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:
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The M3 Convertible. A rather curious beast, no? Especially if one considers the M3’s original purpose of a tool by which to dominate DTM racing. However, there has been a drop top version of every M3 since the original E30, even if we didn’t see that one officially on US shores. With the change in nomenclature, we now have the M4 convertible to compliment the M4 coupe and M3 sedan. Each new iteration has debuted more powerful engines, advanced gearboxes and we even saw a new folding hardtop on the E93 M3, carried over to the M4.
These two M3s are for sale in New York and represent a definite split in approach to the fast convertible formula. First up, we’ll take a look at this 2005 E46 M3, which is armed with the rev-happy S54 inline-6 under the hood that everyone knows and loves mated to a good old row-your-own 6-speed manual.
Click for details: 2005 BMW M3 Convertible on eBay
I’d like to try a social experiment if you’ll allow me; I’d take an E30 M3 listing and say absolutely nothing about it. My hypothesis is that it wouldn’t matter; the car would still generate lots of comments both positive and negative, outlining both the strengths of the E30 and the rapid appreciation of the market. The convergence of factors that has resulted in the M3 market as we see it today is the evolution of not only a naturally occurring timeline coupled with a increase of personal wealth vis-a-vis the ownership group juxtaposed with those who actually ponder ownership. This, in turn, can be viewed as in part the skeuomorphic racing details of the M3 coupled with the natural analogue interface of the E30 chassis. Immersion in the marketplace has resulted in datafication as we try to quantify the various appeals of the models and even sub-models, while the scalability of the marketplace seems to utilize fuzzy logic – models constantly morphing in and out of vogue as the relative price of ownership fluctuates. Modularity in the E30 platform has not helped but convoluted the matter. Coupled with the emergence of internet fora the M3 is the first truly viral car. The rapid influx of various examples in order to take advantage of these previously stated confluence of factors has resulted in, ironically, crowdsourcing in an effort to elicit an explanation:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 BMW M3 on eBay
Following on the heels of the 1990 BMW M3 we featured last week, here comes an even later model 1991 M3 for sale in New Hampshire. This car has slightly less mileage and has a rebuilt, blueprinted motor under the hood and wears the iconic Alpine White on the outside. Bidding is strong on this one, eclipsing the $30,100 that the M3 from last week fetched.
Click for details: 1991 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?