The BMW M3 that never existed in Germany
This BMW M3 was only available in the USA! We’re talking about the M3 Lightweight, which was never sold in Germany. Exactly 126 units were built between August and October 1995, making it the rarest version of the official M3 E36 series. All 126 vehicles were delivered by BMW Munich to a company called “Prptotype Technology Group (PTG) Racing” in the US state of Virginia and not, as one would have suspected, to the official BMW dealers. They bought the vehicles and received this letter from PTG at the official vehicle handover:
However, the lightweight has a catch!
In 1995 Europe had the M3 GT in the E36 series and the USA had the M3 Lightweight. While the M3 GT, built 356 times, was only available in British Racing Green – with one exception – (color code 312), all M3 LTWs were delivered in plain alpine white (color code 146). The US special model is visually recognizable primarily through the multi-part rear wing (also had the GT) and the checkered flag decoration in the typical M colors. But that’s not all! As the name suggests, BMW placed great emphasis on lightweight construction and weight reduction – the doors, like the M3 GT designed for the European market, are also made of aluminum and the 17-inch forged wheels (all around 235/40 R17 ), the E36 M3 GT sold in Europe had mixed tires 235/45 17 and 255/40 17 on 7 ½ and 8 ½ x 17 forged wheels and saved a few pounds.
It gets really extreme in the interior: in contrast to the European or better “rest of the world” manufactured M3 GT, air conditioning and sunroof were just as unavailable as a radio (preparation available) or an alarm system. In addition, BMW has even changed the carpet and saved additional insulation material. In the end, the LTW weighed 1338 kilos, while the M3 GT weighed over 100 kilos more at 1460 kilos. But the European special model has significantly more power!
US-M3 with its own engine and low power
What people know: The US version of the M3 E36 had a different engine than the M3 offered in Europe. Between 1992 and 1995 the in-line six-cylinder with 286 HP (in the M3 GT 296 HP) called the S50B30 was installed. From the end of 1995, the 3.2-liter S50B32 with 321 hp and 350 Nm (but not in the M3 GT) was used. In the USA, the M3 engine (S50B30US), the later S50B32US (facelift in the USA) is checked on the three-liter M50B25 from the 325i. The result: Instead of 286 hp, the US version had just 243 hp – but also significantly weaker. From the end of 1995, the American M3 was also issued with a specific engine (S50B32US). The emissions regulations in the United States have dispensed with the M features such as single throttle valve, high-pressure vanos and bucket tappets. So the performance – despite the other engine – must be a meager 243 hp.
Despite the lightweight construction, the top speed of the M3 Lightweight is just 234 km / h, and that’s only because the Vmax limit of 220 km / h has been lifted on the special model. Thanks to the shorter gear ratio (3.23 instead of 3.15), the sprint to 100 km / h should only take 5.3 seconds. This special model is not about the pure values, but rather about the driving experience and the LTW should convince there, because many BMW enthusiasts consider the white special model to be the best version of the M3 E36.
Changes from the BMW M3 Lightweight to the base model BMW M3 US:
– Alpine white uni paint with flag pattern in M colors on the left bow and right stern
– Aerodynamic package supplemented by adjustable front spoiler and multi-part rear wing with third brake light
– Strut brace on the front axle
– Cross brace on the front underbody
– aluminum doors
– Suspension springs in a harder version
– Forged wheels in 7.5Jx17 front / 8.5Jx17 rear with 235/40 R 17 all around
– Engine oil supply with new oil pump system
– Vmax deregulation (otherwise 220 km / h)
– no sunroof selectable
– no air conditioning selectable
– no radio (preparation available)
– No alarm system (preparation available)
– Rear axle drive with ratio 3.23: 1
– Carbon fiber strips on the dashboard, center console and door panel
– Motorsport International marking on the dashboard and side bumper strips
Nevertheless, it remains to be said that the specific parts of the Light wight in the USA, if they are offered at all, are sold to enthusiasts at astronomical prices. The rear spoiler with spacers and the so-called Gurney flaps are sometimes offered at prices of up to US $ 30,000, as the following offer on Ebay USA shows:
The well-known actor Paul Walker was one of these enthusiast
Paul Walker had five BMW M3 Lightweights
While BMW was struggling to sell the special model 24 years ago, the M3 Lightweight is now a sought-after collector’s item, which usually easily achieves six-figure prices. Most recently, one of the 126 M3s was even auctioned for the equivalent of 136,000 euros (150,000 US dollars). At the Barrett Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA, five rare M3 Lightweights were auctioned in January 2020, all of which had the same prominent previous owner: actor Paul Walker;
Paul Walker’s M3 auctioned for € 350,000
Six years after his death, 21 cars from the actor’s estate are being auctioned off. Including a movie car and seven BMW M3s.
It’s been six years since actor Paul Walker had a fatal accident. The actor, made famous by the film series “Fast and Furious”, died in an industrial park in Santa Clarita, California, as a passenger in an accident in a Porsche Carrera GT. Walker was a car enthusiast and passionate collector who raced himself and put together a sizeable collection of cars during his far too short life. This was auctioned in January: Barrett-Jackson Auctions brings 21 cars from the Paul Walker collection up for auction at the traditional event in Scottsdale.
Almost 100,000 euros for a 10 year old Nissan
The first thing that went under the hammer at auction was a movie car; The 2009 Nissan 370Z known from the fifth part of the Fast and Furios series. Right at the beginning of the auction, the highest bidder paid almost € 100,000 for the more than ten-year-old coupe from a prominent previous owner. The car had just 2,623 miles, that’s the equivalent of 4,221 km on the clock. In terms of performance, the Nissan was only standard with the 3.7 liter V6 engine with 337 hp and 5-speed manual transmission.
Paul Walker’s vehicle collection was quite BMW-heavy: seven M3s and one motorcycle are going under the hammer in the US state of Arizona. The M3 are divided into two E30s and five E36s. The latter without exception in the lightweight version (LTW) available only in the USA and in white paintwork with dark blue, light blue and red M checkered flag decoration, of which only 125 copies were built. Almost all of the M3 LTWs have the aggressive front and large rear spoilers and, with a curb weight of around 1,340 kilograms, weigh over 100 kilograms less than the standard M3. However, they also have less power: US customers had to be content with 243 hp, while the E36 M3 GT in Europe made 296 hp. The reason was the strict emissions regulations in the USA, which is why BMW developed a US version of the S50B30 in-line six and linked it to the manual five-speed gearbox.
One bidder paid US $ 385,000 for one of the five lightweight M3s. That was the equivalent of 346,500 euros at the time (454,000 euros at today’s rate). The other four Lightweigt M3s brought in between $ 220,000 and 258,500 (198,000 to 232,650 euros at the rate at the time). The cheapest of these, however, does not have the large front and rear wings, comes without the three-color M accents and has run 34,440 miles (approx. 55,000 kilometers). The most expensive has a mileage of 4600 miles, which corresponds to 7360 kilometers. The two M3 E30s went for $ 220,000 and $ 165,000. The two white two-door models have 7644 and 32,269 miles on the clock. That is 12,230 and 51,630 kilometers. In the USA only 5115 E30-M3s were sold, which however had some technical differences to the “rest of the world” E30 M3; one of the most striking differences was the manual transmission. While he “rest of the world” received the so-called dog-leg gearbox, with 1st gear in the rear and the shift pattern correspondingly different), BMW did not trust the Americans to use this gearbox, which is why BMW chose this gearbox in the US Vehicles would rather do without.
Paul Walker lived his passion for racing mainly in Porsche models. In 2013, however, the actor apparently wanted a new track tool and bought a Ford Mustang Boss 302S racing car. Unfortunately, Walker died before he could use the coupe for the first time. The five-liter V8 engine was optimized by Ford Racing, among other things with the in-house PCS software and a host of other official tuning components. Power is transmitted via a 6-speed manual transmission with an Exedy clutch and Torsen T2R differential.