Last year, we published an article about how the hours just seem to slip by when building your dream car on the BMW Individual Visualizer. The various configurators on the BMW USA website are great, but if you want access to the full color palette of BMW Individual paint finishes, you’ll have to pay a visit to Visualizer.BMW-Individual.com, select English as your language (it usually defaults to German), pick your model, and have at it.
Over the past few years, the presence of BMW Individual has grown, seemingly following in the footsteps of Porsche’s paint-to-sample program. A quarter-century ago though, BMW Individual—then an internal program—was much more, well, individual, and today, special models from this era finished in unique, factory-applied colors are often assigned a premium in terms of valuation. We’re talking about cars such as the E34 M5, E31 850CSi, and the like, which are exceptional in their own right, but find themselves elevated to another level of exclusivity when finished in a rare color chosen by some discerning original owner decades ago. M cars have always been available in their own model-specific array of colors dating back to the originals, but the BMW Individual treatment enhances things even further, and the E36 M3 which recently surfaced on Craigslist is a perfect example.
Finished in BMW Individual Mint Green, this European-market E36 M3 is striking, and vies for your attention in a way few other colors can replicate. Mint Green has gained traction in recent years as a relatively popular paint-to-sample color for the Porsche lineup, but back in 1996, when this M3 was new, it must have been a sight to behold alongside the rows of Cosmos Black, Arctic Silver, and Alpine White stablemates. The second-generation M3 was among the first to get what can be referred to as the skittles treatment, with a veritable rainbow of what were then exclusive colors offered from the factory including two purples—Daytona Violet and the succeeding Techno Violet—the unforgettable Dakar Yellow, Avus and Estoril Blue, and Mugello and Hellrot Red, among others.
The Mint Green finish applied to this M3 is a bit more intense and perhaps polarizing, but still seems like a natural extension of the period color offerings. At the same time, it’s presence speaks for itself, and explains why it wasn’t a factory-offered M color. Curiously enough though, Mint Green is still available through BMW Individual, and you can specify the color on many models from the 3 Series to the M8 Gran Coupé.
The Mint Green M3 advertised on Craigslist is a European-market example, which helps give the BMW Individual color some context, but if you’re wondering why a vehicle from a foreign market that’s less than 25 years old is up for sale here in the U.S., the answer is explained in the description. This minty M3 isn’t actually for sale or even in the U.S. yet, but will be once it becomes eligible for importation under the so-called 25-year rule. Consider it advance warning that such a vehicle will soon be on the market, unless someone puts down an advance deposit of sorts.
The European-market specification isn’t the only thing this M3 has going for it though, because it’s also an early-production S50B32-powered example, with approximately 321 horsepower at 7,400 rpm, 258 pound-feet of torque at 3,250, and double VANOS. It’s the most potent engine variant you could get in the E36 platform during the 1990s, outside of the V8-powered Alpina B8 4.6. The change from the S50B30 to the B32 was also accompanied by a six-speed manual, and this M3 has one. These more preferable, late-model E36 M3s are just now getting old enough to bring over to the States.
The listing summary for this M3 describes it as the only example finished in Mint Green from the factory, which makes it one-of-one, as the collectors and pedants say. Pulling up the build sheet using the VIN reveals it did indeed receive the BMW Individual treatment when new—although the color itself isn’t specifically mentioned—and it’s currently listed with an asking price of $96,000, or roughly three to four times the going rate for a European-spec E36 M3 in a less individual color.—Alex Tock
[Photos via the seller.]