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 Post subject: 1997 BMW M3 Sedan, 110k Miles
PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:49 am 

Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:19 am
Posts: 39
Location: Cary, NC
1997 BMW M3 Sedan
Arctic Silver
Black Interior
Clean Title
109,800 miles
Price $12,500 FIRM

Factory Options
243 Airbag for Front Passenger
401 Sliding/Vent Roof, Electric
534 Automatic Air Conditioning
554 On-Board Computer
674 HiFi Loudspeaker System Harman Kardon

This morning at work :)

In late 2015 I decided that I wanted an E36 M3 Sedan with a manual transmission. My criteria was that it needed to be in good condition with relatively low miles and not exceed around $15,000. Knowing the U.S. only received ~4,500 manual sedans I knew the search might take a while. After 4 months of seeing plenty of high mileage cars with rough cosmetics I finally discovered one that was worth investigating. The only problem was that it was in California and I had never bought a car sight unseen before.

The car had several major modifications done to it. Namely it had a Dinan Supercharger, the 6 speed from the E46 M3, and a 3.73 final drive. I discussed many of the details with the seller and the car seemed very clean and well taken care of. I arranged for a Pre-Purchase Inspection at a local shop to make sure the car checked out, especially given all of the aftermarket modifications. The PPI revealed several small problems with the car that you might expect, but nothing serious. So, I arranged for a shipping company to pick up the car and deliver it to Raleigh (enclosed trailer).

When I first drove the car, the supercharger was an absolute riot on the street. However, it (the supercharger) had several oil leaks, and the supercharger itself had what sounded like a little bit of bearing noise at idle. I decided that I would be more than happy with the car naturally aspirated and decided to uninstall the supercharger and sell it as a kit (thinking also that I could make back some money towards the car). What I hadn’t anticipated was how much money it would take to replace the supercharger parts (intake, ecu, injectors, MAF sensor, crank pulley, etc). Even still, I was happy to have the car back as an N/A with zero oil leaks or added complexity.

I continued to go through a normal round of maintenance including spark plugs, valve cover gasket, diff and trans fluids, drive belts, ccv oil separator. Since owning the car I have also replaced the Vanos unit with a brand new Dr. Vanos kit. A friend was parting out their track E36 and so I bought their all aluminum radiator, expansion tank, and spal 16” electric fan to get rid of the notoriously iffy pulley driven fan. I replaced every bushing in the entire car with brand new OEM parts to include the tie rods and front control arms. While changing out the bushings I also installed H&R sport springs and got a performance oriented alignment at Performance Chassis of Cary. I’ve also installed a UUC short shift kit and also made some other repairs along the way.

Mechanically the car runs like a top. It doesn’t burn or leak a single drop of oil. Because of the short gearing and extra power the car will break traction in first or second with any bit of steering input.

The reason I’m selling (one that I may regret) is that our chumpcar team recently sold our race car and so now I’m itching to get back to the track. The M3 seems like the perfect candidate, but it’s just too nice for me to risk it on track and/or start hacking into it to install a half cage, etc. I foresee values of these cars going up over time (not E30 M3 up, but up) and so for that reason as well I will probably regret it.

I have a few people at work, and friends that are interested in the car and want to look at it. Otherwise if I don't get much interest in a week or so I might try putting it up on Bring A Trailer. I plan on getting better pictures of it this weekend.


- AFE Dry Filter Intake
- Porsche 803 3.5” MAF (Bosch)
- BimmerWorld 3.5” Intake Boot
- ASC (Traction Control Throttle Body) Delete
- Bored OEM Throttle Body
- M50 Intake Manifold w/ Eurosport Adapter Kit
- Turner Motorsports 24LB Bosch Fuel Injectors
- TRM Tuning Custom ECU
- JP Shorty Headers
- Racing Dynamics Catback Exhaust

- Metal Impeller Water Pump
- Zionsville All Aluminum Radiator and Expansion Tank
- 16” Spal Fan with Relay

- E46 M3 6-Speed Conversion (all new parts when swapped)
- 3.73 LSD
- Carbon Ceramic Clutch (unknown brand) - stiffer than stock to operate
- Lightweight Flywheel
- UUC EVO3 Short Shifter with DSSR
- New Motor Mounts

- Stainless Steel Brake Lines
- EBC YellowStuff Pads Front + Rear
- Euro M3 Floating Rotors
- Fresh Motul RB600 Brake Fluid

- All New Bushings, Ball Joints, Control Arms, Tie Rod Ends, Eccentrics, etc
- Dinan Strut Bar
- Bilstein Sport Shocks w/ Rear Shock Mount Reinforcements
- H&R Sport Springs
- OEM Style 24 Wheels w/ 225 Pilot Super Sport Tires (OEM Wheels not replicas)

- JT-Designs Aluminum Underbody Panel
- Depo Glass Headlights
- Fog Light Delete
- Black Kidney Grill
- Clear Turn Signals
- Tinted Front, Rear, and Rear Windshield

- Euro SRS Steering Wheel - New Leather
- VDO Gauges for Oil Temp, Oil Pressure, and Coolant Temp
- Pioneer Stereo
- Glovebox USB Charger
- E46 M3 6Speed Shift Knob

Recent Maintenance/Repairs
- Brake Light Switch
- Valve Cover Gasket
- Spark Plugs
- New CCV
- A/C Belt
- Drive Belt
- Trans and Diff Fluids
- Dr. Vanos Rebuild w/ new oil line
- Fuel Level Sender
- Clutch Master, Slave, and Line

List of Purchases ... sp=sharing

The Good
- Paint in excellent condition, absolutely no fading or clearcoat missing
- Zero Rust anywhere on the car - perks of a CA car
- Perfect Compression Numbers
- Doesn’t burn and/or leak any oil
- Very fast, dyno’d at 240 whp combined with 3.73 diff
- Suspension 100% brand new all around
- Interior in very good condition
- No dead pixels on OBC
- All major service items and/or failure points have been replaced or upgraded
- No accident history, smoking odors, etc

The Bad (seems like a long list, but they are all minor and I want to be 100% transparent about even the smallest issues….most haven’t bothered me enough to work on them)
- Front right fender is a DOT-R Fender and repainted (perfect paint match)
- Medium sized dent on Passenger A-Pillar (PDR could probably remove it)
- Large scratch on top of trunk :( (would require repainting trunk to fix)
- Coolant Low message on OBC - when the car first starts it reads coolant low, but after 15 seconds or so it goes away, coolant is not actually low (not sure if it’s the sensor? Or the fact it is an aftermarket expansion tank?)
- The aluminum underbody tray is great, but the fender liners are missing the retaining clips for the underbody bolts. I simply use zip ties in 2-3 places without issue.
- Spare wheel is an E46 spare instead of original (probably swapped when they bought the style 24’s) same size and width as original though

Pictures from the original ad (mostly the same minus supercharger and steering wheel):

Dyno Day at Bimmer Performance Center -

Last edited by ChrisBarefoot on Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:15 pm, edited 3 times in total.

 Post subject: Re: 1997 BMW M3 Sedan, 110k Miles
PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:53 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:19 am
Posts: 39
Location: Cary, NC
Showing it to a coworker this week.

Got the chance to get some better pictures of it earlier today:







More here:

 Post subject: Re: 1997 BMW M3 Sedan, 110k Miles
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:16 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 1:42 pm
Posts: 171
Location: Clayton
I cant believe you're selling this! I'll vouch for with confidence!

 Post subject: Re: 1997 BMW M3 Sedan, 110k Miles
PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:37 am 

Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:19 am
Posts: 39
Location: Cary, NC
brettmcwhorter wrote:
I cant believe you're selling this! I'll vouch for with confidence!

Haha! Thanks Brett. You know me, two things are nearly certain: 1) I'll probably regret this and own another E36 M3 at some point in my life... 2) I'm always looking for something new to work on and drive :)

This is the replacement. Hoping to turn it into a decent track car that is still fun to drive on the street :)

 Post subject: Re: 1997 BMW M3 Sedan, 110k Miles
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:15 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:19 am
Posts: 39
Location: Cary, NC
I had fun listing this on BringATrailer, but unfortunately it didn't generate enough bidding to meet the reserve. I am now listing it here and elsewhere for below the reserve.

$12,500 FIRM.

I will almost certainly regret selling it for this price, but I'd rather it just be out of my garage and someone else enjoy it.

 Post subject: Re: 1997 BMW M3 Sedan, 110k Miles
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:21 am 
Tire Nerd
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 1:40 pm
Posts: 1804
Location: Raleigh
Beautiful car! If you had all the stock parts, you could probably sell off all the mods rolling in lots of $$ and then sell the 100% stock car on BAT for high teens. A pure stock car that presents as yours does would likely be bid like mad on BAT. It's crazy, but that's what it seems most of the BAT type bidders are looking for. Brian Marks recently sold his 62k miles 2001 M5 on BAT but first he put it back to near 100% stock condition including buying brand new M5 wheels from BMW, new Michelin PSS, etc. His car sold for $39,250.

I'm in a similar position with my M5 -- 66k miles but same color (LMB) as Brian's, same year (in fact same build month), yet I've kept even better care of mine. Given his result, it appears that the E39 M5 market is really heating up right now for "presents-almost-as-new" near stock cars, and I still have my stock suspension I removed at 28k miles to swap back on the car. It now has Dinan Stage3 plus GC camber plates on it, but even that might be a detractor on BAT I've been told....even if offered with the stock parts included. Strange crowd there it seems, but the formula worked like magic for Brian.

Current stable:
2011 BMW M3 sedan slicktop 6MT
2001 BMW M5 6MT
2007 BMW 328i wagon (slushbox for now)
2006 BMW 330i sport 6MT
1975 CanAm 125MX2

 Post subject: Re: 1997 BMW M3 Sedan, 110k Miles
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:09 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:19 am
Posts: 39
Location: Cary, NC
Chuck you are so right! I wish I had the parts to swap back in. To be honest at the $10k price just in spite I'd rather part the entire thing out down the the bare shell....which is obviously just insane for a rust free, low mileage, 4 door that is in pristine mechanical condition.

Best of luck if you decide to sell the M5! You are right, in a lot of ways it seems the market for every car is heating up except the E36M market. Did you see the Integra Type R on BAT? 60k miles, well kept, but not a collector car.....$40k!!!! If only...

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