1995 BMW E36 M3

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1995 BMW E36 M3
RCR BMW E36 Thumb.jpg
Car Details
Make BMW
Model E36 M3
Year 1995
Owner SlimKim (BimmerForums)
Episode Details
Episode Link Watch
Season YouTube Partner
Air Date January 12, 2014
Credits DSRTR4T

Why has a conservative German GT car become the darling of "Stance Culture?" The E36 was meant to refine the tail-happy E30.

Big thanks to designer Ted Stoltz from www.tedstoltz.com for helping out with photography and videography.

But new safety standards and uncooperative US import laws turned the North American M3 into a big lump. Here's what an E36 is used for today (2014): Roll up to a bar after the kitchen is closed, get out of your E36, pick up the car and stuff in in the front of your pants and visually lie to all the 19 year old girls with fake ID's. STANCE NAAAAAATIONNNNN! Bimmer Bro! Bro Bimmer! I scrape my splitter on Second Street. It makes a the ladies want my un-cut meat!


"Mr Regular:
Why has an austere German sports coupe, designed for new conservatism financial consultants, become the darling of stance culture?

I scrape my splitter on 2nd street
It makes all the ladies want my uncut meat

Mr. Regular:
Alright, for those who don't know, stancing is like low riding except not really. Low riders use air shocks to drop the car down to the pavement, but stancing is lowering the car just a little bit, and then fitting large wheels and thin tires to make the wheel completely fill the wheel well. The idea, as I see it, is to make the car look more like it did in the concept drawings. You know, the concept drawings, when the promise was high that a vehicle could overcome the monolithic and illustrious past of its brand and become something that was more than the sum of its parts. But, stancing places more importance on how the car looks when parked, rather than how it drives or handles. Stancing is for drivers trapped in an abusive relationship of their own lives. It's for people who spent their youths pointing out typographical errors in comic books in the hopes of winning a Marvel no-prize.

Here's something interesting, the E36 was one of the first cars BMW designed mainly with computer assistance. And its got an engine that says everything is broken all the time. Nothings working, you did it wrong, no no no. Which is fitting because stancing a car is a lot like rebooting your PC to an earlier restore point before it was clogged up with registry errors. It's a method of cosmic regeneration for people who feel like the universe is punishing them for liking THINGS.

Now the M3 features a higher level of performance over the standard 3 series model, ya know an engine and more. But the thing is, people are gonna get upset about this M3 because raurgh this is a north american M3 it's not a REAL M3 THE ENGINES WRONG THE ENGINES WRONG THE ENGINES WRONG! The E36 M3 debuted in February of 1992 and it was puffing out its chest in dealer show rooms by that November. The BMW spokespersons were trumpeting the state of the art specifications of the E36 like a megachurch preacher rambling to a congregation of J bros and high school football coaches with turtling erections. It was a car representative of the new self-congratulatory era in which kids receive participation trophies for just showing up, and a kid could lead with his head and still count on being treated to Gumby's pizza after the game.

The E36 was the first M3 powered by a straight six engine, 182 cubic inch if you want, a S50 which produces 282 horsepower. The chassis lead to this being named one of Car and Driver's best handling cars of the 90's which is kind of like being declared the mayor of Whoville. You can be heralded as the leader, but no one will really believe you are, or are they necessarily going to treat you like one. You're just a fashionable, fun little distraction, like funnel cake seasons or Mondays at TGI Fridays with your american lit professor. You know, that 60-something rabble rouser who's favorite cocktail is a tequila mockingbird. And don't get me wrong, driving this is a smooth and searing and sensuous as frotting with an N64 controller, but it's a completely femoral experience. It vanishes like breath on a window. And you can try as hard as you want to write your name in that fading breath by stancing your car, but you're not ACTUALLY imprinting any real sense of person-hood on that vehicle.

The E36 was available either with a 5-speed manual or an automatic, although I'm not really sure what would be gained in going with the automatic when so much of the E36 appeal is the one-on-one experience between car and driver. You might as well just pay somebody else to bang your wife and eat all the chocolate out of the Neapolitan ice cream while you're at it. Floating rotors came standard on the Canadian and European variants, but were strangely absent from their American counterparts. 

In addition, the differential and rear axles on the north american imports were lighter duty builds than their bulkier European cousins, so make of that what you will. And all late model M3s received sub frame reinforcements, but stancing undoes all of that. It's simply a license. Stancing is simply a license to whine about your car not taking corners like it used to, and you better have a lot of disposable income because stancing is HORRIBLE on tires, and you're gonna have to buy new tires way more frequently than you're used to, or even comfortable doing, because PennDOT-induced rim damage is likely to plug up your GLORY HOLE BEFORE YOU EVEN GET THE SHAFT THROUGH THE OPENING.

So if your car gets driven with any kind of regularity, stancing is as bad an idea as trusting your barista like you trust your bartender. I mean the guy who owns this car lamented to me that if I put two people in the back, my rear wheels are gonna be rubbin' inside the wheel well. I have to roll my fenders out to be able to do this correctly, and the steering rack is all weird 'cuz it's broken in some way, I mean a-uh-an E36 isn't supposed to require THIS much steering input just to turn it this far, somethings wrong here. 

And speaking of things going wrong, one thing about E36s is that the fog lights are gonna fall out. No, they just fall out. So the guy who has this said screw it, and he just put some old like dryer hose in here goin' up inside, hes like ""OKAY THEY'RE... INTAKES NOW."" In learning so much about this M3 taught me that there's a real hierarchy to German cars, I mean that's one of the weird things you get when you grow up in Pennsylvanian, you're just stuck with domestics all the time and you don't know there's a whole other world out there, and you kind of pedestalize European cars, until you realize that most of 'em suck.

Mr. Regular (in car):
The car I learned to drive stick on was a 1975 MG- ooh. I stalled it! 

M3 Owner:
You gotta go all the way off and all the way back on.

Mr. Regular (in car):
All the way off and then all the way back o- oh that's gonna be hella-

M3 Owner:
It takes a long start.

Mr. Regular (in car):
Did you feel the clutch in this? You gotta feel the clutch in this thing.

M3 Owner:
Yeah it's really heavy.

Mr. Regular (in car):
Oh, wow! That's heavy!