A hero of homologation

Why driving and owning the original BMW M3 is a joy

If you’ve always wanted an E30 M3 the chances are you’re now kicking yourself. Five years ago you could have picked up a scratty but usable M3 for well under £20,000. Equivalent cars are now double that, limited edition specials like the Tour de Corse, Europameister, Ravaglia and Cecotto following the 2.5 Sport Evo’s charge into six figures.

Dan Norris of Munich Legends remembers cries of disbelief at the £28,000 asked for a Sport Evo in 2009. These days he could ask four times that, demand from America hoovering up those of the 600 built that remain in Europe. The chance to make a killing has probably passed but he reckons a good M3 is a safe place to put your money, with potential for further inflation for the rarities. Incredible when you consider that puts road cars not far behind the £146,250 commanded recently at auction for an ex-Tim Harvey Labatt’s BTCC car.

Is it worth it, though? You have to wonder, given most modern hot hatches would leave it for dead and, with 17,000 made, they’re not even that rare. That four-cylinder motor may well have powered it to many a racing victory but in road tune it’s peaky and not too tuneful.

As the speeds rise, though, the compact size, superb handling and fine balance that made the M3 such a dominant car in Group A, BTCC and DTM competition shine through. And the direct homologation bloodline still marks the E30 M3 out as something special – from the box arches to the aero, everything was there because it was needed for motor sport use. Modest power output or not, the E30 M3 is a genuine racing car for the road, a claim no subsequent M3 has been able to make and few cars of any type can truly honour.


Stately home for supercars

Listed building to house specialist dealership

We’re used to glass-fronted showrooms packed with desirable cars, but here is something different – a grand listed building that happens to include a specialist car dealer.

Behind historic Tollerton Hall in Nottinghamshire you’ll find – at least in a few months when the premises are finished – modern supercars and prized classics, all within extensive parkland. This will be the premises of recently founded Kaaimans International, a partnership between car collector Ian Kershaw and respected specialist dealer Gary Tolson.

“I spent 20 years with Tom Hartley Sr and Jnr,” Gary says, “and I sold several cars to Ian for his collection. Now he’s sold his domestic appliances business and bought the Hall it seemed an ideal plan to make it a destination as well as a showroom.”

Grade II listed, the castellated building was once a school; now the main section will be Kershaw’s home while behind will be showrooms and workshops for the dealership, currently in nearby Langar.

“We already have substantial stock from the top end of the market (see panel below). Hypercars, classics and historic racing cars are going to be our area, and in a few months when the Hall is ready it will become a destination in itself. For potential customers it will offer a very different experience.”

The pair consider that their blend of experience – Tolson as a dealer and Kershaw as a customer and collector – gives them a unique perspective; certainly the firm’s future home is bound to make a visit a memorable event.