When you go white shoes and matching belt, that’s called the Full Cleveland. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe M3 is white on white, but will this muy blanco sedan’s price have you seeing red?
How many TVs does one trunk lid need? If you answered none, then you were probably among the 71% majority who thought yesterday’s turbo-imbued 2002 Lexus IS300 was overpriced, and sent that 3-series competitor packing with a Crack Pipe loss.
Yesterday’s car was originally positioned by Lexus to compete in the class of which BMW’s 3-series is BMOC. That was a pretender to the crown, now let’s look at the real deal, and a white knight at that.
This 1997 E36 M3 is one of the more rare saloon versions, which were supposedly introduced by BMW to fill the gap between the end of production of the E34 M5 and that car’s E39 version. Touted as one of the best handling cars of the ‘90s, the E36 M3 built upon its predecessor’s legacy in every aspect. Despite that, these models have yet to take off in value the way the E30 Ms have.
That might just make this the perfect time to snap up a well-maintained ‘90s M3, and lo and behold, that’s just what this purports to be. To get started, let’s consider the factory specs on these machines. There’s the 240-bhp S52 iron block six, a 3,152-cc DOHC VANOS unit. Good on-ya, pilgrim. Backing that up is a 5-speed manual which sends the power back to the car’s World War Z-axle rear end.
Motorsport-unique suspension tuning enhanced the E36’s already adept handling, while subtle bodywork changes let those in the know recognize the car for what it was without necessarily attracting attention from the local Po-Po.
This one is claimed to have but two mods to that factory set up: a Dinan brain for the ECU and a cold air intake, also from the house of D. Other than that, it’s stock and by the looks of the pictures, remarkably clean. The styling remains some of BMW’s best work, and this one seems free of any metallurgical issues. The factory wheels look as though they’ve never met a curb and all the rubber looks blacker than the inside of a well digger’s ass. That’s all good in my book.
On the inside, this 104,000 mile car continues to impress. The white leather sport seats show only minor evidence of use, and the rest of the bits - dash, carpet etc - seems likewise perfectly serviceable, if not factory fresh.
E36 BMWs are not all that rare, not even in M3 guise. The U.S. edition sedans are however some of the rarest standard-issue models with only two-years on the market and just a little over 7,000 produced. This car might just be one of the best of all of those.
Being the best usually means fame and fortune. This M3 is famous, having now appeared on NPOCP, but what about the fortune- how much of theirs should someone be willing to give up to buy this car? Well, the asking price is $14,999 which Tavarish would say you could spend on it instead of buying… oh I don’t know, a weekend in Vegas with two hookers and an all you can eat buffet. Is that how those things work?
I do know how this thing works; you now need to decide if somebody really should spend that much for this particular car. What do you say, is this white-on-rice M3 worth that kind of green? Or, is this an M3 that’s priced to leave your wallet empty?
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