The seller of today’s Nice Price or No Dice M3 claims to be happy to answer any questions one might have about the car’s history. The question we’re more interested in answering is whether its asking price will ensure a bright future with a new owner.
The 2001 Saturn SC2 we looked at last Friday may not be the kind of car you’d want to drive for the rest of your life, but for certain stages of that so-called life, it would make a lot of sense. A clean presentation and a modest $2,995 asking price sealed the deal for that humble car from the quirky and now daisy-pushing brand, and earned the Saturn a solid 82 percent Nice Price win.
Since we’re talking about stages of life and what cars you might consider being good candidates for spanning those stages, I guess we’ll have to consider brands and models with a bit more gravitas than something just described by yours truly as “humble.”
This 1995 BMW M3 might be just such a contender. Also, with the original E30 M3 now having taken up residence in crazytown as far as prices go, this model could be considered the next (generation) best thing. These were built in much greater numbers than the E30 M3, and across two more body styles. That doesn’t mean they are a dime a dozen, though. Prices are starting to creep up on the E36 cars just like they did on their E30 predecessors right before going through the roof. For the second-gen cars, what once was a sub-ten-grand car now is more typically priced in the teens. Who knows what will happen to their values in the next five to ten years.
Of course, when it comes to the choice of E36 M3 body style, — coupe, sedan, or convertible — it’s the two-door hardtop that remains the go-to for both traditionalists and non-traditionalists alike. That brings us to a frustrating concern when looking at these cars. Back when they were relatively cheap a lot of those non-traditionalist owners felt the need to flex on them, which has left us all with precious few that are as bone stock as when they left the factory.
Luckily, this black-on-black example is almost completely stock. There’s one notable modification though, and that’s a big one. That mod is the engine. Being a U.S. spec car, this M3 original rocked a 2990 cc edition of the S50 DOHC straight-six. The ad says that engine is gone, and has been replaced by a later 3.2-liter six. Based on a peak under the hood, that’s still an S50 mill, and it should put out the same 240 horsepower. At 236 lb-ft, the larger engine’s torque is about 10 lb-ft more than its smaller sibling. All those numbers are made available via a five-speed manual gearbox.
A replacement engine isn’t that big of a deal, especially not on a BMW. With just 98,500 miles under its belt, this car’s need for a new heart does seem to require a bit more explanation than the ad is offering. That’s okay though because the seller does note that they are happy to answer any questions.
There’s no question that the rest of the car looks pretty good. The paint seems perfectly serviceable despite being the factory coat. The seller notes a couple of dings and chips here and there, but there’s nothing so big that it shows up in the ad’s pics. The car comes with two sets of wheels, those on the car in the pics and the set of original (Style 22?) M3 alloys.
Popping inside reveals a cabin that’s pretty much turn-key and go. A set of “Vader” buckets sit up front facing a stock dash and aftermarket stereo. There’s a little wear on the leather and on the carpeted floor mats, but overall, there’s little in here about which to complain. The seller does note that the driver’s seat heater is on the fritz, but claims that it’s an easy fix. Hell, if it was that easy a fix, it would already be fixed, amiright?
That’s just one conundrum in this BMW’s ad. The other is why the engine had to be replaced and what’s the story (miles, maintenance history, etc.) regarding the replacement? All that will need to come out in the grilling of the seller by a prospective buyer.
Before we can get to that, however, we need to discuss the price. That’s $19,500 which is on the high end for these cars. That being said, this does appear to be a very nice and, save for the replaced motor, fairly stock example. That all is worth some consideration. We’ll have to find out what you all think. What’s your take on this M3 and that $19,500 price? Is that just par for the course in these crazy times? Or, is that just crazy all on its own?
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