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      04-09-2008, 11:43 PM   #1
normtrum
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Need help identifying an older M3

Hi - need a little help here kind of quickly. I'm going to take a peek at what a dealer is claiming to be a '98 M3. In the pics there is a M side vent shown. I didn't think there were any side vents on the 98. Second, the rear spoiler looks off to me as well. It looks much more boxy then I thought the spoiler was supposed to look like.

I've pulled up a ton of specs, including pictures....and this particular car just doesn't look quite right to me. It's kind of ironic... I haven't received my Bimmer Magazine for May yet, which happens to be running the '97-03 "3" series on their "Market Update" section...which would probably help me out.

I'm going by tomorrow morning to see the car in person, so it will be obvious to me once I'm there....I'm just trying to go in as informed as I possibly can. Sorry for the poor quality of the pics....it's all I have right now. Can anybody help me out here?
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      04-09-2008, 11:47 PM   #2
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Someone has definitely been cooking rice.
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      04-10-2008, 12:02 AM   #3
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Side gills are fake and so the car is either a '97 or '98, the only two years of the E36 M3 4-door.
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      04-10-2008, 12:04 AM   #4
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Also, that is not a factory rear wing.
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      04-10-2008, 12:09 AM   #5
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I bet they told you it was a factory stereo too huh?
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      04-10-2008, 12:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OzStriker View Post
Someone has definitely been cooking rice.
Agreed. I'm glad I had a few pics to show you guys. The only M3 I know real well is the e46, which I had a few years back.

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Originally Posted by JIO View Post
Side gills are fake and so the car is either a '97 or '98, the only two years of the E36 M3 4-door.
I originally thought it was a 97 as well. It almost looks like the grills are a sticker!

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Also, that is not a factory rear wing.
thanks, that was something I was really having trouble with....I didn't know if there was more then 1 option for the spoiler. The pics I've seen all look different...more tappered on the ends, and not as tall.
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      04-10-2008, 12:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
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I bet they told you it was a factory stereo too huh?
No...they haven't told me anything. I haven't spoken with anyone yet. This is a car that my son wanted me to go look at. I'm not going to waste my time. Or his money.
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      04-10-2008, 12:30 AM   #8
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It has M3 floor mats.... it must be legit....
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      04-10-2008, 12:40 AM   #9
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Help this guy out ... he's looking at it for his son.

But you get the gist ... steer clear. This car has been modified cosmetically probably by someone young. Let your son do his own modding.
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      04-10-2008, 12:55 AM   #10
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I had a 98 sedan - it had NO side gills and it also had no rear spoiler, be sure to check if the VIN is stamped on each panel of the car as was done in 1998.
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      04-10-2008, 01:01 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mack211 View Post
It has M3 floor mats.... it must be legit....
Thanks for the help.

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Originally Posted by MDCTFTW View Post
Help this guy out ... he's looking at it for his son.

But you get the gist ... steer clear. This car has been modified cosmetically probably by someone young. Let your son do his own modding.
It's ok, I've been on this forum long enough to know there's way to many smartasses around.

i'm really just trying to figure out what the hell it is....but I don't think I'm even going to waste my time by looking at it.

Thanks to you and SOME of the others who tried to help.
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      04-10-2008, 01:19 AM   #12
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check the VIN . do a carfax?
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      04-10-2008, 06:11 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by normtrum View Post
Hi - need a little help here kind of quickly. I'm going to take a peek at what a dealer is claiming to be a '98 M3. In the pics there is a M side vent shown. I didn't think there were any side vents on the 98. Second, the rear spoiler looks off to me as well. It looks much more boxy then I thought the spoiler was supposed to look like.

I've pulled up a ton of specs, including pictures....and this particular car just doesn't look quite right to me. It's kind of ironic... I haven't received my Bimmer Magazine for May yet, which happens to be running the '97-03 "3" series on their "Market Update" section...which would probably help me out.

I'm going by tomorrow morning to see the car in person, so it will be obvious to me once I'm there....I'm just trying to go in as informed as I possibly can. Sorry for the poor quality of the pics....it's all I have right now. Can anybody help me out here?
Get the VIN and use this site for decoding: http://www.bmw-z1.com/VIN/VINdecode-e.cgi

FYI- no gills in the E36 M3 and the rear spoiler is not factory installed, although it is either a copy or the OEM original of the Euro M-Technic E36 3 Series rear spoiler.
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      04-10-2008, 08:33 AM   #14
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The model year is accurate for an E36 M3 Sedan, but someone has done a lot of cosmetic modifications on that car.
-fake side gills
-big rear wing
-wheels from an E46 sport package car
-cheap "purple" window tint
-aftermarket audio

Ultimately, the car could probably be "restored" back to a more original appearance. Definitely do a carfax and have it checked out mechanically. If it all checks out, it could be a great car for your son.
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      04-10-2008, 08:45 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sayemthree View Post
check the VIN . do a carfax?
+1
Exactly thats the only way to know for sure. But then again you will never know for sure what the previous owner(s) have done to it.
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      04-10-2008, 11:47 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sayemthree View Post
check the VIN . do a carfax?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post
Get the VIN and use this site for decoding: http://www.bmw-z1.com/VIN/VINdecode-e.cgi

FYI- no gills in the E36 M3 and the rear spoiler is not factory installed, although it is either a copy or the OEM original of the Euro M-Technic E36 3 Series rear spoiler.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CnoteMD View Post
The model year is accurate for an E36 M3 Sedan, but someone has done a lot of cosmetic modifications on that car.
-fake side gills
-big rear wing
-wheels from an E46 sport package car
-cheap "purple" window tint
-aftermarket audio

Ultimately, the car could probably be "restored" back to a more original appearance. Definitely do a carfax and have it checked out mechanically. If it all checks out, it could be a great car for your son.
Quote:
Originally Posted by K3N R3D View Post
+1
Exactly thats the only way to know for sure. But then again you will never know for sure what the previous owner(s) have done to it.
Thanks guys for the help. I did order a carfax....which came out clean. However we all know that carfax can be sketchy, since anyone can damage the car...fix it themselves, then not report it. I still think it's good to check though.

I think Cnote is correct...it probably could be taken back to stock (or at least close), but who knows what else might be going on. I was going to bag it, but my son is pushing me to at least take a look at it.

I appreciate the help!
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      04-10-2008, 02:24 PM   #17
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If you want to be sure its a legit M3, check the vin number. Little things you can check are the brake calipers, as they have engraved M logo.

As for the car itself, remove the tacky side gills and cheap window tint and i think its in ok shape cosmetically.

The spoiler is a low rise LTW replica. Or at least what it looks like from here
. IMO not ricey on a coupe, but it looks out of place on the M3/4

Keep in mind the Sedan M3 with 5 speed are pretty uncommon.

If the car is in good running shape, i would say go for it. Also, ask him the last time the cooling system was changed as thats a BIG area of concern on these cars. If that hasn't been done, or he doesn't know. Just count on doing it when you take possession of the car as preventive maintenance.

These cars will go for a long time if they are properly maintained.
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      04-10-2008, 02:31 PM   #18
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Doesn't look legit to me, those are not M wheels. But can't tell much with the photos.

Seriously those grills are a deal killer for me. No matter if it were real or not, this car has poseur label all over it.

E36s were easy to rice up and turn into an "M3"
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      04-10-2008, 03:27 PM   #19
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Mike,

Looks like a '98 to me... my housemate has a '98 m3 (full dinan package). What kind of miles does that have on it? Want me to ask my friend if he wants to sell his?
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      04-10-2008, 03:57 PM   #20
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Jesus, Mike! You scared me to death. I thought after the last dyno you are selling the 335 for the "M3".
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      04-10-2008, 05:40 PM   #21
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Quote:
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Mike,

Looks like a '98 to me... my housemate has a '98 m3 (full dinan package). What kind of miles does that have on it? Want me to ask my friend if he wants to sell his?
Hey Jeff - this car has 80k miles on it...which is pretty damn good. It's priced at $8500....which is about the top of my kid's price range.

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Jesus, Mike! You scared me to death. I thought after the last dyno you are selling the 335 for the "M3".
Well for myself....I'm still 50/50 on an e90 M3, and selling my 335. I keep bouncing back and forth. I went in to drive a e92 yesterday....but they sold if about 20 minutes before I got there . I did go over my finance options...and they were kind of ugly.

To top it all off, I'm looking at a '97 540i that my wife wants from a friend of hers. Holy shit.
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      04-10-2008, 08:01 PM   #22
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I just traded in my '97 M3 Sedan for $8500. The car had 78K miles, looked great and had great mechanicals. All work had been done at the same dealer. No mods. Extra set of winter wheels. So this does sound like an OK price, though the grills and the spoiler look ridiculous.

Do you really want your kid driving an M3, even an older one?
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