1995 BMW 525i

I recently sold my E34 525i and replaced it with a W126 300SE. I’ll post a write up on my new car next week. I love it, but let’s just say I learned a few valuable lessons about buying cars sight unseen from the whole episode. As potential buyers came to view my BMW, a funny thing happened. The more I explained my ownership experience while they test drove it, the more I began to wonder why I was selling it. In fact, I concluded, if space and money had allowed, I would have preferred to keep it alongside the Benz. In one year of ownership, I put an unusually high number of miles on it while doing a mega commute. During that time, it never once failed to start or gave me any reason to worry. I replaced some suspension parts that were worn out. But other than that, all I did was drive it and feed it fuel and oil. It was remarkably fun to drive, which I credit to the 5-speed manual gearbox and sweet chassis setup. Sure, it wasn’t terribly powerful or fast, but it was certainly fast enough for me. And it made for a good commuter, getting 28 MPG on the highway. In all, I think the E34 525i is an under-appreciated gem. I’m sad I let it go.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 525i on eBay

//Motivated: 1987 BMW 525i M5 Clone

Market speculation about M values is nothing new. Indeed, head back to the launch of the U.S. M5 and you’ll find evidence immediately. In Europe, the M5 launched for the 1985 market year and was so successful, BMW announced in 1986 they’d bring 500 of the M5s over. They immediately were all spoken for, and consequently when the production actually started in 1987, BMW made more – not a lot more, mind you, but the 1,340 produced for North America was nearly triple what was originally forecast.

Consequently, owners who felt the collector value of their M5 had been dashed by this glut of examples sued the company in 1991. Further, the model was relatively abandoned by all but the most devoted enthusiasts in the 1990s for bigger, badder and faster modern sedans. But today it’s back with a vengeance, with clean examples fetching more than what they were priced at new. It therefore makes a little bit of sense that someone would have gone through all of the trouble to mimeograph the transformative super-sedan’s blueprint onto a lesser example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 BMW 525i on eBay

Craig’s 1991 BMW 525i

The time has come for me to part ways with my E34, and I’m reluctantly putting it up for sale. As readers of my posts will know, I’ve been on the hunt for a W126 Benz for a while now. A lovely example has fallen into my lap, and living in DC without off-street parking makes keeping both cars impractical. Hence the sale. It would make me very happy if it went to a fellow enthusiast looking for a reliable and cheap commuter, so I’ve written it up for today’s post.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW 525i on Washington, DC Craigslist

1994 BMW 525i

5254

A couple of weeks ago I wrote up a 1995 530i. I noted that despite classically handsome styling and a spot-on chassis, the E34 5-series has remained curiously under appreciated, with the exception perhaps of the M5 variant.  At the time, I admitted that the particular example I posted (an automatic with the relatively underpowered 3.0 V8) wasn’t exactly the best of the range. This 525i probably offers a better all round package than the 530i, and is more likely to be attractive to those looking for a cheap but dynamic daily driver. While it’s not in quite the same condition as that other car, this one arguably has a better engine and comes in a better color, with a more competitive asking price. It also features that all important third pedal.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW 525i on eBay

5257

1992 BMW 525i Touring with 59k miles

If ever there was a company car for The Hamptons, it would be the luxury estate vehicle. No surprise, then, that this 1992 BMW 525i Touring finds itself not far from those beaches in Syosset, New York. The E34 Touring was BMW’s second attempt at an in-house estate car, following on the five-door version of the popular E30 3 series that was never sold new to US customers. With the dawn of a new decade, BMW decided to gift the US the 5 series Touring, which would become a hit for families looking for something a bit more dynamic for the school run. Sadly, one of the company’s tastiest offerings, the M5 Touring, would still be out of our reach. Nevertheless, BMW would continue to offer the 5 series Touring for two more generations of 5 series, but sadly, we are now stuck with the awkwardly proportioned 5 series Gran Turismo. This 525i Touring has under 60,000 miles on the odometer, a rarity these days as many of these long roof E34s have been run hard and put up wet.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 BMW 525i Touring on eBay

1989 BMW 525i

At first glance this may appear to be nothing more than a very clean E34 525i, but look inside and you find out that this car is quite unique. It’s not the pristine cloth interior that I bet still smells good or the OEM tape deck. No, what makes this ultra low mileage E34 so unique is that it’s a import from the Land Of The Rising Sun. That’s right, this is a LHD BMW Japan E34 525i. I’m not an expert on BMW interior history but from what I’ve been able to find, the steering wheel in this vehicle is also unique to foreign markets as is the leather surrounding the shifter. Someone please correct me if I am wrong but so far as I can tell all the U.S. spec E34 5 series had a hard shifter surround, not padded leather which I think is a very nice touch.

Aside from those things the interior is the same low key environment you’ll find in any E34, simple ergonomic design that is focused on the driver. It’s always such a pleasure to see vehicles of this era with such sharp interiors because it really exemplifies how on point they were. I’ve been in a bunch of E34’s and never really appreciated the cabin as most of them had been well worn, sticky surfaces from spilled coffee, cracked leather, that stale smell of two decades worth of shutting people around. I hope that the person that takes this thing home realizes how special it is to break in 26 year old car and really enjoys the process of doing just that. It’s great that this 525i has such low mileage but I’d say it’s time for it to be somebody’s daily driver.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 BMW 525i on eBay

1995 BMW 525i Touring

We’ve given the E39 touring a lot of love here at GCFSB, but the E34 is a classic, handsome longroof that would still serve the purposes of a family man who likes a little old-fashioned German luxury. Today’s black-on-tan example looks pretty darn good for a 20 year-old car, having covered roughly 5k miles per year. It may not be the sportiest of BMW wagons, coming with the 4-speed auto mated to the 2.5-liter M20, but it’s a great hauler that is a step up from the ubiquitous Volvo 240 alternative.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 525i Touring on eBay

Wednesday Wheels Roundup

While to me the E39 isn’t the prettiest 5 series BMW produced, what they did manage to accumulate was perhaps one of the best wheel lineups they ever fitted. Most ended up on the sport models, but from the Style 5 to Style 66, all of them looked great. I especially love the relatively unloved two-piece BBS made Style 19s that were fitted to early 540i sports, but the Style 5, 66 and 32 wheels that made it to other sport models are equally good. Of course, I had to throw in a set of Style 37 “M-Parallels” even though they’re most often associated with other models – and truth told, the Style 32 wheels here are actually optional E38 wheels. Nevertheless, they’re all awesome – which are your favorite?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: BMW Style 42 17×8,5×120 Wheels on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1995 BMW 525i S52-Swap

When I start to recount stories of my early driving years and my family’s run of German automobiles, I’m sure it sounds like we ran a used car lot. Fair enough; before I was old enough to drink we were on to our 5th BMW with a Porsche on the way – and still a few more to come. One of my favorite cars would probably be a bit of a surprise to some, though; when the climate control failed on our E32 735i 5-speed it was replaced by a 1995 525i. Now, normally the 525i is a bit of a downer – too much car with too little motor. But several updates over the life of the 525i meant that by 1993, the 525i was a bit of a sleeper – especially when equipped with a manual. The update from the M20 to the M50 motor and then the addition of VANOS gave the car a mini-M5 feel. It screamed up the tach and felt much quicker than it looked. But for some the M50 just isn’t enough motivation to leave the 525i alone:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 525i on eBay

2003 BMW 525i 5-speed manual

It’s human nature to aspire after things that may seem out of reach in life. Such is the case with automobiles, as many of us can relate who read this site daily. Sure, we’d love to bomb around in high powered German vehicles but in practice, it is less than practical at times. So a car like this 2003 BMW 525i with the Sport Package for sale in Philadelphia could be an ideal compromise for those lusting after an M5 but who may not have an M5-sized budget. Equipped with a 5-speed manual gearbox, it will help make the most of the 184 horsepower produced by the 2.5 liter inline-6 under the hood.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW 525i on eBay