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1994 BMW M3 Coupe

For some time, there was a giant gulf between European-spec cars and US-specification cars. Granted, part of that divide still exists today if the large assortment of cars that do not make it to these shores, but at least enthusiasts can rejoice that at last – for the most part – performance versions that are available in Germany are very close to the same that we receive here. One of the last notable cars to exhibit the large divide was the E36 M3; while Europeans enjoyed over 280 horsepower from the individual throttle body S50B30 in 1992, the later-released US-specific M3 carried an entirely different motor with some 40 horsepower less. Though the S50B30US is certainly a great motor by itself, the knowledge that the “better” version existed across the pond somehow took a bit of legitimacy away from it. Also differentiating the European versions were better floating rotor brakes, better glass headlights, better lower and stiffer suspension, and some neat interior options. Later Euro E36s got even more power and the optional SMG 1 transmission or a 6-speed manual – none of which came here.

But if you fall into “the US version of the E36 M3 is garbage” camp, you don’t have to scream at the internet for “forum cred” anymore as early versions of the Euro cars are now fully legal for import – though, that does not mean they are inexpensive. Today’s example goes to 11 with its Dakar Yellow paintwork, forged Style 24 wheels, Amaretta M cloth upholstery, manual Vader seats, and “slicktop” roof – enough to make most E36 fanatics weak in the knees:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW M3 Coupe on eBay

Year: 1994
Model: M3 Coupe
VIN: WBSBF91050JC38863
Engine: 3.0 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 91,350 mi
Location: Los Angeles, California
Price: $44,900 Buy It Now

European BMW E36 M3 imported from Japan. If you are unfamiliar with the European model of the E36 M3, it has a true M-Sport engine with individual throttle bodies and the continuously variable VANOS system, increased compression, better cranks, rods, and pistons which together produces 286hp, 46 (!) more than the American version. Also, the European model in stock form has all of the high quality cooling system (radiator, water pump, etc.) that people are needing to retrofit on US models due to failure and poor quality build. Also, the Euro model has glass headlights where US are plastic, floating vs solid brake rotors, a more robust rear differential. The way the power comes on in the Euro version with the ITBs is just incredible. This car handles supremely well, as Euro E36 M3s also got different spring rates and shock settings from the factory.

This particular car also features stamped, OEM Style 24 wheels, staggered. These are very rare and add a lot to value. Reproductions do not have the stamping. The stamped Style 24 wheels were stock on the legendary LTW E36 that is worth well over $100k today.

M Rain interior including seats, door cards, and rear side panels. Door cards, rear side panels, a pillars, and headliner reupholstered. New 11 button computer, new stock Blaupunkt stereo with code. Immaculate inside and out. S50B30 engine with service under current ownership including Z3 steering rack, 6 new coil packs, VANOS rebuilt by Dr VANOS in Texas, valve adjustment. All tools intact in perfect condition. All receipts included.

Legally registered in South Dakota under current owners name. Sale includes four spoke steering wheel with airbag.

What a neat car. There are some modifications, like the exhaust that sticks out a bit on otherwise what appears to be a clean stock car. A close look shows that it’s also got aftermarket suspension, and the seller claims some recent service as well. Does it all add up to $45k in today’s market? It just may. Clean 3.0 US models are trading into the 30k range today, and a GT just sold for $170,000. I think this particular car has enough going for it to justify a premium for the right buyer.


One Comment

  1. Mark Jawdoszyn
    Mark Jawdoszyn April 3, 2023

    The lite grey M-Cross interior would have paired better with Dakar.

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