While the Internet has made it easier to find cars for sale online, more often than not you can find a cool car for sale on the side of the road.  We passed this 1998 BMW E36 328i Sedan several times on Route 202 north just outside of Flemington, New Jersey before we decided to take a look.  While the M3 E36 attained special interest status almost immediately after launch, the everyday 328i variant is only now making the shift from used enthusiast car to potential collectible car.  As far as we’re concerned, the E36 was back when BMW was still on their game and their cars, if maintained properly, we’re very reliable machines. It’s no coincidence the E36 3 Series was on Car & Driver’s Ten Best list all ten years BMW produced the car;  it was the benchmark for all sports sedans.

We were impressed on how straight and good the paint is on this E36.  The only defect we noticed is on the boot lid where the clear coat is starting to peel.  We noticed that all four wheels received an amateur repaint that we would call a good “ten foot” job.

Unfortunately, a combination of bright sunlight, a full windshield heat blocker, and no fewer than three “For Sale” signs placed in the car’s windows prevented us from getting an acceptable picture of the car’s interior.  What we can say is that the driver’s seat is heavily worn and cracked.  While 169,000 miles may seem like a lot, that only averages out to 8,000 annually since it was new.  Like many upscale cars in the Central New Jersey area, its not uncommon to rack up a lot of highway miles as their owners commute to either New York City or Philadelphia.  They key in this example is to confirm how detailed the owner(s) have kept the maintenance updated and whether there are receipts to back that up. 

If this car checks out to be a well-maintained example and the seller turns out to be flexible on price, you may be able to get a sweet handling sports sedan that provides feedback the way a BMW should.  Good luck with the purchase!