Remember a time when you could buy an E36 BMW M3 for around £5,000? Richard Hammond does, as he picked up a 1996 M3 Evo as part of the £5,000 sports saloon challenge on Top Gear in summer 2010.
Admittedly, Hammond’s £5,000 BMW M3 – which squared up against Clarkson’s Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth and May’s Mercedes-Benz 190E Cosworth – turned out to be a bit of a dog. During a road-worthiness test by ADAC, it was revealed that it had been in involved in quite a serious collision and repaired. Badly.
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This led to James May describing it as a “crash-damaged death trap” ahead of The Stig’s German cousin driving it around a soggy test track – a task it completed, in one piece, in less than three minutes – faster than either of its rivals.
Unlike a lot of Top Gear challenge cars, the M3 wasn’t completely destroyed during filming, and it soon made its way into private ownership. It then popped up for auction in 2015, achieving a hammer price of just £5,830 – somewhat short of its £7,500 – £10,500 estimate.
Since then, it would seem to have had a bit of TLC, as it scores 85 out of 135 for the auctioneer’s condition report, and passed an MOT in August with no advisories.
The M3’s patchy history mean it could struggle to find more bids than last time when it goes under the hammer this weekend, especially as Top Gear is officially old news and Richard Hammond is no longer a household name. Er, right…
It’s up for sale without a reserve at the Classic Car Auctions December 2017 sale held at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre near Leamington Spa.