1998 BMW M Roadster

We’ve given a lot of attention to the E36/8 BMW M Coupe over the past few months, but its open roofed sibling should not be overlooked. While the BMW Z3 might be viewed as a bit of a hairdressers car, when the boffins over at BMW Motorsport were done with it, it could be considered anything but. Redesigned front and rear bumpers, wider rear fenders, a revised trunk lid, modified side gills and a more aggressive wheel and tire package separated the car visually. Under the hood was the familiar S52 3.2 liter inline six capable of 240 horsepower, fifty more horsepower than the Z3 with the 2.8 liter inline six offered. Later on in the production run, the S54 3.2 liter inline six would appear, giving this little beast a power output of 315 horsepower. Big numbers for such a diminutive package.

This M Roadster painted in the ever popular Estoril Blue is for sale in Florida and has traveled but 28,000 miles.

Year: 1998
Model: M Roadster
Engine: 3.2 liter inline six
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 28,000 mi
Price: $21,500

1998 BMW M Roadster on eBay

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Fantastic BMW M Roadster. This is a one owner super clean original paint, no accident, complete M Roadster. Just serviced and needs noting.

Prices for M Coupes in good condition with reasonable mileage are averaging in the low to mid $20,000 range. A fixed roof car will more often than not be more attractive to hardcore enthusiasts and those who attend track days, but for most, an M Roadster will provide similar levels of fun for less money. While the seller’s description of the car is lacking, if this car is as nice as it appears, the price isn’t too far off, though most S52 engined M Roadsters with under 45,000 miles these days trade hands for between $15,000 and $20,000.


1999 BMW M Coupe

It seems that the BMW M Coupe is fast becoming the next E30 M3, a modern classic that is increasingly on the enthusiast’s radar. With greater notoriety comes higher prices, and some of the later, lower mileage M Coupes have been pushing towards the $30,000 mark. The higher priced examples are usually the 2001-02 models with the 315 horsepower S54 engine. Earlier models with the 240 horsepower S52 engine can be had slightly cheaper. This earlier ’99 M Coupe with the S52 engine for sale in California has a reasonable amount of mileage on the clock for its age and still represents a quick way to get around the autocross course. Or across town on the daily commute, if you’re so inclined.

Year: 1999
Model: M Coupe
Engine: 3.2 liter inline six
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 77,200
Price: $18,900 Buy It Now

1999 BMW M Coupe on eBay

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Rare 1999 BMW M Coupe! Finished in “cosmosshwarz-metallic” over tan leather hides, this modern day collectible classic M Coupe has been driven just over 77,000 miles since purchased new 13 years ago. It sports the 240 horsepower 3.2 liter inline six cylinder engine mated to the 5 speed manual transmission. It features dual front and side air bags, traction control, heated electric leather seats, tilting glass moonroof, air conditioning, cruise control, short shift kit, cross-drilled rotors and 17″ staggered size factory alloy wheels. It is being sold with a clear and clean California title, perfect Carfax report and is being sold with a 3,000 mile/90 day powertrain warranty!

As I hope is articulated in the many photos here, the body and trim of this 1999 BMW are in very good to excellent original condition overall! There are a few expected light blemishes and scratches befitting a low-mileage example as this. There is some light curb rash on two of the wheels which all have excellent Continental tires.

The interior of this M Coupe is in excellent condition overall. There is some light wear on the side panel of the drivers seat, a barely noticeable 1/2″ crack in the center console plastic, the airbag light is on [driver side lower seat buckle]. All gauges and controls including blinkers, lights, cold A/C and stereo work as they should. This is a very nice cockpit!

This 1999 M COUPE starts, runs and drives very well! The engine has excellent power with excellent willing free-revving M-powered accelleration [i believ the 0-60 time is 5.4 seconds], the transmission up and downshifts perfectly and the steering is very tight and responsive. The braking is strong and straight with excellent pedal feel and the stock suspension is very tight free of any clunks or rattles. This one very fun and superbly satisfying car to drive!

This M Coupe is certainly priced well within the range of what these cars are attaining value wise. While it isn’t the more desirable S54 motored M Coupe, 240 horsepower is nothing to sneeze at in such a small car. This M Coupe still has plenty of thrills to offer even with the less powerful engine. If a deal could be cut somewhere between $15,000 to $17,000, I would consider this car well bought.


Top-of-the-class 1997 BMW M3

If timing had been slightly different, my ’88 M5 might actually be a ’98 M3 Sedan. The same friends’ dad’s M3 that was my first ///M experience was discussed as possibly up for grabs if I had $13-$14k. Alas, I did not at the time and have ended up with a car I like even more. That said, finding sub-40k mile E36s is no easy task, as their status as the “accessible” M3 has led many to succumb to high mileage and/or ill-advised modification. Just like the sedan I lusted after, today’s coupe has low miles and some well-chosen upgrades, representing the upper end of the E36 market.

1997 BMW M3 for sale on BMW CCA Classifieds

From the seller:

Bilstein PSS9 adjustable coil-over dampers, x-brace, camber plates, UUC sway bars, Turner sway bar subframe reinforcements, Mason strut brace, AA exhaust, metal thermostat housing & water-pump, up-to-date maintenance, history and original parts included, well cared for, garaged, driven once a month, excellent condition.

Great E36s like this are going to continue to rise in price, and it would be worth even more all original without the add-ons. With an asking price just under $18k, I’d think there’s a little room for negotiating. If everything checks out and it is as nice as you would hope for a 39k-mile car, paying $15-16k wouldn’t be unreasonable.


1991 318is w/ supercharged s52

In my eyes the e30 is one of the most beautiful German cars of its generation, and this 1991 318is available in Bradenton, FL embodies everything I love about the e30.

The 318is was first launched in 1989, and touted the new M42 engine. This lightweight, and quick revving 1.8 16v, was a blast to drive, and was reminiscent of the S14 4 cylinder offered in the e30 M3.

Out of the box these were fun, peppy great handling cars, and you might think, how can one improve on that? Here’s how, the s52. S52 swaps are a pretty common transplant in to the e30 in the BMW community, as the e36 donors are plentiful, and the s52 makes nearly 100hp more. This would be enough for most, right?

Not the owner of this stunning 318is, he has taken things a step further, and added a Vortech V1 Supercharger. With the perfect combination of European styling, and raw power, the owner of this car certainly spare no expense in making this car a shining example of what a modified e30 can be…scratch that…should be.

1991 318is w/ supercharged s52 on ebay.com

Up for sale is my 1991 318is Slicktop with an OBD1 s52 swap. I have detailed all of the specifications that I could possibly think of. I would like to point out a few things that someone skimming the ad would miss out on:
Slicktop 318is : Pretty rare form factor for the e30. Lightest chassis available in the NA market. Water/Air intercooler AND oil cooler : I have searched far and wide and have been unable to find another supercharged s52 that has a water/air intercooler setup. Southern car, no rust. Low mileage s52, approximately 88k miles. Pulled the valve cover recently, looks brand freaking new. Professionally reupholstered interior, black leather
In the last 50 miles, I have done: New oil New plugs New woodruff key (old one sheared) Power steering flush Coolant flush
Car: 1991 318is Alpine White Black interior No rust
Under the hood: 1999 M3 s52 with obd1 swap approximately 88k miles Vortech V1 Supercharger (approx 1300 miles on it @ 105,000 odo) All new sensors New Water Pump New tensioner New idlers New woodruff key New valve cover gasket Getrag 260 resealed e36 M3 Clutch New JB lightweight flywheel, 10lb New slave and stainless line 3.73 LSD z3 shifter Euro Raceland headers Remus muffler Custom center section with twin Magnaflow resonators and X-pipe 12″ puller 16″ pusher IE Oil Cooler 804 HFM Forge diverter valve TRM Racing tuned Walbro Fuel Pump Water/Air intercooler with new Bosch pump Vortech v1 Supercharger pushing 6PSI RaceSkids skid plate Bosch #42 Injectors IE oil cooler Air/water intake cooler 2 electric fans, pusher/puller New thermostat New starter A/C converted r134a New rebuilt driveshaft from Driveshafts.com(Portland Driveline) New revshift aluminum flex disk
Brakes: Functioning ABS Massive booster delete Stainless steel brake lines all around Freshly rebuilt calipers front/rear Hawk HPS brake pads ATE Super Blue brake fluid New master cylinder New rotors
Suspension: Treehouse Racing Control Arm Lollipops AKG Motorsports Rear Subframe Mounts H&R Race Springs Bilstien Sport Shocks Powerflex Subframe Bushings RyanG Front Splitter 99 M3 steering rack New control arms New tie-rods e30 m3 sway links 22mm swaybar front 18mm eibach swaybar rear Rear camber/toe correction kit
Interior: Professionally reupholstered seats, front/rear Z3 Short Throw Shifter Custom oil PSI/temp gauges (replaces ashtray) Custom Boost Gauge replaces MPG gauge New odometer gears Chrome ring accents Alpine Speakers/tweeters front Euro analog clock Gray carpet Black rear deck Mint headliner Delrin shift knob Sparco ring steering wheel, 330mm Sirius satellite radio hookup
Exterior: Fresh Alpine respray (approx 1.5 years old) Staggered BBS RS 039/040 16×7.5 up front, 16×8 rear – absolutely no rash Euro elipsoid headlights Euro trim Euro grills Euro plate filler All red tail lights New BMW roundels New shadowline trim New iS lip iS Side Skirts splitter BMWMotorsport door handles
This car is a monster. Although it looks like a cushy daily, this is a very aggressive street setup. It pulls like a train and screams like a fucking demonic banshee.
With that said, there are a few minor issues:
1. I suck at arts and crafts. A chrome trim ring fell off while driving one day, so  I opened the cluster to glue it back on. In doing so, I somehow got superglue everywhere inside the cluster. It was not visible until about 45 minutes later when it started to dry. Honestly, it looks terrible and I would suggest getting a new cluster. Only reason I didn’t replace it was because of the custom boost gauge that replaces the MPG gauge.
2. Driveline shimmy at 20-25 MPH under slow acceleration and slow deceleration. Does not shake at any other speeds. I have had the car up to 145 MPH and it felt extremely planted and tight.
3. It took me almost 2 months of ownership before I realized there is some yellowing on the top of the car. It is barely noticeable, and honestly a prospective buyer would not even be able to see it if I had not pointed it out to them, but I want this to be a 100% transparent sale. I tried photographing it but it did not even come out in photographs. I am not a paint expert, but maybe some buffing would take it out?
4. No stereo installed. Never got around to putting one in, the car just sounds too good. It has all 4 speakers and even a sub mounted in the trunk, all wiring is in tact.
5. In the last 24 hours, the power steering pump has started to moan and groan. It was literally perfect as of, well, 24 hours ago. I think I may have got some ATF on the belt which is causing some slight slippage, I will continue to investigate this issue however.

As a rule of thumb, I tend to steer clear of cars that have been modified. Mods are very taste specific, and like most enthusiasts, i like to put my own stamp on my cars. This car however is so well done, that it will appeal to a broad audience of buyers from German car nuts, to hardcore BMW enthusiasts alike.

Now on to the $15,000 question, is this car really worth this sort of money? When considering the price on a car like this I like to answer the question with a question, Can you build it for that price? In this case I’d say certainly not.  With no reserve, and the $15,000 starting bid this coule be a well bought car, as long as the bid doesn’t go too far north of $16,000.



Heathen Speed Redux

A while back, I wrote up an E30 M3 that gave me weird feelings – I couldn’t tell if it was awesome or terrible. Flat black with an S52 turbo swap and a rebuilt title, it was otherwise pretty straight and seemed to be free from the normal constraints of E30 M3 respect. Well, it’s back on the market, albeit this time with a new paint job and some more eurotuner-appropriate polished-lip, painted-center BBS RCs. Those are pretty much the only changes, other than some further confusion regarding the state of the title. It now stands more as an M3 pushed closer to 11 as opposed to a true oddity, but the core remains the same: it will be a less-expensive, blisteringly fast E30 M3.

1988 BMW M3 with S52 Turbo for sale on eBay

A straightforward description:

1988 BMW E30 M3
Diamondschwartz Black.
158K Miles
M52b25 Engine- 140MLS Headgasket with ARP Studs, New gaskets, seals.
e36 M3 cams, Excellent Compression
HID Headlights
255 Walbro Fuel Pump
GT35R ball bearing turbo
V-band External 3″ downpipe 42lb injectors
Super sequential blow-off valve HKS
OBX Wastegate Kit 44mm w/ V-band External WG
Treehouse Wiring Harness Adapter
Custom dyno chip
Power Steering
With 5 speed transmission
UUC Stage2 lightweight flywheel with less then 10,000k since install
RACING DYNAMICS Thick Sway Bars front and Rear
LSD Rear- 2.93
D2 RACING RS Coilovers: 36 levels of adjustable damping plus Height
Stainless Steel brake lines
Upgraded Rotors and Ceramic Brake Pads
RACING DYNAMICS Steering wheel
SPARCO Sport Seats
Alpine CD Player
BBS 17” Style 5 RC rims- Freshly Polished with Dunloop tires at about 50% tread life left.
Gauge cluster is 100% working
New windshield. Tinted Windows front and rear
Custom Vented Hood
Fresh Body work: Re-sanded, primered, block sanded and then painted, cleared all with TOP notch PPG Paint. Then Wet Sanded and Buffed out.

The Bad: Has a Salvage/Branded title. Bought it with no engine no interior. Didn’t care as this was a project car for me. Was not wrecked the only reason it’s salvage is because the tow yard could not provide a smog so to save them self’s they wrote the car off.

Biggest issues are fleshing out what the hell actually happened with the title and preparing to deal with scornful looks from the S14 faithful. I think the seller made a good choice getting the car painted in that deep Diamondschwartz, and while I might do without the vented hood and Evo II front lip, they certainly signal that this M3 is packing a lot more heat than the S14 could muster. The lack of S14 and provenance are its downfall as well, and the price will reflect that. Bidding is warm, with 14 bids pushing it close to $8k with 5 days left and the reserve still on. With the pros and cons factored in, I’d say this car is worth less than $15k, but not by much.


2000 BMW M Coupe priced to sell

At the turn of the millennium, before constantly evolving and critiquing car blogs were around and my car info came exclusively from car magazines, I didn’t even know most people found the M Coupe ugly. The shooting brake has always attracted me, providing a funky aesthetic that wagon nor roadster can achieve on their own. Throw in the curves and aggression of the Mified Z3 and you’ve got one of the coolest cars of the past decade. Today’s clownshoe is one of the slightly less sought-after S52s, but if I remember anything from my friend’s Dinan E36, that engine can be beyond satisfactory. The dearth of information in the ad is counteracted by the attractive numbers: $8k, 84k miles. Let’s do this.

2000 BMW M Coupe for sale on Craigslist Fort Collins

The big question marks here, maintenance and how hard it’s been loved, should be dealt with before laying the money down. The blemishes shown in the pictures may not bode well for the latter, but on the other hand they almost continue the rat-rod aesthetic created by the flat black wheels/vents/grille, which I love. The interior reminds me of a scary clown dream. I could probably get over that though, or get some carbon inserts and new seats. Either way, despite a little necessary love, $8k seems like a good price of entry, and I dig the not-babied-but-awesome vibe it’s got going for it; it could easily be cleaned up, or the tough love could continue. Good times to be had either way.


Conflicted 1988 BMW M3 for sale

Sometimes the pieces just don’t fit, even if they’re good pieces.  We’ve explored this theme (or lack thereof) a few times, most notably the over-accessorized 740i and the “magnet” Yellow E30 M3 with a turbo S52.  Today’s find is a combination of the two, with the confused style of the 740 and an S52 all imposed on an otherwise unsuspecting E30 M3.

It’s not all bad.  Sacrilegious as it may be, an S52 and 6-speed in an E30 must be awesome.  It’s backed up with other fun goodies like E36 brakes and steering, coilovers, etc.  Really the biggest highlight about this car is simply the fact that it’s an E30 M3; again, it’s not all bad.

But it’s mostly bad.  All of the swapping and “scrubbing” transmission strike fear in the heart of the maintenance-minded and livid ire from the E30 crew.  Even if I liked Hartge wheels, 19s are much, much too large for an E30 and much too bright amidst the (also dubious) smoked theme.  And I know nearly every one of these cars has a rough drivers seat, but this one is truly cringe-worthy.  And $14,500 for this?  We all know E30s are collectible pieces of automotive gold, but this seller has only decreased its value and collectibility.

The thing that really grinds my gears is that this E30 M3 went from a car that was magically and uniquely greater than the sum of its parts to one that is the exact opposite.  I’m sure its parts could do well on another auto; they just don’t belong here, nor do they fit together.  Make a reasonable eBay offer, sell the parts, and try again.


E30 M3 Turbo on eBay

At first I was excited about this post, but quickly I felt a small pang in my heart.  I love E30 M3s, as I know many of us do, and I’ve seen people do some amazing modifications to them.  So I’m posting this turbo-S52’d example because it’s impressive and interesting, but something inside says it’s a little bit wrong.  Removing the S14 is a contentious issue among E30-lovers, so that hobbles the car from the get-go.  Turbocharging is awesome  in nearly all applications; but isn’t the only homologated M3 all about directness and uninhibited, naturally-aspirated glory?  Then I think the final unsettling lemon-on-top is the exterior, namely the color and wheels.  Alas, it’s an impressive exercise in E30 tuning, so I think it’s worth sharing.

I don’t hate this car, and it’s still hovering around $10k, so it’s not like it’s horribly overpriced.  It’s just built based on different values and assertions than I hold with regards to what makes the E30 M3 so special.  To each their own, and someone will love this.  It’s just not me.


Clean E36 M3 Sedan near SF

The E36 M3 sedan is the first fast car I drove, and, like a first love, has stuck with me ever since.  Unleashing a couple of 16-year-olds in a Dinan M3 was perhaps a foolhardy move by my best friend’s dad, but luckily we kept it in good shape other than a few check-engine lights due to impatience with the M warm-up sequence.  It was a dream to drive; every pebble in the road gently communicated to the hands, every gearchange a satisfying snick, and every corner was our own railed rollercoaster.  E36s in general are fine, but the 4-door M3 has always struck me as markedly sexier than any of its generational brethren.  I tried to buy that Dinan a few years ago at $14k, but couldn’t make the finances work (luckily it’s being saved for my friend).  These days its not difficult to find them for under $10k, and this nicely modified 1997 sedan demonstrates the accessibility of clean examples.

1997 M3 Sedan for sale on Craigslist SF

I could do without the Supersprint DTM exhaust (Dinan’s looks almost stock but sounds perfect) and I’d raise the adjustable rear suspension just a little, but this is a very clean example with some nice, simple modification choices (I don’t know of a car that looks bad with BBS CHs).  157k miles is on the higher end, but at $9k it’s still a great value, and if the engine goes bad, spend some money swapping in a Euro S52 or S54 and you’ll still have a performance bargain.

Final Note: Thank god it’s a manual.  In my mind, automatic E36 M3s might as well be junked.