I’m going to continue on the M3 theme, and again we’re looking at a ’95. Just the other day, I pointed out how the E36 M3 – even in ‘diluted’ USA form – was a great value for a driver-oriented enthusiast compared to the E30 M3. But that’s not true of all E36s. There’s the Canadian M3 – essentially, a Euro import with all the verboten goodies we didn’t get here, one of which we saw sell last year for $65,000. There the M3 GT, which also upped the ‘special’ quotient quite a bit on the mass-produced M, and also will cost you a pretty penny. But for U.S. specification collectors, there’s really only one option in the E36 catalog: the Lightweight.
Over the past few years I’ve written up several of these cars as speculation has continued to grow that this will be the next logical step in market capital following the E30. Asking prices have been, at times, what most would consider outrageous for the E36. But never quite this outrageous. I hope you’re sitting down, swallow and move the drink away from your computer. Consider yourself warned.
It’s only been a little over a week since I last looked at an E30 M3. A 297,000 mile example with extensive rebuild work, it brushed up against $40,000 in bidding in the no reserve auction.
Clearly, M3 mania hasn’t died down all that much.
Sellers have taken note; at any given time, there are a plethora of E30 M3s available on the market. Today’s search yielded no less than eight examples on eBay; average asking price? About $64,000. But that’s nothing compared to the nine that Enthusiast Auto Group have, including no less than five Sport Evolutions. If you have to ask….
But not many sellers are laying it out on the line. If the market really is plum crazy for these cars, why are more people not rolling the dice and taking market value? For example, if a nearly 300,000 mile example hits the best part of $40,000, what would a much lower mile example bring?
We’re about to find out.
You’re not going to buy this M3. It’s not because of lack of desire; certainly, a limited run European-specification Canadian Edition M3 is already a very hot commodity. Further upping the ante was the BMW Individual “Giallo” yellow color, slightly different than the standard specification Dakar Yellow. While that may seem like a strange choice, it was what the original buyer of this already very expensive ($60,000 in 1994, about $90,000 today) ordered – and that choice made this particular car the only out of production color in the run of 45. Obviously, since they cared a lot about their prized Euro M3, miles are super low and condition is effectively near perfect. But you’re not going to purchase this car, not because of the colors, or the miles, or the low production number, or even because it’s a Euro car. You’re not going to buy this E36 because the asking price is $65,000:
We try to stay far away from politics on these pages, but there’s a story I have to share with you that has hit the news here in Rhode Island over the past few weeks that in a round-about way is relevant to this car. Rhode Island, if you’re completely unaware of its reputation, isn’t known for having the most…shall we say morally upstanding lawmakers and leadership. A few years ago, twice-convicted felon Vincent “Buddy” Cianci was nearly elected for the third time to run the capital of Providence. So notorious is the corruption on Capital Hill that when RI recently announced its complete debacle of a revised state slogan in “Cooler and Warmer” (reportedly, it cost 5 million dollars for a firm to produce that), people on social media changed the catch phrase to “Lobsters and Mobsters”. That gives you just a hint of context to contemplate the next story with.…
What was the first M car? Many would instantly say the M1 – first to carry the magical badge of engineering prowess. But of course BMW Motorsport existed before the M1 came to be, and indeed had already tipped their hat to the market with two now legendary cars in their own right. The first was the 3.0CSL a stripped out and lightened racer for the road. The next capitalized on BMW’s early turbocharged technology. Though the inline-6 would be the staple of the road-going lineup until fairly recently, the performance side of BMW took their inline-4 racing virtually everywhere, from Le Mans to Formula 1. And they won virtually everywhere, too – thanks to adjustable boost, in qualifying configuration the development M12 was reportedly capable of 1,400 horsepower – from 1.6 liters. In the 2002, the more pedestrian M10 was turbocharged, resulting in 170 horsepower. That may not sound like a lot, but consider for a moment that small performance sedans up to that point had considerably less. Take the Lotus Cortina, for example, which only a few years earlier was the hot shoe with 105 horsepower. The 2002 Turbo was really a revelation in performance, then, and BMW never looked back. Produced only in Polaris Silver Metallic or Chamonix White like this one, a scant 1,672 were made and are very collectable today:
When someone is asked to name some of the great models in BMW history, historically the same names populate the list – 328, 2002, 3.0 CSL, M1, E30 M3 and the E28 M5. Newer converts to the BMW brand will extol the virtues of the E36 and E46 M3, E39 M5 and the monstrous howling V10 E60 M5. They would be right, for sure, but notably absent from the front of most enthusiast’s minds is the spectacular E24 M6. Available initially in Europe in 1983 with the M88 motored M635CSi, North America later received a special S38 (catalyst equipped) version of the magical 24 valve inline six motor churning out enough power to scare most supercars. Though designed in the 1970s, the E24 seemed to really come into its own in the 1980s and defined “the look” – low, sleek and aggressive, these were highway predators that could hold their own on any back road. In terms of grand touring coupes, the M6 was simply in a class of its own with its unique combination of luxury, style and sport. Today’s 1988 M6 is an example of how perfect that combination was:
Engine: 3.5 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 63,700 miles
Price: $23,800 Buy it Now
1988 BMW M6 coupe, Cinnibar Red with natural, 63,700 miles, 256hp in-line 6 cylinder normally aspirated M6 engine, 5 speed manual transmission, power seats, factory power sunroof, factory alloy wheels with correct Michelin TRX tires, fresh servicing, owner’s manuals, tools and jack, clean CarFax title history, USA example. Nationwide and international delivery arranged from our suburban Boston showroom. We reserve the right to end the auction early if the reserve has not been met. For more information about Copley Motorcars, please refer to the “About Me” button in this listing.