E30 M3 Turbo on eBay

At first I was excited about this post, but quickly I felt a small pang in my heart.  I love E30 M3s, as I know many of us do, and I’ve seen people do some amazing modifications to them.  So I’m posting this turbo-S52’d example because it’s impressive and interesting, but something inside says it’s a little bit wrong.  Removing the S14 is a contentious issue among E30-lovers, so that hobbles the car from the get-go.  Turbocharging is awesome  in nearly all applications; but isn’t the only homologated M3 all about directness and uninhibited, naturally-aspirated glory?  Then I think the final unsettling lemon-on-top is the exterior, namely the color and wheels.  Alas, it’s an impressive exercise in E30 tuning, so I think it’s worth sharing.

I don’t hate this car, and it’s still hovering around $10k, so it’s not like it’s horribly overpriced.  It’s just built based on different values and assertions than I hold with regards to what makes the E30 M3 so special.  To each their own, and someone will love this.  It’s just not me.

-NR

Clean E36 M3 Sedan near SF

The E36 M3 sedan is the first fast car I drove, and, like a first love, has stuck with me ever since.  Unleashing a couple of 16-year-olds in a Dinan M3 was perhaps a foolhardy move by my best friend’s dad, but luckily we kept it in good shape other than a few check-engine lights due to impatience with the M warm-up sequence.  It was a dream to drive; every pebble in the road gently communicated to the hands, every gearchange a satisfying snick, and every corner was our own railed rollercoaster.  E36s in general are fine, but the 4-door M3 has always struck me as markedly sexier than any of its generational brethren.  I tried to buy that Dinan a few years ago at $14k, but couldn’t make the finances work (luckily it’s being saved for my friend).  These days its not difficult to find them for under $10k, and this nicely modified 1997 sedan demonstrates the accessibility of clean examples.

1997 M3 Sedan for sale on Craigslist SF

I could do without the Supersprint DTM exhaust (Dinan’s looks almost stock but sounds perfect) and I’d raise the adjustable rear suspension just a little, but this is a very clean example with some nice, simple modification choices (I don’t know of a car that looks bad with BBS CHs).  157k miles is on the higher end, but at $9k it’s still a great value, and if the engine goes bad, spend some money swapping in a Euro S52 or S54 and you’ll still have a performance bargain.

Final Note: Thank god it’s a manual.  In my mind, automatic E36 M3s might as well be junked.

-NR