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:
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.
Here'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.
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.
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.
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.