Tuner Tuesday: 2006 BMW M3 Dinan S3-R

My ongoing search for a clean E46 M3 continues, and despite the relatively high number produced it does indeed seem more difficult to track one down than it probably should. Early cars are typically more suspect, with many owners, dubious modifications and higher miles. Additionally, my criteria for getting into an M3 is admittedly limiting. The car must be a manual gearbox, and given that I have a preference for some of the more expressive colors like Laguna Seca Blue and Phoenix Yellow, that seems to be more difficult. But in my search I happened upon an unexpected gem that threatened to turn my head from the Crayola-toned early examples; for the most part, I’ve ruled out the later M3s because they demand higher asking prices and there seem to be less in wild colors. This car stood out for not only being the last model year of the E46 M3, but also because it was a ZCP car. Though I’ve sworn I’d never voluntarily buy into another black car, the ultra dark midnight blue hue of Carbon Black Metallic is compelling enough to consider. Add low miles, careful ownership and some discrete modifications from the best in the business to the recipe and this appears to be one of the nicer E46 M3s on the market.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 BMW M3 Dinan S3-R on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1988 BMW 535i Dinan 3.9

The E28 is a great chassis, no doubt, but often the normal 535i gets overlooked as a potential classic. We search out instead examples of the M5-look 535is or indeed the S38-motored legend itself, but today’s example will give those that dismiss the “normal” 535i a reason for pause. Upgraded with the full repertoire of Dinan bits and given a European specification makeover and repaint, this is one seriously good looking and well built 535i:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 535i Dinan 3.9 on Craigslist

2002 BMW 540i Touring

Wagons are the GCFSB car of choice, if you haven’t noticed. Only our resident Volkswagen/Audi guru Carter is flying the five-door flag, however, with his 2002 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T Variant 5-speed manual. While I sit here and wait for the perfect 1995 Audi S6 Avant to come along, I’ll admire this 2002 BMW 540i Touring for sale in Portland, Oregon. It looks like a real beast, and with Dinan engine mods and a worked over suspension, it’s almost like the M5 Touring that never was.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW 540i Touring on eBay

1988 BMW M5

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Most E28 M5s have experienced some level of modification, whether it’s removing the self-leveling rear suspension, adding a chip and exhaust, or getting a little crazy with more displacement out of the S38. There are plenty of tuner options out there, but Dinan is one of the most respected names out there and this owner went to town with their catalogue. The usual suspects are all there from chip to short shift kit to intake, but one of the more interesting mods is the SLS upgrade by Dinan as opposed to the more common complete removal. It also has some amazing, blocky Dinan 5-spokes, which remind me a lot of Ruf’s classic rims. It all adds up to a modified M5 that appears loved rather than abused and looks every bit the late-80s hot rod it was meant to be.

Click for details: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1989 BMW M3 Dinan 5.7 V10

The Great Schism was a time of religious crisis for Europe; between 1378 and 1417, there were two Popes. In the early 1300s, a French-born Pope moved the head of the church from Rome to Avignon in France. This was significant for many reasons; Rome had been the spiritual home of the aptly named Roman Catholic Church since the establishment of the 5 main churches by the first Council of Nicea under Roman Emperor Constantine; the first Christian Roman Emperor and the one mostly responsible for converting Europe to Christianity. There are many more stories wrapped up in the ensuing 1,000 years of religious history, but ultimately let’s just say it was a pretty big deal to move the Chair of St. Peter. Ultimately this period, sometimes known as the period of Babylonian Captivity (itself a reference to the actual Babylonians capturing and enslaving the Jewish population about 500 years before Christ was born, if you’re into that sort of thing), resulted in a poor reputation for the Papacy and the Church, as corruption ran rampant through the higher positions in religion. So, in an attempt to correct things, in 1378 the new Pope tried to undo this by returning to Rome. This, of course, pissed the French off. So, they simply claimed they had their own Pope. And since this was during the Hundred Years War, this ultimately split Europe into religious waring factions, each aligned with a different Pope. Not to be outdone, the trading city of Pisa (yes, that leaning tower one…) also briefly claimed they also had their own Pope. Though it ultimately was resolved in 1417 by Church-wide decree that the true Pope was indeed back in Rome, it was the beginning of the end of the omnipotence of the Catholic Church in Christianity, which 100 years later would experience the Protestant Reformation, completing the religious divide of Europe.…

2004 BMW M3

The E46 M3 is a car that truly needs no introduction which is nice because I can get right down to brass tacks. The market for this car is a very curious one to follow. On one end of the spectrum you have high mileage examples with aftermarket parts and evidence of having spent many a weekend at the track. These cars are tempting for many an enthusiast who has always dreamed of hunting apexes with a high revving inline six and doing so with a bit of style. At the other end of the spectrum you have cars like this one that are very clean and are either stock or have been modified with OEM approved parts. These examples come at a premium and I’d say that’s fair given how desirable these cars are when well taken care of.

Having covered only 48,000 miles in 11 years on the road, this particular M3 appears to be in fantastic condition. The Carbon Black over Cinnamon Leather combination is a very sharp look for this car, classier than the usual Silver or Grey over Black. I drove an Emerald Green over Cinnamon Leather model earlier this week but the leather had been poorly cared for and had cracked badly in many places. However even in that rough condition, that interior really made it stand out in a sea of other postings, so much so that I drove an hour to go see it. Makes me appreciate the fine job this owner has done maintaining these seats and the interior overall. Almost completely makes up for the bird poop damage on the roof.

Click for details: 2004 BMW M3 On Craigslist.com

2004 BMW 330i ZHP Dinan

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Age, as they say, is but a number. And so it goes sometimes with cars that we come across here at GCFSB. We’ve seen some vehicles with well over six digit mileage that stagger the mind with their immaculate condition. Such is the case with this 2004 BMW 330i ZHP for sale in Massachusetts. This car has passed the 150k mile mark but looks as crisp as when it left the showroom. Chalk it up to one fastidious owner who follows the folks over at ZHP Mafia, a site dedicated to the performance package offered on E46 sedans, coupes and convertibles for a few years.

Click for details: 2004 BMW 330i ZHP Dinan on ZHP Mafia

Tuner Tuesday Dinan 5-off: 2008 M5 S2 5.8 6-speed v. 2001 540i 6-speed

I know that, amongst the authors that grace these pages, I seem to do a lot of comparisons of cars, some of which are extremely unlikely comparisons. One of our readers termed my picks a “Cheese and Chalk” competition; in many ways, he was right. After all, how can you really compare cars that are in completely different demographic categories? To be fair to me, I don’t always do such, but in that case that’s the appeal of the “10K Friday” series – taking a fixed budget and looking at the wild variety of cars that’s available simply because they’re similarly priced. However, I also like to compare similar vehicles and that’s the case today. I have two rare examples of Dinan-modded BMW 5-series. On the surface, they’re quite similar – both grey metallic, both with light grey interiors, both with normally aspirated motors, both have silver multi-spoke wheels with polished lips, and both have 6-speeds. But the level with which Dinan has breathed on them is quite different; consequently, one has double the power of the other, more technology and more complexity. That model also has one tenth the mileage of the other, and unsurprisingly is on offer at ten times the price making these seemingly very similar 5s very different. Which is the winner in your mind?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 BMW M5 Dinan S2 5.8 on eBay

2003 BMW 540i M-Sport Dinan

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Over the past couple months, we’ve featured a few E34 and E39 540i sedans with the M-Sport package. While the E34 540i M-Sport was an extremely limited edition model that was akin to the late model M5 we didn’t get, the E39 540i M-Sport was kind of an M5-light. You were down about 100 horsepower versus the M5, but if you wanted a sporty V8 5 series with an automatic, this was your only ticket. Thankfully, this Dinan tuned 540i M-Sport for sale from our reader Hunter is equipped with the 6-speed manual, giving the new owner a lot of the same pleasures of the infamous super sedan from this era.

Click for details: 2003 BMW 540i M-Sport on BMW CCA Classifieds

Tuner Tuesday: Dinan-modded 2008 BMW 550i

Perhaps it’s fitting that if you hit the shift key on the keyboard when attempting the M-Stripes in script you get three questions marks. We’ve recently had a few features questioning whether or not you need the ///M Badge on your 5-series; most recently, Paul looked at the E34 lineup with his M5 v. 540i post. The question has remained throughout the various iterations of the 5-series; while there was a pretty big gap in performance between the E28 535is and M5, those gaps have narrowed in subsequent generations. Couple that with the increased costs of ownership of the M-branded 5 and the higher residual value, and there are some good arguments to look at the top-of-the-range normal 5 versus the Motorsports version. When it comes to the E60, that’s especially true in my mind; the M5 had that great screaming V10 motor and many are fitted with the 7-speed break-your-neck-shifting SMG gearbox. Those are great items to have when you don’t have to pay the bills to repair them, but now the best part of a decade on despite the inexpensive entry price for E60 M5s relative to the performance you’d get, they just seem like a nightmare to undertake ownership of. The answer, then, may be to find a lightly warmed over 550i:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 BMW 550i on eBay