A good crowd of almost 60 members and friends took advantage of the lengthening daylight hours and more amenable Spring weather to enjoy a meal and catch up with the latest car club news at our meeting this month. The meeting business was handled deftly between courses by Ray and others with positions of responsibility on Committee, leaving plenty of time for Clint Wilson to tell us a bit about his recently purchased ’02 BMW E46 M3 which was on display in the dining room.
Clint and Viv already have a couple of Bimmers including the silver Z3 that regularly attends our Breakfast Club gatherings, but ever since Clint was given a drive in our President’s earlier model M3, the yearning for his own M3 has intensified. Like most European performance and prestige cars, the market price plummets dramatically once it’s left the showroom, with depreciation making a $150,000 car quite affordable, 10 or 15 years down the track – the secret is to buy in at the bottom of the curve before the price starts to rise again as the car attains classic status and becomes more sought after.
Clint had been watching prices for about 5 years and thought he’d found his bargain M3, three or four months ago with an advertisement on CarSales.com, but before he could inspect the car, it was sold sight-unseen to another buyer keen to pick up a bargain.
After looking at several other M3s Clint eventually settled on this Phoenix Yellow car which was located in Sydney. The colour is an iconic colour that was only available on the M3 and changes from a greeny-gold to a yellow depending on the light conditions. It was a two-owner car in beautiful condition, but it didn’t present that well, being lowered with adjustable coil-over suspension, fitted with an after-market exhaust and 20” wheels. The car’s first owner was a vehicle detailer and the second, an IT consultant with his own collection of exotica. The M3 was therefore always well looked after and didn’t run up high mileage.
The owner agreed to swap the wheels for a set of replica CSL 19” versions with Clint’s choice of tyres and so a deal was struck. It wasn’t long into the drive home from Sydney, however, that Clint and Viv realised that the standard exhaust had to be refitted. Earplugs were required to block out the terrible droning sound that was especially evident in the 2000 – 2500 rpm cruising zone. So once back on home turf, the correct exhaust was fitted, the brake rotors refitted so that they rotated in the correct direction and the suspension raised and softened to make it more practical and compliant.
Clint would have preferred a manual version of this car which runs a 3.2 litre, straight-six developing 340 bhp, but he is beginning to appreciate the sequential clutchless gearbox fitted to his M3. It’s certainly no slouch, with 0 – 100 km/h coming up in slightly over 5 seconds. The car was immaculately presented at our Club Meeting, making it difficult to believe that it was in fact 15 years old. Clint is looking forward to enjoying the M3 on the road, so don’t be surprised if you are overtaken by blur of Phoenix Gold.