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1997 BMW M3 Sedan (M3/4/5)

1997 BMW M3 Sedan (M3/4/5)

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Details

Price: SOLD

Mileage: 159,475 Miles

Transmission: 5-Speed Manual Transmission

Exterior color: Estoril Blue Exterior (L0335)

Interior: Modena Leather Interior (PN5AY)

Additional features:

3:38 Limited Slip Differential

TC Klein Adjustable Coilovers and Camber Plates

Strut Tower Reinforcement Plates

X-Brace

Stainless Brake Lines

Stainless Clutch Line

Fresh Clutch and Dual-Mass Fly wheel (~20K miles ago, done in 2009)

Clutch Delay Valve Delete

ASC+T Delete

Vanos Kit Done

PowerFlex FCAB, RTAB, Subframe Bushings (~20k miles ago, done in 2009)

Replaced Oil Pump/Safety Wired Nut/Z3 Pickup Tube

Conforti Tune w/ Top Speed Limiter Removed

Stewart Components Water Pump

Vorshlag Motor Mounts

AKG Differential Bushings

Poly Transmission Mounts

Corsa RSC Cat-Back Exhaust

Euro Alcantara-Wrapped Steering Wheel

AutoSolutions Short Shifter

ZHP Shift Knob

Rear Spoiler

Heated Front Seats

On Board Computer

Folding Rear Seats

17-Inch Staggered M Contour Wheels

Michelin Pilot Sport 4S Tires

Colorado Car

Background

1997 BMW M3 Sedan (M3/4/5) exterior photo

The BMW E36 (1992 to 1999 3 Series) M3 sedan is the best car for the buck—period! M3 sedans, also called M3/4/5’s in manual form (M3/4 door/5-speed), were only produced for the 1997 and 1998 model years to fill the gap between the outgoing E34 M5 and incoming E39 M5. I have found, sorted, and sold many over the years including my own 1998 M3/4/5. When the E36 debuted in the spring of 1991 for the 1992 model year it was revolutionary. It was the first BMW designed by computer-aided design and a stark contrast to the traditional 3-box design language used in the E21 and E30 generation 3 series. It was such a leap forward that it still looks relevant amongst today’s modern cars. In our opinion here at Glen Shelly, the sedan is the best iteration of the M3.

What makes the E36 M3 so good is that it occurred at a sweet spot of BMW evolution where power, weight, size, suspension design, reliability, and luxury all intersected. The driving experience is connected and visceral, yet offers luxuries that took other marques years to match. With only the slightest amount of talent it is a highly capable platform that can easily outperform much more powerful and expensive vehicles. The ease at which it can be pushed to the limit makes it the weapon of choice in many track applications. The sedan’s extra B-pillar adds rigidity, four doors add utility, and the shorter door cards don’t suffer the de-lamination that coupes do. The population of worthy examples has been decimated by abuse, neglect, and entry level buyers; this has made clean, well cared for examples difficult to come by.

Summary

 exterior photo

This 1997 BMW M3/4/5 is 1 of just 22 Estoril Blue over Modena leather M3 sedans produced. It is a striking and quintessential E36 M3 color combination that makes a strong statement against a population dominated by more mundante colors. What makes this M3 special goes far beyond just the color combination; it has all of the right bits too. The list includes a TC Klein Adjustable coilvers with camber plates, Z3 strut tower reinforcement plates, an M3 convertible X-brace, PowerFlex front control arm bushings, subframe bushings, and rear control arm bushings with limiteers—all installed in the last 20K miles or less. The suspension bits are augmented Vorshlag motor mounts, poly transmission mounts, and AKG different bushings. Power is aided by a Conforti tune, ASC delete, and a Corsa cat-back exhaust that is delivered through a 3:38 limited-slip differential. The cooling system has been refreshed within the last 20K miles including a Stewart water pump. The oil pump nut has also been safety wired. Shifting is accomplished via an clutch that was replaced in the last 20K miles, along with a ZHP shift knob, AutoSolutions short shifter. The brakes feature stainless steel brake lines and EBC Yellow Stuff pads.

It was originally delivered by COs BMW on September 15, 1997 and remained in Colorado ever since. It was sold to the third owner in 2008 with 131,156 miles, who is a good friend of Glen Shelly. Under them, and the fourth owner—another good friend of Glen Shelly—the majority of the cosmetic and mechanical work was completed. Under the third owner it was side-swiped, and the entire vehicle was repainted in the orignal Estoril Blue color by high-end specalisists SVE Autobody. In the summer of 2020 the front bumper, left mirror, and left fender were repainted again by SVE due to a parking lot altercation. Receipts for both are included in the records binder, along with extensive receipts for other work completed since 2008. The Carfax is clean and all owners manuals are included in the sale. This is an outlier example of an E36 M3/4/5 in a population that is rapidly appreciating. We would like to find a new owner who write the next chapter of its story.

Exterior

1997 BMW M3 Sedan (M3/4/5) exterior photo

Estoril Blue is one of the best and most sought-after E36 M3 colors, especially on a sedan. The paint is in excellent condition; it received a very high quality respray by SVE Auto Body in 2009. It takes a keen eye to notice that it has been painted, and most people would not notice. There are a handful of minor dings, but none that are sharp or particularly eye-catching. Thanks to the repaint and fair-weather use, it has very few rock chips compared to other Colorado cars, the only notable chipping being roadspray on the fronts of the side skirts and front arches of the rear bumper. All VIN tags in place, except for the driver’s side doors; they were replaced due to a minor side-swipe incident. All trim and black-work is clean and in place. The Roundels and M3 badges are bright and not faded. The bumpers are both in excellent shape; the front has minor pitting with some scuffing on the underside, and the rear has minor rock spray from the rear tires. The headlight lenses are clear and not pitted. All indicator lenses and taillight housings are clear and crack-free. The Hella fog lights are protected by yellow Lamin-X film, which is easily removed if desired. The M Contour staggered wheels are straight; the rear wheels have moderate curbing. They are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires with 70% tread and 2017 DOT dates.

Interior

 interior photo

The interior of this car is absolutely one of its best features. Interiors are a known weak spot of the E36, but this one is very nice, thanks to being largely redone. The front and rear seats have both been recovered with AutoBerry seat covers, and the door card inserts have also been recovered with the same material. Thanks to this, they are nearly immaculate; there is no notable bolster wear or failed stitching, only some minor creasing. All electric adjustments work properly, as do the seat heaters. The rear seats are the fold-down type. The headliner does not sag; we replaced it in preparation for sale. The door cards are all in great shape, especially being a known weak point for E36’s; the upper speaker cover on the driver’s front has one crack, a common issue. The factory steering wheel has been replaced with a Euro-spec steering wheel that has been re-wrapped in alcantara with M tri-color stitching. The dashboard has no cracks or waves. The center console and shifter are very nice; the ZHP knob mounted on the Auto Solutions short shifter is an excellent touch. All instrument cluster functions work, and there are no failed pixels in the check panel. All of the window regulators are quiet and smooth, as is the sunroof operation; the sunroof goes back and forth, but does not tilt. The heat blows warm and the air-conditioning blows cold; the blower motor is quiet and the final stage resistor functions correctly. The center vent above the radio does not sit perfectly flush. The trunk tool kit is complete and the spare tire is present.

Mechanical

 engine photo

As it sits, this is a very mechanically sound M3. The last two owners could not have been better stewards; every mechanical gripe has been dealt with in a timely manner. The S52 engine starts on command, idles smoothly, and pulls very strongly to redline, with added bark from the Corsa exhaust. The brake fluid and power steering were both flushed at 156k miles. The suspension has been fully refreshed within the last 30k miles, with Powerflex rear subrame and trailing arm bushings, along with front control arms and Powerflex rear control arm bushings. In 2015, TC Kline Double Adjustable Coilovers were installed at a little over 150k miles. The ride is still very well-damped and daily driveable, but is a huge handling improvement over stock. The previous owner installed an Auto Solutions short shifter with a ZHP shift knob. The clutch takeup is smooth and predictable, thanks the clutch delay valve being deleted. There is slight 5th gear lean, but it doesn’t need addressing in the forseable future. In preparation for It will need, and deserves, the preventative care and maintenance that all BMWs do, but the E36 is robust platform that will last forever if maintained correctly.

VIN Decode

 exterior photo

VIN Decode

  • VIN: WBSCD9321VEE06765
  • Prod. Date: 06.19.1997
  • Model: M3
  • Series: 3
  • Generation: E36
  • Body Type: Saloon
  • Type Code: CD93
  • Engine Code: S52
  • Power: 240
  • Fuel Type: Gas
  • Displacement: 3.20
  • Drive Type: RWD
  • Steering Side: Left
  • Color: Estoril Blue Metallic (L0335)
  • Interior: Teilleder W.N./Modena (PN5AY)
  • Transmission: Manual

Options

  • 209 Limited-slip differential, 25% locking action
  • 214 Automatic Stability Control + Traction (ASC+T)
  • 243 Airbag for front passenger
  • 260 Side airbags for driver and front passenger
  • 314 Heated windscreen washer jets
  • 325 Rear spoiler
  • 354 Windscreen with green shade band
  • 401 Sliding/vent roof, electric
  • 411 Window lifts, electrical
  • 441 Smoker’s package
  • 458 Seat adjustment, electric for driver and passenger
  • 465 Through-loading system
  • 481 Sport seats for driver and front passenger
  • 494 Seat heating for driver and front passenger
  • 520 Fog lights
  • 534 Automatic air conditioning
  • 540 Leather-covered steering wheel with multifunction keys
  • 542 Check Control
  • 554 On-board computer
  • 674 HiFi loudspeaker system harman/kardon
  • 686 Aerial diversity
  • 687 Radio preparation
  • 692 CD changer I-bus preparation
  • 710 M leather steering wheel
  • 818 Battery master switch
  • 850 Additional tank filling, export
  • 853 Language version English
  • 925 Shipping protection package