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?" We opened up a dialog with the seller and found out he was stationed at Ft. Wainwright. He had purchased the coupe a few years earlier from his commanding officer. The commanding officer had previously been stationed along with the coupe at a base in Germany. This intrigued us further as very few North American coupes have gotten to spend any time in the "homeland". It even came with some illegible German service records. Very cool!
What really drew my attention was that it was Alpine White 3. With only 103 alpine white coupes built for North America, you don't come across them for sale very often. And if you've ever seen one in person, you know why they are so sought after. They look fantastic! This one did not yet look fantastic, but it was easy to see the potential. The first things we noticed were the large dent in the hood over the passenger headlight and what appeared to be beat BBS LM replica wheels. On the inside it was dark beige (1 of 36) with about the saggiest glovebox I've seen, an aftermarket headunit sticking out from the center console, and lets just say significant driver seat bolster wear. It would be a project coupe after all, and it's not much fun to have a car without any projects.
The next question was, "how would we get it?" I'm not sure it could have been much farther away while still on this continent. According to Google Maps, Fort Wainwright is over 3,000 miles and 55 hours from my house. And that's on a road that is more or less a direct-shot. Mostly out of curiosity, we decided to get a shipping quote direct from Fairbanks to Fort Collins, CO and were not surprised when it was over $4,500. Next option... The seller graciously agreed to tow it the 350 miles to Anchorage where we arranged for a ferry to bring it down to Seattle. From there, local coupe owner, Byron, was nice enough to pick it up from the ferry terminal and host it in his garage while we planned our next steps.
It was still somewhat of an unknown to us with only a couple photos from the seller, so it was great to have a trusted, experienced coupe owner like Byron get eyes on it. He gave us some good news like the trunk floor and diff mount being solid, the VIN panels all matching, and a couple surprise upgrades including a Dinan carbon fiber cold air intake. He also let us know that the wheels were horribly corroded, it was currently on snow tires, the windows went down very slowly, the driver seat bolster actually had a decent-size hole in it, the center console was cracked, and it had some interesting home made audio crossovers in the hatch.
Colorado coupe owner, and my personal coupe mechanic, Alex, volunteered to go pick it up for us in Seattle and drive it home to Colorado. Details of his epic drive will probably be coming in a later article, but I had to share at least one of his photos up top. Part 2, including first impressions and fixes, will be coming soon.