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Car of the Week – 1999 BMW M3 – Love for the e36

Car of the Week – 1999 BMW M3 – Love for the e36

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A few weeks ago, I felt somewhat aged in my career as a 1999 M3, similar to this one, had a Respect your Elders sticker on the rear vent window.  It brought me back to the time when the typical day was spent working on mostly 3,5,6, and 7 series cars that were built in the late 80s and early 90s.  I distinctly remember the first time I got into a e36 M3 and was a bit awestruck at how modern it was.  How aggressive the styling was compared to the previous 3-series chassis (e30).  The leather smelled fresh, the steering wheel was like no other and directed a much stiffer suspension than any other product BMW had delivered in the past.  Not to mention that in the 90s, the S52 engine was a beast to say the least.

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Fast forward 15 years and, to be honest, most e36 cars are in pretty bad shape.  Door panels are falling apart, seats are trashed, paint jobs are peeling and transmissions are failing assuming the car has not succumbed to an overheating episode that will typically warrant it heading to the junk yard.  The cars that I so gingerly got in and out of in the beginning of my career are now often times the punchline of BMW humor.  They are dying off, and the e30 is starting to show that build quality had dipped off during the production of the e36.

Enter this 1999 M3.  It’s not a lightweight or any other special edition car from its era.  This is not a six-figure plus classic that will turn heads and garner the adornment of bidders at an auction.  It isn’t the latest exotic electric car that will have 5 million hits on YouTube going 0-60 in under 3 seconds.  It is however, a time piece that allows me to remember the e36 exactly the way I was introduced to them and I carefully enter the seats as the leather is near perfect.

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This car has been driven, but preserved.  With a few hundred miles past 57k, it is certainly a car that was cared for; only driven on occasion and it shows throughout.  The stereo works as it should with no lights out and the front HVAC panel looks as though the buttons hadn’t been pressed. The typically ailing door panels are in perfect shape.

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The car came to us in order to perform a much needed cooling system overhaul as a preventative measure as well as the replacement of all the fluids in the car.  The engine bay is pretty much immaculate which makes any technician a little nervous during such an operation.

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The Cosmos black metallic paint is extremely glossy which is about as rare as a truthful politician as this paint color was extremely prone to oxidation and dulling clear coat in short time.  The wheels have a complex finish that is near perfect; another reminder of how cutting edge these cars were in the 90s.

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All of the lighting looks new.  The headlights haven’t gotten cloudy, the fog lights look new, and there are few rock chips to be seen on the front bumper and spoiler which was also quite ground-breaking in design.

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After a day’s work, this beautiful e36 M3 was back with its owner who is a true enthusiast and spent a good amount of time finding this example.  For me, it was truly a pleasure to go back a little bit to a time when I had more hair, and the e36 chassis was clean and cutting edge.

Chris Keefer

Independent Motorcars

5836 Autoport Mall

San Diego CA 92121

858-455-5836

www.independentmotorcars.com

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