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RedBarchetta 09-30-2010 12:58 AM

New to BMW ... Need Advice
My first post so be kind!

I have decided that it is time to get a BMW, but what kind is my problem.

The purpose of this vehicle is summer joy driving and possible BMW events at Watkins Glen. I have identified a number of E30 M3 as possible choices as well as some 90's 3 series. Not a daily driver car. I expect to drive between 3K to 5k per year.

Some background:
I have some money to squander on a car, but anything over 20K (US) between car and repairs the first year is not desireable - on going normal maint. of 3k+ per year is not acceptable either
I have a garage where I can do work and I am willing to learn
I dont want to get a vehicle that requires constant maintence (i.e every month) just to run.
I have never driven in an M3 of any generation
I expect to keep the vehicle for a very long time, 10+ years

So my questions are:
1) As an introduction to BMW is it unwise to get the original M3? Any first hand experience?
2) Are the original E30 M3's really an investment?
This is a question I am struggling with ... just because E30 M3 are relatively rare, does this mean they are valuable? Edsel's are rare but they cant even break 7K on ebay. The 15k rule seems to be the same for the last 10yrs regarding E30 M3's or am I wrong?
3) E36 328is vs E30 M3 ... which makes better sense based on my background? Not interested in E36 M3. Might be interested in E46 M3
4) If I really drop my cost down I can get some decent inexpensive mid 90s 318. Are 318's nice first BMW cars?
5) Can an average Joe really work on a BMW or are you stuck with a dealer for all repairs regardless of age and model?
6) Do the autocross events run by the SCCA really beat a car's primary mechanical items, i.e clutch, motor, transmission? Or are BMW's so much better that they tolerate this activity with little wear and tear?
7) Is the E30 M3 really Nirvana for driving or are the newer 3 series much better?

I could ask a ton more questions, but those are my pressing questions right now.


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