Bimmerfest had some wild cars this year, from bagged F80s to E30 and E36 sport-utes and hardcore E92 M3 track cars, but Best in Show for the judged “Battle of the Bimmers” category went to a surprising—but certainly well-qualified—example.
(If you haven’t checked out our gallery from Bimmerfest 2018, take a look here.)
Yes, the overall selected winner was one of the BMW CCA’s Saturday booth cars—Jon H.’s gorgeous 1998 Dakar Yellow E36 M3 Convertible that represents (to us, at least) the pinnacle of E36 chassis modifications. Not only does the car feature a whole host of AC Schnitzer visual touches, but it also features a Dinan supercharger kit to bring performance up to par with its striking appearance. AST 4100 coilovers and a full host of strut bars, sway bars, and bushings round out the suspension end of things, affording the car a useable, but visually stunning, stance. The capstone of this setup is of course the AC Schnitzer Rennsport wheels, one of the highlights of the car.
I would be remiss if the interior didn’t get a mention as well—the Recaro Tomcat seats with Dakar Yellow accents are the obvious highlight, but a custom flat-bottomed steering wheel and ACS pedal set and handbrake grip keep the Schnitzer flair going. The 6-speed ZHP knob isn’t lying, either; the car started life as an automatic but that shortcoming only offered Jon the opportunity to swap in a six-speed from an E46 M3.
The result of everything above and more was a showstopper. Everywhere you look on the car, you notice something even more, and whether it’s your taste or not, you have to admire the commitment to period-correct ’90s style that results in one of the most stunning E36 M3s out there.
With great placement outside the BMW Car Club of America booth in the vendor area and paired next to a wild F82 M4, this very special E36 was the subject of tons of Instagram posts and impromptu photoshoots throughout the day at Bimmerfest (and of course, the BMW CCA was thankful to have been able to invite Jon, a Los Angeles Chapter member, to display his car on Saturday). Ultimately, the car received top honors with “Best in Show” from the judges; the competition was fierce, but it’s hard to be more committed to the look than this Dakar M3.
Since there’s so much that has gone into this car, we’d recommend following Jon on Instagram at @esq_bimmer. And of course, check out our full gallery from Bimmerfest right here. —David Rose