From AUTOart’s 1:43 Millenium stable is this ‘80s-era BMW icon, one that embodies “the ultimate driving machine” up until today. The E30 M3 continues to win the hearts of people and stood the test of time with prices of actual ones soaring the past two years.
Many of us are not strangers to the E30 M3, but the mention of Johnny Cecotto’s name might leave the younger generation scratching their heads (like me). Time for a bit of history.
Before flexing his motorsports prowess on four wheels, Cecotte was killing it on two wheelers. Cecotto earned the title of youngest World Champion ever at just nineteen years old, by winning the 1975 350cc World Championship. Instead of stopping there, he also holds numerous other motorcycle racing records, such as one of the highest pole position-per-starts ratios in Grand Prix history.
He then ventured into Formula racing, peaking at 6th place finish in Formula 1 when racing for Toleman. However his F1 career was cut short after he broke both of his legs in a crash during qualifying at the British Grand Prix.
Cecotto returned to racing after recovery, that’s when his relationship with BMW started to prosper.
He joined Schnitzer’s motorsport team, piloting their 635 along with Dieter Quester, taking home a second-place finish at the ‘85 Spa 24 Hours, giving BMW a powerful 1-2 win. A second-place finish at Bathurst that season afforded him the “Rookie of the Year” title alongside co-driver Robert Ravaglia. After a brief stint in ‘86 with Volvo, Cecotto returned to BMW once more, this time to compete in the World Touring Car Championship in BMW’s new E30 M3. By 1989, Cecotto had captured the Italian Touring Car Championship at the helm of the little BMW.
In 1990, his second year of competition in the German Touring Car Championship, better known as DTM, Cecotto finished second overall, helping to cement BMW’s history of DTM dominance. His successes continued, and in ‘94 and ‘98, Cecotto won the German Super Tourenwagen Championship twice more for BMW - and the above only touches upon his racing history with the brand.
Without a doubt Cecotto’s accomplishments with BMW deserves to be commemorated, and what better what than to have a spcial edition of the M3 with his name on it? Debuting in 1989, the individually-numbered Cecotto Edition M3s were available in only three colors: dark metallic blue, silver, and red, as seen here. AUTOart has even allowed us to flip the hood up to reveal its stout M Power heart. Is it just me or AUTOart seems to only put such features mostly on their 1:43 BMWs?
I wasn’t actively looking for 1:43 E30 M3 per se, but looking to expand my 1:43 fleet and was scouring eBay for deals. It was the right item at the right rime, there was a collector liquidating his collection, and after doing some price comparisons, this proved to be too great of a deal to miss. Unfortunately (or unfortunately), the seller barred shipment to my country after some nasty experiences with other buyers. A real pity because there weren’t any more deals like this to found, and I have withheld any new acquisitions since.
Hope all of you enjoyed looking at this M3. There is an era-matching M5 I would love to shoot it with but I stripped the bolt, and prevented me from freeing it from the base (sadface). Will be a while before taking a drill to this thing.