Bentley's BMW 3 Series Enthusiast's Companion offers a comprehensive and insightful look at the most popular line of cars from BMW.
Starting from modest beginnings with the BMW 02 Series, all the way to the E46 of 1998-2001, the book covers all models, including European and American "M" editions. Chapters covering the many competition successes of BMW M cars are also included.
And if you want to "spot" 3 Series Bimmers, this is the book for you. Identification, technical specs and more obscure information is also included.
For prospective BMW 3 Series buyers, a comprehensive section covers the ins and outs of purchasing a used 3 Series.
What you'll find inside this book:
- Production history of the 3 Series
- American and European 3 Series Race History
- 3 Series Specifications
- Sales and Production Figures
- An easy-to-use Spotter?s Guide
- Buyer's Tips
- Hundreds of informative photos
Every page of every chapter of this book is intended to help you to better understand and enhance the enjoyment of your 3 Series BMW.
Book Excerpt: 1966-2001 BMW 3-Series Enthusiast's Companion
TRACING THE PATH TO THE 3 SERIES
BMW Company history reads like a summary of twentieth-century worldwide warfare, where survival was a major triumph.
ENGINEERING AND DESIGNING AN ICON
Had BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke) not been supported by its loyal shareholders through its 1959 cash crisis, allowing BMW to re-discover its natural middle-class sports sedan market in the 1960s, today's BMW would amount to nothing more than a badged division of Mercedes. In 2001, thirty-two years on from that near-catastrophe, BMW has become internationally based beyond anything the 1960s BMW-watcher could have imagined.
To truly understand how far BMW and the 3 Series have come, we must trace the company's long history of fighting the odds to reach the top of the automotive market. BMW's convoluted history meant it had to regroup in the late 1940s, moving from its East German (Eisenach) headquarters to Munich. That Eisenach site beneath the Wartburg Castle was the butt of many Western jokes because of the smoky two-stroke Wartburg automobile, but it is now the backdrop to increasing GM-Opel production commitment and BMW machine-tool interests.
BMW's original business was building military aviation engines. The BMW initials stand for Bayerische Motoren Werke, formed on July 20, 1917; but the aero-engine company, Bayerische Flugzeugwerke, founded on March 7, 1916, was the initial foundation of BMW. The corporate symbol, the Roundel, was designed around the theme of a whirling white propeller on a blue-sky background. It was first used on October 5, 1917 to register a patent, becoming a potent symbol during World War I. Although the details on the Roundel badge, especially the lettering, have changed over the years, the emblem is now featured on everything associated with BMW manufacture administration.
World War II aero engine tasks were carried out at Allach, a northwestern suburb of Munich, and at the more central Munich Milbertshofen works, still a 3 Series manufacturing center today. Many of BMW's aviation landmarks were first tested, or taken to record heights, from the Oberwiesenfeld site that lies beneath the 1972 Olympic stadium complex opposite the company's four-cylinder headquarters.
Such military engine activity made BMW a target for the Allies during World War II bombing missions. Photographs of destruction around the BMW steel press works in Milbertshofen show the devastating effect of the nonstop bombing campaigns inflicted by USAAF and RAF missions.
A distinctly desirable 3 Series retains its icon status and inspires fierce owner loyalty.
Thanks to record US sales, BMW synchronized their production act for 1998, debuting the new 3 Series in Europe, America, and Britain. This classy 3'er swept into showrooms for all major markets under the E46 factory coding. It was a big critical and commercial hit with all but the pickiest critics and previous E36-performance-biased customers.
After 18 months on the market, the initially cool reception ("A better BMW; will anybody notice?" queried BMW CCA's Roundel in October 1998) was replaced by renewed loyalty to the new BMW 3 Series as a worthy successor of hidden attractions. Its advantages only became obvious after a longer acquaintance.
That same Roundel magazine, bible to over 53,000 American BMW owners, stated in its February 2000 introduction to the E46 coupe, "From the moment you lay eyes on its shape, you can't help but feel passion. You can't help but look back over your shoulder as you walk away. You can't help but fall in love - to the point of obsession".
Car and Driver stated, "The BMW 3 Series closes out the century with its ninth successive selection on our best 10 list. The reason is simple: an unusually accurate correlation between 3 Series virtues and the desires of committed car enthusiasts.
Subject: BMW 3 Series history, development, specifications, general information. 1966-2000. Transportation
. 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000. | ISBN-10: 0837602203 | ISBN-13: 9780837602202 | Bentley GBM3