Hello from SW Ohio
In late March 2010 I bought a 1996 M3; silver exterior, dove gray (?) interior, 5-speed coupe with luxury package and 170K miles. Modifications include the compulsory cold air intake (Conforti, if I’m not mistaken), Shark software, shifter, tubular header, FK coilovers, “Euro” white corner lamps and high-intensity headlights, and 3.73 LSD differential. Most things are functioning well, except for the differential; more on that later. Maintenance items include (apparently) radiator, thermostat housing and some bushings. The water pump is evidently the original, as is the clutch (!). The purchase is the culmination of quite a protracted search, as most E36 M3 on the market are either neglected/abused or sell for a considerable premium.
For about 6 years my daily-driver has been a 1992 325is. It has been a workhorse, accumulating about 100K miles under my ownership (214K total and counting), and is now nearing the end of its productive service life. I have not been a scrupulous owner, and these cars do not take kindly to indifference.
Though their appearance and majority of components is similar, it is remarkably how differently the M3 and 325is drive. Hopefully the 325 will have been useful training for M3 ownership, as many things are ripe for eventual failure, and one must remain alert.
The M3 will be a garage queen/weekend toy until the 325 finally dies. No plans for racing, though; for that I have a V8-swapped Datsun.