At $4,500, Could This 1999 BMW M3 Convertible Have You at Hello?

Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

There is perhaps no automotive name more reverent than that of BMW’s M3. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe E36 M3 droptop presents with a bit of a tarnished halo. Let’s see if it’s been priced accordingly.

Cosplay, the practice of dressing up like your favorite Anime or video game character is big these days. It can be a challenge to translate the exaggerated proportions of some cartoon characters to real life, although I think for many that aspect just adds to the attraction.


The idea of cosplay doesn’t extend to automotive world apparently. That’s evidenced by the reaction to yesterday’s 1991 Chevrolet Lumina Z34 which was decked out to look like a Dale Earnhardt racer. It garnered a good bit of derision in the comments, and a disappointing 61 percent Crack Pipe vote at its recently reduced $4,500 price. Maybe if it had looked like Pikachu it would have done better.

You can’t do much better than a BMW M3. At least that’s what we’re oftentimes told by the owners of BMW M3s. The 3-series performance model debuted in 1986 on the E30 platform, and carries through to today’s F80 model 33 years and four generations later. Along the way the mad scientists at BMW’s M shop have spit out audacious and often covetable editions.

Let’s find out if this 1999 BMW M3 convertible is among them.

The first M3 rocked a four cylinder—a 2.3-litre DOHC unit that offered up 197 horsepower. That was good then, but pretty underwhelming now. The M3 that followed that auspicious start went bigger in both displacement and cylinder count. Underhood here is a 3.2-litre S52 DOHC straight six, a mill that was rated at a more laudable 240 horsepower from the factory. How many of those does it still have in its corral? Good question. If you find out, please get back to us.


Behind the slick-as-goose-shit six lies a Getrag five-speed and out back there’s a limited slip diff. Factory Contours fill the wheel arches and mask aftermarket drilled rotors, which in turn are clamped with recently updated pads. Around all that is a body that looks arrow straight and is still carrying all its M3-unique body kit.


A convertible top literally tops it all off and that amazingly looks to have a back window you can actually see through. That’s because it’s new. The Titanium Silver paint seems to be in good condition and wholly appropriate for the car. Yes, like you, I’d prefer Estoril Blue, but what are you going to do?


The interior is a bit rough, with leather seats that look like they’ve seen better days, or at least a lot of sun. On the plus side, the dash looks un-cracked and everything else seems intact.

That’s all the factory stuff, and as M3s go, these are reasonably fiddle-free from the factory. Later cars have a lot more stuff to go wrong so E36s, while old, can often be the better choice should you like to do as much of your own repair and maintenance work as you can.


There’s been some work done on this M3, and I guess we’d have to consider the worth of each individually. The ad notes the addition of what’s described as “a lot of cosmetics and accessories added.” That implies the image of it strapping on heels for an impressionable first date. Among those updates are updated halo headlights, a backup camera, and the aforementioned brake bits. A new cooling system is seemingly the biggest plus.

On a bit of a downer, the exhaust has been modded with what’s described as a straight pipe aft of the cats. Call me an old fart, but I think I’d like something with a bit more mellow sound, especially in a droptop. Oh well, that’s an easy fix.


The seller neglects to give us the mileage, but does claim the car “RUNS GREAT” and that it is free of CELs or other concerning indicators of malevolence. He pegs its condition as “good” on the arbitrary and of dubious value Craigslist condition meter, with photos that bear out that description.


The title is clean and the car comes with a $4,500 asking, just like yesterday’s Chevy. Fortunately, this Bimmer isn’t covered in advertising.

What’s your take on this M3 and that $4,500 price? Does the lack of mileage mention make that decision difficult? Or, is the thought of a manual M3 and the wind in your hair make this one a slam dunk?


You decide!


Columbia, SC Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to FuaxShizzle for the hookup!

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.