1988 BMW 535is

E28s seem to capture the proportions of the muscular family sedan perfectly. Even more so than the burly 6.9 Mercedes, the 535is just exuded athleticism and business at the same time. This 1988 535is has benefited from a very attentive owner, and I generally find the cars posted to MyE28.com to be well-loved and documented. The best part about this one – to my eyes – is the color combination of Lachssilber over the Pacific Blue sport interior, one of my favorites. It’s just stunning. While the Style 5 wheels are a bit much for my tastes, it’s hard to deny how well they fill out those wheel arches. And the infamous M30 in front is barely broken in at 182K (broken odometer notwithstanding) – with routine maintenance, the motor will well outlast the car around it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 535is on MyE28.com’s Classifieds

Year: 1988
Model: 535is
Engine: 3.4 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 182,599 mi
Price: $6,500

Up for sale is my four owner, lachssilber over pacific blue, 1988 BMW 535is with 5-speed manual transmission. The car was delivered via BMW Center in San Antonio on 4/8/88 and has remained in Texas all its life. I purchased the vehicle in the fall of 2010 with 182,599 on the non-operable odometer. I have not bothered to replace the cluster under my ownership and the vehicle is currently registered odometer exempt.

The vehicle comes with all maintenance records since new, all the way back to the dealer delivery checklist from 1988. All panels / paint are original to the car except the front IS air dam which was swapped for a mint condition and recently painted replacement. Body is free of major rust, with a small amount of surface rust in the bottom left hand corner of the rear window and the upper corners of the trunk seal. The dash is crack free, interior is tear free, headliner is tear free (but with some discoloration at the C pillars) and almost all power options work with the exception of the mirrors, headrests, cruise control, OBC, and HVAC blower motor. Motor is stout, doesn’t burn Valvoline VR1 20w50 between changes, and the transmission shifts smoothly into all gears.

I have done a lot of maintenance to the car since my ownership, but there is still a solid list of items that still need to be taken care of to bring it fully up to speed. Paint is what you would expect from a 25 year old Texas car, oil pressure light is a little lazy upon startup when the car has been sitting for a while, power steering box bracket is broken (weld / screw in supplemental brace included with sale) causing some slop in steering, pitman arms, inner / outer half shaft boots are getting tired, center support bearing, and cracked windshield.

Recent maintenance includes: full brake job including new rotors, sensors, pads, and stainless lines with front calipers upgraded with rebuilt e34s, clutch / slave cylinders, reinforced clutch pedal bracket, rebuilt and ultrasonically cleaned 4 pintle mustang injectors, new CPS and reference sensors, engine belts, power steering system hoses, valve adjustment, heater valve, coolant expansion tank, air filter, fuel filter, plugs / wires / distributor cap and rotor, fuel pressure regulator, temp sensor, and o2 sensor.

Upgrades include: Bav Auto / Tubular ceramic coated long tube headers with dual pipes to Magnaflow metallic cats and Billy Boat back box, Mark D’Silva and Dinan performance chips, Koni adjustable swaybars, Bilstein HD shocks, Hella H1/H4 headlight conversion, Autosport Solutions short shift kit, and Mille Miglia MMII 16” wheels.

This e28 is a relatively solid and original driver that, with a little more work, could be enjoyed for many more years to come!

Also available for an additional cost:
- Mint 17” Style 5 BBS wheels, aluminum hub centric rings, with brand new Bridgestone Potenza Pole Position S-04s
- ST 25/19mm swaybars, NLA weld-in M5 front mounts and bushings
- Low mileage S3.73 limited slip rear differential with e28 cover
- Spax Lowering Springs with 2 rear Bilstein Sport shocks

The owner sounds passionate for sure, a rarity in this day and age of bandwagon followers. However, the E28 crowd seems a bit more connected than the E30 audience seeking the latest and the greatest drift sled. For anyone in search of detailed info on how these cars behave, spend some time on MyE28.com – it’s a wealth of information.

-Jeff

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8 Comments on "1988 BMW 535is"

  1. John says:

    Non-operable odometer in this case is a deal killer for me and I think you should list the mileage as unknown Jeff for the posting. I like the exterior color though.

  2. Brad says:

    Why won’t people fix broken odometers?

  3. Greggiekay says:

    @ Brad, “That’s what I love about these high school girls. I get older, they stay the same age.” -Wooderson

  4. Allenman says:

    $6500, a broken odometer, and you don’t even get the good wheels. Couldn’t you at least vac and wipe the floor?

  5. Randall says:

    Hey, that’s my car!

    I purchased the car with unknown mileage and it’s being sold with unknown mileage. I understand the odometer replacement arguments, but it would always be a point of contention with the car even if replaced. I could have just stuck a new set of odo gears in pretended mileage was original, but that would be unfair to the next owner. The car does come with every single maintenance receipt since it was delivered. I value impeccable maintenance and upkeep more than some numbers on an odometer, but that’s just my personal preference.

    And sorry about the dirty floorboards… I pulled all the floor mats when taking pictures so you can see the integrity and quality of the carpet around the pedal box area, but there was some dirt I missed under there.

  6. Brad says:

    A broken ashtray still leaves room for “impeccability” but not a broken odometer.

    And by the way that argument about “some numbers” sounds like the guy who tells her that he values “you, baby” more than some slip of paper that says they’re married: what a line!

  7. Jeff says:

    For the record, I bought my E30 with a broken odo and zero maintenance records. Drove the car and checked the vitals, all of which were on par for the age/condition.

    Took me three years to get to the odo replacement because frankly, there was a lot more to address than the odo gears, so yes, it was a low priority item.

    When you’re dealing with a car that is riding on nearly original suspension components, has a leaking headgasket, zero idea of when the cooling sys and timing belt were done, etc., etc. – let’s just say replacing the odometer gears was the last thing on my mind.

    I would buy a car with robust maintenance like this one and TMU any day of the week. Not that big of a deal unless we’re talking investment-grade automobile or late-models.

  8. KevinR says:

    Since most automobile maintenance is based on miles driven and this car has not had a working odometer in over 4 years, how can you claim the maintenance is “impeccable?” The upgrades listed are nice, I guess. In my opinion the money would have been better spent on a complete suspension overhaul.

    As far as exterior cosmetics go, it looks like a quarter million mile beater car. (Which I guess it is, more or less…) There are dents and faded spots and peeling clear coat spots and rust spots and, well you get the point.

    Finally, the wheels. Why do people show pictures of a car with wheels that aren’t going to be included as part of the sale?

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