David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/1/19 12:16 p.m.

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Story by David S. Wallens • Photos as Credited

Ever since its release, enthusiasts have lamented that the E36-chassis BMW M3 didn’t get the high-zoot, Euro-spec engine. No individual throttle bodies, no 300-horsepower engines, no 7400 rpm redlines.

According to Erik Wensberg, who served at the time as BMW M Brand Manager, the reality of that U.S.-spec M3 was that despite the lamentations, it enjoyed tremendous sales numbers. And that showroom success helped justify an aggressive, factory-backed motorsports program featuring the M3.

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randyracer New Reader
2/4/19 10:59 a.m.

My salad days!  Great story, David and GRM, Brings back so many memories.  And thank you TC for putting me in so many fabulous BMW’s in the 90’s, including the amazing M5 in IMSA Bridgestone Supercar series.  Be sure to catch my few paragraphs later in story, GRM readers!  I was SO there.  With TC Kline Racing, we also had a strong run at the Rolex 24 in about 1998 in an ex-PTG E36 M3, finishing fifth, ahead of all the factory cars, as I recall.  Bob Mazzucoula (spelling? sry)and Aspen Knolls sponsored, w Shane Lewis, too.

adam525i Reader
2/4/19 11:34 a.m.

Don't forget, BMW Canada brought us the real E36 M3 (you can read that either way) back in 1994 instead of the lower spec North America version. I wonder if the car would have sold as well if it had been an M330i with the real M3 also available throughout the US/Canada considering they did something similar with the E34 during the same time frame (M540i and M5) and later E46 (330i ZHP and M3).


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