1999 BMW M3 Convertible with 3,800 Miles

It’s interesting to consider how enthusiasts today view the E36 M3. Generally speaking, you’re either a completely devoted fan who insists that the E36 is not only the best M3, but perhaps the best BMW ever made. Why stop there? Why not go straight for best car in the history of the world, ever? On the other side of the coin, detractors love to point out that the second M3 was softened up for the U.S. market, that it wasn’t as potent, as pure, as Motorsporty as the original curb-hopping, box-flared legend.

Arguably, they’re both right. It’s certainly true that BMW made the decision to tone down the M3 for North American consumption. That was a really good thing for two reasons: one, that we got it at all, and two, that it remained affordable. Consider, for a moment, that the E30 M3 had grown quite expensive to sport all of that motorsport heritage. By 1991, the base price of the M3 was $35,900. Of course, it was competing against even more expensive cars like the Porsche 944S2, which was a further $10,000 more dear. While we can talk about driving spirit all day long, if we look at the fact sheets what you got was a bit soggy in comparison to today’s cars. Inflation corrected, the M3 would be around $62,000 – pretty much spot on the entry price for today’s M3. The new car has more than double the horsepower of the original and enough tech to launch all of the Apollo program missions.

So what was really exciting when the new M3 was launched in late 1994 was that price point; $36,000. That was some $14,000 less expensive than the European model, and yet performance was within a few clicks thanks to a revised version of the 325i M50 engine. In fact, many – including notoriously BMW-savvy Car and Driver – suggested that the U.S. spec M3 was a better choice than the more exotic Euro model for our roads.

Today, the E36 M3 remains for many the smart choice within the lineup. Long overlooked as the obvious choice, prices have remained low relative to its predecessor and even its replacement. Modern comparisons often skip the E36 entirely. But that doesn’t mean all E36s are affordable:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW M3 Convertible on eBay

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1994 Porsche 911 Turbo 3.6 with 6,350 Miles

As I discussed in the ’91 911 Turbo post, while Porsche claimed that a fair amount (85%!) of the “new” Turbo was “new”, in reality it was an evolution of the ’89 Turbo wrapped in a smoother package. However, as our reader Howard pointed out in the comments, one very important change outside of the look was the suspension, which moved away from wooden carts the antiquated torsion bar setup to ‘modern’ coil springs. Coupled with the new limited-slip differential, anti-lock brakes and more sophisticated engine management (hence, smoother power delivery), the ’91 Turbo was a lot more livable in day-to-day situations.

Of course, that meant that it was possible to introduce even more power. Since the ’91 Turbo was a replacement for the defunct 965/969 V8 project, it made sense that Porsche hadn’t developed a new Turbo motor for the initial 964 Turbo launch. But for 1993, Porsche took the 964’s 3.6 liter and mated it with the turbocharger from the 3.3. The result was, of course, the Turbo 3.6. The extra displacement meant power was up 40 to 360 and torque 52 to 384 lb.ft, while both numbers were achieved lower in the rev range. To show off this new-found power, Porsche installed some fantastic Speedline-made Cup wheels and discrete “3.6” badging after the Turbo script. Despite the relative undercover looks, these are sought cars.

Today’s car is listed as one of the 288 Turbo 3.6s imported in ’94, and with a scant 6,350 miles on the odometer you know the price will be high. How high?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Porsche 911 Turbo S 3.6 ‘Package’ on eBay

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Double Take – 25,000 Miles Total: 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo S Silver Rose

Update 12/2/18: The 16,000 mile example is down to $55,995.

Update 8/15/18: The ask on the 16,000 mile 944 Turbo S has dropped further to $59,995.

Update 6/1/18: The 16,000 mile Turbo S in this post has dropped $5,000 in asking price to $64,995.

We’ve managed to stick to a red interior theme so far today, and I’m going to further that just a bit more. But while red interiors in the 70s and 80s were super chic, few for me match the sheer audacity or execution of today’s twin 944 Turbo S Silver Rose models. And as I’ve spent the last few transaxle posts dancing around special models, it would seem fitting to cover what many consider to be the most special of all. Coincidentally, outside of some exceptional limited production models like the Turbo Cup, 968 CS or Turbo S, and 924 Carrera GTS, few are worth as much as this model either.

1988 saw numerous changes in the 944 Turbo lineup. The new option M758 “Turbo S” included a new turbocharger with redesigned vanes and a remapped DME which increased boost to a max of 1.82 bar. The resulting M44/52 had 30 more horsepower and 15 lb.ft torque to a max of 247 and 258, respectively. But the “S” package was far more than just more boost, as the cooling system was revised, the clutch and transmission were beefed up with hardened first and second gears.

Brakes were borrowed from the 928 S4 and now measured 12″ in front with four piston aluminum calipers. Wheels were Club Sport 16″ forged, polished and anodized units measuring 7 inches in front and 9 in the rear. Suspension was also beefed up with the M030 package; this included adjustable rebound Koni shocks and adjustable-perch coilovers in front. Limited slip differentials (Code 220) were not standard, but a must-select option.

Within the already limited edition S (of which about 1,900 were shipped to the US), there was another special edition. The “Silver Rose” launch cars took all of the special aspects of the M758 S package and added a unique color (Silver Rose Metallic, LM3Z) and a very unique Burgundy Studio Check interior. Outside of the Turbo Cup cars, these very limited (claimed 339) original models have become the most desirable of the 944 Turbos, and few are presented like these two today which have combined only managed to cover 24,494 miles in 30 years:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo S Silver Rose at Porsche Warrington

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Northern Exposure: 1986 Audi 4000S quattro with 38,000 Miles

Today’s Audi 4000 quattro is a great example of what yesterday’s GTI 16V seller was claiming – a true survivor, in completely unrestored form. Unlike the GTI, though, this Canadian-market 1986 4000S quattro is also completely stock and original, too. Nearly as much a legend in its own right, while the performance of the 4000 was no match for the twin-cam hot hatch (at least, in the dry…), the package nevertheless possessed its own draw for a similarly devoted group of fans. Also as with the GTI, finding a clean and original Type 85 quattro is very difficult, too. But the low mileage Zermatt Silver Metallic example we have here should do the trick for most!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Audi 4000S quattro on eBay

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2002 Mercedes-Benz S500 with 5,100 miles

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Recently I looked at a couple unique W220s in a short wheelbase 2006 S350 and an armored 2001 S500. Today’s car isn’t anything odd or unique, just a regular 2002 S500. But makes it special is that it just happens to have only a little over 5,000 miles and look basically brand new. So lets take a look at this W220 up for sale in California before it starts rusting away and the interior buttons peel.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Mercedes-Benz S500 on eBay

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1993 BMW 525iT

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There’s something about beige wagons that just screams KIDS AND DOGS. The E34 5-series tourings seem to scream it extra loud to me, perfecting the mix of country and classy, sedate and sporty, unsuspecting and utilitarian. The E34 was the last 5-series to really embrace the long, straight line aesthetic so easily accentuated by a longroof. In 1992 the 525i received the M50B25TU, getting single VANOS and putting out 21hp more than the earlier M20B25. It doesn’t make it a speed demon, but there’s no denying the versatility of the silky-smooth little inline-6. This autobox-equipped wagon has covered just 65k miles and the interior, exterior, and engine compartment look it. I dream of a OEM+, M5ish E34 wagon some day, but as a daily-driving family hauler this 525iT will impart subtle class to any road it graces.

Click for details: 1993 BMW 525iT on ebay

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1983 Volkswagen GTI

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When I met Lon, he was in Washington on his yearly pilgrimage to see friends and search for rust-free Mk1 Volkswagens. He lived in Iowa and had a farm filled with interesting VW breeding experiments. GTIs mated with trucks, diesels injected wherever possible, etc. He knew that our sweet little truck was getting more than a little rough around the edges – a cracked exhaust manifold was the final need that broke my dad’s patience – but he also looked at it with the same optimism and appreciation that I did. I was just a couple of months into having my driver’s license, and the passing on of my beloved Rabbitamino was hard to swallow. Lon seemed to be the right person to pass it on to, someone who would make it better and give it a new life in a way I wasn’t prepared to do. The pain of loss was dulled when he let me drive the Mk1 GTI he had already picked up on his trip – a low and tight little mongrel featuring a Quaife differential and a short-geared diesel 5-speed. Howling through the gears and hitting fourth before 40 mph, he offered to trade me the GTI and its trunk full of VW race parts for the truck and a little cash. 16 year old me was not in the driver’s seat for our family’s car choices, however, and my dad wanted another truck. We ended up with an incredible Toyota 4×4 that is still kicking ass and taking names, but that drive in (and missed chance at) Lon’s sweet GTI has always stuck with me.

Thus, the Mk1 GTI is still a bucket list car for me, but I’m thinking I need to either jump on one soon or cross my fingers and hope I win the lottery down the line. This beautiful Royal Red example has covered roughly 2k miles in the last 9 years after the owner bought it in Chicago and took it to New York to tuck away, drive on weekends, and take to shows. It’s not completely original – new snowflakes have been acquired by the owner over the years, and it has a stainless steel Techtonics exhaust – but it’s damn close. We’ve seen impeccable, fully restored GTIs, but original examples like this carry an extra air of gravity and provenance. Whatever the seller invested 9 years ago, I’m guessing it was a heck of a lot less than the nearly $10k the auction is reaching.

Click for details: 1983 Volkswagen GTI on eBay

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Friday Fail: 1995 BMW M3

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Happy Friday everyone! It’s time to take another trip down Fail Lane, this time focusing on a first-year E36 M3 that has covered just 57k miles. It’s pretty much perfect in white on DS1s, some of my all-time favorite wheels. Inside, black Vader sport seats flash the M colors and everything looks as good as could be hoped in an E36. So, sounds like a really nice lower-mileage future classic, albeit one of about a million right?

Well, folks, we’ve discussed at length the crazy rise of ///M values, with the early M cars leading the way and just about all the others benefiting from the rising tide. As E30 M3s head to the strong side of $50k, a newer model must be better, right?! We all know that’s not the case, as the E36 M3 has in fact remained amazingly reasonable and is one of the best performance values on the market. The Lightweight models have reached into the $30ks and $40ks, but you can get really nice, standard M3s for low-to-mid teens. One with 20k miles might crack $20k, but this seller is asking almost $37k for a car that is, at best, worth half that. “The prices of these cars are rising everyday,” he says. He also thinks he can throw a football over them there mountains, go invisible whenever he wants, and play guitar better than Prince.

You’re wrong, dude. So incredibly, failingly wrong on this Friday.

Click for details: 1995 BMW M3 on eBay

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1991 BMW 325i

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Here’s a doozy, folks – a 1991 325i that’s covered just 20k miles. The car didn’t cover much ground in its first decade, after which it went unregistered and unused for the better part of 15 years. It was then picked up by a Pittsburgh auto dealer who is now liquidating his stock for retirement. He’s letting it loose with no reserve, as well as the other car on his eBay profile right now – a Ferrari yellow convertible Cadillac Allante. We talk about rare cars here, but that Allante – whew!

For being such a fun little bronze coupe, this thing sure hasn’t found much love. It is in pretty much brand-new shape though, especially after a repaint to correct years of sitting – perhaps it was the automatic transmission? Whatever the reason, it’s time for it to find a home that appreciates what a lovely representation this is of the E30 breed. It should be on the road, daily driven by someone who likes driving but needs shifting taken care of.

Click for details: 1991 BMW 325i on eBay

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1986 Volkswagen DoKa Syncro

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It’s been a while since we’ve featured a crazy low-mile imported 4WD Volkswagen from whoever these folks in Avenel, NJ are that keep bringing these insane examples stateside. Whether it’s Golf Countrys or DoKa Syncros, they have the least traveled and most original forbidden fruit. Today is no exception, with another blue DoKa Syncro with a completely enclosed metal bed cover. Big white steelies complement a the white lower half and contrast the all-business black roof and steel bumpers. It looks brand new because it almost is, with just 15k original miles on the clock (or rather, 24km). It’s as good as they come and is bringing a lot of bidders to play, though still only in the teens as I write this.

Click for details: 1986 Volkswagen DoKa Syncro on eBay

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