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Early U.S. M3s; where are the missing cars? (archive)

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Posted by Keith in Seattle on March 23, 2002 at 13:01:59:

Hey All-

Recently there has been some interest in trying to track down the earliest U.S. M3s. One list member ran a post a few months back, asking owners of cars manufactured before May 1987 to respond. This generated a few interesting leads, but, in general, very few of the earliest U.S. cars checked in.

I have been trying to do something more modest in scope, namely, to collect information on the first 20 U.S. M3s, chassis numbers 2195001 through 2195020 (I have 2195019, so 20 seemed like a nice round number). To do this, I have compiled information from the BMW NA database, CarFax records, and a few other sources, and have assembled a spreadsheet with all of the relevant information. There are some interesting things in there, and also some mysteries.

A summary- only 13 of the first 20 U.S. cars are listed in the BMW NA database. Eight of these cars were diamantschwartz metallic; four were hennarot, and one record did not list the color. The very first car, 2195001, went to Korman, in agreement with urban legend. The second car, however, is shown as having been sold to an individual in Kansas City, although most people believe that 002 also went to Korman. Curiously, there are no records in the BMW NA database for chassis numbers 2195003 through 2195006 and 2195008 through 2195010. This is odd because an individual who owns the cylinder head from 2195006 responded to an earlier post. Also, 2195008 doesnít appear in the BMW NA database, but it does have a CarFax registration history. So it seems clear that these "missing" cars definitely existed. Why is the BMW NA database so incomplete?

Only 11 of the first 20 M3s have CarFax registration histories. Not surprisingly, cars that are thought to have been used exclusively for racing (001 and probably 002) were never registered, so they donít show up in CarFax. Chassis numbers 2195007, 2195008, and 2195011 through 2195020 all show up in CarFax.

If anyone can shed any light on any aspect of this story, or has any information at all about any of the early U.S. cars, Iíd like to hear from you. And for our non-U.S. pals, no slight meant to you by concentrating only on U.S. cars here, I canít imagine the logistic nightmare it would be trying to track down cars in Europe!


Keith Fournier

í88 hennarot 2195019

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