Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Top 3 BMW's of all time...for now

The history of Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) dates back to 1916 starting with the manufacture of airplane engines.  The "wonderful" Treaty of Versailles forced BMW to cease production of airplane engines so they shifted their focus to motorcycles and later, automobiles.

BMW has been an industry leader and innovator in all areas of their business and cars are no exception.  They have, over the years, created some fascinating automobiles for both road-going and auto-racing.  They have consistently pushed the envelope, always looking for a better way to do something - typical German.

I have complied what I believe to be the Top 3 BMW's ever produced:

# 3, BMW 507 (1956-1959)
1956 BMW 507 on display at the BMW Museum
Imagine having this car in the late 1950's.  It still looks great today, they probably didn't know what to think of this beauty back then!  With grand plans to import thousands per year BMW ended up only producing a total of 252 - production costs were too high.  It uses a v8 engine with a 4-speed manual gearbox and has a top speed of 122mph.  Elvis Presley owned one - the man clearly had good taste.  If you want one of your own, there are slightly over 200 remaining in the world and expect to spend over a million dollars.

#2, BMW 3.0 CSL (1972-1975)
BMW 3.0CSL on display at the BMW Museum
The E9 (BMW speak for the New Six CS Coupe) was first introduced in 1968.  It wasn't until May of 1972 that BMW developed the 3.0 CSL.  The "L" stands for light and they introduced the car in order to race in the European Touring Car Championship.  BMW did a great job because they won in 1973, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, and 1979.  Only 765 were ever produced so if you find one in good shape - BUY IT!  The race car version looks menacing and there are several "art car" variations as well, definitely worth a look!

#1, BMW E30 M3 (1986-1992)
1989 BMW E30 M3 on display at the BMW Museum
For me, it's a no brainer...What's your favorite BMW?  If asked, the answer is always the same - E30 BMW M3.  BMW took all of their racing knowledge to date and built one awesome machine.  The M3 used a 2.3 liter inline 4-cylinder engine that had individual throttle bodies and a cylinder head design based off of the "super car" M1.  It used a 5 speed manual gearbox and power ranged from 195 to 235 horsepower depending on the year/trim level.  BMW struck gold again with 12 Championship Titles and 15 race victories.  You can still find E30 M3's in good shape for $20,000 - 30,000.  Keep them in factory condition and the value is certain to increase over the years.

What say YOU?


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