It’s been a while since our last Nostalgic Wednesday, I’ve been busy lately with work, family and everything on the sidelines. With all this work going on, I rarely have time going out and enjoy myself with car meets, shows and other related activities. I needed a breather, I needed to lighten my load and relax. Well to start off, today’s NosWeds is something low-carb and still tasty, which our Master PhotoG DPhan and good friend Tyler H. would recognize; it’s the BMW E36 M3 Lightweight..aka LTW M3.
If you’re a BBC Top Gear fan, you’ve probably seen J.Clarkson praising the e46 M3 CSL roaring through the Isle of Man. Clarkson adored it’s power to weight ratio, carbon fibre panels and of course it’s razor sharp handling. Unfortunately, the e46 CSL as well as the e36 M3 GT nor the e92 M3 GTS were not introduced to the North American Market. Luckily, and thank the piston gods we were blessed with the E36 Lightweight (LTW).
Introduced to the US market in 1995, BMW produced only 120 of these special M3s. What sets the LTW apart from its regular siblings is it’s weight reduced structure for track purposes. I loved that the LTW was only available in Alpine White with the M flag decals. The regular M3 was stripped; it had no AC, radio, sunroof, toolkit, sound-deadening materials, insulations, spare tire, and leather seats Even with all the comfort gone, it was still road-worthy. The E36 LTW had aluminum doors, special carpeting, larger strut bar, CF trim, higher gear ratio for faster acceleration, sport suspension, and of course, LTW 17-inch wheels and the famous LTW aero Wing. Total weight saved you ask? 200-300lbs over the regular m3. An interesting fact about these special M3s is that the ECU was modified to eliminate the top speed limit. Another interesting fact is that the M50 B30 3.0 engine was hand picked by BMW performance engineers, and only the engines that performed best were bolted into to the cars.
Considered rare since they were only available in 95. LTWs are hard to find in factory mint condition. Most of the 120 built LTWs are already converted to full-blown racetrack warriors, either already wrecked or sitting in one’s garage collecting rat poo. The LTW M3, even with all its comfort taken away, will still be one of the best M3′s ever buit; it was raw, built for race, built for fun.