What do the BMW E36 and Mazda MX-5 have in common? They’re both a very popular choice for folks attending our trackdays and sprints for modern classics. Nothing wrong with that, but we’re keen(est) on the cool, quick and quirky and as good as the little Mazda and predictably popular 328i are we like to see the rarer classics. BMW made over 12,000 of the E36 M3 saloon but they’re a rare sight on the road so when Rad Pajor told us about this fantastic example we had to have a look.

BMW E36 M3 saloon - jawohl! (19)

BMW E36 M3 saloon - jawohl! (23)
Why so rare? We have a theory that as the cheapest of all the M cars, the E36 M3 saloon probably fell into the hands of skinflints who couldn’t afford the upkeep and the TokyoSkiddoSidewaysYo! brigade, who often pranged them. Fortunately this beautiful Boston green example was previously owned by a successful drifty-chap, Mike Jankes, who kept her in good shape. We’re not sure about the carbon fibre bits but this is otherwise otherwise original down to the torch, fuel sticker on the instrument binnacle and M contour II wheels. Lovely, isn’t it?

BMW E36 M3 saloon - jawohl! (8)

BMW E36 M3 saloon - jawohl! (12)

BMW lacked a more-door model in their M car portfolio between the end of the E34 M5 in ’95 and the start of the E39 M5 in ’98 so the E36 got the gig. The engine started out as a 3 litre straight six with 282BHP and a 5 speed ‘box and ended up with a 6 speed or SMG ‘box and 3.2 litres and 316 BHP. That’s a lot, even now, and unlike later M cars they weren’t that porky at around 1500KG. Speaking of pork, the M3 is the only model to have more wins in Motorsport than Porsche’s 911. These cars are performers and you can pass one off to your other half/accountant as a semi-sensible daily driver if needed.

BMW E36 M3 saloon - jawohl! (29)

BMW E36 M3 saloon - jawohl! (22)

BMW E36 M3 saloon - jawohl! (10)

An E30 M3 will cost you the equivalent GDP of China to buy today and seemingly every single E46 M3 for sale is a bit broken, owned by an oik, or both. The E36 M3 Coupe won’t be silly money and a saloon like this one is a sure fire classic. Find a tidy example now (if you can) and buy it before the prices get silly. Would we want to see this rare M3 at a MotorPunk event? Jawohl!

BMW E36 M3 saloon - jawohl! (31)





BMW E36 M3 saloon - jawohl! (15)



For our guide to all those BMW M3 Myths, click this.

Big thanks to Rad Pajor for the excellent photography. 

About The Author

Rich Duisberg

Rich Duisberg* has had work published in Classic & Sportscar, Practical Performance Car, Modern Mini, Banzai, MogMag, Evo, GT Porsche, Complete Kit Car, Absolute Lotus, Alternative Cars, Classic Retro Modern, and elsewhere. Rich often appears on CBS’s XCAR and Carfection channels, and Motors TV, plus JayEmm on Cars, enthusing about historic motoring. His latest book (find his work on Amazon) was described by SniffPetrol as "hilarious", although he was also threatened with legal action by elderly DJ Tim Westwood. In his Midlands man cave is a 1972 Fiat 500, a Lotus Elise, a BMW barge and a vintage Royal Enfield pushbike. Previous machines of interest include an Mk1 MX5 (owned for 14 years!), an Alfa GTV6, a Porsche 968 and a Sinclair C5. The Metro (right) was bought for an experiment, and abandoned in Africa. "I am not getting in a car with him" -  said Le Mans winner, Derek Bell. *A nom-de-plume inspired by the BBC's League of Gentlemen.

4 Responses

  1. Chris


    Not sure if this is the correct place to send correspondence but I have just read an older article you published about the Bmw E36 m3 saloon in Boston green (N64 STH) and just to say that I am the owner of this vehicle an it is still alive and kicking and in great order.

    Cool article by the way!



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