SIGFest is the annual meeting of the members of the E30 M3 Special Interest Group. This year marks the 15th SIGFest gathering and could not have been held at a better venue, BMW of North America. BMW NA was kind enough to open their doors and extensive property to some of the most dedicated automotive enthusiasts that I have ever met. The excitement in the air was palpable. Some of the most pristine E30 M3s on the East Coast juxtaposed by BMW's newest offerings, including the new fifth generation F80 and F82 M3/M4 and even an i8! Even against such a technologically advanced backdrop of turbocharged and hybrid powered machines bristling with carbon fiber composite components, ultimately, it was the E30s that drew the crowds.
This year's event drew over 60 E30 M3s. Examples ranged from immaculate, bone stock, no expense spared restorations, to full blown race cars that have probably seen more tire changes than applications of wax. The cars that fell in between these extremes were powered by everything from the standard S14 powerplant, to S54 swaps that somehow look perfectly at home in the E30's engine bay. It's always enjoyable to listen to the owners talk about their cars, how they acquired them, future plans, and their never-ending quests to find just the right piece to complete their builds.
A lot of talk gets thrown around regarding what makes an M car an M car. It's not just a badge. The E30 M3 is a total package, it can do a lot, and it does it all well. To this day the E30 M3 remains a standard by which modern sports car offerings are measured. It is the essence of BMW Motorsport condensed into streetcar form. To me, it is not only one of the best M cars ever, but one of the best cars ever, period. The designers and engineers that conceived this car never could have known that it would have such a lasting influence on the automotive world, but the fact remains that it has. With the level of care and maintenance that the SIGFest attendees pour into their M3s, street going versions of this icon will continue to inspire onlookers for many years to come.
They say that you should never meet your heroes, well who ever coined that phrase has never sat in an E30 M3. I met mine, and I won't rest until one occupies a place in my garage.