When I was a younger lad, I diligently followed the car magazines. It was in the late 80s that a small California-based firm named after its creator, Steve Dinan, started gaining the notice of the car magazines. The reason why was simply; just as Reeves Callaway had done on the East Coast, Steve Dinan was taking already potent cars and turbocharging them in the Golden State. In this case, it was E28 and E24 M5 and M6s that were getting forced induction, and the results were unreal. At the time, having 400 horsepower put you into the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, and a few other exotics. Dinan didn’t rest on those laurels though, and since has become a defacto factory tuner in a similar vein to AMG, though they remain independent. That’s a testament to the quality and reliability of their work. What they produce are improved versions of already fast cars, and today’s 1989 535 is a great example. The E34 was a solid performer in its day, but with a turbo and 300 wheel horsepower, it’s an undercover M5 assassin:
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The E39 M5 gets all the press as the best E39, and often as the best M5 ever. Sitting in its shadows is the highly capable 540i. The M-sport came with 6 speeds, M Suspension, and the desirable Style 37 M-Parallels. Today’s has been further upgraded with an M5′s LSD and Dinan chip, helping to up performance levels a little more. Ideally this would be a less-expensive alternative to the king of all supersedans, but the price is dangerously close to decent E39 M5 money. Can the low mileage and choice add-ons make up for missing 100 horsepower and ///M cachet?
Click for more details: 2003 BMW 540i M-Sport on Southern California’s Craigslist
A while back I wrote up a very interesting Taiga Green 535is that had a lot of miles but was still an eye-catcher. Today we have a similar situation – a passed-down E28 with a lot of miles but also a lot of love, resprayed in an attractive viridescent hue. It’s a little scary when you look underneath, but if you keep your eyes up you’ll find a clean E28 that looks great in a unique color with shadowline trim and a black interior. If you believe the seller’s history and are ready to continue stewardship (i.e. fixing endless little issues) on this classic, it could be a good looker for the money.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 BMW 535i on eBay
The E36 M3 was lauded as one of the greatest handling cars of all time, but those of us in the US were always a little disappointed that the M3 made due with 240hp here throughout its lifespan, while the Euros ended up with a 321hp beast that makes the E46 seem like a lot less of a leap than it was here. There were many ways to go about fixing the lack of power, but few are more reputable and holistic than Dinan’s packages. With just an intake, chip, and exhaust, the first M3 I drove had a healthy dose of aggression. Today’s comes with the full meal deal, earning the Dinan badge and a Euro-shaming 340hp out of the supercharged 3.0l. That’ll be plenty for me, and it carries the bigger stick without raising its voice, just some Dinan blocks at each corner. This example is cherry in color and condition, having covered just 38k miles. With BMW’s endorsement of Dinan, examples like this may well become the most sought-after, especially when they are this well cared for.