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I'd love to have a clean '89 325is, but with prices comparable to a nice E36 M3 the E30
doesn't make much sense.
 

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Yes, it's a great design. But, unfortunately it's also a car that tools in their early twenties have imported from Germany for years now. As a result its image is a young guys' tuning car here now, which is just sad.
I don't care about image, but in the US they fall into the trap of any older premium-brand car that can be kept barely running without proper maintenance... most of the E36s on the market are trashed. Always that baffling combination of a car which needs a few thousand dollars worth of maintenance but has a few thousand dollars wrapped into phat rimz and halo headlights and garbage like that.
Thankfully, I think a lot of those young guys are moving onto newer metal (E46s, Infiniti Gs, etc).

For a while, things were getting pretty dire. But there is a hardcore E36 community that values keeping them clean, OEM or OEM+, and functional mods only. Also, the E36 has never really fallen out of favor with the older BMW CCA crowd. Due to it's low weight, low cost, and relatively stiff chassis (compared to an E30), it's still a favorite for track-day cars. Tip: If you can find a clean one, sedans are slightly preferred for track duty because they're slightly stiffer, a little slipperier, and have more headroom for wearing a helmet.
 

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Discussion Starter #30

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Great cars when you're not setting your money on fire to keep them going
This has long been a debate before about the TCO. Some say it's no more expensive than a MKIV. I don't no the accuracy behind it, but I have a lady who owns one and she needed a steering rack for it, cost was $850 for the rack plus labor of $250.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
This has long been a debate before about the TCO. Some say it's no more expensive than a MKIV. I don't no the accuracy behind it, but I have a lady who owns one and she needed a steering rack for it, cost was $850 for the rack plus labor of $250.
I've heard from owners that they're not all that expensive to keep running. Some have even referred to it as the Civic of the BMW world
 

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i love mine. picked it up from a friend in July 2011 with 200,000 miles, and it's up to 207,500 now. the straight six is really great engine, and the sound it makes at WOT is just awesome.





winter duty:



and one i snapped a picture of during a trip to Lime Rock Park:

 

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This has long been a debate before about the TCO. Some say it's no more expensive than a MKIV. I don't no the accuracy behind it, but I have a lady who owns one and she needed a steering rack for it, cost was $850 for the rack plus labor of $250.
meanwhile, i had the steering rack replaced about 4 years ago on a 2003 Jetta Wagon... cost $800-ish at an independent shop.
 

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Agreed. Alpine White M3/4door/5speed is the perfect e36 imo
Too bad I sold mine :(








This has long been a debate before about the TCO. Some say it's no more expensive than a MKIV. I don't no the accuracy behind it, but I have a lady who owns one and she needed a steering rack for it, cost was $850 for the rack plus labor of $250.
That's dealer cost, likely. It's $630 + free shipping + core at partsgeek for a ZF.

However, a resourceful enthusiast could probably score one for next to nothing from someone who swapped to an M3/Z3/Z4 rack. Here's a 328is rack for $75: http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1886002
 

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Hey TCL, long time lurker first time poster. Good thread :thumbup:

The Holy Grail of E36s. They made Sedan, Coupe, Touring and Cabrio 4.6 cars.
I believe there are only four genuine E36 Alpinas in North America - two B8 and two B3. I'm lucky enough to own a B3 and would love to have a B8 too! :) Mine is a B3 sedan in Hellrot red. It was imported from Japan to Canada a few years ago. Here's a few pics:





I love everything about the car except the transmission. My particular model is an Alpina "Switchtronic" which is a conventional auto with push button shifting. Pretty cool technology at the time and actually more fun than it sounds, but I'm looking into a manual swap ;)



Video walkaround: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ve_jcklrgCc
 
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