1988 E30 M3: Michael Washington
1988 BMW E30 M3 #2197977
2.3-liter S14 four-cylinder, 192 hp/170 lb-ft
Michael Washington (since 1990)
Johnson City, Tennessee
When Michael Washington found this E30 M3 in 1990, the car had already had two owners, yet it was barely broken in. Its first owner had it only briefly, and its second owner found the little M3 impractical as a family car. Only two years old, it ended up stored in a warehouse with just 7,666 miles on its odometer.
While the M3 was gathering dust, Washington spotted what he thought was an E30 325is with a body kit while on a work trip to California. A Clemson University engineering graduate, Washington vowed to learn body work to replicate that car, only to learn that it wouldn’t be necessary. “The late Rick Odle told me it came from the factory that way, and that his neighbor had one for sale right here in Johnson City, Tennessee.”
By the time he could arrange a test drive, Washington had read as much as he could find about the E30 M3. The hype made him skeptical, but a test drive convinced him.
“It was unbelievable,” he recalls. “It was like driving a go-kart. The precise handling, the way the engine revved to 7,000 rpm, the way the seats hug you…absolutely amazing. I was grinning from ear to ear.”
Washington sold his Toyota Supra, and in 1990 he became the obsessive owner of #2197977. He joined the BMW CCA, and he’s since driven his E30 M3 in nearly 100 autocrosses and 65 high-performance driving events on 18 tracks. He became an instructor in 1999, and he’s designed autocrosses at Road Atlanta and BMW Manufacturing. He also enters his M3 in concours events, winning countless awards including People’s Choice at The Vintage in 2016 and 2017.
Washington does all his own maintenance, from engine rebuilds to modifications. He added an EVO 2 front lip spoiler and Sport Evolution adjustable rear spoiler, H&R springs, Bilstein shocks, Vorschlag adjustable camber plates and Eibach anti-roll bars—perfect for track driving but still usable on the street—plus a UUC short-shift kit, and three-piece BBS wheels.
Four years ago, an E36 M3 replaced #2197977 as Washington’s track weapon—“I think I slowed down about four seconds a lap over the last few years because I didn’t want to crash it,” he says—and it’s no longer a daily driver but a special occasion car. It’s also an old friend, just like the people Washington has met through a shared passion for BMWs.
“Oktoberfest is like a family reunion. I cannot wait to see all 1,000 people when they arrive! It’s such a diverse group, and each person has provided me with a unique memory and experience that I cherish.”