This Bargain BMW M3 Might be Worth the Risk

If you treat this E36 M3-in disguise as the bastardized weekend car that it is and only drive it for the thrill, the bargain might be worth the risk.

It’s one thing to find an affordable BMW M3 with a certain amount of decay or lackluster maintenance history. It’s another situation entirely to consider buying a modified, engine-swapped project car like this 1991 318i, but there’s still some potential entertainment on tap.

With a regular unloved vintage BMW M3, it’ll probably have maintenance issues, but at least it’ll be stock and all the fixes can be done by a certified BMW dealer, with factory parts and with little or no problem. This ’91 318i, on the other hand, comes with the engine, transmission and drive shaft from an E36 M3, as well as aftermarket suspension, radiator, seats, steering wheel, wheels and tires. The previous owner also upgraded the air filter and intake for good measure. Oh, and let’s not forget its a salvage title.

To any sane person, that might sound like a migraine waiting to happen, but if you go into it with your eyes open and realize what kind of car you’re looking at, the current going bid of $3,200 isn’t that terrible of a proposition. It’s kind of like an M3 in 318i clothing… if you squint.

Considering the car is showing over 163,000 miles on the odometer, the radio and air conditioning are removed, and the speedometer only works “intermittently,” you’re not looking at a world-class daily driver. But, between the M3 engine, transmission and suspension, this could be one of the most entertaining beater cars you’ll come across. Yes, every time you go to fix something you’ll probably find another “custom” job or fitment, but if you treat this E36 M3-in disguise as a bastardized weekend car you only drive to for the thrill of it, the bargain might be worth the risk.

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