This ’88 BMW M3 is the latest car in Paul Walker’s collection to carry a furious premium
James Dean, Steve McQueen … Paul Walker? The late Fast and Furious actor, who endeared himself to gearheads everywhere on 2000s television sets and passed away eight years ago, is steadily proving that his name carries a premium on the auction block. The M3 that went up for grabs with Barrett-Jackson recently is the latest signal that Walker’s name works its own magic. This 32K-mile E30, slight mask of paint chips aside, just sold for $50,700 over the value of the equivalent 1988 M3 at Barrett-Jackson’s Houston sale: $183,700 all told.
If “Walker” and “E30 M3” sounds familiar, you aren’t crazy. B-J sold the same car in Scottsdale 2020 for $165,000, and it emerged a year and a half later with 142 more miles on its odometer (32,411). Featuring a five-speed manual and a sunroof, this Alpine White-over-tan M car is unrestored, unmodified, and handsomely kept.
It’s worth noting that other Walker-owned cars have brought higher celebrity premiums. The Japanese performance cars in his collection, perhaps because more closely associated with the F&F franchise, are prime examples. A car piloted by Walker and with screen time to its name is an even more potent combination; this Supra, for instance, was used as a stunt car and not as a hero vehicle, and still managed to break the record for a Mk IV Supra sold at auction with a final price of $550,000. What this M3 does suggest, however, is that Walker’s name carries cachet even when the car on the block isn’t a poster child for the F&F franchise—or one of a five-car collection of desirable, special-edition M3 Lightweights. (More on those in a moment.)
The $183,700 brought by Walker’s E30 M3 sale doesn’t threaten the overall model record. That’s currently held by this 1990 M3 Sport Evolution, sold via Bring a Trailer earlier this year for an eye-watering $261,566. But the success of this standard E30 M3 might just owe a debt of gratitude to a group of E36-gen M3 Lightweights from Paul Walker’s collection, which appeared at B-J’s 2020 Scottsdale sale and arguably established precedent for high-dollar Walker-owned Bimmers: The lowest result earned by a Walker M3 Lightweight at that Scottsdale sale was $220K, which broke the (at the time) overall M3 record ($196K). A lower-mile E30 M3, also owned by Walker, actually matched this figure, selling for $220K.
This relatively humble M3 puts itself in exalted company thanks to its clean condition and celebrity ownership, suggesting that, for the “Youngtimer” crowds at auction, Paul Walker’s name casts a powerful allure that isn’t likely to fade soon.