Über Rarität: 1999 Alpina B3 3.2 Cabriolet

When BMW upped its game in the E36 chassis with the introduction of the M3, specialty tuner Alpina answered with the B3 3.0 and later 3.2 in step with BMW. The successor of the slightly less powerful B6 model, the B3 kept many of the same improvements to the E36 chassis – unique stabilizers, springs and shocks, and larger brakes. Inside the B3 received the normal Alpina-style shift knob, steering wheel and seats, and in their typical style Alpina provided unique front and rear spoilers along with their own badging. Of course, the package was rounded out by some of the best looking wheels ever fitted to a BMW. While the B3 was down on power to the European M3 3.2, it wasn’t really much slower – again in typical Alpina fashion, the car was tuned to make the most of the power that was available rather than just provide a shockingly high output number. A reported 1,000 of these ultra-exclusive B3s were produced, with about 2/3rds of those being the earlier 3.0 model. With only 342 of the 3.2 produced, the pool is already very exclusive on these. Add a manual transmission when most are automatic, special order Dakar Yellow paint and a cabriolet model, and this is among the most exclusive Alpinas ever made.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 Alpina B3 3.2 Cabriolet on eBay


Year: 1999
Model: B3
Engine: 3.2 liter inline-6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 97,000 km (60,625 mi)
Price: Reserve Auction

The car for sale is a very rare original Alpina E36, known as a B3/3.2, having 261 bhp and 240 ft lbs of torque. This model was never imported to the US. The car has only been driven 97000km (60625 miles), it comes with a 6-speed manual transmission, has had only 2 owners (both female news anchors), and is painted the special-order color of Dakar Yellow (special-order for Alpina, as they usually painted this model in Alpina blue). It is the 67th of only 342 of this model built, and it is the only B3/3.2 in the world that is a Dakar Yellow cabriolet, since the car was ordered this way new from Alpina by its first owner. The VIN is WAPB332R08YE40067 (since this car is a Euro-version, this number wouldn’t go in eBay’s verified VIN space above). See this link for historical information about this particular Alpina model, for more details about it: http://www.alpina-archive.com/?page_id=57&nmt=B3-3.0-&-3.2.

Note that although we are in LA, and own this car, the car is outside of the US. The winning bidder will be responsible for payment of the shipping charges and customs duties–in addition to the cost of the car–to bring the car to the port nearest their location, and for title, tax and registration fees in his state. We will make arrangements for the shipping of the car to buyer’s closest port, but in the U.S. this car will need to be titled and registered under the government’s Show or Display category since it is too new to be brought in and registered as a classic car (see www.nhtsa.gov). Accordingly, the buyer will be responsible for researching and dealing with the NHTSA for importation of this car, and coordinating with us on its shipment. Please contact us by e-mail via eBay for a shipping quote or for other information.

Condition appears to be good although it must be said the pictures aren’t great, and if you’re ready to plunk down your cash, of course this car is a solid 10 years from being legally imported and it’s not currently in the U.S.. However, for a true enthusiast this is a mere hiccup and because of the semi-obscurity of the Alpina models, bidding may remain low. Also, because of the extremely limited production nature of them, you may indeed be able to petition this car as a show car for exemption from the NHTSA rules – though I’d place some calls and get some lawyers involved were I really serious before bidding. Is it worth it? Probably not to most; the performance won’t really be that much different than a stock U.S. spec 3.2 M3 cabriolet. But exclusivity is king to some, and they don’t come much more rare than this B3 3.2 – it wouldn’t be a stretch to declare this car in this configuration the rarest E36 ever made.

-Carter

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6 Comments

  1. Good call Carter on checking first. IMHO, Absolutely this would not qualify under S&D import, not to mention S&D stipulates that you apply first, then if they approve you buy the car. Then, best case scenario, you can drive it 2,500 mi @ yr.

    I’ve looked into these laws and their outcomes sort of a lot, as a layperson. I’m certainly no expert but they are by no means simple or straight forward, nor is it a fast process (think months-years not weeks).

    This seller is reckless and uninformed to suggest that it’s a given to think the auction winner can do this.

    http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/import/showdisplay/howtosd072003.html

    Also call a place like Haggerty because Geico isn’t gonna insure this.

    That said – beautiful, but not that powerful of a car! I’d buy it just for its seats & wheels. 🙂
    Google for the list of cars that have been imported and denied importation under S&D.

  2. They need to correct their add stating that car is in California. Although they do explain that in add description, potential buyer might miss that. I like everything but the color.

  3. Is it in CA? I wasn’t sure what to think based on the ad. Perhaps it’s in CA and doesn’t have any plates. I think the market for this car in the US is limited to a few states that allow you to get plates w/o it being Federalized. It would make more sense for this car to be in Canada, preferably in my garage 🙂

  4. Z – unless they changed something since I looked, the car is currently not located in California –

    “Note that although we are in LA, and own this car, the car is outside of the US. The winning bidder will be responsible for payment of the shipping charges and customs duties–in addition to the cost of the car–to bring the car to the port nearest their location, and for title, tax and registration fees in his state. ”

    The owners are in California, the car is still in Europe.

    Someone else mentioned Canada on our Facebook page – that indeed might make more sense, since the laws are a bit easier to get by apparently and they’re ten years ahead on the “Fed”.

  5. As promised, the list of cars actually allowed & dis-allowed under show & display through 2011. Remember the law says you must apply first before buying the vehicle…it can’t be here waiting in customs while you try to finesse some paperwork.

    Also don’t forget this, in the small chances it works – only gives you 2500 road mi per year.

    http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/import/sdlist040109.pdf

    There are other ways, like doing a federalization on it through an RI – but it’s still not a given and is extremely expensive…like $10-30k.

  6. This car is in Japan. The whole listing is just silly.

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