Ending Soon: What We’re Watching

Ending Soon: What We’re Watching

Last week’s What We’re Watching post seemed to be a hit, so I’ve lined up another group of auctions. This time, they’re all affordable no reserve classics (or soon to be?). Care to wager on what each will sell at? Let’s start with a 5-speed Euro Porsche 928.

Click for Details: 1981 Porsche 928

It’s far from perfect, but here’s a 1981 Porsche 928 5-speed in Euro trim. The BBS wheels might look more at home on an early E39 540i, the paint is tired and the engine hasn’t run in some time (and what the heck is up with that shifter surround???) but hey, at time of writing the whole package can you yours for $3,000. Certainly it’s worth at least that in parts?

Click for Details: 1960 Volkswagen Bus

I said “affordable”, right? Well, with VIN tags of 23 Window Sambas selling for upwards of $11,000, this no reserve auction on a lovely restored ’60 seems like a deal. The color combination and condition are spot on, and it will be interesting to see where it ends.

Click for Details: 1993 BMW 740iL

Back to great values, and this 1993 BMW 740iL seems ready to please. It’s got lower mileage, the great E32 shape, a nice color combination and very good overall condition. Usually the big money has been reserved for the follow-up E38, so I think someone will get a great deal on this very nice ’93.

Click for Details: 1988 BMW M5

There’s been a lot of speculation on the 80s BMW M market, so seeing a no reserve auction on an M5 is both rare and offers us the chance to litmus test the market. Usually the cars that come up in no reserve format aren’t the nicest ones out there, but this one generally looks great.…

2012 BMW 335is

2012 BMW 335is

As popularity of the BMW 3-series doesn’t seem to be waning much even with the death renaming of the 2-door variant, finding a slick coupe to set up apart from the BMW crowd can be difficult. Outside of the obvious M3 choice, the ZHP models like the one Craig wrote up on Friday are certainly highly prized and priced. When it came to the E46’s replacement, there was no ZHP package offered – bummer. But, late in the run BMW did roll out a very special package with an even more storied connection to the 3er. In 2011, BMW reintroduced the “is” moniker to the top-notch 335 2-door. The new 335is differed from the regular production run in many ways. Replacing the N55 motor was the trusty N54, just like in the 1M. BMW remapped the engine to deliver 320 horsepower and 332 lb.ft of torque channeled through a short-shift 6-speed gearbox or you could opt for the dual-clutch DCT 7-speed from the M3 for repeatable 5.0 second runs to 60. Because it was turbocharged, you also have a 7-second overboost function that gives you another 40 lb.ft in passing situations (or, to show off). The 335is helped to mitigate this additional power with a revised cooling system and heavier-duty motor mounts. The additional cooling meant no fog lights for the coupe, though oddly they could be had on the convertible 335is. Typical M adornments outside meant revised front and rear bumper covers, and the 335is wore unique Style 313 forged wheels measuring a substantial 19×8 in front and 19×9 out back. There were also discrete 335is badges under the side indicators to let drivers beside you know you were in some obscure BMW model besides a M3:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2012 BMW 335is on eBay

2008 BMW 335i Coupe

2008 BMW 335i Coupe

Tempting. If I were to sum up the 335i 6-speed coupe in one word, that would have to be it. When it originally launched, I felt that the E92 looks were too heavy compared to the outgoing E46 model, but I have to admit that I think this car has aged pretty well. One thing that couldn’t be argued was the performance on tap from the new twin-turbocharged N54 inline-6. While it didn’t offer quite the spin of the S54 in the previous generation M3, it had more usable grunt. Coupled with a 6-speed manual transmission, the performance figures in real world driving generally indicated that the 335i was as fast as the M3 had been. Inside, the E9x was thoroughly modern, too – if the E46 was the last of the classic driver-oriented dash designs dating back to the late 1970s, the E9x ushered in the new era of electronic-heavy dash design to the 3-series. Is it all bad? No – in fact, in a recent car search the 335i coupe was pretty high on my list of potential candidates because of the sheer bang for the buck quotient. Enter my usual complaint; my searches sifted through hundreds of gray and black examples, but this one really caught my eye because of the unusual combination of Deep Green Metallic and Beige leather:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 BMW 335i Coupe on eBay

2013 BMW M3 Individual

2013 BMW M3 Individual

Hardly out of production, journalists and enthusiasts alike are already calling the last of the naturally aspirated M3s a classic in the making. Some have even gone so far as to call the E9x M3 the best M product BMW has produced. Certainly it was a screamer, with butch good looks to back up the impressive power chops on tap from the S65 V8. As always, I’m drawn to the more unusual colors offered through BMW’s Individual program and today’s example is a pretty interesting one. Apparently, dissatisfied with the yellow-toned options from BMW’s own color catalogue, the buyer of this particular M3 asked BMW to head to the Black Forest and it came back with Speed Yellow from Zuffenhausen. A vibrant tone more piercing than Dakar but not as orange as Atacama, does this E92 light up your sky?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2013 BMW M3 Individual on Denver Craigslist

2011 BMW 335i

2011 BMW 335i

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The E92 is a fairly innocuous-looking car in most cases, with even the almighty V8-powered M3 failing to turn many heads at the stoplight. This 335i has the looks and modifications to attract a bit more attention, most glaringly of which is the 3M Intense Blue wrap, a color not far off the E46 M3’s desirable Laguna Seca Blue. Under the hood a new intercooler and access port from Cobb Tuning, along with some serious breathing improvements including Dinan mufflers behind catless downpipes. A few carbon bits here, some ///M stripes there, and M5 wheels complete the package for a 335i that has both show and go.

Click for details: 2011 BMW 335i on eBay

Feature Listing: 2011 BMW 328i

Feature Listing: 2011 BMW 328i

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Living in a fairly wealthy, urban area, the BMW 3 series seems as ubiquitous as a Toyota Camry. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. These compact BMWs are certainly capable of cars, but as a former E30 owner, the new ones fail to relight my fire, lest I steal a line from one of my favorite Dan Hartman songs from the late 1970s. This 2011 328i Coupe for sale from our friends at Euro Automotion has me doing a double take, however. Sure, it’s saddled with the 6-speed automatic, but considering the mileage and condition, this is a quite affordable option to a well-optioned, brand new subcompact.

Click for details: 2011 BMW 328i at Euro Automotion

2013 BMW M3 Individual

2013 BMW M3 Individual

In my search for a M3, I kept my eye out for Individual shades on the E46 just to keep things interesting. Velvet Blue, for example, was one that caught my eye. I can’t imagine having the fortitude to plunk down the extra 10% premium to order a car that I couldn’t see in the flesh, then to sit for months on end waiting for it to arrive – hoping they painted it the right shade! But thankfully some buyers have the vision and means to provide us with very interesting color choices on these cars. Though they rarely come up for sale in comparison to the sea of black and silver that consumes 90% of the M3’s production, it certainly is awesome to see one in a unique shade such as this E92 specified through Individual in Brewster Green:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2013 BMW M3 on eBay

2008 BMW 335i Coupe Dinan

2008 BMW 335i Coupe Dinan

As I look forward to the next few years and what kind of car I might move into next, the BMW 3 series coupe is always up there on the list. This is a car that seemingly has it all, such as practicality, performance and the availability of a manual gearbox, which, sadly seems to be waning with the newer models. There is also a huge aftermarket for these coupes as well, from mild tunes to wild M3 clone iterations. This 335i Coupe for sale from our friends at EuroWerkz has been treated to some Dinan modifications, inclusive of Stage II software and camber plates.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 BMW 335i Coupe Dinan at EuroWerkz

Motorsports Monday: M3-off

Motorsports Monday: M3-off

Last week, I pitted a wickedly turned up 944 Turbo against a much more tame E30 M3. My feeling was that the M3 was overpriced in comparison to the 944 Turbo – especially when you considered the performance envelope the 944 was capable of. That particular example was churning out in excess of twice what the M3 was producing from the legendary S14 – not exactly an apples to apples competition in anything but pricing. To equal the playing field a bit, this week I have two different racing M3s – the first and last of the two door variety. How does a very tuned E30 compare in value to a E92?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M3 on eBay

Feature Listing: 2011 BMW M3

Feature Listing: 2011 BMW M3

This past weekend, I went out to Coventry Motorcar to sample some of the cars. My wife and I took out a nearly new RS5; it was impressive for sure. Then we took out the twin-turbo V12 CL65 AMG that was chipped; with well over 700 horsepower and enough torque to bump-start a Saturn V rocket, the throttle pedal simple corresponded to a large amount of giggling every time I dipped into it. But the car that we drove that stood out was the less powerful, older BMW M3. It was an E46; getting on a decade older than the RS5 – and obviously the technology has increased in leaps and bounds, as the Audi has near infinite adjustments for every aspect of the car. But driving dynamics? The M3 showed why it was, and still is, the benchmark that all other cars are compared to. It was thoroughly composed down the road, and slipping inside you felt instantly at home. A throaty shout announced each touch of the throttle, growing in vigor to a scream as the motor worked its way up the tach. On the go, it felt more composed than the Audi; amazing as it sounds, the Audi felt like it was trying to convince you it was fast. The BMW felt relaxed and at ease; it was like Usain Bolt showing up at a power walker’s evening workout. It just felt natural. When I got back to the shop, the manager said “if you liked that, wait until you drive the 2011”.

Move up to the E92 chassis, and the lack of technology that the E46 employed was remedied. Check out the option list on this particular example, and you’ll find everything conceivable and probably more than you need. The Premium Package gives you the power to move your seat, open your garage, fold your mirrors in tight spaces, navigate to those spaces thanks to the compass in the mirror, and connect your phone to the car.…

Low Mile Dilemma: 1999 BMW M3 v. 2008 BMW M3

Low Mile Dilemma: 1999 BMW M3 v. 2008 BMW M3

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?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW M3 on eBay

Just Missing the Map: 2011 BMW M3 Individual

Just Missing the Map: 2011 BMW M3 Individual

While the twin Individual Gran Coupes from this morning were certainly a good start, if I were seriously contemplating special ordering a car and paying extra for it, it would probably be a full-fledged M model. BMW’s obviously made a habit of offering limited-run M models, and it seems – generally – that those models plus the regular run of options resulted in less people turning towards BMW Individual to spec out their cars. But thankfully, some did – and we end up with some pretty cool color combinations, such as the Java Green hued 2013 I looked at last year.

One of my biggest gripes with some special editions is that they don’t seem to be particularly special at all; generally, just a different than normal color combination. All of the manufacturers are guilty of this, not just BMW; but the Lime Rock Park Edition is one that really makes me cross. I’m not even sure why; it is, indeed, a special car – a fully loaded Competition Package car, limited to 200 examples in Fire Orange, with a unique exhaust and a track map indicating the etymology of the name. It was also the end of the legendary 2-door M3 (for now). But since you could special order Fire Orange from BMW’s Individual department and have, theoretically, a 1 of 1 example for about the same money, I just was never sure why the Lime Rock Park Edition was so special. One thing is for certain, though – the color stands out on this exceptional package and if you were clever, you beat BMW to the market:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 BMW M3 on Craigslist

Feature Listing: 2012 BMW 335is

Feature Listing: 2012 BMW 335is

Like this past weekend’s 135i, a potential alternative to the M3 that I’ve considered quite a few times is the 335i. Upping the ante a notch, in 2011 BMW introduced the 335is; ostensibly, the spiritual successor to the ZHP package that the E46 had in the 330i. As they had with the 1M, BMW kept the N54 twin-turbo motor in the 335is instead of the usual N55 single turbo that was in the 135i and 335i. Tuned up to a reported 320 horsepower and 332 lb.ft of torque, the N54-equipped 335is also enjoyed a revised short-shift 6-speed gearbox and M-Sport styling outside, bringing it closer visually to the M3 – along with unique split 5-spoke wheels. While the 335is wasn’t much of a match for the high-revving V8 of the M3, in real world conditions it wasn’t much slower – and notably, with a healthy bump in torque over the S54, the 335is matched or bettered the reported E46 M3 acceleration numbers. Having just driven an E46 M3 this past weekend, the soundtrack is great but there’s a notable lack of grunt under 3,000 RPM – certainly to be expected, but when I get into even my considerably less powerful Passat, the fun of the turbo engagement at lower revolutions to provide a healthy kick in the pants – even at partial throttle – is something it’s hard to get out of a normally aspirated car without huge displacement. On top of a bit of extra grunt and some go-faster body kit, this particular 335is was optioned in one of the better blues BMW has offered in recent generations; LeMans Blue Metallic:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2012 BMW 335i on eBay

Motorsports Monday: 2008 BMW M3

Motorsports Monday: 2008 BMW M3

A truism of motorsport is that to make a small fortune in racing you need to start with a large fortune. Building race cars is very expensive; strange, considering that there is much less of them when you’re done than the road car that was started with. If, for example, you wanted to go racing in the GT3 class, the ostensible car to get would be the multi-class winning Porsche GT3R. Smart choice. Now, fork over your half a million hard-earned trust fund dollars, since before you turn a key the GT3R stickers at 429,000 Euros plus taxes. Run a race weekend, and presuming you don’t crash or have a mechanical, you’ll be several tens of thousands of dollars more in the hole, since race cars consume consumables at an alarming rate. Tires, brake pads, clutches – you name it, it’s expensive if it’s top-tier racing goods. And then come the realities that after a staggeringly short amount of time, you need to completely rebuild your race car. According to the Census Bureau, the average American spends 50 minutes a day commuting in their car. In race car terms, that would mean that after a little over a month you’d have to completely rebuild your car. Nuts, right?

But you still want to do it. Okay, a much more affordable way to go really, really fast is to buy a last generation car. Just past the current vogue, they tend to be considerably more friendly on the wallet. Yet, top tier cars are still very, very expensive to run. Perhaps, then, a smarter choice would be to look at a car based upon more pedestrian internals:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 BMW M3 on eBay