Why the Hippest Man in Streetwear Loves the E30 M3 – RoadandTrack.com

Ronnie Fieg is searching for a BMW 850CSi. He had his heart set on a red one to match his red 1990 M3 convertible, and his red 1987 M6, intending to collect what he calls “the trifecta.” But, as a fashion obsessive and founder of the KITH streetwear brand, he was put off by a generational color differential. “The reds are a bit different. The red on the 850 is a bit more orange,” he says. “So, right now I’m just looking for one in good condition. I’ll take any color I can get my hands on. So long as it’s a manual. Always manual.”

new york, ny   april 06  ronnie fieg attends the celebration of tupac's powamekka cafe and preview of tupac by vlone on april 6, 2017 in new york city  photo by bryan beddergetty images for the estate of tupac shakur

Ronnie Fieg

Bryan BedderGetty Images

If the car isn’t in premium condition, Fieg probably knows some people who can help bring it up to snuff. He just introduced a capsule collection of 96 menswear apparel and accessory pieces, as well as a special, limited edition, $109,250 KITH-branded BMW M4 Competition Coupe, all created in collaboration with BMW. To celebrate, BMW shipped an 1989 M3 that Fieg recently purchased in Miami, a red coupe, to Munich to be meticulously restored. In the process of rehabilitating the famed Group A homologation special, BMW techs included KITH-embossed seat fabric, and KITH branding on the steering wheel, wheel hubs, tail badging, and front roundel.

Fieg has a total of five Eighties BMWs in his collection, including a black 1988 M3, and a black 1988 M6. From whence does this Bavarian fixation arise? Like many automotive compulsions, it has its roots in a cauldron of family, early imprinting, and nostalgia. “In 1989, my grandfather bought a brand new E30 M3 in white,” Fieg says. “Back then, in my family, owning a BMW was like owning a private jet. It was so incredibly inspirational for me. I was 7 years old, and my grandfather loved the car so much that he made me fall in love with it the same amount. It became the poster on my wall, and since then I always wanted one.”

As a designer, and design obsessive, Fieg is also drawn to the appearance of that second generation 3-Series, signifying the moment when the brand became a potent force on the American import scene. “The E30 in general helped make BMW who they are today,” Fieg says. “If you’re my age, around 35 to 40, and you think of BMW, that’s the car you think of. That’s their most iconic silhouette.”

E30 M3 prices have recently leveled off a bit, but Fieg believes that the vehicle’s prominence remains consistent. “I think it’s been as important of an icon for the last decade or so, in part because the cycle of design language from the Eighties and Nineties right now is becoming super nostalgic for people in their 30s,” he says. “But in the car collecting and enthusiast world, the E30 has always been respected and put on a pedestal, just as much as it has been today.”

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And though he’s put his imprimatur on a new M4, he understands that this vehicle is something of an acquired taste. “It’s a very polarizing car. At first, when I saw it, I didn’t know how to feel,” Fieg says. “But I really fell in love with the way the car looked, because I feel like it’s the next generation of design language for the brand. It’s really sophisticated, but beasty as the same time. The car, really, it’s an animal. The M4 looks like an animal.”

While he seeks his dream 12-cylinder Bimmer, Fieg continues to drive all his other cars around his hometown of New York. This sometimes leads to embarrassing situations. “Recently I had to jump start my M6, in the rain. And I ended up YoutTubing that, and asking if it was okay to do—if it was okay to use jumper cables in the rain. I didn’t know if I would get electrocuted or if it was harmful to the car,” he says. “After YouTubing that, I found out that it was not harmful,” he laughs. “I got the car started.”

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