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      08-26-2020, 02:44 PM   #1
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E30 3 Series values have skyrocketed - Is the E46 330i ZHP next?

Only five years ago my friend had an immaculate E30 with all the right boxes checked (dash and interior looked nearly new, three pedals, straight body with zero rust, <100k miles...), and he couldn't get the first hint of a buyer with an asking price of $6,500. Today, that car would command quadruple that or more with a line of people glad to pay it.

With the recent spike in E30 prices, I'm not convinced of the value. If we reach back to look at the full spectrum of time these were produced in a desirable year, probably about a million were made with a good percentage having six cylinders. Don't get me wrong, I get the appeal, I had a Spec E30. I'm just floored by non-M3 values. I suppose things will always be worth what people are willing to spend! Curious if it'll flat line or fall similar to the muscle car rush.

It has me thinking... What other car is out there that offers similar value to that of an E30 just a few years ago? To keep it in the family, I'm thinking that car is an E46 330i/ci/cic ZHP. There's a lot of cool and a lot of fun for, in many of instances, less than $10k. A four door with three pedals in Imola Red sure sounds tempting.

Pros/cons? Let's open the discussion.
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      08-26-2020, 05:50 PM   #2
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I sold my 2005 ZHP about a year ago with three pedals, BSM paint, all records since new etc for a full price offer from the first guy who drove it.

That being said, a fair number of ZHP drivers are unaware they are driving one. I gave up on talking to other owners after many blank stares.
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      08-27-2020, 12:49 PM   #3
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I actually used to own an E46 328i sedan and E30 325i convertible, both manuals. Liked the E46, but probably won't own one again mostly because of the subframe tear issue, which should be fixed by now, but still. E30 had a cool factor, but as you said, I don't think I could justify the price now.

For $10k-ish, I went with an E36 M3 and still super happy with it. Probably can't get a good one for 10k anymore though. I'd also consider an E21, doesn't have the same hype as an E30 but I like the way they look modified.
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      08-27-2020, 01:37 PM   #4
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I think there are several reasons for these increases in value.

One is that we are finally at a point where you really can't buy anything like them new anymore. In the past you could move on from your E30 to the E36, and then on to the E46, and then to the E90 and add incremental bits of safety, technology, and reliability but still keep that classic driving feel. Heck at least even with the F series chassis' you could still get a manual transmission. There was little incentive to keep the old models because the current ones retained much of the feel with the added benefit of being new.

But now there is pretty much nothing in the BMW lineup that you can get new that has any resemblance to the classic models that made BMW famous in the first place. Everything is a tech loaded luxo-barge. This creates a nostalgia and people look back and realize that the original cars were something special. The E30 is the oldest and the one that really put BMW on the map so its seeing the biggest spike right now. I think the E46 will also see a similar spike down the road, with the E36 and E9X/E82 models gaining some interest as well.

Add to that the simple fact of supply and demand. BMW made a ton of these cars but most are daily drivers and not owned by enthusiasts and get beat to crap, especially by their second and third owners. By this point clean models become hard to find. Add in a nostalgia bump, and boom - prices go up.
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      08-27-2020, 05:48 PM   #5
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I would say the M3 E46 won't be any cheaper. You can find still nice one for 10-15K in California.
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      08-27-2020, 06:22 PM   #6
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Completely agree with the you guys.
This was a classic era in BMW history.
For some weird feeling, I also believe that 1 series vehicles will be a classic some day lol.
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      08-27-2020, 07:48 PM   #7
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Nah, ZHP are still depreciating I feel, and I think they can be had for pretty cheap ~5-6K. Great research at zhpmafia.com

I still own an e46 (ZSP) and think it is a solid car and engine (minus a spot of rust here or there).
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      08-27-2020, 08:32 PM   #8
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The E46 ZHP has been slowly increasing in price and the better the service documentation, the higher the price. Go to Bring a Trailer to see what good-excellent condition examples go for. Non BaT prices seem to be for between $6-$9k and BaT in the $10k plus range. All around it seems mid-2000 models, manual transmission cars are on the rise.
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      08-28-2020, 03:23 AM   #9
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Anybody wants a 800whp 2jz swapped e30? 😁
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      08-28-2020, 07:21 AM   #10
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Yup....

I am just going to skip every turbo car BMW makes and wait until the make a proper E sports car that doesn't look like a barbie car. Probably never.

So I am left with my 128i and my one year only F10 528i with an N52!!

Good thing they appear to be hard to kill!

The sport/ M sport manual 128 and 135 will all go up in value before you know it.
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      08-28-2020, 09:51 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ..Rush.. View Post
Completely agree with the you guys.
This was a classic era in BMW history.
For some weird feeling, I also believe that 1 series vehicles will be a classic some day lol.
Oh absolutely. It's definitely the last of its kind.
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      08-30-2020, 09:25 AM   #12
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In the US the E30 put BMW on the map as the leader of the luxury sports sedan. It was their break out model.

I don't see that type of allure with regards to the E46 ZHP. I think they were great cars (had one new myself), but they weren't overwhelmingly better than the competition.

Mechanically the E46 had a lot of annoying weak spots. One other thing is that Navigation became an option and I don't know how the classic car market will react to a 20 yr old NAV system.

It'll be interesting to see how the classic car market reacts to the tech heavy, forced induction vehicles.
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      08-30-2020, 01:40 PM   #13
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I do think that a ZHP Coupe will have value but it will have to be low mileage and documentation. After owning my ‘01 325Cic for nearly five years, I test drove an ‘05 ZHP Coupe Tiag on black MT and loved it. The dealership would not budge on their price so I walked away from it.
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      09-01-2020, 01:05 AM   #14
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Yup. I drive a 2004 330i ZHP, Imola Red. 6 Spd, <100k miles, excellent condition, exceptionally documented history, well maintained, original owner, no accidents. Imported from Germany delivery w/extra Euro items. Additional BMW winter wheel set.

It's been an awesome car, love it to death. After 16 years, finally about to buy my next BMW. But I'm not really seeing a point in selling it. After everything it's done for me over the years, so I can get $6k for it? Or since it might be a great find, maybe $10k if I'm reaching? It seems worth it to me, to keep a kick-ass backup car around, that other family members can also drive, for $6k. Instead of selling an awesome car and eventually buying some sort of other car for them.

So even if it's a gem, increasing in value, I might keep my ZHP around for a while more.
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      09-01-2020, 02:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allwheelsdriven View Post
That being said, a fair number of ZHP drivers are unaware they are driving one. I gave up on talking to other owners after many blank stares.
I thought I was the only one who this was happening to!

Sure, not everyone is a "car person", so I can see how some have no idea how amazing their car really is but for some reason this happens to me almost every time I talk to someone with a ZHP. Kind of sad but ah well.
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      09-01-2020, 03:08 PM   #16
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E36's have also drastically increased in price. Well asking prices at least. Specially the I6's.

I hunted for years for an E36 328i Touring, but gave up. Nothing to be find and what could be found, rust buckets.

My E36 328i cabrio has never let me down. My EU E36 M3 is just a blast and in showroom condition.

Enjoy them while you can.
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      09-02-2020, 12:53 AM   #17
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Bought a ZHP new in 2005 and kept it well past 100k. Loved the car. The last BMW I did all my own work on. Nice balance. Not too heavy. Always fun to drive.

These E30 thru E46 BMW will ABSOLUTELY increase in value over time because these were the models that brought enthusiasts to the brand and 20 years later those same enthusiasts have $$$ and nostalgia
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      09-02-2020, 02:16 AM   #18
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Most ZHPs that I have seen lately are well over 100k miles. If I was looking for one to keep it has to be below 80k.
My current E30 325is has 44k miles.
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      09-06-2020, 05:54 PM   #19
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I owned an E30 for 18 years. In 2006 I decided to not keep it once I bought my E90. I should have kept it seeing in prices now. But really the E30 sucked until 1987 when BMW put the good cylinderhead on the M20. '89 is the best model (outside an M3 I guess). The '89, which is what I had, has the small euro style bumpers and no airbags and the "is" M20.

The eta E30 was a dog, and the early 318 with the M10 was even a slower dog. The '91 318 with the M42 was okay. I think the attraction is the M3 body styling. The dash controls were fantastic.

Last edited by Efthreeoh; 09-19-2020 at 10:05 AM..
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      09-06-2020, 07:29 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F32Fleet View Post
In the US the E30 put BMW on the map as the leader of the luxury sports sedan. It was their break out model.

I don't see that type of allure with regards to the E46 ZHP. I think they were great cars (had one new myself), but they weren't overwhelmingly better than the competition.

Mechanically the E46 had a lot of annoying weak spots. One other thing is that Navigation became an option and I don't know how the classic car market will react to a 20 yr old NAV system.

It'll be interesting to see how the classic car market reacts to the tech heavy, forced induction vehicles.
I think older BMW fans might argue the 2002 did what you said. Or (shudder) the E21. That started the whole Yuppie BMW thing

But I certainly agree with your last statement. Which is why I bought a 2013 128i 6sp M-sport. The last of everything we used to like. And all for the price of a not-so-nice E30 with a rubber-band engine these days. No thanks. I like the ZHP, but build quality on an E46 is sketchy. I prefer my E39, though I often question that and want to simply restore my E34.

Last edited by BMWCCA1; 09-12-2020 at 07:26 AM..
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      09-11-2020, 09:28 AM   #21
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8 years with my E82, I would like to keep it for another 20+ years.

So I am interested to see what 128i prices will be like then.

Reason for keeping is because not having a car payment for 20 years is really nice
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      09-11-2020, 09:33 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ric in RVA View Post
Yup....

I am just going to skip every turbo car BMW makes and wait until the make a proper E sports car that doesn't look like a barbie car. Probably never.

So I am left with my 128i and my one year only F10 528i with an N52!!

Good thing they appear to be hard to kill!

The sport/ M sport manual 128 and 135 will all go up in value before you know it.
Turbo is life
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