which, it was subsequently found, were found to be cheating harder than Lance Armstrong.
Making about 225kW from its 2.3-litre four-potter and weighing in at just 930kg, the big-braked Bimmer ran rings around the lumbering Commodores and Falcons of the year, with the Nissan Skyline R31s of George Fury and Glenn Seton proving its most formidable foes.
Jim Richards eventually prevailed, though, taking the 1987 crown in a thriller.
Around the same time, one Peter Brock Esq was having some trouble with his own sponsors. It was the beginning of the end of a long and prosperous relationship between Brocky and Holden, who refused to believe a box of crystals under the bonnet might be a good thing for its new cars…
So 1988 saw Brock joined by Jim Richards and Neil Crompton in the three ex-Gardner cars, but the turbo era had already begun, and the nimble M3s were simply outgunned by the new Ford Sierras all year.
The only win for the year came for Brock at the Australian Grand Prix meet in November. Fun fact; he would jump between all three cars in the team to find the best package for a particular event.
The car up for grabs actually won Class B at Bathurst in 1993 with Peter Doulman and John Cotter, so it’s a storied machine.
You can find the '87 BMW M3 E30 for sale on tradeuniquecars.com.au.
And it’s ready to rumble, too, by the looks, with a shedload of spares and eligibility in a couple of classes. It ran at last year’s Phillip Island Historic meeting – here’s the in-car video.
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