While the BMW E30 M3 is experiencing epic levels of popularity, for yours truly, it’s not my favorite of the lot. No, my favorite would be the E36 M3. I’ve always had a thing for this car, even if it’s heart was based on the M50 inline-6 found in lesser E36 models. There is something about the crisp lines of the E36 that grabs my attention, as the E46 which followed was a bit softer in appearance. Today, we no longer have a two-door M3. Instead, we’ve moved up a number to the M4. Even though it’s “technically” an M3, I’m not too keen on driving a car with the same name as a motorway in the United Kingdom. So let’s take a look at this 1997 M3 for sale in Illinois. Finished in Estoril Blue, this one has yet to cross the 70,000 mile mark.
All posts tagged Motorsport
When looking at E36 M3s, there are many different approaches. Do you want the lowest mileage example around in case they go the way of the E30-dodo? Perhaps you’re looking for a driver-quality, mid-mileage example. Is it four-doors or nothing? (For my money it would be!) Or maybe you’re a bit more adventurous and 240hp just won’t do so you’re after some performance mods, maybe even a supercharger?
These are all rational approaches to one of the best performance bargains available today and illustrate what a broad spectrum of driving enthusiasm the E36 M3 can fulfill. For today, however, just one item composed my rubric: WHICH ONE HAS THE BIGGEST WING? Well, folks, I’m confident I’ve found it, and as opposed to the rear-view problems monster wings typically present, this one avoids that problem altogether by just placing the spoiler higher than the roof!
Now, the reason this car has a GT3RS-rivaling spoiler is because it’s been fully outfitted for the track. A supercharger and upgraded exhaust/suspension/brakes combine with a rollcage in the bare interior to make this M3 all about the go, not show. Which rationalizes the wing a bit – sure, it looks silly, but with the S52B30 putting out over 400hp at the crank now, some high-speed stability is a prudent priority. Somehow registered for the street, this complete track build clearly demands a closed course so you can exercise this E36’s full potential instead of garnering Nelson Muntz-ish “Ha Ha!”s from the general public.
Click for details: 1995 BMW M3 on eBay
This E28 M5 was the car Dinan used for R&D to create their own modifications to supplement BMW’s upgrades to the platform. Not only does that make it a cool piece of American tuner history, but it clears the air of any pretension or garage-queeniness. This M5 has been used and worked on from the get-go. That makes things like the Euro bumpers, recovered seats (now without heat), and early engine rebuild (likely due to the early testing?) not as big of issues. It’s a very clean and good-looking M5 with a fun – if not flawless – history. Even with over 100k miles and bumper conversions, clean E28 M5s have been garnering some serious attention and money. A colorful but respectful past just seems like more of an excuse to drive a great M5 if you can afford it.
Click for details: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay
Last week I wrote up a gorgeous E34 540i/6 M-Sport that was listed just below $20k. Seems that most people thought the price on that was too high, despite the low miles and it’s owner being a long time BMW enthusaist. So, when I saw this ’91 M5 on Pelican Parts with a sale price about $2k lower than that of the 540i, I knew I had to write it up. I’m interested to see what ya’ll think of this deal, because while this car has nearly double the miles of the 540i, it has some Dinan bits, and it’s an M5. Is this car really so special that it warrants the price being within a months rent of a 540i with much lower miles?
Yes. Yes it is.
This is the E34 M5 we’re talking about here. This is THE Bimmer of the 90s. I acknowledge how cool the 540i M-Sports are, but I’m an enthusaist, and I’m the target audience for specialty models. The M5 is popular with everyone, and if you’re looking to get into a young timer classic, name recognition is important. There might be more costs upfront but the return on investment will be higher as well. Five or ten years down the road, when you’ve had your fun and are ready for something different, what would you rather be listing, an M5 or a 540i/6 M-Sport? The answer should be M5 every single time, that is if you’re into making some money on the deal. I’m not saying that isn’t possible with the 540i or any other specialty variants that were similar to a top dog car, but I know it’ll be harder.
Name recognition goes a long way and down the road when the bubble on 90s German vehicles bursts, you’ll want the well known hardware on your hands. I still don’t think the 540i I wrote up last week is a bad deal. What the seller wants is perfectly reasonable for a car of that class, with that many miles, no matter how old it is. This M5 on the other hand can command nearly the same amount with much higher miles because of its cultural cachet. Have I hammered home that the M5 is the better deal? Okay, lets get into the nitty gritty of what I like about this example.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on Pelican Parts
Like many I was filled with excitement and anticipation when it was announced that BMW would release a M-package 1-series. We were all pretty sure it wouldn’t be called the M1, since that name was taken, but regardless of what it was called there was plenty to be excited about. The 3-series was getting too big and seemed a significant departure from the iconic E30 M3, which was for me, though I didn’t really know it at the time, THE CAR to capture my attention and it elicited “ooohhs” and “aaahhhs” whenever we passed the local BMW dealer. I only saw it from afar so I can’t say exactly what color it was, though I know it was bright – something along the lines of Zinnoberrot I’d guess. Of course the 1M isn’t quite to the E30’s stature, at least not yet, but it was smaller and better proportioned than its siblings and that definitely was a step in the right direction. But whereas the E30 possesses a litheness to its design, the 1M is all muscle and with 335 hp it packs plenty of punch to backup that sculpted appearance. There is an Alpine White 1M that runs around where I live and for a white car it’s pretty darn sexy, but ultimately I come back to that first M3 and look for something a little brighter like this Valencia Orange 2011 BMW 1M Coupe, located in Illinois, with 32,250 miles on it.