1991 BMW M5 Dinan 3.9 – Revisit


The E34 M5 may be the least-loved of the breed, but who is going to argue with a 3.9 liter stroker S38? I adore my S38B35, and the thought of a torquier, gnarlier Dinanified inline-6 with an extra pint of volume makes me tingle. This Calypso Red M5 has made the rounds, first selling on BaT in 2012 for a relative pittance before spending the last year-plus trying to spin a profit. The speculative seller has repainted it but accrued fewer than 1k miles, making clear his intentions to cash in on a rare, tuned M-car. The reality that E34s aren’t appreciating like E30s or E38s has apparently begun to set in, as he’s asking now asking $6,500 less than in 11/2014. If you’re looking for a monster E34, this is probably the way to go. But when you could be getting an E39 with 60 more horsepower and a generation newer everything, does anyone like the E34 enough to pay the premium? I’m guessing the seller is going to have to have more patience or less pride before this M5 can start spinning its wheels again with a real driver.

-NR

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site November 28, 2014:

Tuner Tuesday Mega Tuner Showdown: Dinan v. AMG v. Treser v. Alpina v. Ruf

I’m always a fan of the showdown posts; no surprise, since I think I’m the only one who does them here! While it’s nice to highlight one car at a time, I’m just a fan of the opportunity costs; considering what my money could go towards otherwise. Plus, though we see comparisons of new cars in magazines and online fora, it’s not often that we have comparos including nearly 40 year old cars. While I usually highlight this type of comparison in my 10K Friday posts, today is a bit different and I believe the first time I have a showdown on Tuner Tuesday. I’ve rounded up a quintet of neat cars that are all modified from stock by some of the most famous tuners of the 1980s; which is the winner?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Audi Quattro on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1988 BMW 535i Dinan 3.9

The E28 is a great chassis, no doubt, but often the normal 535i gets overlooked as a potential classic. We search out instead examples of the M5-look 535is or indeed the S38-motored legend itself, but today’s example will give those that dismiss the “normal” 535i a reason for pause. Upgraded with the full repertoire of Dinan bits and given a European specification makeover and repaint, this is one seriously good looking and well built 535i:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 535i Dinan 3.9 on Craigslist

1985 Bitter SC 3.9

If you drew an imaginary line between the family trees of the C107 Mercedes-Benz SLC and the E31 BMW 8 Series, therein would lie the somewhat odd but quite interesting Bitter SC. Open the door, and it’s obvious that the Bitter was also the envy of the 1980s Maserati interiors which resulted in the perhaps even more ill-conceived TC by Maserati. But the level of luxury found in the Bitter speaks to a period when personal luxury coupes were all the rage, and most of them were equipped like the SC – full of wood trim, luxurious leather and electronic features, motivated just enough to pass the plebeian Golfs and Mercedes diesels that litter the Autobahn. Of course, in such a luxurious coupe you wouldn’t want to do anything as pedestrian as change your own gear – you’d have people who would do that for you, and Bitter was happy to oblige with it’s Opel (nee GM) derived drivetrain. History has treated these personal luxury coupes fairly poorly; the L6, the SLC and the Bitter SC all have languished in value while their higher-performance or topless cousins have accelerated away into the auction blocks. Perhaps that’s an unfitting tribute for what was a top-flight luxury coupe from the 1980s, one man’s attempt to match the mystique of legendary brands like Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz. It was a noble attempt, but as they say, it’s often lonely at the top:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Bitter SC 3.9 on eBay

1979 BMW 520 Dinan 3.9

An interesting conversation erupted in Andrew’s post about the 2003 BMW 540i M-Sport yesterday. Andrew suggested that the E39 was not only the best looking 5-series, but perhaps the best looking sedan ever produced. I think for many that opinion will depend on the generation that they grew up in; for example, I bet you could find some folks who would contend that the early fourth generation Lincoln Continental (early 60s) or even the Bugatti Royale was better looking. But taking a break from arguing the best looking ever, how about within the 5-series? There are a lot of E28 fans out there, our own author Nate being one since he owns a M5. I grew up with a ’88 M5 in the family, too – but for me the E28, while a definitive and landmark step for BMW, was not as “pretty” as the E12 which preceded it. That’s especially true of the early E12s, but in terms of motivation there aren’t many that can match the punch of the later M5 and 540i models. To solve that problem, one owner took the pretty look of a 1979 Euro-market 520i but ditched the M20 inline-6, replacing it with a Dinan built 3.9 M30 with accompanying upgrades. The result is certainly impressive:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 BMW 520 on eBay

1991 BMW M5 Dinan 3.9

What’s the best deal going amongst BMW M cars? One could certainly argue that it must be the E34 M5. With the classic and refined looks of the third generation 5 series comes both great build quality and legendary reliability that helped to solidify BMW’s place in the luxury market today. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that there was an equally legendary series of engines under the hood, and without a doubt the shining star of that lineup and the model range indeed was the M5 with the original S38 motor screaming its last song. Despite the rush on all things M from the 1980s and general good shape that many of the E34 Ms appear in, they’re also generally quite affordable compared to the rest of the examples of BMW Motorsport’s influence. Part of that was that the package didn’t stand out quite as much as either the E28 or E39 M5 did. It was subtle, understated and almost whisper quiet in its delivery of a performance package; out of the box, it even almost looked like it had white wall tires due to the unique two-piece M-System wheels. To solve the perceived lack of gusto compared to the competition, one could turn to BMW specialist Dinan to turn up their luxury rocket ride to 11:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on eBay

1985 Bitter SC 3.9

As an automotive blog, we receive our fair share of emails suggesting we feature specific cars. Often they’re popular versions of cars that everyone likes to see; M3s, S6s, M5s, 190E 2.3 16Vs – the usual suspects. But probably once every other week or so someone spots something legitimately rare to see; this past week, we were sent two such gems. One was a rare Mercedes-Benz L319 delivery van – it was in rough shape but all there, and they’re very cool to see, with perhaps only single digit numbers in the United States – thanks to our reader Kurt for sending that one through, it had us dreaming! The other was an equally rare sight these days, but this car represented the opposite end of the spectrum from the Mercedes. Clearly loved and well cared for by the seller, this 1985 Bitter SC features the later, 207 horsepower 3.9 inline-6 and is presented in pleasing Anthracite Grey:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Bitter SC 3.9 on eBay