7.17.2009

Cars I've Owned (Part 3 of 14)


1995 BMW M3
Owned: 2000 to 2001
Aka: “The Favorite”


This was the car I’d always wanted in the color I always wanted. Sure, it was available in black, white, red, silver, blue, etc., but only one was Dakar Yellow, named after the fabled Paris-Dakar Rally. Essentially, this was the perfect race car right out of the box. It was lightning fast and handled extremely well, without looking like a douched-out boy racer, being very well mannered in the process. It was your basic wolf in sheep’s clothing, a “sleeper” like my street racing pal Rafael used to say. Mechanically, it was basically perfection. BMW took their normally aspirated 3.0 liter inline 6-cylinder and, like Prospero waving a wand on his little island, somehow magically squeezed out 295hp. The only thing I did to this was add a K&N air filter to help it breathe a little better (easiest, most cost effective way to enhance performance without monkeying too much with the engine is to make a car breathe better, colder air inducted as fast as possible, with expelled exhaust pulled out the back end as efficiently as possible) and Bavarian Autosport strut tower braces in the front and rear bays to give the tires a little more bite when cornering hard and to eliminate some minor body flex. Despite my love of all things BMW Motorsport Division, there’s just not much else to say here. If you know about M cars, then you know. If you don’t know about M cars, it’s not something I can explain. They’re a breed apart, wicked fast, and totally sought after. The elite. The perfect balance of class and performance. There’s just nothing like the sound of that engine spooling up around 4,000rpm, delighting the senses, and growling adamantly as you chirp the tires going into 3rd gear. It handled like a dream; I tried hard, but usually I couldn’t get the rear wheels to break loose without doing something totally stupid and unnatural. Being an M car in a wild color, it felt a bit exotic; I got a lot of looks and thumbs up (heck, I remember little kids pointing frantically) from other drivers going over the Altamont Pass from San Francisco to the Central Valley at 100mph. The deep leather seats wrapped around you like you were in the cockpit of an F-16 fighter. This was the E36 chassis, which was the first year that the M3 returned after its initial run on the E30 chassis from 1988 to 1991. The one pictured is identical to mine.

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