After reading a Car Magazine long-term test review of the new Caterham 160, my interest in base model vehicles was rekindled. Much like the rather basic BMW 518 that Nate featured back in 2013, this 318ti has caught my attention for similar reasons. When the E36 hatchback made its debut, I wasn’t particular fond of it. But time has changed my view of it, not in the least because it wasn’t the most common E36 3 series on US shores. It’s rare you come across a good example, as these were the most affordable car in the BMW range at the time, but sometimes you’ll find a hidden gem. Such is the case with this example equipped with a 5-speed manual for sale in Oregon.
All posts tagged e36
With Christmas 2014 now in the rear view mirror, did everyone get what they wanted from Santa? If not, here’s something of a late present to make up for it: a Dakar Yellow E36 M3. I’m not typically a fan of yellow on cars, but Dakar Yellow looked a treat on this M3. Much like Estoril Blue, it was a color almost made for this car, accentuating the styling which was a crisp update of the E30 3 series. This M3 with well under 100,000 miles comes to us from our friends at Shift Bespoke Automotive in Laguna Hills, California.
Click for details: 1995 BMW M3 on eBay
I still remember the first time I went to the track and saw the notorious M3 Lightweight. I had read about it coming in the BMWCCA magazine and it looked exciting. Sure, it still wasn’t the full bore M3 that the rest of the world got to experience, but if you were a track junkie it was a recipe made in heaven. With less weight and some trick aerodynamic aids added to the already stout out-of-the-box E36 M3, it was no surprise that several of the BMWCCA instructors who had other 3-series dumped them to get the Lightweight. They were also a hit in Club Racing, where they were turned up a few notches to make a serious track weapon. Today one such club racer is for sale from the seriously BMW-savvy group at Fall-Line Motorsports:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 Lightweight on eBay
Last week, Nate wrote up one of my favorite M3s – the 1995 M3 in Daytona Violet with Dove Grey leather Vaders. With low miles and great photographs, it was certainly an impressive sight. Also like Nate, I’ve always loved the subdued look of the E36 M3 since its launch, and the Double Spoke wheels just suit the package perfectly. But Nate’s question was poignant – is the world ready for $25,000 E36 M3s again? In the case of some ultra low mile examples or Lightweights, perhaps it is. But for a normal M3 with moderate miles, the asking price seemed pretty steep even given the condition. Only a week later, then, I submit to you the Budget Barney; a little over triple the miles of the last example but the same color combination in overall very good condition, and importantly available for only about a third of the previous example’s asking price:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 on eBay
The E36 M3 was an admirable performer in every guise, even with the disappointingly detuned inline-6s we received here in the US. The 240hp that both the S50 and S52 produced was decent, but knowing that just a few thousand miles separated us from 80 more horsepower was like a kick to the groin during a warm embrace. Alas, it is what it is, and I prefer to think of the E36 as the fun, quick, and outstanding handler that it was, rather than the over-popularized or under-powered car that its detractors make it out to be.
Low-mileage examples have been on the rise recently as they become the minority amongst a sea of abused or neglected examples. Today’s Daytona Violet coupe is certainly a looker – BMW’s violet colors are uniquely subtle and gender-neutral – and I’ve always loved the M Double Spokes. Sub-50k mile E36 M3s have always been a tasty proposition, but not too long ago they’d bump the price up to $15k from $10k. Sure, M-cars from the pre-X5M era are receiving a bit of nostalgic love these days, but does a 43k-mile S50’d coupe really demand $25k already?