159 HIGH RES PHOTOS: https://rb.gy/5dfixg
Have you ever driven an old 911? Not real old, just medium-old like a 993, 996, or 997? When you sat down in that bucket, did you feel badass? Like, "this is what was always meant to be, I love cars, and this is the shared baseline of all enthusiasm; it is from here that I will plug directly into the heart of sports motoring!"
Then you depressed the clutch and thought, "wow, that f-er is heavy" then you excitedly turned the key (on the left side, so cool!) and heard that compact six-cylinder spring to life growling and rasping, feeling the vibrations through the back of your seat, "wow this is kinda intense," you might have thought.
Now you're driving. It's a chore to get through town. The clutch hasn't gotten any lighter, it hates running at low RPMs, and the steering is heavy (depending on the generation). But when you hit the open road, you'll finally PLUG INTO THE HEART OF SPORTS MOTORING.
But fuck, this thing is kinda hard to control, the weight shifts like crazy through the car with just a slight lift of the throttle, you get how that's theoretically cool, but it's mostly just terrifying here on the first go. Would you want to drive this car enough to get good at driving this car? Is it worth all the effort? Is all of this just some kind of semiotic crucible?
Don't worry; you're not a blasphemer; you just need to drive a Clown Shoe.
If you love driving but don't want to commit your entire identity to it, there is no better car than this, the final generation of the z3 coupe. The handling is precise and intuitive, the clutch firm but not exhausting, the shifting incredibly tactile and affirmative gear to gear.
The 3L, 6Cyl M54 Engine provides power delivery that is smooth, linear, and, most importantly, easily modulated through the accelerator. It's a genuine sports car but not desperate to prove its potential at the slightest nudge. In other words, it's refined, built for an individual that loves to drive but doesn't see every moment behind the wheel as a prompt to express one's masculinity fully.
I bought this car for my wife early last year. Since the 2010s, long before these were "rediscovered," back when they were still "controversial," she had been a huge fan. I wasn't exactly looking for one, but this straight-bodied beauty appeared on craigslist, and I went to check it out.
It was impressively documented with absolutely destroyed paint, meticulously maintained, and tragically degraded all at once. But there was no rust, and it drove great, so I went for it. I had always been curious about having a car repainted but would never do it for strictly cosmetic reasons. This car needed it.
My mechanic suggested sending it to Reno as we only get water-based paint down here, and labor is much cheaper in the arid east. So I asked around, and there was one shop on the top of Everyone's list: Final Finish in Sparks.
The car came back more beautiful than I could have imagined. This was a glass-out, bumpers-off full respray. They did an incredible job; the match to the sills is perfect. It looks like factory paint.
The car has been dead reliable. Before selling it, my wife got us a private track-day as a last hurrah. She never drove the z3 faster than 75mph, but it behaved perfectly and comfortably got her up to Willows and back. I drove an 87 200sx, but that's a whole other narrative.
The car came with exactly two minor pre-exiting conditions, both very common to the model: the airbag light is on, and the sunroof is set closed. The airbag module goes bad on these cars. They can be rebuilt for about a grand but never seemed worth it. It appears that the sunroof worm gear universally fails in the z3. The previous owner removed the mechanism; the good news is it's a moonroof, so you still get most of the benefit.
I organized the crazy pile of receipts that came with this car into chronological order, clustered by job. An incredible amount of work has been done to this car; nothing is outstanding aside from the aforementioned moonroof and module.
AC works, all seat adjustments work, stereo works and was professionally modified for USB input, everything that's supposed to light up lights up, etc... its a nice car.
So, with all this affection on display, you might ask yourself, “why is he selling it then?” The answer is I bought it for my wife, who announced a couple of months ago that she doesn’t drive it enough for it to be worth keeping.
“Ok, then why don’t you drive it?”
I’m 6’-3,” and although I fit, my view is cut by the roofline; I have to duck a little to see traffic lights. But that’s not the real reason. The real reason is the car is too nice for me, too new, too tight, quiet and powerful. I like cars. I can push the limit without any real danger, low-powered old Japanese things. It’s a beautiful object but not a perfect automotive match for me.
The aforementioned bible of receipts. Car has the original user manual and various warranty docs in a mint condition pleather folio. Sadly no window sticker. See photos.
The previous owner was an obsessive labeler (we all have our thing) he saved a number of small special parts as well as oem rock-chip fender protectors and all the pieces of the sunroof. See photos.
I have shipped many cars to many states both as a buyer and a seller. You can get basically anywhere in the us for less than $1.5k. Usually getting to a neighboring state or southern Cali is like $500. If you want a closed carrier those prices double. I’m a fan of Sonic as a broker.
I’m Aaron, I operate as @radreport on Instagram. And The Rad Report on Facebook. If you’d like to check bonafides please see these two articles about my previous listings:
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