BMW have never really been big in rallying, although some privateers entered the BMW 1800tisa 2800CS coupe on events, it was the launch of the 02-series and the arrival of the 2002tii that really kick-started BMW Motorsport interest in rallying, especially after the introduction of the Schnitzer introduced a 16valve cylinder head in 1973. A series of top 5 places that year culminated in Achim Warmbold’s taking an outright win again on the Austrian Alpine Rally.
When the 3-series E21 was launched in 1975 it quickly became a hugely successful touring car, and therefore it was perhaps not too surprising that the crossover to rallying followed shortly after, with Timo Mäkinen driving a French importer’s 320 on the Rally Monte Carlo and Ingvar Carlsson using a 320 and later the 323i on the Swedish Rally.
But it was with the launch of the E30, that BMW asked Prodrive to run a touring car program using their new top of the range performance model, the M3. Prodrive soon saw the potential of the car as a tarmac rally challenger, but even they were surprised when on its first event, the 1987 Tour de Corse Rally, in the hands of Bernard Beguin it took an outright win. For the next 3-4 years the M3 was a well loved car on the Irish, French and Belgian Rally Championships, winning many titles, but without a turbo and 4x4 it soon struggled to keep up with the ever evolving Lancia Delta on the World Rally Championship.
This car was built by Prodrive for Bernard Beguin in the French Tarmac championship with its first event the Rally Alpin France in 1989/90 spec carrying the number plate ADZ 9596. It was then sold to the Russians who transferred the number to Russian plate MMC8888 and was returned to Prodrive after a crash. When it was sold by Prodrive in the mid 90s to privateer entrant Pat Waterman, it suffered an accident in Epynt which badly damaged the car and it sat unused and unrepaired for some time until Waterman sold the car to the late Steve Fleck.
Due to the extent of the damage, the decision was taken to reshell the car and a suitable (ex BTCC Touring Car) shell was acquired from Midlands-based BMW race preparers Moseley Motorsport. As Prodrive did themselves when they built the E30 M3s new, the shell was sent to the workshops of Francis Tuthill to up-rate it to rally specifications and Matter cage. It was then completely rebuilt with the remaining works specification components and pressed into service. Subsequently it was sold to Andrew Haddon who competed the car with much success and enjoyment before selling it back to Steve Fleck.
The decision was taken to fully restore the car and the job was entrusted to Erik Wevers’ well regarded preparation company Weversport in The Netherlands. No stone was left unturned and the end result is simply flawless as the car is now finished in its famous Loctite livery and ADZ 9596, by M3 and Subaru specialists Autosportif UK.
Engine : Four-cylinder, 2.33ltr, in-line, longitudinally mounted in the front of the car, four valves per cylinder, 295 bhp
Induction : Fuel Injected, Normally Aspirated