1995 BMW M3

1995 BMW M3

A little over a year ago, I took a bit of a gamble and plunged into M3 ownership. At the time, I was reasoning that the E46 market wasn’t likely to dip much lower in the immediate future, as the E36 market was already trending upwards. As a result, I paid (what I felt was) a reasonable premium for a low mileage, excellent original condition example in a very rare color. At least on the surface, it would seem that my decision was correct; since purchasing that car, some E36 sales have gone through the roof as documented on these pages. Further, E46 sales of clean, original examples (especially 6-speeds) appear also to be heading upwards, as witness by the 2003 currently on Bring A Trailer. With a few days to go, bidding is past $25,000 – money that until now was considered reserved only for the Competition Package cars.

But back to the E36 market and this particular example. The cars that have pulled really strong numbers in the second generation M3 are the European specification models or the super-limited Lightweight edition. Still, that doesn’t mean that a clean normal U.S. specification M3 also isn’t heading upwards. Take this early ’95, for example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 on eBay

2001 Audi TT Roadster 225 quattro with 42,000 Miles

2001 Audi TT Roadster 225 quattro with 42,000 Miles

In 1993, my father purchased a W113 Mercedes-Benz 280SL Roadster. It was green with black MB Tex and do you know what? It looked, and felt, old. At that point, it was a 22 year old car that had been mostly forgotten by the enthusiast world. After all, the dated W113’s replacement – the oh so 80s even though it was from the 70s R107 – had just gone out of production, itself replaced by the thoroughly modern R129. I loved the R129 at the time, and the W113 seemed like a dinosaur by comparison. But my father loved the look of the W113, and so for the then princely sum of mid-teens he purchased a relatively clean, reasonably low mileage and (almost) fully functional Mercedes-Benz SL.

Fast forward the best part of two and a half decades, and the SL market has gone completely bonkers, awakening to the fact that the W113 was (and still is) a beautiful, classic and elegant design. I’m not even sure you could buy a non-functional, rusty wreck of a W113 for the same price my father paid in 1993 – and an expensive restoration would await you.

Why do I mention this?

Currently, almost no one has time to even consider the 8N chassis Audi TT. It’s old, with the last of the first generation produced 12 years ago and its replacement – the 8J – has also fully completed a production cycle. It doesn’t have the super wiz-bang computers, million horsepower engines, or cut-your-hand-on-the-front-end styling of the new models. A fair amount lay in a state of disrepair; crashed, thrashed and trashed to a point where they’re nearly given away – quite seriously, there’s one near me for $1,500. But find a good one, and I think now is the prime time to grab a clean TT that will be a future collectable.…

Double Take: 1991 Audi V8 quattro

Double Take: 1991 Audi V8 quattro

You know when you watch a horror film and the protagonist sees a door ajar with a strange light, noise or smell emanating from behind it? Despite the obvious warning signs and 100% metaphysical certitude of impending doom, they creep towards their demise as if unable to escape fate. As a viewer, I’m often baffled by their behavior.

But then I think about the V8 quattro.

There is nothing – and I mean nothing – that makes the V8 quattro a sensible choice for a car. Parts are hard to find, they seem needlessly complicated, and the reality is that now some 26 years old and vintage, the cutting edge of technology for 1991 is pretty easily outpaced by a Honda Civic. There are prettier, more significant, faster and more economical Audis, if you have the itch.

But like the open door, I’m always drawn to looking at them. So, cue the scary music and dim the lights, because we’ve got a twofer of 3.6 quattro action coming at you!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi V8 quattro on Central New Jersey Craigslist

2017 BMW M3 Competition Package Individual

2017 BMW M3 Competition Package Individual

Over the past few years, I’ve increasingly noticed mainstream dealers taking their wares to eBay. Usually we don’t cover these cars much – frankly, as a new car, basically you don’t need us to find it for you. Anyone can pop on to their marque of choice and dream away with the builds. But this particular M3 caught my attention because of two reasons; first, the screaming Fire Orange II paint from BMW Individual, and second – the price; at $110,000, nearly double the standard MSRP on a F80 M3. What’s going on?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2017 BMW M3 Competition Package Individual on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1991 BMW 850i

Tuner Tuesday: 1991 BMW 850i

Yesterday, Craig took a look at a very nice and quite affordable E32 750iL. These cars have traditionally been one of the most affordable ways to get into a V12 sedan, and consequently coming across a generally well sorted one that doesn’t require an extensive amount of service is difficult.

But the M70B50 also found its way into the replacement for aging E24. The revolutionary E31 signaled a leap forward in sophistication, refinement and styling from other period BMWs. Minus small details, it still looks reasonably fresh today; something that can’t be said of many 1980s-era designs. The three-quarter view above, for example, is mimicked closely by BMW’s own current 4-series today and the Audi A5. Yet as with the E32, the E31 has been the gateway into V12 Grand Tourers for many with aspirations loftier than their bank accounts. Finding a pristine, early 850i isn’t an everyday occurrence, so this one was certainly worth a look. It didn’t hurt that it’s been breathed on by Dinan, either.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW 850i on eBay

Northern Exposure: 1994 BMW M3 Canadian Edition

Northern Exposure: 1994 BMW M3 Canadian Edition

I promise that it was not my original intent to run a Canadian market car this today, but it’s pretty apropos for this morning’s coffee intake. The Canadian Edition M3 is no stranger on these pages; I’ve written up two of the original 45 in the past few months. First was the Mugello Red car which had undergone some changes for stock.. Second was the staggering Individual Giallo example which set what I believe may be a record price for a non-Lightweight car. Today #40 has come up for sale and seems to lie between the condition of the two cars. Presented in fetching Dakar Yellow, where will the price of this E36 end up?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW M3 Canadian Edition on eBay

1989 Porsche 944 Turbo with 43,000 Miles

1989 Porsche 944 Turbo with 43,000 Miles

Here’s a listing I am genuinely interested in seeing end in a few days. Why? Well, I’ve covered a string of 944 Turbos recently, and we’ve seen some very nice examples trade for quite reasonable amounts. But today’s 944 Turbo is special for a few reasons. First, it is one of the last of the run, S-spec 1989 models. Properly, they’re not called “Turbo S” models, but only because all of the 1989 models came equipped with option code M030 – the Club Sport Package, featuring adjustable Koni suspension, forged Club Sport wheels, upgraded 928 brakes, and 30mm/25.5mm swaybars. It also meant by default you needed to select option code M220 – the 40% limited slip differential. Coupled with the upgraded M44/51 turbo motor producing nearly 250 horsepower, these are the Ninjas of the Porsche lineup in the 1980s – silent supercar killers. Today’s example is especially desirable since it comes from a single owner, is claimed all original, and has only covered 43,000 miles:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay

2001 Audi TT 225 quattro

2001 Audi TT 225 quattro

1I went to college in London in 2000, about the same time that the first generation TT started to appear on British roads. Because my dorms were in a posh part of town, there were always a few of these parked nearby. The car’s styling struck me as extraordinary. It captured something of the millennial zeitgeist: a minimalist, Bauhaus-esque design that artfully blended lines and curves on the outside, with a bespoke-feeling cockpit on the inside featuring splashes of brushed aluminum and baseball-glove stitching on the leather seats. Back then, I had ambitions to become a lawyer, and this was the perfect car, I thought, for a young single man about town. The perfect yuppie’s car.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi TT 225 quattro on Albany Craigslist

Summer Dreaming: 1987 Porsche 944 Turbo

Summer Dreaming: 1987 Porsche 944 Turbo

I’m guessing that if you’re a fan of the 944 Turbo, you’re reading this with a slight tinge of regret that you didn’t bid on the two no reserve 944 Turbos I posted the other day. Both were unique in their own ways, but the condition and pricing made them compelling options. The Nougat Brown car traded for a staggeringly low, “why the hell didn’t I jump in on that auction” $8,100. The Alpine White car, with a bit better presentation and neat options, has just broken $10,000 with a few hours remaining. The 944 Turbo is one of those cars that keeps me thinking, wondering when they too will be out of reach for most enthusiasts. Today I have another interesting configuration, low mile Turbo to consider – is this one worth the plunge?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay

1994 BMW M3 Canadian Edition Individual

1994 BMW M3 Canadian Edition Individual

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:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW M3 Canadian Edition on eBay

1997 BMW M3 Coupe with 45,000 Miles

1997 BMW M3 Coupe with 45,000 Miles

The value of E36 M3s has been much debated over the past few years, with detractors snickering and deriding every asking price and speculators suggesting their worth is many times the average selling price. While it’s true you can find cheap E36 M3s, the question remains – where is the market going on these cars? The result of their relatively low value for such a protracted period means that today there just aren’t the glut of good examples that there once were, so when a really nice one comes along, now too do the bids. Case in point – today’s 1997 Coupe. A quick search of my local Craigslist ads suggests I can buy one of these for $6,500. No, actually, I can buy four of them, all for $6,500 (or less). So why would I pay more for this one?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 BMW M3 Coupe on eBay

1 of 45: 1994 BMW M3 Canadian Edition

1 of 45: 1994 BMW M3 Canadian Edition

Conventional wisdom would have it that North America was robbed of the “real” M3; the undiluted, S50B30/B32, individual throttle body, floating rotor, continuously variable VANOS enthusiasts’ dream. Conventional wisdom, though, is wrong. Exploiting a loophole in importation laws, in 1994 BMW Canada commissioned a run of 45 exclusive European-spec E36 M3s. These were the full-fat BF91 rather than the BF93 which would come slightly later to U.S. shores. That meant the full spectrum of Euro goodies were optional on these cars, but most notably the 286 horsepower engine was the highlight. Each got a numbered plaque to commemorate fooling “The Man”, the only real changes from standard specification were the additions of daytime running lights and a third brake light to meet Canadian road laws. Sure, your E36 M3 is special, but these Canadian Edition cars are more specialerer. And this one isn’t in Canada anymore – it’s in the U.S.. Feel cheated no more, E36 fans!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW M3 Canadian Edition on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1998 BMW M Roadster Dinan S3 Supercharged

Tuner Tuesday: 1998 BMW M Roadster Dinan S3 Supercharged

The other day I was talking with my friend about Turner Motorsports. I first met Will Turner when he was a BMWCCA instructor, just trying to establish his business of selling parts on the side. He and his compatriots all sported E30 M3s; this was, after all, the days before the launch of the U.S. E36 M3. Turner managed to parlay early success in a local modification scene outside of Boston into a countrywide business, and after some time in the club race scene he moved into the major leagues. Success against better funded teams was sometimes difficult, but today Turner is still alive and very much kicking, having become one of the two defacto factory-backed teams running the M6 GT3. To get to that point of factory involvement is an arduous journey to say the least, and few who start out make it.

One other who did was Steve Dinan, who took a niche tuning business from the 1980s into a factory option today. You can walk down to your dealer and order up a fully backed, Dinan modified car. That took a tremendous amount of work and is a testament to the quality of the products on offer from Dinan. They truly take the well-engineered BMWs to the next level, but modifying them to do so can be quite pricey. Take today’s M Roadster, for example. While it wasn’t exactly a cheap car to begin with, with entry level prices in 1998 starting around $42,000. This M Roadster, though, went on to get a further $36,000 in modifications from Dinan:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 BMW M Roadster Dinan S3 on eBay

1991 Audi 200 20V quattro

1991 Audi 200 20V quattro

Timothy Dalton was a pretty forgettable James Bond, and The Living Daylights was an even more forgettable Bond film. Beyond the pretty ridiculous plotline of the cellist turned assassin turned sympathetic refuge and maybe the only woman the protagonist never sleeps with, perhaps the most notable appearance was the Mujahideen in another sympathetic roll. They were, after all, the freedom fighters trying to kick out the Western baddy-of-the-decade Russians – never mind that they’d basically become the Taliban in short order, or that the CIA was funding guys like Osama bin Laden to be over there fighting and training alongside them. If you leave the serious lapse in global politics out of the movie, the best part was probably the two Audis you forgot about. James used a 100 quattro Avant for survaillence, but when he needed a quick getaway, it was a really slick looking Stone Gray Metallic 200 quattro with some particularly awesome BBS RS wheels under lightly flared arches. In European guise, it was not a car we got here, with the slab-sided 5000 carrying the torch in 1987 – the year the movie premiered. There was a 35 horsepower difference between the European variant and what came to us, too. That was rectified in 1991, though, when Audi very nearly recreated the look of that James Bond car in the 20V version of the 200. With flared arches, 15×7.5 forged BBS RG wheels and a new, double over head cam turbocharged 3B motor producing 217 horsepower channeled only through a manual gearbox and all four wheels, the 200 finally became a chariot worthy of a super spy. Audi also moved in a new direction minimizing badging; the rear window had a “quattro” script defroster and in front the quattro badge adorned the grill, but as with the 1990 V8 and Coupe models, no other model designation was present.…

1989 Porsche 944 Turbo with 37,000 Miles

1989 Porsche 944 Turbo with 37,000 Miles

Kicking and screaming, enthusiasts are watching super heros from the 1980s slowly (or not so slowly, depending on the model) move firmly out of affordable price ranges. The last bastion of performance to rise is one of the best available, proving that the market doesn’t always recognize what theoretically should be the best cars. 944 Turbos, just as they did when new, have been rapidly accelerating in value and the top of the heap for road models are the ’88 Turbo S and the S-spec ’89 Turbos (properly, without S – more later). In my time writing for GCFSB, I’ve watched nice examples move from mid-teens to firmly into the 20K range. But Hagerty currently values them even higher, with a sharp spike in 2015. 2016 forecasts have the market cooling slightly, but it’s still at record highs for several models. The current top value on a 1989, at least according to Hagerty, is $36,400. Today’s car is priced at $39,000. Is it better than perfect?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay