This Rare BMW M3 Is Mint

What sort of drugs pairs well with a factory-painted mint-colored 1996 E36 BMW M3? If you want to find out, there’s one listed for sale on Craigslist in Texas. There’s just one really big, really weird catch: this rare mint green M3 isn’t in Texas. It isn’t even on the continent.

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik

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Not Just Any Mint

Not Just Any Mint

While BMW has had a fairly strong legacy of offering bright, fun colors in the past, few have been as special as the mint green you see before you. According to a Reddit post, it’s one of only three E36 M3 cars known to have this paint job from the factory. While I couldn’t immediately confirm that claim with a better source, nor with BMW yet, it appears to have been available as an early BMW Individual color option for the E36 generation and still today, simply called “Mint Green,” factory code “W97,” according to the paint guide.

This car also appears to have matching mint-colored stitching in the interior.

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The Catch

The Catch

While the mint M3 is listed for sale on the Dallas, Texas Craigslist page, and that is indeed where the seller is located, that is not where the vehicle is located. The E36 generation of the BMW M3 was sold in the U.S. in 1996, but there are some key differences between U.S. and European variants. This is a Euro-spec car, but under the 25-year rule, it’ll be importable to the U.S. starting in 2021. Right now, it’s still in Europe — supposedly in climate-controlled storage in Austria — but not for long.

Also, it’s listed for sale at a whopping $96,000.

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Performance

Performance

Being a European-spec model, the E36 BMW M3 for sale here has more power than U.S. market cars, which were initially offered with BMW’s S50B30US straight-six making 243 HP. For 1996, Americans got a bump in displacement and torque with the new S52B32US but horsepower stayed at 243.

Early Euro E36 M3s used a 3.0-liter S50B30 straight-six making 286 HP. For the 1996 model year, those M3s got an upgrade to BMW’s S50B32 3.2-liter inline-six engine making 321 HP.

This car also features BMW’s updated six-speed manual transmission, while the U.S. car was always stuck with a five-speed manual or an automatic.

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You’d Get The Car In The Spring

You’d Get The Car In The Spring

Again, as a European-market car, this specific 1996 BMW M3 is not currently road legal in the U.S. and it wasn’t built to comply with 1996 DOT standards. However, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Control, “A motor vehicle that is at least 25 years old can be lawfully imported into the U.S. without regard to whether it complies with all applicable DOT Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.” The Craigslist seller is offering the car to someone before it arrives from Europe, newly legal to drive in the U.S., this spring.

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What If I Don’t Want To Wait?

What If I Don’t Want To Wait?

You’d be forgiven for not knowing that BMW even offered Mint Green, it’s a rare color. The brand does allow customers to pay more for unusual paint through the BMW Individual program.

Back in 2017, a BMW dealership made some headlines by ordering a mint green F80 BMW M3 — at the time likely the only one in the world — with no customer to sell it to. But it was optioned with every option in the M Performance Parts catalog, so I’d imagine somebody has taken it home by now.

If you don’t want to wait to import this 1996 mint-colored M3, you could always order a new one from BMW Individual, but you’ll have to live with that giant grille. Or you could buy a U.S. market 1996 M3 and paint it, duh.

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Reviews Editor, Jalopnik

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