Monterey 2024

1989 BMW M3 Cecotto Edition


$150,000 - $200,000 USD  | Offered Without Reserve

United States | Monterey, California



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Chassis No.
Serial No.
US Title
  • Highly original and superbly presented example of the rare Cecotto Edition
  • Number 363 of 505 produced; showing only 34,621 kilometers (21,512 miles) at cataloguing time
  • Factory correct color combination of Misano Red over Black leather
  • Mechanical and cosmetic recommissioning in 2023 by noted Ferrari competition builder Michelotto Automobili
  • Thoroughly documented from new with extensive history file, including original sales invoice, registration documents, and stamped warranty book with mileage logs
Please note that this lot is titled as a 1990.

Based on the popular E30 3 Series, the BMW M3 was developed to satisfy Federation Internationale d’Automobile Group A touring car rules that required a total of 5,000 roadgoing equivalents. It was presented to the public at the 1985 Frankfurt Motor Show and an immediate success, winning nearly every touring car championship the world over in just a matter of years. Its impressive racing exploits translated to feverish sales, prompting BMW to spin off special editions to keep pace with demand.

In 1989, BMW released the M3 Cecotto Edition, named after Italian-Venezuelan racing phenom Jonathan Cecotto, who won the 1973 Venezuelan national motorcycle championship at 17 and several others before the age of 20. Among the last of an elite group of racers who competed at the highest levels of both motorcycle and auto racing—including Formula One—his success in touring-car competition behind the wheel of an M3 helped cement BMW’s reputation as a dominant force in racing and performance-car production.

The M3 Cecotto Edition featured various subtle enhancements over the original M3, most notable of which was a higher-spec version of BMW’s free-revving S14B23 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder. The upgraded engine produced more than 200 horsepower and would become standard on M3s going forward. For the Cecotto Edition, its valve cover was color-matched to one of three exterior hues unique to the model: Macao Blue, Misano Red, or Nogaro Silver. Further visual distinctions included a larger front splitter, a revised rear wing—both of which were adopted by the subsequent Sport Evolution or “Evolution II” M3—and black 16-inch BBS mesh wheels. Thinner side and rear glass helped reduced weight.

As noted on its dash-mounted plaque, the well-documented example offered here is number 363 of 505 produced. Only 480 of the series were designated as Cecotto Editions, with the remaining 25 dedicated to another M3 touring-car driver of the era, Roberto Ravaglia.

Number 363 remains beautifully preserved in highly original condition and is undoubtedly one of the best of its type, showing only 34,621 kilometers (21,512 miles) at cataloguing time. It was sold new in October 1989 through Auto Becker Klausmann, the official BMW dealer in Krefeld, Germany to its first owner, Luigi Punziano, proprietor of Pizzaria/Ristorante Luigi in nearby Grefrath. The original sales invoice indicates the M3 was finished in Misano Red over Black leather and was equipped with power windows, a power sunroof, heated front seats, and a Bavaria C Electronic stereo cassette player. Service invoices and numerous stampings with mileage logs in the car’s warranty book indicate routine visits to Auto Becker through May 2014. In November 2015, a dealership in Anzig, Germany sold the M3 to a subsequent owner from Balingen. Following this, records indicate that the M3 was registered in Italy in March of 2021.

In 2022, the consignor discovered the car in Padua, Italy, not far from the shop of famed Ferrari competition builder and restorer Christiano Michelotto’s operations. Being friends with Michelotto, the consignor enlisted him to check out the M3. Upon inspection, he reported it to be the best example he had ever seen and promptly assisted the consignor with its purchase, completed in November 2022. Although it was in remarkable condition overall, Michelotto—with the consignor’s blessing—recommissioned the car mechanically and cosmetically to bring it fully up to his obsessive standards. These efforts, carried out by Michelotto Automobili, included replacing the water pump, valve cover gaskets, belts, engine and gearbox mounts, fuel and brake lines, fuel pressure regulator, cooling hoses, damper joints, and exhaust muffler. In addition, the brake calipers and dampers were overhauled, all fluids were replaced, and a battery master switch was installed. Though the paint remained in excellent condition, Michelotto insisted that the bumpers and rocker panels be sanded to remove their subtle orange-peel texture and repainted to a superior smooth finish in factory-correct Misano Red for a perfect presentation. Following this, the car was fully detailed inside and out, including cleaning all mechanical components, polishing the tailpipes, treating the plastic switchgear, and reconditioning the leather.

Once fully refurbished, the M3 was wrapped in a thick cocoon of protective plastic and exported from Italy to Colorado in February 2023. Now presenting in superb condition, having been driven sparingly and benefitted from thoroughly documented care its entire life, this stunning and rare M3 Cecotto Edition is offered with an extensive history file and factory books that, together with its outstanding presentation, confirm it to be among the very best examples of its kind.