This is the one thing that all E36 coupes should have come with. An Armrest.
Sadly it was an option, and apparently not a very popular one new. Its just one of those little things that make the car better to drive, and more comfortable.
Ive done this install on both of my E36’s now, and its fairly easy to do as long as you have the complete kit to install. Both times i have purchased a use kit from a wrecker, without issue.
Start with this.
First port of call is to make sure you have everything, including the 3 long bolts with sleeves.
Once you have all that on hand, start pulling the old console out. Trick for first timers is that there is a screw under the hazard light switch, so you need to pull the switch out. Otherwise its all fairly simple, screws under the ashtrays.
Once you remove the old console you will be left with a mostly empty expanse of carpet. You will need to trim the carpet to look like the photo below. Its all pre-cut/perforated ready to be cut, so just follow those lines.
Now this is where it gets a bit more fun. You need to bolt the big frame to the car. This is where those long bolts and sleeves come into it, you should have three. The holes are there already, and have captive bolts installed so you just need to bolt it all together. One thing i did encounter on the M3 was that the handbrake lamp switch needed to be moved to the other side of its bracket to fit. This was straightforward to do.
Then its just a matter of putting the main console back in
The arm rest its self is fairly simple to put together too. The long plastic pins hold the armrest to the bracket. Just make sure the little rubber bumpers are in place on the bracket (visible in the above pic under the large hole next to the seat) or it wont function correctly when folded down.
Now you have an armrest. Isnt it great?