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Posts in Category: Project Coupes

LC60723 - Part 1: Introduction & Buying Process

LC60723 - Part 1: Introduction & Buying Process

2000 BMW M Coupe in Alpine White over Dark Beige

Welcome to the newest installment of the Car Enthusiast Guides Project Coupe series! We’ve taken a bit of a break recently to allow for the purchase of a new home, the arrival of a baby and plenty of other life events. Now that our lives are a bit more settled, we're back with our newest project coupe that we feel like you’ll enjoy following as much as we'll enjoy wrenching on. Many of you will recognize it since it's likely the longest listed coupe in the last decade having a very on again/off again relationship with the M Coupe Buyers Guide.

We're pleased to introduce our newly acquired 1999 BMW M Coupe! Finished in Alpine White exterior paint and Dark Beige Oregon interior, this example was the second M coupe ever to have been manufactured in Alpine White over Dark Beige Oregon, and it's 1 of 3 only M Coupes in this configuration for 1999.

Before we get into too many details about the coupe and how we came to own it, let’s gain some perspective by looking back at it's history. We know very little about the first 10 years of this coupe's existence, but here's what we've patched together so far. CARFAX records indicate that this coupe spent most of it's life in Georgia and Florida before making it to Oklahoma for the better part of the last decade. The earliest service records I could find are dated from late 2008 and include the purchase of some parts from a BMW dealer in Georgia. Before making it to Oklahoma, the previous owner had the car serviced in Lake Park, Florida where the rear subframe was reinforced and a dual-ear differential mount was installed. There were a couple other smaller transactions in 2009, but that’s the extent of the physical records included with the car.

The following year is when the coupe first makes it's public appearance on Bimmerforums. In a post dated February 9, 2010, user 1fastcosmo makes it available for sale for the first time:

2000 BMW M Coupe in Alpine White over Dark Beige

The way the OP describes the car, I can understand why he might want to sell it given the project-like state. That said, the post garnered considerable interest from forum members given the numerous expensive modifications and an affordable asking price.

Notable modifications to the coupe included Ground Control coilovers with GC camber plates and Koni shocks. Eibach sway bars with reinforced end links are nice upgrades to stock units as well, alongside Ireland Engineering polyurethane subframe bushings to further tighten everything up underneath. Something I might not have noticed if it wasn't otherwise pointed out to me were the ITG intake and Shark Injector software flash. The UUC lightweight flywheel and M5 clutch kit are worth noting as well, although there are mixed feelings on the chatter from this flywheel/clutch combination. To finish everything off, there are massive exhaust outlets coming out of the back of the car stamped with MAGNUM by SuperSprint accompanied by a galloping horse. These are hard to come by, unless you’re a certain twin screw enthusiast in the Pacific Northwest or Floridan parts hoarder. :)

The listing concludes with an asking price of $11,400 and an array of photos showing various aspects of the car's condition.

2000 BMW M Coupe in Alpine White over Dark BeigeHere's a snapshot of what transpired over the next 8 years after that initial BFc posting:

To the casual observer, it would appear that the seller is simply undecided about actually selling the car. Craigslist ads would appear in Dallas, Oklahoma City, Miami and Tulsa of varying degrees of similarity. All for this car. All around the same price. But without any rhyme or reason to how or when you might get a response back from the seller.

I know from experience. I reached out to the seller when it was posted in Dallas sometime in 2016 or 2017 (and I was living there at the time). It would be days before I'd get a short response back, without any attempt to discuss selling the car. With every email I sent through the anonymous Craigslist email system, I'd leave my phone number and ask him to call me so we could discuss further. Never happened.

So I reached out again, making sure to re-introduce myself as the guy who had emailed him previously and adding some details about how I've owned several coupes in the past and would be interested in making this coupe the next MCBG Project Coupe. I attached a couple photos of my previously owned coupes said I’d love to discuss it further.


He responded with a bit more zeal and we began a casual conversation about our cars. He was working on selling his E30 M3 and also had spent a lot of time with Dodge Vipers. I shared pictures of my LSB coupe as well as my growing parts collection. We commiserated about prices of NLA parts and how we needed more space to stockpile them. When I began pressing him for an opportunity to meet to finalize a deal on this coupe, we settled on a weekend in early 2017 when I would drive up to Tulsa from north Dallas to check it out. He provided the address to his warehouse and we met on a cool evening in March.

2000 BMW M Coupe in Alpine White over Dark Beige

I wasn't thinking at the time "take a bunch of photos to use in an article", so the photo above is the only shot I have of the whole car from that trip. I was under the impression I was there to buy the car, so we spent some time looking it over, making sure there weren't any obvious issues that would cause me to walk away. Unfortunately the battery was out of the car, so I couldn't start it. He assured me it ran recently, but needed a new fuel pump. "Ran when parked" for sure.

2000 BMW M Coupe in Alpine White over Dark Beige

I inspected everything that I could. Subframe reinforcement checked out nicely. Interior was rough looking, but it was pretty dimly lit in his warehouse, so I couldn't tell how much was dirt and how much was my eyesight. There were some missing rear hatch trim pieces. There were two Roadstars mounted and two Forgelines, but luckily their mates were included in the sale.

After some more car conversation, we got down to business and discussed a final sales price. That's when he hit me with some gut wrenching news. "I don't have the title." Ugh. I'd driven over 4 hours to come see the car in hopes of finalizing a deal and I didn't think to ask if he had a title ready to sign over. I thought about taking a bill of sale, but it seemed too risky so I opted to pass until he could find the title or get a duplicate from the DMV. We looked around the warehouse to see if he had the title laying around there at all. He found an old E30 M3 title that got me excited for a second, but after about an hour, we gave up and he agreed to find it or get a replacement to settle up the deal later.

13 months later…

I received a text from a long forgotten number. "Hey, are you still buying coupes?" It was the seller, and our previous text conversation came back up to remind me of who I was talking to.

I'd actually just sold my LSB M Coupe a month earlier and bought a house, so the timing wasn't bad. I told him I was still interested in his coupe and asked if he was serious about selling it this time. He said he needed to sell the warehouse and didn't have room to store the coupe at his house, so he needed it gone. He added that he'd applied for a duplicate title and even texted me a picture of the receipt for it. Sure enough, a couple weeks later he sent me a photo of the title and we set up a date to meet to finalize the deal.

2000 BMW M Coupe in Alpine White over Dark Beige

By this time I lived in Houston, so I employed the help of my friend Daniel to join me on the long road trip. We met him at the same warehouse with the car in just about the same position as the last time I saw it. I didn't even bother really looking it over, I just wanted to get the deal done and get on the road, so I gave him the money and he gave me the title.

At long last, after over 8 years of being "for sale", we finally owned it! Stay tuned for more updates as we dig deeper into this coupe.

LK60129 - Part 2: Return to Form

2001 BMW M Coupe in Imola Red over Imola RedAs mentioned in Part 1, this project was less about repairs and more about returning a low mileage S54 to its former glory. Previous owners had made some modifications unbecoming of a 34k mile S54. The transformation over the past few months has been substantial. I find myself in the garage to stare more and more often.


LK60129 - Part 1: Introduction

Let me introduce you to the very first non-monochromatic Project Coupe. Looking back, I realized all of our coupes have either been black, white or more often than not, silver. Even the Z3 Project Coupe is sterling gray. Apparently we've been stuck in a rut. It's also just our second S54 project, and it just so happens to be the lowest mileage one we've had arriving with exactly 34,001 miles.


LC60885 - Introduction and Farewell

Step 1 of a proper introduction is exchanging names. This coupe's name is Bugs. It was given that moniker by its previous owner who purchased it at the ripe old age of 2 with only 18k miles way back in 2001. She lovingly cared for it from then on with only herself and BMW service ever having sat behind the wheel. 


LK61067 - Part 2: Devil's in the Details

What is there to say about this 2002 Titanium Silver over Imola Red example? Well, first of all it’s flat out gorgeous. Titanium Silver has a wonderful way of highlighting the car’s body lines and curves. There's a reason it was the most commonly selected exterior color during production. When Jon pulled up into my driveway (after driving over 1,000 miles) I was struck by how absolutely clean it was. Granted there were bugs on the bumper and windshield, but oh my goodness was this a clean example of a stock S54 M Coupe. The odometer reads slightly over 103k, but I would have guessed 50-60k upon first glance.


LK61067 - Part 1: Introduction

The story of this project coupe starts way back in the spring of 2011. I remember it coming on the market and loving the color combo (and 1 of just 16 S54s). I was then blown away by its condition with 88k miles. After reading the description I realized why it was so nice. The seller wouldn't even wear jeans in it for fear that the metal rivets would scratch the leather. He also replaced all the bushings, regularly washed the undercarriage, and was way ahead of the scheduled maintenance. My type of seller.


LC61069 - Part 5: Borrowing from the Best

In doing these projects coupes, we have found that many coupe-specific parts are getting either hard to find or very expensive. It takes some luck and/or creativity to gather all the parts you may need. The cool part about buying "used" parts is that they come with some history. I was in the garage looking at the project coupe the other day and realized it now has parts from a lot of very special coupes. Not only will the buyer of this coupe getting a well-sorted, beautiful, and fun to drive car; but they will also be getting a piece of coupe history.


LC61069 - Part 4: Details

While the Randy Forbes kit was obviously the largest project, it was just one of many to make this coupe the best it can be. As always, if you need to do any of the projects mentioned, feel free to ask and I can tell you how I did it or what articles or videos I followed.


LC61069 - Part 2: A Learning Experience

As Mark alluded to in Part 1, we always recommend pre-purchase inspections when buying a car sight unseen. It's too bad we did not heed our own advice. We were so excited about the deal that we did not even ask for additional photos. We were in for some surprises.


LC61586 - 2000 Titanium Silver over Black

While not technically an official "Project Coupe", this coupe has been treated as such, and I thought it deserved an article of it's own. Unlike our last couple project coupes, this one did not take much to get it fully sorted. The story started when a woman in Denver emailed me saying it was finally time to let her coupe go.  She had purchased it new with her husband from Weatherford BMW in Berkeley, CA in January 2000. It had always been garaged and given regular maintenance at dealerships or well known independent shops. She had every piece of documentation including dealer brochures and online articles she had printed out prior to purchase. It also only had 45,000 miles.


LC61069 - Part 1: Introduction

Aloha fellow dorks.  It’s been a while since our last article, and we’ve been busy since then.  We had a blast saving a coupe from the far reaches of Alaska, so we thought we’d cross an ocean for our next one.  Say hello to the next M Coupe Buyer’s Guide Project Coupe coming all the way from Hawaii.  It’s a 1999 Arctic Silver over Estoril Blue example with 85k on the odometer. You’ll see the only noticeable modifications are 19” E46 Style 67 M3 wheels and a significantly lowered suspension.  Aside from that, it’s a mostly stock example and will be our pride and joy for the next few months. Woohoo!


LC61254 - Part 3: And Done...

This project coupe is just about complete, and it came out better than even my high expectations. I'm probably most excited about the interior. If you remember, there was once a torn seat bolster, worn out seat bottom, disintegrating floor mats, sagging glove box, cheap chrome touch points, and a broken stereo. No more!


LC61254 - Part 2: Fixes and Updates

As noted in Part 1, this project coupe has been our biggest project yet. It has also been one of the most fun because of it. It's not quite done yet, but it's been awesome seeing it be completely transformed. When I first picked the coupe up from Alex's, I stopped at the local Cars & Coffee on the way home. To be honest, I was a little bit embarrassed to show up in it with the dented hood, peeling wheels, torn seat bolster, sagging glove box, a radio hanging out of the dash, and riding on snow tires in July. I was also afraid I'd stall it in front of hundreds of car guys because the clutch feel was so terrible. Now it's posing for photos worthy of posterizing and is as fun to drive as any coupe I've ever driven. How'd it get from there to here?


LC61254 - Part 1: Introduction

The story of this project coupe started way back on April 3rd. Every once in a while, I search Craigslist for random coupe-related terms that someone may post a listing under. This one was posted as a "ZM3 Coupe". Not only that, it was on the Fairbanks Craigslist. Yep, Fairbanks, Alaska. Oddly enough it had been posted for almost a month when I saw it. Apparently Fairbanks is not a hotbed of Cartel activity. The first question was, "how did it get there?"




LK60219 - Part 2

As most probably remember, I talked my dad into buying an S54 M Coupe last summer (I'm sure he knew it would happen eventually). It turned out to be in much better shape than we even hoped with the biggest surprise being the TC Kline D/A coilovers and camber plates with a later discovery of IE subframe bushings. Yep, we sort of won the unknowing Toyota dealership lottery. At 73,000 miles, it was not perfect however, and I've been working over the last 9 months to make all the needed corrections to make it feel as much like my coupe as possible.


LC60348 - Part 4: Detailing & Dyno

So far we've transformed the exterior of the coupe to a 100% stock appearance and the interior with a clean and functional hatch. It's dramatically safer with brand new rotors and pads and the engine is healthy with new fluids and fully functioning oil lines. The final step in the process is to clean up the final exterior details, test how powerful the supercharger really is, and find this coupe a new loving home.


LC60348 - Part 3: Mechanicals

With all of the DIY fixes completed, it was time to bring the coupe in to our friends at PTech to get their professional opinion. We took a bit of a risk buying this coupe without a proper PPI, so I was anxious to finally get it professionally inspected.


LC60348 - Part 2: DIY

It's time to update you on the status of our project coupe! Once I got the coupe to San Ramon after a long spirited drive, I called Performance Technic to schedule an appointment for an overall inspection. They were booked for another couple weeks, so I figured I'd tackle what I could on my own before bringing it into the shop for the bigger projects.

After some discussion with Jon and Rick, we concluded that a major objective with this coupe would be to return the exterior to 100% stock appearance to maximize the appeal for the future owner. I look at a stock appearance as sort of a "blank canvas" that the new owner can modify how he/she sees fit without being distracted by the previous owner's modifications


LC60348 - Part 1: Introduction

It’s my pleasure to introduce the third M Coupe Buyer’s Guide Project Coupe!  

We came across this 1999 Arctic Silver over Dark Gray coupe for sale in Fullerton, CA not long after our last project coupe was sold. There weren’t many pictures in the craigslist ad (7), but from what we could tell it was in good condition. We ran a Carfax on the coupe, showing it started it’s life in Pennsylvania and was sold in 2010 to it’s 2nd owner in SoCal and quickly made it over to it’s 3rd owner in 2012 (the seller). It also only had 53k miles.


LK60219 - Like Son, Like Father

I can honestly say my dad has had more influence on my life than any other single person. A high school scholarship essay I wrote attesting to this even made it’s way into the appendix of a parenting book, so it feels good to have a little positive influence in return. I’m pleased to introduce the newest member of the Coupe Cartel, my father, Randy Martin.





Car Enthusiast Guides
Jon Martin
Fort Collins, CO