Back in 2003 I was shopping for an E36 325i manual coupe and not having much luck finding a good one.
After a while I decided to up my budget and also look at 328i coupes.
Still no luck and then I spotted a 1995 M3 for sale nearby for $45,000 (Australian Dollars) and somehow convinced myself that the budget could be stretched.
I went and saw the car and the guy handed me the keys and sent me off on a test drive on my own. The car looked great, was well cared for and in very good condition. It was black with black leather interior, had a sunroof, and had done about 126,000 km. Being a '95 model it had the 3.0-litre engine, 5-speed manual, and had dual airbags.
Although there was nothing wrong with the car I called the seller up later and said that I was concerned about the higher than average mileage, and said I would have to pass at $45k, but at $35k it would be irresistible. He called me back a few minutes later after speaking to his "accountant" and said he would take $35k!
I had it inspected at a local BMW specialist and then picked it up and it was mine!
M3 ownership was a pretty pleasant experience for the most part. Like all BMW straight-sixes, it sounds great. It also went great and I didn't need an excuse to show off it's performance to any poor passenger.
Although I described it as a supercar to anyone interested (or not), at low engine speeds it was a bit flat, and I could see why people bolted on a supercharger to them.
Throughout my ownership I didn't really have any trouble with it. It had some minor issues like some hesitation at times, and the crash sensor would turn the hazard lights on over bigger bumps, but no significant problems.
I did a few improvements, like replacing some worn out plastic parts and for some reason I added one of those boot lip spoilers. I had the windows tinted. It also got a rather expensive service which I thought was important for a car of this value, rather than servicing myself as i would have usually done. They even dyno'd it at the service.
This was not my first BMW and I was kind of surprised to find that M parts prices were often significantly more than I was used to.
After around ten months, it occurred to me that I wasn't getting the enjoyment out of this car that I usually do with cars. I was worried about it's value so was very careful with it, and I think I also missed not having a car that needed things done to it. These reasons combined with the concern about the expense of maintaining and owning it (insurance was around $1,700 a year) made me put it up for sale.
It sold to the first person who looked at it, for close to $40,000. So I made a few dollars on it and immediately (same day) bought another E30 318is that happened to be for sale close by. Getting straight into a 4-cylinder E30 after an M3 was interesting: it obviously felt like an older car, but the E30 had a responsiveness that was kind of lacking in the M3.