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Archive for May, 2010

Market Update – May 28, 2010

May 28th, 2010 Comments off

This week’s overview of what’s happened in the M Coupe market.

Most Popular Sales Listings

These are the cars that have been viewed most often this week:

2002 Steel Gray with Imola Red Interior in Arvada, CO

2002 Steel Gray over Imola Red
Arvada, CO - $49,500

1999 Cosmos Black over Imola Red in Baltimore, MD

1999 Cosmos Black over Imola Red
Baltimore, MD - $23,000

2000 Estoril Blue over Black in Santa Barbara, CA

2000 Estoril Blue over Black
Santa Barbara, CA - $18,999

2002 Steel Gray with Imola Red Interior in Los Angeles, CA

2002 Steel Gray over Imola Red
Los Angeles, CA - $59,995

Best Deals

These are what I think are the best deals still available that are not already on the most popular list:

1999 Imola Red over Imola Red in San Diego

1999 Imola Red over Imola Red
San Diego, CA - $11,500

2002 Titanium Silver over Imola Red in Saskatoon, SK

2002 Titanium Silver over Imola Red
Saskatoon, SK - $31,000

2000 Titanium Silver over Estoril Blue in Providence, RI

2000 Titanium Silver over Estoril
Providence, RI - $17,000

2000 Imola Red over Imola Red in Chandler, AZ

2000 Imola Red over Imola Red
Chandler, AZ - $18,500

Sold This Week

These are the cars that went to lucky new owners this week. All of them were on the lower end of the S52 market besides the Imola one which had a few nice upgrades.

Categories: Market Updates Tags:

New Recently Sold Feature

May 26th, 2010 Comments off

I just added a new feature to my sales listings database, a sold cars list. Just click on the “Recently Sold” link under “Sale Listings” at the top of the page. The listings are still sortable and searchable with new orderable fields added of Sales Date and Sale Price. I think these listings should be helpful for a couple things:

  • following the coupe market both in terms of the type of cars selling and their sales prices
  • if you see a car listed on one of the classified sites that I don’t have listed in my for sale listings, you can check it against the sold list (I typically update my site faster than most of the classified sites do)

This feature will only be as helpful as the new buyers of these cars are. If you are willing to share the price you recently paid for any of the cars, please let me know. This will be a great help to both buyers and sellers in the future. Hopefully this will give new sellers an idea of what they can price their car at and buyers an idea of what they should pay for their perfect coupe. I will say to buyers, be willing to pay a little over market price for your perfect coupe. You don’t want someone else to buy it before you. Also let me know of any other features I should add to make it more helpful to you.

Categories: Site Features Tags: ,

Victim of the Coupe Cartel?

May 24th, 2010 1 comment

M Coupe CartelMany people have noticed that the two M Coupes in the color combination I want happen to be by far the highest priced. Bad luck? Ironic twist? Or victim of a conspiracy? The so called “Coupe Cartel” was specifically created for coupes such as these. The cartel believes M Coupe prices should start at $60,000 and seems to have succeeded with these two. Here’s where it all started…

History

According to an inside source, the cartel originated on the Roadfly forums in November 2002 with a group of original S54 M Coupe owners. The concept was pitched by “Polar Bear” (Neal Zimmers who ironically owned a 1999 with the S52 engine), it was later named by “marauder” (Chaz the creator of 368s.com), it was seconded by “MDork” (who created Dorkfest), and the price point was suggested by “dp” (Dennis Palatov of palatov.com and dpcars.net). The pitch went something (exactly) like this:

I was thinking (dangerous habit) there’s few enough S54 M coupes that will a little work, the owners could collude on prices and try and bring the resale value up…….

there’s what, maybe 500-600 S54 coupe owners?

And so it began…  This small group had no idea the far reaching effects this one innocent thread would have, and the impact it would have on this poor M Coupe lover almost 8 years later.

The original thread can be viewed here.

The Coupe Cartel Today

M Coupe T-Shirt at Mara's Birth

The cartel pricing policies are pushed today by many coupe owners including all E36/8 coupes – Z3 and M. Many not even knowing the true history. One of the most ardent promoters of the cartel philosophy is “Z3Couper” (Jeremy) who owns www.coupecartel.com. You may have noticed his silver coupe he sold last fall for $17,750 still posted on AutoTrader at the cartel price of $60,000. He only recently formally joined the cartel with the purchase of a beautiful 2002 Laguna Seca Blue coupe, but that hasn’t kept him from quickly rising through the ranks. He uses his cartel site for vile deeds like designing beautiful M Coupe t-shirts and wall vinyls for the coupe community. One of which I wore recently when my daughter was born (thought she should be introduced to the coupe early). He’s currently offering a cool “Coupe Cartel” vinyl sticker. Check it out:

Coupe Cartel Sticker

Coupe Cartel Vinyl Sticker

Am I Truly a Victim?

Having seen the Colorado coupe in person, I would be hard-pressed to say it’s worth much less than asking. I will say it will take the right type of buyer. One who is willing to pay the same type of money for a coupe as he could also get a late model Porsche 996 Turbo, Lotus Esprit, Lotus Exige, C6 Corvette Z06 or even some Ferrari F355s. I would be that type of buyer…if I had the cash. I think the coupe will age better than some, is more practical than others, cheaper to maintain than most, and can be just as fun to drive.

Despite it’s very suspicious price of $59,995, I have seen no evidence of collusion in the price of he M Coupe listed in California. The seller also owns a Cosmos Black over Imola Red S52 coupe that he daily drives. The car listed is his fun car and I think he’s only listing it for the price he’d be willing to let it go for.

And that’s the real story of the Coupe Cartel. Obviously no collusion has ever happened, it’s just that very few people are willing to leave the cartel once they own a coupe. $60k may not be what their car is worth or what they could realistically be able to sell their car for, but it is what their car is worth to them. I can’t hold that against them. I’ve heard of coupe owners insuring their cars for as much as $100k just because that’s the consolation they would need should something happen to their prized coupes, and more than one has said his kids can try to pry his coupe out of his cold, dead hands. I, for one, know I will one day be a proud member of the Coupe Cartel.

So if you ever run into a high-priced coupe and hear it referred to as “cartel pricing”. You now know what they mean.

I’d like to thank “JoshS”, one of the very first coupe owners, for being my not so confidential source.

Categories: My Search Tags: ,

Market Update – May 21, 2010

May 21st, 2010 Comments off

This week’s overview of what’s happened in the M Coupe market.

Most Popular Sales Listings

These are the cars that have been viewed most often this week:

2002 Steel Gray with Imola Red Interior in Arvada, CO

2002 Steel Gray over Imola Red
Arvada, CO - $49,500
Not surprising as it's beautiful

2000 Titanium Silver over Estoril Blue in Providence, RI

2000 Titanium Silver over Estoril
Providence, RI - $17,000
A rare color combination at a great price

1999 Cosmos Black over Imola Red in Baltimore, MD

1999 Cosmos Black over Imola Red
Baltimore, MD - $24,000
Beautiful condition and S50 engine!

1999 Cosmos Black over Black in Atlanta, GA

1999 Cosmos Black over Black
Atlanta, GA - $8,000
Cheapest coupe in the country

Best Deals

These are what I think are the best deals still available that are not already on the most popular list:

Arctic Silver over Black in Portland, ME

1999 Arctic Silver over Black
Portland, ME - $15,800

1999 Estoril Blue over Dark Beige in Woodland Hills, CA

1999 Estoril Blue over Dark Beige
Woodland Hills, CA - $23,000

1999 Estoril Blue over Black in Santa Barbara

1999 Estoril Blue over Black
Santa Barbara - $18,999

1999 Arctic Silver over Imola Red in Kennett Square, PA

1999 Arctic Silver over Imola Red
Kennett Square, PA - $19,850

Sold This Week

These are the cars that went to lucky new owners this week. The cheapest S54 sold as well as a couple low mileage, fairly priced S52s. Almost all of them were relatively stock. Congratulations and enjoy your coupes!

Categories: Market Updates Tags:

My Successful M Coupe Search – 1:18 Scale

May 21st, 2010 2 comments
1:18 UT BMW M Coupe in Silver

1:18 UT BMW M Coupe in Silver

For quite a few years before a full scale M Coupe was a financial possibility, I searched high and low for a 1:18 scale model to complement my model collection. Being the picky buyer I am, the normal cosmos black store sold UT model didn’t cut it for me. I wanted the silver model. For a while, I wasn’t sure this model even existed. My only evidence was a single photo posted on Car Domain, but that was enough to keep me going. I eventually found out that it did exist but could only be purchased through dealers and there obviously were not very many of them.

Front 3/4

Front 3/4

I searched Ebay, emailed dealers and contacted model resellers for several years before one fateful night in 2006. On my nightly Ebay search for “1:18 m coupe”, there it was: a 1:18 scale silver, M Coupe.  And better yet, it had a buy it now. And even better still, it was only $45 with free shipping. I wondered why no one had purchased it yet because even the more common cosmos black coupes were selling for at least that. I check the posted date and saw it had been listed 2 minutes ago. I ran full-speed upstairs to confirm with my new wife that it was OK to pull the trigger on what was then the most expensive model I had ever purchased. After receiving the confirmation, I raced back downstairs and hit buy-it-now before even sitting down.  It was mine. I still thank her from time to time for letting me splurge a little before we had much extra money.

Rear 3/4

Rear 3/4

It came 3 days later packaged in a small, plain, black box with silver BMW letters across the top front. At first I was worried that it had been mistakenly listed as a 1:18 scale as the box looked tiny. But when I opened it my doubts were relieved as the box was fitted like a glove and my beautiful coupe awaited. As with all the 1:18 scale UT coupe models, you receive the European version complete with headlight washers, clear front corner lights, European license plates and revised hatch, and a beautiful S50 engine. And it’s a sunroof-delete! The hood and doors open, but the rear hatch does not.

There are several people on Bimmerforums that I have heard have one as well. Good luck trying to get them to sell though. For those interested in trying to track one down it is BMW part number 8043 0020 856. BMW offered scale models of the M Coupe in the following variations:

  • 1:18 UT Arctic Silver with Black interior – Part No. 8043 0020 856
    I’m guessing Arctic rather than Titanium model because it’s listed as a 1998
  • 1:18 UT Cosmos Black with Kyalami Orange interior – Part No. 8043 9422 193
    Also available as consumer version and some think the interior is actually Imola Red
  • 1:18 UT Estoril Blue with Black interior – Part No. 8043 9422 194
    Also available as consumer version
  • 1:18 Imola Red with Imola Red Interior
    This wasn’t sold through BMW but was a consumer version
  • 1:43 Schuco Estoril Blue – Part No. 8043 0020 856
  • 1:43 Schuco Blue? – Part No. 8042 9422 195
  • 1:43 Schuco Imola Red – Part No. 8042 9422 196
  • 1:73 Schuco Cosmos Black – Part No. 8042 9423 172
  • 1:87 Herpa Silver – Part No. 8041 9423 112
  • 1:87 Herpa Estoril Blue – Part No. 8041 9423 113

Since purchased, my silver M Coupe has been sitting just to the right of my computer monitor. Free for me to gaze at throughout the day and motivate me to keep working hard toward the purchase of a full-size one.

S50 Engine

The Black Box
The Black Box
My Desk

My Desk

My Son Breyton

My Son Ruining the Sense of Scale

Categories: Coupe Stuff Tags: ,

Honorable Mention – The Non-M Coupe

May 19th, 2010 Comments off

2001 Z3 Coupe 3.0 in Topaz Blue

While the M versions get most of the attention, not all Z3 Coupes got the motorsports treatment. BMW built a non-M Coupe from 1999-2002 available with the most powerful engine offered in the Z3 each year. In 1999-2000, the Z3 Coupe was sold with the 2.8L 193 hp, 206 lb-ft torque M52 engine and in 2001 was upgraded to the new 225 hp, 214 lb-ft torque 3.0L M54 bringing it within 15 hp of the S52 M Coupes.

While they weren’t graced with the motorsports engines or suspensions, they share much of the same unique styling. Many think they have narrower rare fenders, but this is just an illusion of the higher offset and narrower rear wheels that lack the deep lips of the M models. Other obvious exterior styling differences include:

  • Standard Z3 front bumper and side gills
  • Single exhaust with 2 tailpipes rather than the M’s 4 tailpipes
  • License plate in rear bumper rather than hatch
  • Unique wheel options
  • Higher offset rear wheels (46 or 41 mm rather than the M’s 8mm)
  • Additional and unique paint color availability including:
    • Alpine White (1999-2002)
    • Arctic Silver Metallic (1999)
    • Atlanta Blue Metallic (2001-2002)
    • Black Sapphire Metallic (2002)
    • Boston Green Metallic (1999)
    • Bright Red (1999-2002)
    • Cosmos Black Metallic (1999-2001)
    • Dakar Yellow (1999-2002)
    • Estoril Blue Metallic (2000)
    • Evergreen Metallic (2000)
    • Imola Red Metallic (2000)
    • Impala Brown Metallic (2000)
    • Jet Black (1999-2002)
    • Montreal Blue Metallic (1999)
    • Oxford Green Metallic (2000-2002)
    • Pistachio Green Metallic (2002)
    • Siena Red Metallic (2000, 2002)
    • Steel Gray Metallic (2000)
    • Sterling Gray Metallic (2002)
    • Titanium Silver Metallic (2000-2002)
    • Topaz Blue Metallic (2000-2002)

Other noticeable interior difference include:

  • Available wood or metallic trim
  • Unique black faced gauges
  • Revised center console without accessory gauges
  • Re-styled seats
  • Unique interior colors including:
    • Beige (1999-2002)
    • Black (1999-2002)
    • Dream Red (2002)
    • Impala Brown (2000)
    • Tanin Red (1999-2001)
    • Topaz Blue (2000-2002)
    • Walnut (1999,2001-2002)

The other large difference is the availability of automatic transmissions (4-speeds in 2.8L and 5-speeds in 3.0L). Automatics were never offered on the M models, so if you can’t drive stick, you do have an alternative.

You can tell the difference between 2.8L and 3.0L models by their taillights (3.0L models have clear turn signals), their wheels (although the standard wheels remained unchanged), and the wider chrome strip on the revised rear hatch of the 3.0L cars.

According to 368s.com there were 16,649 Z3 Coupes produced with most being the 2.8L model. I’ve heard, but cannot find the exact number, that there were fewer 3.0L coupes produced than S52-engined M Coupes.

Prices of Z3 coupes when new were around $5000-$7,000 less than comparable M models. Now you can typically find a similar year/mileage/condition Z3 Coupe for much less than it’s M counterpart. For example, the Topaz Blue 2001 Z3 Coupe 3.0 pictured is currently listed by Bimmerforums member Eric Jacobs for only $13,500 with many desirable modifications and only 59,000 miles (click here). (Sold to a Blog Reader!) With his modifications it should keep up with a stock S52 M Coupe but at a substantial discount.

While I desire an M Coupe, I have nothing but respect for the non-M’s. After all, it was a Z3 Coupe 3.0 nearly identical to the Titanium silver one pictured on the right that first inspired my fascination with these cars.

New Sale Listings Feature

May 17th, 2010 Comments off

In a previous post, I listed all the sites I check every day for M Coupes. This week I decided to take it one step further and compile a list of all M Coupes currently for sale in the U.S. from all of those sources. For each car, I also gave my own subjective ratings on Condition, Rarity, and Value as well as a couple comments about what I think of that particular car and anything extra I know of its history. Hopefully this will be a great resource for others searching to find the perfect coupe. Many of the cars are posted on multiple sites, and I will try to link to each listing individually. The price I post is the lowest I’ve seen on all the various listings. If the specific car has been discussed on one of the forums I frequent, I will also try to post those threads for additional information. I plan to update my listings directory daily.

In the future, this will also turn into a recently sold coupe directory as well. If I somehow find out the exact price a car sales for (typically only Ebay listings or cars sold through the forums), I will record it to try and assist people following the market.

Just click on the “Sale Listings” link at the top of the page to access the listings directory. They are default sorted by “Last Updated”, so the most recently listed or updated cars will show up first. Because the directory is new and all the cars were entered out of order, this will not be very effective at first, but as time goes by it should work well. You can choose your own sort order from the drop down list. The choices are: Last Updated, Date Listed, Price, Mileage, Condition Rating, Rarity Rating, Value Rating and Popularity. Click on “Search Listings” to filter the listings by Year, Price, Mileage, Sunroof-Delete, Exterior Color or Interior Color. I did the sort and search results as a url querystring, so once you setup the search and ordering you need you can bookmark it. The side effect is slower processing and no progress bars.

Features I’ve thought of adding in the future are displaying featured, recently added and best deal cars on my main blog page, adding the recently sold directory, and the ability to sign up for email alerts if a coupe is added meeting your specifications.

I’m open to any suggestions people might have or additional information that would be helpful in your search. I was initially thinking of recording the VIN numbers of each car and possibly link them to the M Coupe production database, but I wasn’t sure sellers would appreciate me reposting their VINs. I also decided not to post the seller’s contact information directly. You’ll have to click on the link to one of their listings to get that information.

Please let me know if any of the cars I have listed have sold, if you know of any cars for sale that I’ve missed, or if you have additional information on any of the cars you think would be helpful to potential buyers. If your car is listed and you’d like for me to add additional information or photos, I’d be happy to. All my ratings and comments are subjective, and I’m sure debatable. I kind of just went with my gut based on the photos and my impression of the seller. I’m definitely not an expert and open to suggestions and correction. There is a discussion of the feature on Bimmerforums; feel free to chime in on that thread, PM me, or email me directly with any comments or suggestions.

The only thing I ask is that if the site helped you find your coupe or if you happen to know it helped you sell your coupe, please email me at jon@mcoupebuyersguide.com just to let me know and encourage me to keep this updated. And if you don’t mind sharing the price paid to help other coupe shoppers, that would be nice too. I hope this will be helpful to other M Coupe shoppers and dreamers.

Categories: Site Features Tags:

Production By the Numbers

May 5th, 2010 11 comments

These are the production numbers for each M Coupe color combination produced for North America in order of commonality.

Total Production: 2858 (452 sunroof-delete)

1998: 26 (20 sunroof-delete)
1999: 1076 (138 sunroof-delete)
2000: 1078 (184 sunroof-delete)
2001: 338 (61 sunroof-delete)
2002: 340 (49 sunroof-delete)

Titanium Silver Metallic (544, 93 sunroof-delete)

Black Nappa (363, 54 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (106, 17 sunroof-delete)
Imola Red & Black Nappa (43, 14 sunroof-delete)
Estoril Blue & Black Nappa (25, 5 sunroof-delete)
Laguna Seca Blue & Black Nappa (6, 3 sunroof-delete)
Evergreen & Black Nappa (1, 0 sunroof-delete)

Cosmos Black (516, 75 sunroof-delete)

Black Nappa (277, 31 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (94, 14 sunroof-delete)
Dark Beige Oregon (79, 11 sunroof-delete)
Imola Red & Black Nappa( 36, 12 sunroof-delete)
Kyalami Orange & Black Nappa (29, 7 sunroof-delete)
Evergreen & Black Nappa (1, 0 sunroof-delete)

Estoril Blue (472, 83 sunroof-delete)

Estoril Blue & Black Nappa (313, 62 sunroof-delete)
Black Nappa (82, 16 sunroof-delete)
Dark Beige Oregon (62, 0 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (15, 5 sunroof-delete)

Imola Red (422, 58 sunroof-delete)

Imola Red & Black Nappa (201, 31 sunroof-delete)
Black Nappa (183, 19 sunroof-delete)
Dark Beige Oregon (22, 3 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (15, 5 sunroof-delete)
Estoril Blue & Black Nappa (1, 0 sunroof-delete)

Arctic Silver Metallic (276, 42 sunroof-delete)

Black Nappa (125, 19 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (105, 11 sunroof-delete)
Imola Red & Black Nappa (32, 10 sunroof-delete)
Estoril Blue & Black Nappa (13, 1 sunroof-delete)
Kyalami Orange & Black Nappa (1, 0 sunroof-delete)

Steel Gray Metallic (121, 18 sunroof-delete)

Black Nappa (47, 5 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (46, 8 sunroof-delete)
Imola Red & Black Nappa (23, 2 sunroof-delete)
Estoril Blue & Black Nappa (3, 2 sunroof-delete)
Kiwi & Black Nappa (2, 1 sunroof-delete)

Black Sapphire Metallic (120, 11 sunroof-delete)

Black Nappa (74, 8 sunroof-delete)
Dark Beige Oregon (17, 1 sunroof-delete)
Imola Red & Black Nappa (17, 1 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (10, 1 sunroof-delete)
Laguna Seca Blue & Black Nappa (2, 0 sunroof-delete)

Alpine White (103, 17 sunroof-delete)

Dark Beige Oregon (36, 3 sunroof-delete)
Black Nappa (36, 2 sunroof-delete)
Estoril Blue & Black Nappa (9, 4 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (9, 2 sunroof-delete)
Imola Red & Black Nappa (7, 3 sunroof-delete)
Evergreen & Black Nappa (3, 1 sunroof-delete)
Kyalami Orange & Black Nappa (2, 0 sunroof-delete)
Alpine White & Black Nappa (1, 1 sunroof-delete) – Last Produced

Boston Green Metallic (73, 6 sunroof-delete)

Dark Beige Oregon (61, 2 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (8, 1 sunroof-delete)
Black Nappa (3, 2 sunroof-delete)
Kyalami Orange & Black Nappa (1, 0 sunroof-delete)

Dakar Yellow II (51, 14 sunroof-delete)

Black Nappa (41, 10 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (8, 3 sunroof-delete)
Kyalami Orange & Black Nappa (2, 1 sunroof-delete)

Oxford Green II Metallic (46, 16 sunroof-delete)

Dark Beige Oregon (24, 11 sunroof-delete)
Black Nappa (16, 4 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (5, 1 sunroof-delete)
Kyalami Orange & Black Nappa (1, 0 sunroof-delete)

Laguna Seca Blue (41, 6 sunroof-delete)

Dark Gray & Black Nappa (21, 2 sunroof-delete)
Laguna Seca Blue & Black Nappa (16, 3 sunroof-delete)
Black Nappa (2, 0 sunroof-delete)
Estoril Blue & Black Nappa (1, 0 sunroof-delete)
Dark Beige Oregon (1, 1 sunroof-delete)

Evergreen (41, 5 sunroof-delete)

Evergreen & Black Nappa (27, 1 sunroof-delete)
Dark Beige Oregon (10, 2 sunroof-delete)
Black Nappa (2, 1 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (2, 1 sunroof-delete)

Phoenix Yellow Metallic (21, 3 sunroof-delete)

Black Nappa (17, 2 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (3, 1 sunroof-delete)
Laguna Seca Blue & Black Nappa (1, 0 sunroof-delete)

Bright Red (1, 0 sunroof-delete)

Imola Red & Black Nappa (1, 0 sunroof-delete)

Special Ordered (10, 4 sunroof-delete)

Black Nappa (5, 2 sunroof-delete)
– LC61412 – Jet Black 2
– LC61883 – Steel Gray (Jeff’s)
– LC62131 – Topaz Blue
– LK60168 – Carbon Black
LK61334 – Dakar Yellow
Dark Beige Oregon (2, 1 sunroof-delete)
LC61371 – Steel Gray
– LC61937 – Impala Brown (would love to see it)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (2, 1 sunroof-delete)
– LC61959 – Steel Gray (Rupert’s)
LC62180 – Steel Gray (It’s for sale!)
Imola Red & Black Nappa (1, 0 sunroof-delete)
– LC61372 – Steel Gray (my color combo :))

If you wonder why steel gray is considered a special color, it’s because it was not officially available on M’s in 2000. It was available on the non-M Z3s and it’s easy to see why people wanted to order it on their coupes. While Dakar Yellow was available on 1999-2000 M Coupes, it was not available in 2002 when LK61334 was ordered.

Interior Colors

Black Nappa (1273, 175 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (450, 73 sunroof-delete)
Estoril Blue & Black Nappa (365, 74 sunroof-delete)
Imola Red & Black Nappa (361, 74 sunroof-delete)
Dark Beige Oregon (314, 35 sunroof-delete)
Kyalami Orange & Black Nappa (36, 12 sunroof-delete)
Evergreen & Black Nappa (32, 2 sunroof-delete)
Laguna Seca Blue & Black Nappa (24, 6 sunroof-delete)
Kiwi & Black Nappa (2, 1 sunroof-delete) – only on pre-production S54 coupes

Observations

  • It’s interesting that almost all the early build cars were sunroof-delete.
  • Titanium Silver is the most common exterior color and Phoenix Yellow is the most rare.
  • There is a Bright Red M Coupe out there somewhere.
  • Most gutsy color combo selection has to go to Phoenix Yellow over Laguna Seca Blue.
  • As well known as the two-tone interiors are, solid black is far and away the most common interior color.
  • Laguna Seca Blue is the most rare interior color.

In compiling this I noticed a few rather adventurous color combos:

  • Imola Red/Estoril Blue
  • Boston Green/Kyalami Orange
  • Dakar Yellow/Kyalami Orange
  • Oxford Green/Kyalami Orange
  • Phoenix Yellow/Laguna Seca Blue

So there you have it.  I was initially going to separate these out by year, then by engine, then got too lazy.  I may come back and at least break them out by engine.

February 21, 2013 Update – The very first data anomaly has been found. VIN LK61060 is actually Titanium Silver over Laguna Seca Blue rather than Titanium Silver over Dark Gray. The data has been updated accordingly.

If you wonder where I get all my production numbers, they were collected by a Bimmerforums member wildag (www.dreamingwell.com).  The original CSV file can be downloaded here.  Another forum member has created a more user friendly database interface for the less technically inclined at: www.bmwmdata.com.  This set of data includes all North American M Coupes and Roadsters with their production dates and options.

Don’t Call Me a Z3 M Coupe

May 4th, 2010 2 comments

With the arrival of the Z4 M Coupe in 2006, many people and even some auto publications have relabeled the 1999-2002 M Coupe the Z3 M Coupe.  This is not technically correct.  While based on the Z3, the name from BMW was simply “M Coupe”.  Before the M Coupe and Roadster arrived, BMW M models of the time were named according to their series (i.e. M3 for the 3-series, M5, M6, etc.).  BMW probably could have named it the MZ or MZ3, but they chose to name it simply “M”.  To me this always meant BMW distilled all the M essence into one unique car, and you could choose to have it in coupe or roadster form.  Whether or not that’s what the BMW product planners intended, that’s what I like to think :-).

Lately, BMW has been adding the M to the end of the title of its off-series M cars.  For example, X5 M, X6 M, Z4 M.  I assume this is probably because MX5 was already taken by the Mazda Miata and they wanted to be consistent.  They didn’t do that with the 1998-2002 M cars.  While it’s convenient to add the “Z3” for reference, it takes a way some of the specialness of THE “M”.

Categories: Information and Reviews Tags:

My Unicorn

May 4th, 2010 Comments off

While I’ve looked at a lot of cars over the years and have always stayed faithful to my initial search to find a steel gray with imola red interior M Coupe, there is one car that may make me stray.  No, not one color combination, one car.  That’s why it’s called a “unicorn”.  It’s a fabled creature that you know is out there somewhere, but the chances of seeing it are slim to none.  My unicorn is the one and only 2002 alpine white over imola red coupe that just so happens to be a sunroof-delete.

After seeing an M Roadster in this color combination on Ebay a few years ago, I was intrigued.  There were seven coupes sold in this color combination.  Five of them are S52 cars, one was built in 2001, and the last is VIN 5UMCN93422LK61273.  If anyone knows any information about this car (or any of the others), I’d be curious.  I am far from having the money to buy a car that’s not for sale but to me it’s a cool part of coupe history, and I’m always hopeful when I seen an alpine white S54 come up for sale.

What’s your unicorn?

Categories: My Search Tags:

Where to Look

May 4th, 2010 11 comments

I’ve spent quite a few years compiling a list of sites that would hopefully cover nearly all currently listed M Coupes for sale.  Here it is in the order I see most potential:

Edit: You can now click on the “Sale Listings” link at the top of the page for a complete listing of all coupes from these sources updated daily.

My Favorite

These are the sites I visit most frequently as they tend to have the most turnover and overall listings.

  • AutoTrader
    Most of the people serious about selling their cars will post them on AutoTrader.  Asking prices are generally a little bit on the high side.  All the new listings are marked as such so it’s easy to find the changes.
  • Google Craigslist Search
    If you’re going to find a “steal”, it will probably be on Craigslist. It also has the least informative listings and more potential for scams. Because Craiglook got shut down, I wrote a query for Google to search all Craigslist for me.  The downside is that it sometimes links to expired or removed listings.
  • Ebay Motors
    Obviously the most turnover of cars and pretty good prices, but there are generally only 1-3 coupes listed at any given time.

Forum Classifieds

Classified sections of car forums are one of the best places to look for a coupe for a number of reasons.  Forum members tend to me more knowledgeable about their car and its maintenance requirements, they obviously have a passion for the car so it will probably be better taken care of than most, and other forum members will be familiar with the car to give second and third opinions about it.  They are also sorted by activity date so the most recent listings will be on top.

  • Bimmerforums Main Classifieds
    You have to wade through a lot of 3-series and roadsters, but most of the best cars are listed here.  I’ve tried a few different variations of searches to try and filter the listings but haven’t found anything that consistently gives me the results I want.
  • Bimmerforums Z Classifieds
    This section is meant primarily for parts, but some people post their cars here as well.  Often times they are moved to the main classifieds, but to get the right coupe you have to find them before anyone else does.
  • Bimmerfest
    Unfortunately Bimmerfest does not categorize their classifieds at all so you need to wade through all the BMW listings.
  • Roadfly
    Roadfly usually has a pretty nice selection but seems to be priced higher than other sites.  They also seem to charge for images so very few of the listings include photos.
  • BMW CCA
    M Coupe listings are usually sparse and prices generally much higher, but there have been exceptions over the years.  Often times listings are not listed elsewhere though.

Other Classified Sites

These sites’ listings are generally covered by one of the above sites, but not always.

  • Cars.com
    Not a whole lot or turnover of cars and most are listed elsewhere.  There are unique listings sometimes though and new ones are marked as “Newly Listed”.
  • Carmax.com
    They rarely have a coupe, but have had a couple in the past for great prices.
  • Vehix.com
    Basically worthless…but you never know.
  • AOL Autos
    Most the times the listings are duplicates of above sites, but not always.
  • Trovit Cars
    This site collects listings from a bunch of other sites.  It’s not always accurate though and there are quite a few duplicates. It does include Automobile Magazine classifieds which do not pop up often but for some reason always seem to have great prices.
  • Oodle
    Similar to Trovit but sometimes has different cars.  Sorry, but it looks like you have to search from Fort Collins, CO.  I couldn’t figure out how to generalize my location.
  • Ebay Classifieds / Kijiji.com
    No coupes yet, but I’m sure there will be with this local classifieds backed by Ebay

Canadian Sites

I’ve heard of quite a few coupes going back and forth across the border, so it must be doable. If you’re willing to expand your search further, or if you’re from Canada, here you go.

So there it is, all my secrets and a few years worth of accumulation.  If you have any sites to add to the list or need help customizing a search more specifically to you, please post in the comments.  If you happen to find a steel gray/imola M Coupe on one of the links above before I see it, be an upstanding citizen, don’t steal it, and let me know immediately. 🙂

Year Makes All the Difference

May 4th, 2010 2 comments

In the four short years of BMW M Coupe production, there were essentially 3 different versions produced (6 if you count right hand drive and differentiate the European S54).  The first and most common is the North American S52-engined car.  Produced in 1999 and 2000, these cars produce 240hp and 236 lb/ft of torque.  This is the same engine as found in North American versions of the 1996-1999 E36 M3.   Europeans – as they did with their version of the E36 M3 – were offered the 321hp, 258 lb/ft S50 engine.  For 2001 and 2002, both North America and Europe received the 315hp S54 engine from the 2001-2006 E46 M3.

Model Year 2000

While the drivetrain carried over to the model year 2000 cars, a number of other changes were made beginning in cars produced after April 1999.  These include:

Exterior Color Changes

  • Discontinued
    • Arctic Silver Metallic
    • Boston Green Metallic
  • Added
    • Titanium Silver Metallic
    • Oxford Green II Metallic

Other Changes

  • Chrome slats added to front kidney grilles
  • Chrome surrounds added to headlights
  • Fuel door added to central locking system
  • Airbags upgraded to two-stage
  • Smaller chrome trimmed mirror with auto-dimming function added
  • “Coupe” detail removed from door sill (“M” remained)

Model Year 2001

The 2001 model year (cars produced after February 2001) brought the new S54 engine as mentioned above as well as an additional round of upgrades. These include:

Exterior Color Changes

  • Discontinued:
    • Evergreen
    • Dakar Yellow II
    • Cosmos Black Metallic
  • Added
    • Laguna Seca Blue
    • Phoenix Yellow Metallic
    • Steel Gray Metallic
    • Black Sapphire Metallic

Interior Color Changes

  • Discontinued:
    • Evergreen and Black Nappa Leather
    • Kyalami Orange and Black Nappa Leather
  • Added:
    • Laguna Seca Blue and Black Nappa Leather
    • Kiwi and Black Nappa Leather (never officially offered in North America)

Other Changes

  • 3.15:1 differential replaces 3.23:1
  • Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) replaces Automatic Stability Control plus Traction (ASC+T)
  • Tire pressure monitoring system added
  • Gray faced gauges replace black
  • Exterior “M” badges now curved rather than flat
  • Chrome shadow finish for the RoadStar wheels replaces satin chrome finish

Model Year 2002

  • In-dash CD player becomes standard in place of now optional cassette player

Chrome on the headlight pull knob, interior door pulls, and door lock buttons seemed to come and go at random throughout the model run.  It is not indicative of model year. (Thanks Josh)

Video Reviews

May 1st, 2010 Comments off

Top Gear

Top Gear has always been one of my favorite shows.  So if you have ever wondered what Jeremy Clarkson thought about the S50-engined M Coupe, watch this video.  Hint: “handling…perfection”.


Here’s the full version that the clip above is taken from including the S50 M Coupe beating the STI and Evo VI in a drag race around 1:15:

Tiff Needell also drove it back when he was still on Top Gear:

Fifth Gear

Tiff Needell of the other British car show Fifth Gear also test drove an S50 M Coupe. Here are his thoughts:

Motor Week

While not as entertaining is its British counterparts (and slightly critical of the “compromised” styling), this Motor Week test of an S52-engined M Coupe is very informative.  I thought it was interesting that their test cars were a silver sunroof-delete and a pretty rare evergreen/evergreen.

Auto Motor und Sport

Dont’ worry, it’s in English. This test is of a European S54 model and highlights some of the difference between the new 2001 model vs the 1999s and 2000s.

What’s a Shooting-Brake?

May 1st, 2010 Comments off

The BMW M Coupe is commonly referred to as a shooting-brake style car.  Shooting-brake refers to a 2-door car with a squared-off backend.  The term seems to have originated in Great Britain referring to custom-built 2-door estate cars wealthy owners modified for additional space for hunting or sporting equipment.

There is much debate over what is and is not a shooting-brake throughout history.  Some of the most common shooting brakes are:

Some modern manufactures such as Audi and Bentley have released recent concept cars labeled shooting-brakes, but most would just call them hatchbacks or wagons.  These include:

Some of the more “unique” shooting-brakes built over the years are:

A great resource for additional shooting-brake information, photos and history is www.shooting-brake.com.

Categories: Shooting-Brakes Tags: