BMW touts each its cars as being the Ultimate Driving Machine. If that's really the case, then why was today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe E36 M3 ultimately driven so little?

Serviceable cars priced under a grand are like catnip around here, and yesterday's fun and funky Tercel Wagon poofed a lot of tails. Even though it looked like it had been rode hard and put away wet, the Tercel has a rep for toughness, and that went a long way in making the resulting vote a continental divide - 78/22 - for that Colorado compact. And that was with over a quarter million miles under its Continentals.

In comparison to that Toyota, today's contender comes with far, far fewer miles, two fewer driven wheels, and a price tag thirty five times higher. Bonus!

Okay, truth be told, I was feeling a little bad about that E36 abomination that was shat outta Compton Wisconsin last week. That poor M3 had things done to it that no car should ever suffer, not even like, Hitler's car. So egregious were the modifications to that '99 that I thought - as a way of making it up to you (because we're not having make up sex, get that idea right out of your heads, you pervs) I'd find you the MOST FREAKIN' ORIGINAL E36 M3. . . in the world.

This estoril blue '99 M3 coupe is like the Rocky Horror Picture Show because it fairly well sings let's do the time warp again. Claimed to be completely factory, and to having never known the sublime pleasure of a summer rain, you can almost imagine the owner raising the garage door behind which it's been ensconced and the car blinking at the unfamiliar light, wondering if today it will get to run free. Apparently those days have been rare over its 12 year life as the car has but 2,977 miles on its digital odo. That's 248 miles a year, a number I do in a week just scooting on the carpet.

Perhaps the owner is the kind of person who can only eat just one. Maybe they routinely shun the happy ending, or just maybe they consider M3 ownership as more of a spectator sport? Regardless the reason, the end result is a hyperkinetic BMW coupe in such exemplary condition that it immediately takes one back to those heady days of Y2K fears, Al Gore vs. Willie Tyler and Lester Cheney and Bush, and the brave yet ultimately futile attempt of a young TV show called Freaks and Geeks to break out of its niche audience and find greater favor.

The M3 was pretty good that year too.

Available with four doors ('97 –'98 only) or two, BMW's E36 M3 didn't look as boy-racerish as did the precedent E30 version, but that stealth cloaking may just play in its favor when trying to avoid the local po-po. The '99 has the larger, hairier-chested 3.2-litre six, good for 240 of those ponies and a zero to sixty time of around five and a half ticks when fitted with the 5-speed, as this one is.

As noted, the car has been kept locked away like a crazy aunt in the attic, and because of that, both body and interior look factory fresh. That means crease-free leather seats in the shade of a Cleveland AARP member's belt and matching shoes, as well as a dash that – lacking the luxury package here – looks a little plastic-y. None the less, it's still vintage plastic that doesn't look to have succumbed to the ravages of sun and ill meaning accessory installations. The seller claims that, aside from an updated sound system (and a butt-load of crap hanging from the rear-view), everything is stock, and surprisingly, given the new music maker, the trunk is bereft of any sonic space wasters. What you will find in the boot is the prerequisite BMW tool kit and not one but two BMW ball caps- and they're both backwards-facing!

All this makes for one rare and hot E36, and as such you can bet that the seller is not planning to just give the car away. In fact, he is asking for remuneration in the amount of $35,000, and considering the seller's apparent history with the car, you can expect that he wouldn't spend it all in one place.

Buying an uber-low mileage older car is like dating a virgin. Sure, you don't have to worry about the killer cooties quite as much, but you also don't get to really enjoy the relationship on as many levels as you might desire. Here, you're really paying for all the empty space on the odometer, and just like a busted crapper, the fuller it gets the less desirable it will be. Regardless, it's not full now, and if somebody carried a major jones for the E36 M3 coupe, they're unlikely to find so pristine and original an example outside of stealing one from the BMW Museum. Should they choose purchase over theft, what say you regarding the price on this particular car? Do low miles equal a high price? Or, has the seller been anal about the car, but is just being an a-hole about the price?

You decide!

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