1988 BMW 535is/Euro M5 Conversion

1988 BMW 535is/Euro M5 Conversion

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Hagerty has this car listed under BMW E28 M5s, but its origin as a 525is and ensuing plethora of modifications make it a difficult car to classify. It recently received a Euro exterior conversion after a huge modification list of aftermarket E28 parts and OEM M5 parts, creating a FrankenE28 that is truly impressive. Bored and stroked S38s in any chassis are the stuff dreams are made of, with this custom build’s 350hp usurping even the almighty S38B38. A Wilwood big brake kit and Dinan/Koni/Bilstein suspension set up deviate from staying too true to the M5, but a full M5 interior and trunk, including battery relocation, are classy and expensive conversions. While not a fully dedicated M5 tribute/conversion, this ticks all the boxes in the outstanding E28 category.

Click for details: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay

1992 BMW 525i Touring with 59k miles

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

2002 BMW 540i Sport

2002 BMW 540i Sport

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I first came across the listing for this 2002 BMW 540i M-Sport nearly 6 months ago, and frankly I’m shocked to see it still for sale. It was a garage queen during the first owner’s stewardship and the current owner says he didn’t use it for daily commuting. The seller has done a great job photographing the usual problem areas associated with vehicles living in coastal areas, and included lots of important information. Additionally, there are numerous recent articles floating around the internet that heap praise upon this sleeper Bimmer, and we’ve done a fair amount of worshiping at the temple of the E39 ourselves. Still, the 540i M-Sport remains a cult classic, unlike its sibling, and mainstream media darling, the E39 M5.

When I was in the market for a new car, I often had moments where I’d be looking at a performance variant of a model, and wonder if spending the extra money was indeed worth it. There are many factors that effect the answer to that question, the majority of them vary person to person, but on thing remains true across the board. Nobody needs an M5, but everybody covets that badge. Nobody needs an 540i either, but between the two, it’s the more rational choice. The thing is, we’re irrational beings, even when we think we’ve got a solid handle on things, we let our emotions get the best of us. More and more we’re a society that deals in extremes, and the 540i M-Sport is hardly extreme. Is it reaching to say this car hasn’t sold because people are so obsessed with the prestige that comes with driving an M5? Maybe, but if it’s a stretch, it’s an easy one. The market for V8 powered Euro sedans with 3 pedals is shrinking given that the mainstream mindset is TURBO EVERYTHING!

1985 BMW M535i

1985 BMW M535i

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The M535i is an interesting piece of BMW history in many ways. On the plus side, it came straight from the E12 M535i, which was a direct result of BMW’s motorsports efforts and was hand-built. Unfortunately, the E28 M535i was no longer hand-built nor rare. Mostly a bodykit and ///M badges unless some options boxes were ticked, the M535i acted more as an advertisement for the BMW’s blossoming M Division, getting those tricolored stripes and Ms out in public as the M3, M5, and M6 took charge as the real performance flag bearers. With rose colored lenses we could see it as an instrumental piece of building the extra-performance arm of the Ultimate Driving Machine; cynically, it can be identified as the beginning of BMW’s whoring out of the M cachet as all show and no go. Whatever your viewpoint, they are relatively rare, never-sold-here E28 legends that will attract some attention from those in the know.

This example isn’t pristine but is better than decent and represents a nice opportunity to get in a piece of E28 history for a reasonable price. The exterior appears to be the best part, with nice paint and complete M-Technic bodykit. The interior – though cloth, which I love – has some unfortunate holes, though not much worse than you’d see on leather. I absolutely love the Style 32 wheels in general, and they fit the OEM+ nature of the M535i perfectly – better than most other E28s I’ve seen with them. With a brake upgrade and recent tune-up, 165k miles isn’t much of a concern on the workhorse M30. All of this for $8,500 or less, right in the heart of good E28 money.

Click for details: 1985 BMW 535i on eBay

1994 BMW 530i Touring

1994 BMW 530i Touring

I feel as though I’ve been on a kick of featuring performance variants lately and while a well maintained go-fast-machine is certainly attention grabbing, I think there is something to be said for solid basic transportation as well. This 1994 BMW 530iT lives only a few minutes away from me and I swear I’ve seen it out on local streets. E34 wagons always catch my eye, I’ve written up a number of them in the past, and while I usually look for rare ones with a 3rd pedal, I couldn’t pass over this example.

It appears to be quite clean overall and the seller mentions that $1,400 in service was recently performed. With an older BMW that could have easily been one minor part and a bunch of labor, but still, good to know it has recently been in the shop. I’d be sure to find out where he took it and touch base with the shop to see how well they know the car. The seller does mention that he has all the maintenance records from new, so either they’re the original owner or the records came with the car. Lots more to find out here, but I have to say this is one intriguing package.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW 530i Touring on Craigslist Los Angeles

1988 BMW M5

1988 BMW M5

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This E28 M5 was the car Dinan used for R&D to create their own modifications to supplement BMW’s upgrades to the platform. Not only does that make it a cool piece of American tuner history, but it clears the air of any pretension or garage-queeniness. This M5 has been used and worked on from the get-go. That makes things like the Euro bumpers, recovered seats (now without heat), and early engine rebuild (likely due to the early testing?) not as big of issues. It’s a very clean and good-looking M5 with a fun – if not flawless – history. Even with over 100k miles and bumper conversions, clean E28 M5s have been garnering some serious attention and money. A colorful but respectful past just seems like more of an excuse to drive a great M5 if you can afford it.

Click for details: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay

1991 BMW M5

1991 BMW M5

Last week I wrote up a gorgeous E34 540i/6 M-Sport that was listed just below $20k. Seems that most people thought the price on that was too high, despite the low miles and it’s owner being a long time BMW enthusaist. So, when I saw this ’91 M5 on Pelican Parts with a sale price about $2k lower than that of the 540i, I knew I had to write it up. I’m interested to see what ya’ll think of this deal, because while this car has nearly double the miles of the 540i, it has some Dinan bits, and it’s an M5. Is this car really so special that it warrants the price being within a months rent of a 540i with much lower miles?

Yes. Yes it is.

This is the E34 M5 we’re talking about here. This is THE Bimmer of the 90s. I acknowledge how cool the 540i M-Sports are, but I’m an enthusaist, and I’m the target audience for specialty models. The M5 is popular with everyone, and if you’re looking to get into a young timer classic, name recognition is important. There might be more costs upfront but the return on investment will be higher as well. Five or ten years down the road, when you’ve had your fun and are ready for something different, what would you rather be listing, an M5 or a 540i/6 M-Sport? The answer should be M5 every single time, that is if you’re into making some money on the deal. I’m not saying that isn’t possible with the 540i or any other specialty variants that were similar to a top dog car, but I know it’ll be harder.

Name recognition goes a long way and down the road when the bubble on 90s German vehicles bursts, you’ll want the well known hardware on your hands.…

1995 BMW 540i/6 M-Sport

1995 BMW 540i/6 M-Sport

I’ve written up a number of E34 540i/6 M-Sports (henceforth referred to simply as 540i) during my time with GCFSB and I honestly think this might be the cleanest, most appealing example I’ve come across. The seller has the original “throwing star” wheels, which I would certainly opt for over the 16″ Schnitzer Monoblocks that are pictured. I know they’re rare, but I never cared for the bloated starfish look. The rest of the car appears stock and there are some neat factory installed upgrades, like sport seat arm rests and factory rear reading lights. I know the latter isn’t of much concern, but it shows real attention to detail from the seller and that’s always a good thing.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 540i/6 M-Sport on Craigslist Boulder

1988 BMW 520i

1988 BMW 520i

There was a lot of changes in store for BMW in the late 1980s. In 1987, a larger, more powerful 7 series debuted with the option of a brand new V12 engine, the 3 series convertible would capture the hearts and minds of yuppies across the US and a new 5 series would debut in 1988. However, the E28 wasn’t done for that easily and would continue being sold through the end of the model year. This 520i for sale in Florida is a model we never saw in the US market, with a 2.0 liter inline-6 that found it’s way under the hood of a number other BMWs in other markets. While some pine for the crash bumper look of the 1980s BMWs, I tend to prefer the slimmer Euro bumpers of this particular car, lending a bit of a cleaner look.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 520i on eBay

1991 BMW M5

1991 BMW M5

While the E28 M5 only appeared in the US for one model year, BMW saw an opportunity in the marketplace for a high performance sedan and followed up with a second act, the E34 M5. The new M5 would follow the same formula as the car before, with a high-strung inline-6, 5-speed manual, tauter suspension and styling tweaks. A Touring variant would also become available for the first time. With just over 300 horsepower on tap, the M5 could sprint to 60 mph in just 6.4 seconds. This M5 for sale in New York is one of the lowest mileage examples we’ve seen of late and looks factory fresh, with exception of the switch to the Style 21 Throwing Star inserts.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on eBay

1986 BMW 524td

1986 BMW 524td

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Mercedes gets all the attention for producing some unstoppable diesel sedans and making them available in the US for the better part of a decade. BMW only brought its oil-burning straight-six to the US for 2 years, but it got the benefit of coming in the sharp E28 5-series. Of the few 524tds I’ve seen on the road, most have been beat survivors, still chugging away in spite of less-than-attentive owners. This example, however, may be the best one out there, and certainly the cleanest I’ve seen. Silver on bottle caps looks as good as ever, and the blue cloth interior has held up better than just about any E28’s leather. This 524td has had the same owner since 1987 and looks ready to be classy, comfortable, and decently efficient transportation for another 30 years and 100k miles.

Click for details: 1986 BMW 524td on eBay

1995 BMW 540i 6-speed manual

1995 BMW 540i 6-speed manual

I constantly find myself waffling back and forth between preferring the BMW E34 to the E39, or the other way round. Both cars so well thought out and as time goes on I suspect that proclaiming on better than the other will only get more difficult. The older a car is, the more consideration it gets for classic status. The E39 5 Series has already achieved that to some degree and final models only rolled out 12 years ago. Does the E34 have the edge right now simply because it is older? Personally, I don’t think it’s the time that has passed that makes the E34 a classic, so much as the era that ended with it. I look at the E34 as the last holdout of the old guard. The round headlights, the forward tilting hood, the exterior lines, all true classic BMW. At this point both the 3 Series and 7 Series had a more modern, squared off look. Perhaps most importantly, the headlights were now enclosed, gone was the iconic side by side design. If there is one little detail that I can point to that makes a BMW a classic, that would be the one. It also happens to be the reason that the E34 typically comes out on top when I’m thinking about which body style I would rather own. I love a lot of things about the E39 5 Series, the headlights are not one of them.

Click for details: 1995 BMW 540i on Pelican Parts

1985 BMW 535i

1985 BMW 535i

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What is age, anyway? As my 30th birthday quickly approaches, that question has been on my mind a lot recently. Years alive may be an objective measurement, but youthfulness, vigor, lust for life – these are all factors in “age” that are significantly more subjective. I’ve had a pretty good three decades, but I’m working to make sure that they keep getting better.

This 535i has lived exactly the same amount of years as me, but I can only hope to be as youthful as it appears. Having covered less than 70k miles in 30 years and completely original save the A/C system, this is one heck of an E28. From the chrome to the carpet to to the paint, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything resembling a flaw on this time capsule. The leather shows slight signs of wear, but then again 70k miles isn’t zero. With everything functioning well on a very sturdy platform, age is relative; there are many happy days in this 535i’s future.

Click for details: 1985 BMW 535i on eBay