1995 E36 M3: Dave Farnsworth
1995 BMW E36 M3 #EH00288
3.0-liter S50 inline six-cylinder, 240 hp/225 lb-ft
Avus Blue metallic
Dr. David Farnsworth (since 1995)
Given the BMW CCA’s role in securing an E36 M3 for the US market, it’s only fitting that the first example to arrive on these shores went to Dave Farnsworth, club president from 1990 to ’94.
A Chicago-area pediatrician, Farnsworth has been a BMW driver since buying a used 1979 528i in February 1981. He joined the BMW CCA and soon found himself entering an autocross with Windy City BMW. Before the year was out, he’d attended his first HPDE. He became an instructor, and he also started writing for the Windy City BMW newsletter. In 1987, he was invited by Roundel editor Yale Rachlin to write a column for the magazine, which continues to this day.
In 1989, Farnsworth began racing a 1972 2002, and a year later he became BMW CCA president. In the meantime, Farnsworth’s 528i gave way to an E30 325e. By 1994, he was planning to trade that car for a new E36 325is when fellow club member and Fields BMW salesperson Barbara Neuerman told him to “hold off on that for a bit.”
A few weeks later, BMW announced the pending arrival of a US-spec E36 M3.
“Even though the first shipment of US cars was slated to be limited to Bright Red and Dakar Yellow, Erik Wensberg managed to get one Avus car sent to Fields for me.”
Farnsworth used his new M3 as a daily driver for years, taking it to Oktoberfests all over the country. “I always autocrossed it and instructed at the Ofest schools, and it’s been driven on tracks from Sebring to New Hampshire, at Barber and every track in the Midwest,” Farnsworth says. “It’s been incredibly reliable, and it still has the original clutch: You can drive a car very quickly, and if you know how to shift the clutch will last a long time.”
Durability isn’t the E36 M3’s most endearing trait, however. For Farnsworth, as for many owners, the car inspires passion because of its crisp design and user-friendly performance.
“I still love how it looks. The design is very clean—no spoilers or fake vents—and the color is still gorgeous,” he says. “It’s an easy car to drive at a leisurely pace or a more frantic pace.”
The “frantic” side of that equation got a boost when Farnsworth added a more audible Borla exhaust, then replaced the original suspension with a lower set of springs, struts and shocks. In 2007, he followed with a Dinan supercharger kit, bringing output from 240 hp to over 300.
“Every time I get on the gas now, I start to giggle!” Farnsworth says.