In the last few weeks I’ve done a series of posts covering some well priced, good condition E36 M3s. The genesis of those posts came from a low mileage, slightly modified Dakar Yellow M3 which apparently really raised my ire. As with any car, there are opportunity costs for buying an example which is lower miles and near pristine condition; you’re paying not only for the exclusivity of having had someone store and not heavily use the model you’re clearly seeking, but then often you’re also paying extra for what they think it’s worth. In some cases – classic Ferraris, for argument’s sake – that won’t matter to the prospective buyers, whose bank accounts often align with small African nations. In others, the opportunity cost for getting into a low mile older car is that you could have a much newer car, with better features, performance and perhaps reliability. As such, today I’m looking at two very similarly priced M3s; the last of the run E36 versus the first of the run E92. 9 years, 45,000 miles, 2 cylinders and some 174 horsepower separate these black beauties – which is the one you’d choose?
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I still recall the first time I set eyes on an e36 M3 convertible in the flesh. We were headed to the movies on a summer evening just as it was starting to cool off. After we parked, there was a brand new one in Estoril Blue over Dove Gray. The top was down which gave us a nice chance to live vicariously from the outside looking in — dreaming of cruising home in the open air while sinking into a new leather interior and driving just a little faster than everyone else as the light went down.
It would take years before I got an e36 M3 of my own, but that connection early on certainly played a part in my eventual ownership. Mine was a coupe but a friend of mine who was a broker at the time had a 98 convertible for sale that I got to compare side by side. While the lack of a top is an obvious difference, the lack of B-pillars was also a strong visual character trait of the convertible. Unfortunately this translates into a lot more shaking in the cabin, especially at the windshield. Then again, you don’t purchase a convertible over the coupe because it makes more sense on the track. You get the ‘vert because it’s a fantastic excuse to go for spirited Sunday cruise when the weather is nice.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 BMW M3 Convertible on eBay
It might not be Motorsports Monday, but with the weekend just around the corner, it’s a great time to contemplate a track day car. This 1995 BMW M3 comes to us by way of our friends at Euro Werkz and represents the first year for the E36 M3 in the US market. This example has been worked over, with additions such as an adjustable suspension, floating brake rotors and four point roll bar. While it’s done up decidedly for competition, this M3 is also street legal. In addition, a Chevrolet pickup with trailer comes as a part of the package, in case you don’t want to drive the M3 to the track.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 Track Package at Euro Werkz
From a string of well priced, overall nice examples of M3s, I’m returning back to a lower mile example – perhaps one of the best condition E36s on the market today. It’s a rare one, too – produced in January 1999, it’s one of the last BG93 E36 M3 coupes produced. Considering I spent some time talking about how the Lime Rock Park Edition E92 is coveted as the end of the run for the M3 Coupe (and E9X), it’s interesting how there seems to be less attention paid to the last of the E36 run. This car popped out at me for a few reasons; I was pondering a low-mile E46 v. E92 post as asking prices on both are nearly identical, but here was a low mile E36 languishing at under $20,000 bidding – less than half the asking price of the super-low mile later models. Unlike the other 26,000 mile Dakar Yellow coupe I looked at, where my big complaint was that I felt the car was overpriced considering the lack of originality, this car has even lower miles and appears completely stock and unmolested. Is this as good as E36s get?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW M3 on eBay
In my recent posts Teens Well Spent, I’ve tried to compared some good value M3s to the high-dollar, low mile example we looked at a while back. That particular example was Dakar Yellow with only 26,000 miles, but an asking price to match each one of those miles. It wasn’t stock, and I was a bit dour in my evaluation of what you were getting for your money. Again, I’ve rounded up three coupes as an alternative to that example; two 1995s and one ’96, two with lower miles and one budget coupe. They’re flying the colors of the German flag appropriately, so you also have your choice of shade that you’d like. Which is the winner for your M budget?