All posts tagged e36

1999 BMW M3 Convertible

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The E36 M3 has a curious reputation. Not quite a legendary track machine like its predecessor, the E30, and not quite a sublimely complete driver’s car like its successor, the E46, the E36 is the awkward middle child of the M family. Even BMW themselves seemed only half-heartedly committed to the car in America, choosing to offer it here with a less powerful engine than its European cousin. The resulting antipathy felt toward the car by some M-purists, who regard it as little more than a 328i with M-badging, has kept values low on these for quite some time. As a result, many of the used examples you find on Craigslist have been bought cheaply and thrashed, crashed or otherwise abused.

Still, they are very good cars – torquey, well-balanced and offering a dynamic driving experience. It’s always nice to come across a low mileage example in mint condition that has been kept in stock form. This convertible in stunning Techno Violet is such a car.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW M3 Convertible on Hemmings

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1997 BMW M3/4/5

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The E36 M3 Sedan holds a very special place in my heart and played a large part in turning my attention away from Audis and VWs towards BMW M-cars. Colloquially known as the M3/4/5, one car specifically turned the tide: an Estoril Blue M3 with 4-doors, 5-speeds, and some Dinan bits that was the fastest car I’d driven up to that point. It was smooth, connected, and aggressive, packed in a beautiful sedan that is subtle enough to blend in but aggressive enough to put plenty of distance between it and the base-model E36. I had a chance to buy that car a few years back with 47k miles for $14k but I didn’t have the money. A few years on, this red on black example with similar miles is asking almost $11k more. The red/black isn’t quite as sexy as the Estoril/Caramel combo, but the M Double Spoke II wheels are personal favorites. Despite (or because of?) high production numbers, most E36 M3s have been run hard and disrespected. This one looks to be in great shape but not perfect. Are low-mile E36 M3s chasing the E30s, or is this seller hitting the pipe?

Click for details: 1997 BMW M3 on eBay

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1997 BMW 318ti M-Sport S52

Nate has been on a run of covering some great classic Alpina models, and it’s very easy to see the appeal of the brand. Their tried and true recipe of taking the motor out of a higher-end model and swapping it into the smaller chassis might have seemed a simple task, but the execution of Alpina was always top notch and the results were undeniable. Coupled with upgraded wheels and suspension and full of lovely details, they always managed to feel like a premium product and today that appreciation is shown in high asking prices. In the same vein as the legendary Alpinas, many enthusiasts have tried to take the motor out of M models and fit them to lesser 3-series and 5-series models with varying success. But if done right, the result can be a very tidy looking and appealing package on a more friendly budget:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 BMW 318ti S52 on eBay

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1995 BMW M3

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In start contrast to yesterday’s very clean but crack-pipe-priced Friday Fail M3, we have a well-tuned, low-mileage E36 M3. The yin to yesterday’s yang, this black 1995 coupe has mild engine mods including a Jim Conforti chip and intake while the suspension modifications are a bit more extensive, dropping it low over the lightweight Fikse wheels. With just 89k miles, it hasn’t traveled that much more than the white devil and is in nearly as good of shape – it’s just not being advertised as the ridiculous creampuff investment that the looney toons at Earth Motors were hocking. With a reserve auction and Buy It Now right under $16k, this is a clean and fast M3 that epitomizes their performance value right now.

Click for details: 1995 BMW M3 on eBay

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Friday Fail: 1995 BMW M3

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Happy Friday everyone! It’s time to take another trip down Fail Lane, this time focusing on a first-year E36 M3 that has covered just 57k miles. It’s pretty much perfect in white on DS1s, some of my all-time favorite wheels. Inside, black Vader sport seats flash the M colors and everything looks as good as could be hoped in an E36. So, sounds like a really nice lower-mileage future classic, albeit one of about a million right?

Well, folks, we’ve discussed at length the crazy rise of ///M values, with the early M cars leading the way and just about all the others benefiting from the rising tide. As E30 M3s head to the strong side of $50k, a newer model must be better, right?! We all know that’s not the case, as the E36 M3 has in fact remained amazingly reasonable and is one of the best performance values on the market. The Lightweight models have reached into the $30ks and $40ks, but you can get really nice, standard M3s for low-to-mid teens. One with 20k miles might crack $20k, but this seller is asking almost $37k for a car that is, at best, worth half that. “The prices of these cars are rising everyday,” he says. He also thinks he can throw a football over them there mountains, go invisible whenever he wants, and play guitar better than Prince.

You’re wrong, dude. So incredibly, failingly wrong on this Friday.

Click for details: 1995 BMW M3 on eBay

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