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Ever not fallen in love with a car you should have fallen in love with?
Yup, happened to me.
After a seven-year courtship, however, I think I have a romance brewing with my M3. I know, I can move slowly.
This one, like so many other partnerships, wasn’t planned. Way before the pandemic, I merely mentioned to my friend Steve that I was looking for a new daily–maybe a BRZ or something similar. He countered that a mutual friend was looking to sell his E46-chassis M3.
That night, I had an email waiting: Heard you’re interested in my M3, so here are all the details, records and photos.
This was the one. The legend. We first drove it upon its release 20-plus years ago. It needed no introduction: those flares, that hood blister, individual throttle bodies and an inline-six that could spin to 8000 rpm. Plus, it was comfortable, composed and just cool. It was the total package.
All the service was by the book. Kevin, our friend looking to rehome the car, had tracked oil changes on a spreadsheet. When he replaced the Roundels, the steering wheel and even the cooling system components, he went with OE pieces. Couldn’t find any corners cut anywhere.
The price was low, but mileage wasn’t–a little north of 135,000. But the car didn’t show any of the usual trappings found out there: no torn upholstery, no paint issues, no mysterious thunks.
No major mods, either, just some Konis and wheels from Tire Rack. Stock stereo, too. The bushings hadn’t been done–a common question on these cars–but a fresh set came in the trunk.
I had seen the car in the flesh before. It presented very well. Mystic Blue over black.
I forwarded all info to BimmerWorld’s James Clay, a trusted companion regarding all sorts of things BMW or not.
His reply: If you don’t buy this car, I will.
So I flew up to Tennessee and fetched the car. On the way back, I stopped and saw James in Virginia for an inspection. He took it for a drive and put it up on the lift. All seemed good. No weird noises, no signs of the dreaded rear subframe issues. Go drive it and enjoy it, he said.
While there, I picked up some things plus some upgraded Powerflex bushings. Then I headed back to Florida with a visit to my parents. No issues, no nothing on the voyage home.
But all these years, I never really warmed up…