Tuner Tuesday: 1998 BMW M Roadster Dinan S3

Edit 11/3/2017 – I looked at this Dinan modified M Roadster last August, but there was little information and it hung around for quite a while at $25,000. It has now moved on to a new seller who has taken some more photos and raised the price $4,000. After last month claiming it was an ISR3, the seller has confirmed what our comment from Eric indicated – it’s “just” a S3 Roadster. It has about 1,000 more miles since last year but still looks relatively reasonably priced if you like the color combination and gutsy Dinan modifications – Ed

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.…

2006 BMW M3 Competition Package with 11,600 Miles

To me, this M3 is a very interesting counterpoint to yesterday’s RS6. Many aspects are the same; pristine original condition, lower mileage, mid-2000s leading edge performance car.

It’s there where the similarities end.

While the RS6 represented the stepping over a threshold of performance into a war of escalation, the E46 M3 was, in many ways, BMW’s equivalent of the Porsche 993. It was the ultimate development of the normally aspirated inline-6, and to many (this author included), it was the best of the breed.

The third generation M3 is simply a marvel. It took the basic layout of its predecessor and improved essentially every aspect. The E36 wasn’t aggressive looking enough? Fixed. The motor wasn’t the technical marvel that was the European version? Fixed that, too. And the build quality and plastic materials in the second generation were a bit lacking? Solved that one, as well.

Are there drawbacks to the E46? Sure, it only came in two-door guise. There are also some known weaknesses in the chassis, like the subframe problems that can be a costly repair. The S54 is also a more expensive motor to repair than the S50/52 had been, and requires more maintenance (and, super costly oil).

But enough gripes, because while there isn’t a collector market for 2000s Audis, the E46 never really went through the dip in value that the E36 did. Prime examples have always demanded strong money and appear to be on the rise, with several notable auctions recently hammering for ever increasing numbers. Today’s example comes from the end of the line for the E46, and is about as desirable as they come to market. One of 2943 A08 Silvergray Metallic coupes imported, it has the desirable N51M Imola leather interior, the even more desirable 6-speed manual transmission and equally sought ZCP Competition package, and it’s only traveled a reported 11,600 miles since new.…

2002 BMW M3

My dad’s E46 M3 was by far and away the best car he ever owned (though I guess that’s not saying much, since he mostly owned Fords). It was a convertible and, as a result, the chassis was somewhat compromised – the dash would shake at the slightest provocation from a pothole. Still, it was a great car, mostly because it was such a perfect all-rounder. It was fast, handled like a precision instrument and looked sufficiently aggressive without being too shouty. It was also very practical. If you took it down to the shops to pick up a pint of milk, and resisted the temptation to mash the throttle, it could be a very docile car to drive. But if you did open it up, the sound of that 3.2 liter straight six was pretty incredible. There’s nothing else I’ve heard that’s quite like it. It wasn’t a growl. It was a rasp, a sinister, menacing one. I hope that one day I’ll own one too.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW M3 on eBay

Imola Overload: 2004 BMW M3

Update 11/7/2017 – the seller of this car has raised the asking price to $27,490 and provided new photos.

I’ll admit that I seem to be unnaturally drawn to yellow M3s. I can trace that back to the launch of the E36 and the twin Dakar Yellow examples that turned up at Watkins Glen International for a HPDE; like a newborn, I was apparently imprinted upon them. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like other colors, though, and this Imola Red example certainly caught my attention. It ticked the right boxes; post-LCI example, low miles, 6-speed, great condition and a fantastic exterior color with the optional Fuchs 19″ Style 67 forged alloys. But even more impressive when scrolling through the images was the interior shade of matching Imola Red leather. Who would have ordered such a specification when the majority of new M3 purchasers were considerably more conservative? The answer was a bit surprising:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 BMW M3 on eBay

Double Take: 2001 and 2002 BMW M5 Dinan S2s

“Dinan’s latest work of art, he has not only fixed a car that wasn’t broken but also sought to perfect a car that everyone considers to be as close to perfection as is humanly possible: the BMW M5”, Car and Driver wrote in 2002. Dinan had, at that point, already made a reputation for themselves as the premier BMW tuner in the United States to the point where they became offered straight from the dealer. Considering that’s just occurred for Alpina here, the endorsement of the level of engineering from the California firm was resounding. Yet that is in part because Dinan’s modifications are far from just slapping a badge and some wheels on a car and calling it done. Take, for example the M5 S2.

Dinan took what many considered to be a very highly developed 4.9 liter V8 in the S62 and went old-school to up the power; and up it a lot, he did. There was no supercharger or turbocharging here; revised intake and enlarged velocity stacks were met on the other end with tubular headers and a bespoke exhaust. Each throttle body’s bore was increased, too. These changes required a reflash of the computer, but were both lighter and more powerful. As in 76 horsepower more. That’s the best part of a 20% gain on a motor that many considered to be close to peak performance! Dinan further upgraded the suspension, brakes, wheels, and final drive, along with adding a lighter flywheel. As a result, the new S2 was, well, about 20% better than the already awesome M5. But that perfection cost, and it was more than a 20% increase. A lot more.

On top of the M5’s $73,400, if you wanted a fully spec’d out S2 you’d tack on $36,000 to the price. For that amount, you could have grabbed a nice 330Ci in addition to your standard M5!…

Labor of Love: 1991 BMW 318iS

You don’t have to cast a very wide net to find a modified E30 BMW. Though they’ve been out of production for the U.S. market for some 25 years, they’re still a massively popular choice for enthusiasts – so much so, that they’re a bit ubiquitous and border on cliché.

As a result, we’ve seen our share of modified E30s on these pages with varying results. But today’s example really is something special. It’s not the first time I’ve heard an E30 be referred to as the cleanest, best built car in the country. I clicked the link with my normal base-level of E30 skepticism.

It’ll be way, way overpriced for what it is. Lipstick on a pig. I’d prefer a stock one” rolled through my head.

You see, if I told you the value on a 318iS was such that it justified a full disassembly and restoration, you’d likely laugh. There could not possibly be a return on that investment, right? And on top of that, a resto-mod in a non-original color in a market which has highly prized only completely original, low mileage and stock examples to date?

Naysayers, bear witness.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW 318iS on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 2001 BMW M3 Dinan S3 Convertible

For someone who claims to “not get” fast convertibles, I’ve sure managed to post quite a few recently. This one particularly caught my eye first because of the color combination. Imola Red was on the short list of acceptable E46 M3 colors in my search, particularly so when equipped with Imola on the inside. Now, truth told the convertible configuration of this car would probably have turned me off from actually signing on the dotted line, but this car has a lot going for it including $28,000 worth of Dinan modifications. Let’s take a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 BMW M3 Dinan S3 Convertible on eBay

2002 BMW M3 with 10,000 Miles

As my search for “the perfect” E46 M3 continues, this example popped on to my radar screen. Why? Well, for most intents and purposes, it’s “perfect”. With only 10,051 miles on the odometer, it’s one of the lowest mileage E46s anywhere. Condition is near perfect. It’s a 6-speed manual. It’s a coupe. These are all on the must-have list for what I’m considering; that brings us to color. On the inside is N5TT – Grey Nappa Leather. I’m still with you, as I don’t like the all-black interiors on these E46s. Outside is 405 – Imola Red II, a pleasingly blue-red shade that sets the car apart from the normal silvers and blacks that M3s all-too often appear in. Okay, Imola isn’t my favorite color, but when you’re talking about low-mileage 13 year old cars in basically new condition, it’s not as if there’s a huge pool to select from:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW M3 on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1995 BMW 525i S52-Swap

When I start to recount stories of my early driving years and my family’s run of German automobiles, I’m sure it sounds like we ran a used car lot. Fair enough; before I was old enough to drink we were on to our 5th BMW with a Porsche on the way – and still a few more to come. One of my favorite cars would probably be a bit of a surprise to some, though; when the climate control failed on our E32 735i 5-speed it was replaced by a 1995 525i. Now, normally the 525i is a bit of a downer – too much car with too little motor. But several updates over the life of the 525i meant that by 1993, the 525i was a bit of a sleeper – especially when equipped with a manual. The update from the M20 to the M50 motor and then the addition of VANOS gave the car a mini-M5 feel. It screamed up the tach and felt much quicker than it looked. But for some the M50 just isn’t enough motivation to leave the 525i alone:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 525i on eBay

2001 BMW M5

$_57

The E39 M5 is well known for being one of the wolfiest cars wearing sheeps’ clothing ever. Typically seen in silver or black, I grew up near an Imola Red version that draws a bit more attention. Today’s will draw the gaze of all who pass, including car lovers and cops. As much I love subdued performance machines, red is my favorite color and I actually love this hue on M5s. I might go without the bright chrome wheels, but hey, if you’re going to be blinding people, you might as well get some help from your wheels as well. With right around 100k miles and a Buy-It-Now of $16k, this is a great deal for a stunner in both aesthetics and performance.

Click for details: 2001 BMW M5 on eBay