Evergreen Forest III: 1998 BMW M Roadster

So, you have to drop $40,000 for a unique M Roadster? Hardly. If you’re willing to forgo the additional grunt of the S54, S52-powered Roadsters are still very affordable. And, they can be plenty unique in their own right. Take today’s ’98 for example. Evergreen is probably a bit polarizing in tone, but it’s also quite distinctive. The total pool of Evergreen examples represents only 2% of overall production of M Roadsters, though. Out of the 10,501 produced, 201 were shipped in the bright green shade – and out of those, 176 were equipped with the equally distinctive two-tone Nappa leather interior color matched to the outside. I’ve looked at a few of these examples previously:

Evergreen Forest, Part II: 1998 BMW M Roadster

So you get an unusual color, a more unusual interior, and still quite a potent convertible in the early M Roadster. What is the price delta, though?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 BMW M Roadster on eBay

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Less is More? 1990 BMW 320is

The perfect counterpoint to Volkswagen’s GLi 16V like the one we featured earlier has to be the BMW 320is. Ostensibly, these two cars were aimed at close to the same market although the BMW was a fair chunk of change more expensive than the Jetta. But both were sports sedans, both came only as manuals, both had BBS wheels, grippy Recaro seats and sport suspension, and critically both featured a 2 liter 16V motor. But it’s there where the similarities end, because while Volkswagen rung 134 horsepower out of the 9A, BMW squeezed a seemingly unbelievable (for the time) 192 horsepower out of the lower displacement S14. For some time, the 100 hp/liter mark was considered about as good as naturally aspirated motors got and the 320is was hauntingly close with 192 ponies from 1,990 CCs – proportionately, more powerful than the larger 2.3 and 2.5 variants. We’ve previously covered this model a few times and so won’t go into lengthy detail about the history (plus, some of it is included in the listing), but if you wanted to understand why you’d pay more for one of these BMWs in the late 80s, that engineering feat alone was a good indication. As the E30 market has been red hot and importation becomes possible for more of these cars, we keep seeing them pop up:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 BMW 320is on eBay

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2002 BMW M Roadster

A few weekends back I took a ride out into the hills of Connecticut to check out the inventory at Coventry Motorcar. It’s always worth the trip, because though on the grand scale they’re a small dealer they’ve always got some very interesting second-hand cars that you just don’t normally see gathered together at one spot anymore. Like a European-only car show, there were Porsches, BMWs, and of course Audis lining the lot. A cool Volvo C30 T5 stood out, along with a lineup of M3s as my search for a nice one continues. But the car that really grabbed my attention was a M Roadster. It wasn’t a case of the color being outstanding in this case; while some wild combinations were available on the M Roadster, Titanium Silver Metallic was the most popular option, and within that color the Black Nappa Leather was the most common interior. According to the M Roadster Buyer’s Guide, there were some 1,562 (15% of total production) ordered in Titanium, with the majority of those at 1,134 having the black interior. In fact, nearly half of all M Roadsters had all black interiors, amazingly – since it seems the really wild colors are the ones that stand out in my mind. But something else struck me as really special as soon as I saw the date; a 2002 would make it the rarest year of the M Roadster, with only 643 sold. That’s nice, but what’s nicer is what that means under the hood – the full bore, 315 horsepower S54 motivating the small roadster.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW M Roadster at Coventry Motorcar

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Third Time’s the Charm? 1993 BMW M5 Euro-spec – REVISIT

One of the more interesting E34 M5s we’ve seen has once again popped up on eBay. This is the third time this lovely Japanese market, European-spec M5 has graced these pages. With a little under 116,000 miles on the clock, the car sold in the teens, traveled across the country to Wisconsin, and then reappeared on eBay with only a few more miles in January, 2014. After a few relistings, it finally sold for only an indicated $12,500. Well, now it has returned back across the country with what appears to be a thorough detailing and some much better photographs than the first two times. Still, this is the third different seller in a very short period of time, making me wonder why no one is keeping it. The new seller has raised the price substantially to nearly $22,000. Compared to what that amount buys you in other makes and other cars, I really don’t feel like the asking price is incredibly outrageous – except that you could have had it for half that amount 10 months ago and detailed it yourself. What do you think?

-Carter

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2001 BMW M3 with 10,000 Miles

If yesterday’s S54 swapped 328Ci just wasn’t enough M3 to satisfy your need, today might just help you satiate that need. The E46 M3 is a great car in just about every way – it lacks some of the space and usability of its S4 competitors but it certainly makes up for it in great looks and performance. A friend of mine several years ago sold his older E28 535is that he tracked and 84 911 cabriolet and bought an E46 M3 convertible with hardtop. Initially, I was a bit surprised, but his logic was sound – the E46 was a better convertible capable of carrying (in a pinch, anyway) 4 people, and it was quicker in every situation than his track-biased E28. Plus, complimenting the good looks of the E46 was the color my friend opted for – Laguna Seca Blue, certainly one of the most striking colors on an M car in recent memory. Today’s coupe doesn’t enjoy the same open-air fun of my friend’s car, but what it does have is very few miles:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 BMW M3 on eBay

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Motorsport Mondays: 2000 BMW 328Ci S54 Swap

I’ve recently been undergoing a bit of an exetential crisis about the status of my track car for the last 16 years – my Audi Coupe GT. True, it’s an impressive car on track – especially considering it shouldn’t be an impressive car on track. But the reality is that it’s now a 28 year old car that I’ve had to extensively modify to make it reasonable as a track car. When I was at the track, I jumped into a friend’s S2000; with only minor modifications, out of the box the way the car went through turns was so pleasing and fun, it made me wonder why I’m continuing to do things the hard way. Now, honestly as fun as the S2000 was, it’s not really my cup of tea and I don’t think I’d buy one. But, I could definitely be convinced that a BMW 3 series – a perennial track favorite – and today’s example is a pretty compelling package:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW 328Ci S54 Swap on eBay

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