This is a classic sports sedan you won't want to keep under a car cover all year round.
A very clean-looking E36 BMW M3 from 1997 has appeared for sale on Bring a Trailer, and it's going for an absolute song.
At the time of writing, with six days remaining on the auction, the bidding has yet to reach $10,000. That should tell you that something is wrong, and it is. Only, the thing that makes this a lousy collector car is also what makes it an excellent enthusiast car: the original inline-six engine is gone, and in its place is a 5.7-liter LS1 V8 hooked up to a six-speed T56 and a 3.38:1 differential.
But that's not all that's been changed. We have suspension upgrades and better cooling too. Did somebody say, "Ideal track toy?"
Finished in Arctic Silver Metallic with a black leather interior, this example - listed in Littleton, Colorado- has just 67,000 miles on the odometer, and the stock 17-inch Style 23 wheels coupled with no apparent aesthetic mods - besides yellow fog light lenses and black kidney grilles - help create a clean, unimposing look that belies what powers the beast.
The LS1, however, won't keep the ruse going for long once you start it up. To help the car cope with its increased output, this M3 features an upgraded radiator from the later E46 M3's S54 engine, while H&R sport springs and Powerflex suspension bushings help keep things tight in the turns.
Braided brake lines, an MGW short-shift kit, an aftermarket oil pressure gauge, and a FiTech handheld controller have all been fitted, but the engine alone is worth focusing on for a second. It's been rebuilt with Wiseco pistons, Eagle Specialty Products forged connecting rods, a Texas Speed 228R camshaft, PAC Racing dual-valve springs, an SLP underdrive pulley, and an Improved Racing oil pan baffle.
As a well-used and significantly modified vehicle, not everything can be expected to work perfectly. The airbag clock spring is broken, the horn doesn't work, and the shifter still denotes only five forward ratios. There are also cracks in the wood trim, and the leather seats are showing their age somewhat.
But for a car that could sneak in under five figures (bidding is currently at $9,777), this seems like a great way to explore oversteer and understeer.
Join The Discussion