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Motorsports Monday: 1993 BMW 318i Dinan-Built Racecar – REVISIT

After failing to sell back in June when I originally wrote it up, the semi-mystery “Dinan-built” 318i racer is back up for sale. There is no more information offered this time around and the car is once again a reserve auction; I’d guess that the seller hasn’t changed their $28,000 expectation and this car will continue to be a hard sell – but it’s pretty cool to check out! What would you pay?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 BMW 318i Dinan Race Car on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site June 30, 2014:

Obviously we write up a lot of cars at this site, and we see our fair share of cars from dealers with a real gap in information provided that we’d like to see. Often times, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to which cars get no description or why; they can be a 300SL Gullwing for multiple millions of dollars right to a first generation GTi. Despite the range of value, one thing unites these cars; there are enthusiasts who love to see them, and buyers who would really like to know more about the car. Today’s car is no exception; a 1993 BMW 318i, this would generally be a forgotten charm right now. The E36, while a great car in its own right, isn’t in favor the way the E30 is and consequently larger engined variants are plentiful, and more importantly cheap. So what is interesting about this economy car turned racer? Well, it’s a claimed Dinan built car, and for a time in the 1990s BMW handed Dinan the keys to build some pretty wild semi-factory backed racers – so they’re well versed. But the mystery isn’t solved there:

Year: 1993
Model: 318i
Engine: ? liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: Not Listed
Price: Reserve Auction ($27,990 on seller’s website)

A perfectly sorted DINAN E36 Race car – complete with two sets of wheels and tires, this car only ran in (4) events over the course of it’s life. Having not been driven in recent years, this car is a great opportunity for the beginning club racer looking for the “real deal” Full cage, fuel cell – literally too much to list. Call us and get the scoop TODAY!!

Apparently, you’ll need to call to get the scoop if you’re very interested – though, judging by the lack of detail and mislabeled items I’m not sure they know exactly what is what with the car. For example, they still list the motor both on eBay and on their own site as the original 4-cylinder motor. Now, I’ve made mistakes before but generally believe I can count, and I count more than four cylinders under the hood. It’s also not clear when the car was built; if it was really a Dinan built car and only ran four events, I’m led to wonder why it has M3 front and rear bumpers. The cage looks stout and there are some great Dinan upgrades, such as the Fikse 17″ wheels, intake and stress bar. However, the typical Dinan engine build stickers appear to be missing from what looks like a cut radiator support. This car clearly was built to compete in BMWCCA Club Racing, and would likely run in one of the modified classes. I’m sure a BMW fan could help diagnose which motor that is; I don’t know them well enough to tell off the top of my head but it would seem likely it’s an M50. The Eibach spring boxes would seem to indicate there are coilover shocks supporting the car, and you’re provided with multiple spring rates. There are racing Brembo brakes up front and it appears upgraded master cylinder as well to go along with the racing fuel cell – this car was well built and expensive. Speaking of expensive, the seller lists the car on the site for nearly $28,000. Now, these days that will buy you any E36 short of a lightweight model in the U.S.. Indeed, we’ve had many E36 track variants pop up in the teens, and some of our knowledgeable readers have even claimed at that level they’re overpriced. Having built a few track cars, the bills add up quickly – but I think you could replicate this car for under the asking price, likely with a more potent motor. Having not been driven recently, it likely needs a refresh and may need new belts and cage updates to pass spec in club racing, and with the engine swap you’ll be moved up the ranks in other series. All in all, this car is intriguing and I’d like to know more about the history – but even if it’s proven to be a fully-build Dinan car, I think it’s still overpriced by a fair amount.



  1. Ry
    Ry October 13, 2014

    It’s a BMWCCA-Club Racing class C-Modified (going by the stickers on the vehicle) car. The decal on the door makes sense with the Tire Rack windshield banner, it was/is sponsored by them. I highly doubt that Dinan assembled that car, but you might be able to call and ask them if you needed to hear it from them (800.341.5480).

    C-modified you can put in Euro M3 engines and all sorts of stuff, so I’d bet this just had some Dinan mods.

    I can’t zoom in close enough to see any driver/owner last name, otherwise it might be possible to get some info on it by searching that way. . .but the BMWCCA racing program does archive most of its past results, you could probably search (for quite awhile) and hunt for “11” in CM category.

    A similarly prepped car was on Bimmerforums (IIRC) and couldn’t get $20k, last I checked.

    Poking and/or posting around the BMWCCA Club Racing forums and maybe Bimmerforums could definitely dig up more info on this car and its ownership & build history, if someone is so inclined.

    But ya I totally agree with you Carter, the only thing more annoying than a car dealer’s ad devoid of useful written content are the occasional private party ones that just copy and paste the specs of the car (or nothing at all) and say “runs great.” Like it’s 1985 and we’re publishing ads by the word in the classified section of the paper! You’re selling cars guys, get on top of it and deliver a reasonable amount of info that would make someone want to had you over 5 digits of US currency!

  2. Carter
    Carter October 13, 2014

    So, it’s interesting – the car was submitted by the seller over on BaT; they claim it was one of 12 cars build by Dinan for the World Challenge, and the current seller purchased it from Dinan. It doesn’t appear that they ever ran WC with them. They also indicate it’s got a 3.2 with perhaps 340 horsepower – strong numbers from a U.S. spec S52 even. It doesn’t add up, but you’re right, contacting Dinan would probably prove the point (or lack thereof).

  3. Carter
    Carter October 13, 2014

    I love that 540i Turbo, and have since it was new. What an impressive build.

  4. Ry
    Ry October 13, 2014

    I researched it more and can find info pertaining to Dinan having stuff to do with developing or personally racing (in World Challenge or affiliated races) the e34 540i (in 1996), definitely a Z3M-GT, and maybe a bit w/ the e30 & e39… But I can’t find any reference of Dinan making E36 based world challenge or spec series race cars. If you have other info, let me know and I’ll call Dinan and ask (I don’t have a lot of patience with incompetent dealers and outrageous unsubstantiated claims).

    Hypothetically if it was raced in a World Challenge event as a Dinan car – it would have a more elaborate paint job and different sponsor & ID stickers. It’s identifying now solely as BMWCCA Club Racer.

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