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1995 BMW M3 Lightweight for sale

These E36 M3 Lightweights are a tricky game. Rare M3s are always cool, but E36s are the most vanilla of M3s and the LTW special edition lacks the cache of the E46 CSL or E30 Evos. LTWs are probably best suited for some track fun, but if that’s your bag why not strip-and-cage a normal M3? As such, many of these have been tucked away as investments, owners’ fingers crossed for appreciation. Today’s LTW appears to have had no such luck. Somewhere along its 66k miles it picked up a salvage title but has since “passed inspection.” Not ideal, but with only 120 of these produced, I’m glad it’s still on the road. Sometimes a bumpy past can help drop pretentions in favor of just driving the damn thing.

1995 BMW M3 LTW for sale on

From the seller:

completely stock except for sway bars and BBS lug nuts, removed the radio cover and installed a stock radio, owned since 2006, was driven once a year to Euro-fest, now driven once a month, stored in garage under cover, perfect paint, repainted the front & rear ends, so chip free, repainted the rear because the checkered flag had age cracks in it and the sun had burnt the original flag into the paint, runs and drives perfectly, shifts good, everything functions perfectly, the trunk kit is installed (dual pickup oil pan, front strut brace & rear spoiler), very nice interior, carbon-fiber trim above the glove-box is missing, very-minor paint marks, A pillar paint crack, may have been in an accident (prior to my ownership), previous salvage history but passed a rebuild inspection, the headliner is starting to sag, missing the adjustable front spoiler that came in the trunk kit, previous owner put a 97-99 grille bar on the car as an upgrade, needs a little bit of work to be 100% perfect.

It’s a cool car, but the description leaves a lot of questions left to be answered. At least the seller has taken care of it properly for 6 years, but what about before that? From what we do know, I’d think that the mileage and salvage title would drop this well below the $30k asking price. It could still garner a premium over a normal E36 M3, but that’s not saying much considering they’re one of the best sports car bargains around. Somewhere around $25k seems like more of a compromise between the rarity and issues.



  1. AlwaysFixing
    AlwaysFixing October 16, 2012

    Every seller with a salvage title downplays the seriousness. It has to be pretty darn serious to get a salvage title. And the car is never ever the same.

  2. Dan D. Lyons
    Dan D. Lyons October 16, 2012

    Crack pipe…

  3. KevinR
    KevinR October 16, 2012

    No, it doesn’t always have to be “pretty darn serious” for a car to get a salvage title.

    For example, my ’87 VW has a rebuilt title after having a salvage title for about 10 years. The car was stolen, stripped of its wheels and tires, seats and battery and then left in the middle of a back road. The cost of replacements was enough for the insurance company to total the car, which automatically generates a salvage title. I bought the car from the insurance company and rebuilt it.

    However, due diligence is definitely in order.

  4. AlwaysFixing
    AlwaysFixing October 16, 2012

    Kevin, true, there are theft recoveries when the car isn’t too bad off. But that’s really the exception. And unless you know the seller, you never know how much the car suffered. (Like slid into a curb before it was stripped.)

    I purchased a car with a laundered salvage title. Every year I would find weirdness, like interior trim mismatching in obscure spots and bolts missing from body panels.

    I can’t see any reason why one would knowingly buy a prior salvage. And my frustration are sellers that downplay the potential issues to a buyer that may not know any better.

  5. KevinR
    KevinR October 16, 2012

    I’ve encountered a few cars lately with salvage history. In the process, I have gotten pretty good at digging up the history of some of these cars. Carfax, Autocheck, service records and even Google can all help answer questions about the history of a particular car.

    The new selling tactic appears to be stating that the car has a salvage title but that they do not know anything about it. I guess it’s the concept of deniability.

    Salvage title or not, there is no substitute for a thorough, hands-on inspection.

    As far as this car goes, the seller is delusional. You can buy E36 M3s for less than half the asking price quite easily. In addition, the LTW was a complete sales flop when new; no one wanted one. That desirability hasn’t really changed much in the last 16 years.

  6. Larry
    Larry October 17, 2012

    FYI…I recall this ones been for sale for quite a while in one forum or another. Fortunately, it appears the market isn’t nearly as delusional as the seller.

  7. Carter J
    Carter J October 17, 2012

    I wouldn’t call it a flop – I recall them new quite well, and many of the BMW instructors picked them up as the next big thing – and they were indeed faster than a stock M3 and had aero-tweaks, so for the track, they were a better weapon. Was the price justified? No, but neither in the price or existence of things like the new M3 Lime Rock Park edition, but people will continue to pay a premium for them. At least this M3 actually was lighter and had more track-stuff than just being painted a special color and having a track map printed in it…..

  8. KevinR
    KevinR October 18, 2012

    BMW’s expectations were that all of the cars would be pre-sold.

    In late 1996, I was in Oklahoma City on business and I stopped by the BMW dealer there to look at the LTW they had on the lot. It was still unsold after more than a year in their inventory. They offered to sell it to me at something like $10k off the list price. The owner just wanted it gone.

    When I got back home, I checked with a friend who works at the local BMW dealer; he showed me an inventory list that still had 6 unsold 1995 model M3 LTWs nationwide. Having that many unsold out of a production run of only 120 cars at the end of the NEXT model year is the definition of a sales flop.

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