Uncoiled Reader
2/5/12 4:01 p.m.

The car that is... I was looking around on craigslist and noticed they are amazingly cheap right now. It kind of makes me made I got my WRX instead of an m3. Do you think they are going to start climbing again? I know they aren't the best specimens for the lowest prices but they would work fine for me. In a year or two I might be in the position to buy a fun car and if these are at the same price I would gladly buy one.

Some Examples:




Paints terrible but: http://charlotte.craigslist.org/cto/2830841509.html

Ranger50 Dork
2/5/12 4:35 p.m.

If I was buying, the first one is the one I'm buying. But then again, mechanical repairs don't bother me, doesn't matter if it is a Pinto or a Porsche.

The last one, salvage title. The others, out of my price range personally.

Salanis SuperDork
2/5/12 4:41 p.m.

I'd go for #2. "Some head gasket repair" always strikes me as code for "the engine is berkeleyed up and I can't tell what is wrong."

MG Bryan
MG Bryan Dork
2/5/12 4:47 p.m.
Salanis wrote: I'd go for #2. "Some head gasket repair" always strikes me as code for "the engine is berkeleyed up and I can't tell what is wrong."

In the case of BMWs it strikes me as, "I didn't maintain this car, allowed the cooling system to fail, and subsequently berkeleyed the head gasket and warped the head."

Joshua HalfDork
2/5/12 4:47 p.m.

Coming from a former e36 owner I would buy the first one, motors are cheap even if it is toast. Buy the lowest mile, least modified example you can find. Stay away from repaints, salvage, poorly or heavily modded ones. Make sure you still have plenty of money left over for repairs because they don't come cheap.

Uncoiled Reader
2/5/12 7:03 p.m.

I'm not interesting in buying any of these just wondering about the GRM thoughts about their depreciation and whether they will be climbing in price soon. If I had to choose though I would say the first one.

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 Dork
2/5/12 7:11 p.m.

I'm in a similar pickle- looking at them in the DC area- there's a manual sedan with 180k for $4500. Killing me.

mad_machine SuperDork
2/5/12 7:17 p.m.
Uncoiled wrote: I'm not interesting in buying any of these just wondering about the GRM thoughts about their depreciation and whether they will be climbing in price soon. If I had to choose though I would say the first one.

I think clean unmolested E36 M3s are at the bottom of their depreciation... that said, there are a lot of molested and dirty M3s still around

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 Dork
2/5/12 7:46 p.m.

But even molested and dirty M3's are pretty damn good. They're even "restorable" given that almost all the parts seem to be available still.

JFX001 SuperDork
2/5/12 9:56 p.m.

I'd go for #3. Looks clean, 4 door stealth mode...no boy racer crap.

mad_machine SuperDork
2/5/12 10:58 p.m.

even a 2 door can avoid the boy racer crap if you keep it dewinged and unstickered.

nderwater SuperDork
2/5/12 11:15 p.m.

After three years in my M3, I still feel that these cars are the best sports sedan bargain out there. But for those of you considering one for a daily driver, keep aware of the following:

Cooling system components need replacing at 60-80K intervals, and head gaskets are a 100K maintenance item on these cars if they are going to see seasonal track driving. On higher mileage cars headliners will begin to sag, electronics will start to fail, door cards and window motor motors will need servicing or replacement, and every bit of rubber along the driveline and in the suspension will likely need to be replaced.

As always with German cars, the best advice is to buy the best-maintained example you can find. Otherwise you'll find yourself spending just as much money-or more-to fix the previous owners deferred maintenance on a cheaper, more neglected vehicle. I love my car, but at the moment it's due for an easy $3,000 worth of service items. But since it's a beater and worth maybe $5,000 tops, I'm only putting as much money into it as I must to keep it on the road.

RandyS Reader
2/6/12 7:43 p.m.

The southeast is a great place to buy any car. No rust and cheap!

...and not just body rust but chassis rust too. I was at a repair place the other day and happended to look at the chassis of a E36 M3 that came from Ohio. Every bolt was locked down rusted and they had to cut and replace several to do a basic suspension refresh.

A quick look at the Atlanta CL and there are quite a few M3's in the $5.5-7.5k range


Here are five 5-speed cars listed...

http://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/cto/2812855388.html http://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/cto/2830937662.html http://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/cto/2749328205.html http://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/cto/2837193798.html http://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/cto/2805496533.html

getfast Reader
2/7/12 11:45 a.m.

I'm on my second E36 M3 sedan. Bought the first one six years ago for $16k (at the time it had 70k miles with lots of records) and this one a few months ago for $7k (122k miles and lots of records, plus a few mods.)

The $7k car has seen 3500 miles so far with no issues and not much maintenance - preventative waterpump/thermostat, preventative alternator due to noise, plugs and valve cover gasket that it needed, oil change that it needed, wheels/tires that it didn't really need. It did 206/211 on a Dynojet which is about right for a stock one. I put 1600 miles on it the other weekend with no issues so it could sit in the GRM paddock at the Rolex 24, in fact. Pics: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151038371665602.776935.811445601&type=1&l=1c970f3d75

They really are cheap now, but instead of buying a $5k rat I bought a $7k car that wasn't 100% perfect (drivers seat worn, a few dents/scratches, signs of front air dam repaint, small spot of rust by the rear license plate, etc) but ran great, because I was looking for a beater/driver not a showcar I was afraid to take out of the garage. And I have no regrets.

I do see this turning around eventually, as it did with various E30s worth having (the same short bumper '90 325is I bought for $1900 in '03 would now be worth $4k+.) So I'd recommend buying one sooner rather than later. And of course buying the nicest one you can possibly afford. If you get a good one, they're great cars! If you don't, prepare to be nickel and dimed forever...

dyintorace SuperDork
2/7/12 11:50 a.m.
getfast wrote: I'm on my second E36 M3 sedan.

Pretty car! I like the look of the clear corners and the Kosei wheels.

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