For the longest time, I was skilled at scoring the best diecast deals off eBay. Most of my collection is made up of second-hand models that no longer have their original packaging. Sometimes they have a scratch or a broken mirror, but the deep discount is worth the bit of superglue or elbow grease to make these cars shelf worth once again. I had kicked my habit early this year and made my New Year’s resolution to swear off the evil eBay app. But, as with all resolutions, I broke mine the first week of April with this M3 CSL.

Now I never completely swore off buying diecasts for my resolution, I was supposed to stick to new releases only. Sometimes deals on new releases can be had through eBay auctions though... All hope was lost when the online auction giant recommended I take a look at this listing for a boxless M3, specifically an AutoArt E46 M3 CSL. The best of the best and the model I never thought I would own. I succumbed to their ill will and followed the auction, successfully winning with a top bid in the final seconds. It was mine!

It was a little rough around the edges, literally. The shadowline trim around the windows is wearing away. The carbon fibre roof decal has a number of cracks. I even found one of the taillight lenses rolling around this shipper’s box. No matter though, I reattached the lens and plan to hit the window trim with a sharpie. Can you see the roof’s cracks in my photos? I didn’t think so...

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As you may have guessed, the M3 CSL was the ‘lightweight” version of the legendary E46 generation model. Weight was reduced by removing the sound deadening, replacing the roof panel with carbon fibre, lightweight wheels, and deleting luxuries like power seats, A/C, and stereo equipment. Only around 1,300 were built, and BMW never sent any to North America. It also featured a special air intake, iconically displayed with the dimple-like hole in the front bumper.

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Just like the real car, AutoArt’s 1:18 scale model of the CSL is both rare and highly sought after. From the golden years of AutoArt, this car is made from diecast metal and features opening doors, hood, trunk, and steerable wheels. It is abundantly detailed with carpet in the trunk and interior cabin, photo-etched badging all around the car, and just looks the business. The one thing I do not like about the model, and perhaps the only thing, is the chrome kidney grilles. I find them a bit too chunky and chromey for that universally loved BMW face.

Unfortunately for my wallet, this deal made me fall off the wagon big time. My eBay Watch List is once again full of potential secondhand steals. I have a Norev 997.1 Turbo on the way, plus a new custom 1:18 project car in the mail. Lucky for you though, I’ll be sharing more of my collection with the good people of LaLD! Stay tuned...

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