Crazy though it may sound, this E36 – priced at $24,000 – may actually be a reasonable deal. Wind the clock back a few years, and that statement was inconceivable; E36s were relegated to the bargain basement of BMW M pricing. That’s not the case anymore, though, as pricing has been trending sharply upwards – recently a few non-Lightweight examples have crested $60,000 sales after fees. Hard to believe? Well, perhaps more a sign of the trends, but finding a neat and clean E36 is certainly no longer as easy as it once was, and early examples are – amazingly – able to be registered as antiques in more than a few states.
So here we are, with a very shouty Dakar Yellow ’94. And if you know E36 M3s, you know that a pre-’95 model year automatically means one important thing – European specification. Well, at least it should mean that. Let’s take a look:
For those who aren’t immediately familiar with iDing Power, you’re forgiven.
The M3 GTR launched in 1994, and the United States did (technically) see it in the form of the Prototype Technology Group-run team in IMSA race series. The same year in Japan, iDing Power revealed the plans for their turned-up E36 M3. They had acquired an early production second generation model; production started for the E36 M3 in February, 1992 – and the particular example you see here was produced on February 3, 1993. iDing then added a plethora of unique touches, from upgraded suspension, wheels and brakes, special interior items, and some body modifications. By “some”, of course it’s hard to look past the W201 190E-Evo inspired rear wing and massive tacked-on flares. iDing also took the S50B30 European motor, rated at 286 horsepower stock, and modified it to a claimed 330 horsepower. iDing widebodies are pretty rare finds, with a claimed 17 produced.
Today’s car we’ve seen before; I wrote it up back in 2017 when it was still in Japan. It was also the prototype test car, apparently, and is highlighted on the company’s history page.
Tuner Tuesday: 1993 BMW M3 iDing Power S3
Well, it’s traveled across the sea to Wyoming and an additional 1,500 miles since we last saw it, and it can now be yours again…for a price.
The expensive E30 ‘verts got you down? Not to worry, there’s always the smash success follow-up, the E36! And looking light it’s ready for Charlie Sheen to abduct Kristy Swanson, this particular car might just be the one for you. It’s a fairly early example with the Sport Package 2, which gave you the standard affair of front sport seats. But in particular there’s one thing that caught my eye here, and its the wheels. Early Sport Package 325i models were also equipped with 15″ Style 17 wheels, which may go down in history as one of the most difficult wheel designs to clean that were ever offered by the company. Seriously, look at them. You have the normal outer basketweave openings that will test your fingers’ ability to survive a normal wash. But inside of those are a second row of even smaller openings that are so impossibly shaped and sized, it’s just not possible for normal devices. They’re so small, in fact, that my fall back – old toothbrushes – are also useless. What does fit in there? Q-tips. And it’s not like there’s just one – there are 30. Each wheel. And that’s, of course, in addition to the 30 OTHER holes. Not done yet, the Style 17 then offers you a further two sets of inner recesses – 30 for the outer, and…you guessed it…30 for the inner. That makes a total of 120 crevices on each wheel for the notoriously dusty BMW brakes to fill with adhering dust. You’re looking at nearly 500 total little detailing spots on just the wheels; it’s enough that they should have to provide health benefits for your service.
Still, they’re quite a pretty design and rarely seen today….for some reason (or, maybe 480 reasons!). Couple that with a nice color combination, a five-speed manual, a limited-slip differential, and just 18,200 miles from new? Well, it’s certainly impressive.
While the E30 320is was the defacto M3 Sedan of the first generation, it was not until the E36 generation that fans finally received a full-fat four-door small M. The sedan was then skipped on the E46 generation (I can hear ZHP fans shouting that their car is a real M right now), returned for the E90 generation, and then became the only body style thereafter as BMW introduced the new 4-Series nomenclature. Since its launch in the US for the ’97 model year, the M3 Sedan has been a niche model within a niche lineup on performance cars; practical and good-looking in a way that the long-door coupe sometimes lacks proper proportion in. Indeed, to me the most recent three generations of M3 Sedans look better than their two-door counterpart. While I’m not sure I feel the same way about the E36 generation, it’s nonetheless great to see one surface in a nice color with lower mileage, as many were loved well and driven hard. This Estoril Blue Metallic example I’m looking at today sure looks the part; but I’m not sure the juice is worth the squeeze:
The Mercedes-Benz E36 AMG Coupe is not a car that comes up for sale often. Most of that has to do with there are reportedly only 68 of them in total, with 24 of them being right-hand drive cars for the UK market. So when you see them, take a closer look. What we have today is a 1995 up for sale in Germany with an impressive color combination and a price to match. At least, I think that’s the case.
We’ve covered just about every generation of 3-series wagon here, barring new ones. The E30 is most popular to import these days, and the E46 introduced the US market to the idea that BMW made smaller, fun wagons too; but in between, the rest of the world got to enjoy the neat looks of the E36 Touring.
So here we are; it’s 2020, and that means cars that were produced up through November 1995 are a lot easier to procure and import. And that’s exactly what someone did with this Calypso Red Metallic 320i Touring, produced for the UK market in April 1995. Now that it’s here, is it the one to get?
For some time, there was a giant gulf in between European-spec cars and U.S. spec 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 U.S. spec 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 for a lot of fans of the marque. Also differentiating the European versions were better floating rotor brakes, better glass headlights, better lower and stiffer suspension; you get the point. We could bang on all day about how the US-spec model was pretty much as quick as the Euro cars, is a lot cheaper to run, and is…well, you know, already here. But when a Euro car pops up for sale, I still take time to take notice, and it’s hard not to notice this Dakar Yellow ’93:
Launched in 1992 for U.S. shores, the third generation 3-series instantly cemented itself as the new benchmark. In fact, for all of the attention fawned on ‘God’s Chariot’ (the E30), the reality is that the 3-series didn’t appear on notoriously BMW-leaning Car and Driver‘s Ten-Best list until the 1992 model year. Equipped with the M50 DOHC 189 horsepower inline-6, the modern yet still driver-oriented design would go on to become a regular thereafter. They were a sales success too, and like the E30 was for some time, they’re currently being largely ignored in the used market. After all, if you can get a clean M3 in the teens, why would you buy a 325i instead?
Well, this one is an interesting counterpoint. Someone obviously loved it a lot, and this E36 convertible is chock-full of options and neat accessories. And, it’s only got 18,000 miles:
No, you’re not reading the headline wrong. But if you’re clever, you know this is special right away. Because the title specifically says ‘Sedan’, and because the M3 Sedan didn’t arrive on these shores until 1997, that must mean one of three things.
- I didn’t have enough coffee when I wrote this
- I got the year wrong
- It’s a European-market example
(please be 3 please be 3 please be 3)
Yep. While it’s true that I most likely have not yet had enough coffee at time of writing, I assure you – this is not a typo. This 1995 M3 Sedan is sitting up in the Great White North, ready for your consumption. But the story on this one doesn’t end with the special motor under the hood. No, this one’s also a very special color combination, too – Daytona Violet over a BMW Individual interior called Saffron with wood trim. Yeah, it’s worth a look!
Lightweight mania continues, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re without options. You could try one of two things; on the one hand, you could buy a track-ratted, rusted, and incomplete factory example for about $18,000 in need of a total restoration.
Sound like a solid plan?
If not, you could consider this car. Now, first off, this car is NOT a real Lightweight. But it’s got the same body, the same color, Lightweight-style modifications, and while not hand-picked, the same drivetrain. It’s got some tasteful upgrades on the interior, too. And at the end of the day, it’s still an M3. To top it off, this tribute will set you back a bit over $1,000 less than the real-deal basket case that was on BaT last month. What’s the catch?