1988 BMW 535is “M535i” Clone

As I mentioned in the M635CSi post recently, some of the confusion about these “M” branded models came from the nomenclature between the E24 and E28. While the M6 and M5 co-existed in the United States market, they did not in Europe. This left the M635CSi to be the equivalent of the M6. But the same was not true of the M535i. This model was sold as a more affordable alternative to the M5; most of the look of the Motorsports model but without the bigger bills associated with the more exotic double overhead cam 24 valve M88/3. Instead, you got a 3.4 liter M30 under the hood just like the rest of the .35 models. The recipe was a success, selling around 10,000 examples in several different markets – but never in the U.S..

Instead, the U.S. market received the 535iS model. The iS model was specific to the North American market and gave you the look of the U.S.-bound M5, with deeper front and rear spoilers, M-crafted sport suspension and sport seats. It, too, was quite popular – between 1987 and 1988, just over 6,000 examples sold in the United States alone, and of those, a little more than half were the preferred manual variant. One of the nice aspects of the 535iS was that if you enjoyed colors other than black you were able to order the lesser model in any shade you wanted, unlike the M5.

Today’s 535iS is a bit special, as it’s combined the two models into one in an exhaustive recreation of a European market M535i starting with a Zinnoberrot 535iS:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M535i on eBay

Tuner Tuesday Double Take: 2002 and 2003 BMW M5 Dinan S2s

There are a few select automotive tuners who can take an impressive package and refine it into an even better entity. That group includes legends such as AMG, Alpina and Ruf – all of which are staples of this segment.

Yet they are far from alone. Given the task of improving on what is generally considered to be one of the greatest sedans ever made is no small feat, but if there was one group up to it, it was Steve Dinan’s eponymous company in California.

While just about anyone can take a turbocharged engine and crank up the boost, slap a few stickers on it and call it done, the E39 M5 didn’t come with forced induction. On top of that, it was a motor which wasn’t exactly underdeveloped before it went into production. Nor were the brakes, suspension, or any other aspect of the third gen M5. But Dinan thought they could improve upon them, and with a tremendous amount of work, did.

Dinan went to town on the S62 from start to end. Out came the factory air boxes, air meters and velocity stacks, replaced by Dinan units of larger diameter and better flow qualities, along with larger throttle bodies bored out by the company. This necessitated reprogramming of the computer controls for the engine to match the new flow characteristics. To help the exhaust side of the motor, unique tubular headers were fit to a free-flowing, lightweight exhaust system. While this sounds a bit like old-school engineering, it was successful; the result was an additional 76 horsepower and 51 lb.ft of torque – basically, this was like adding a 1980 Rabbit’s worth of power to an already powerful car.

Dinan coupled the engine mods with a shorter final drive and higher rev-limiter to reach fantastic speeds. The S2 was capable of 0-60 runs around 4 seconds flat and, in unrestricted mode, geared out around 190 mph in 6th.…

Bat Signal: 1976 BMW 3.5CSL

While there are iconic liveries that permeate motorsports, sometimes there are equally iconic aerodynamic aids. The 1970s and 1980s saw some incredible experiments, from the Brabham BT46 ‘Fan Car’ which sucked all of the air out from underneath the chassis, literally sticking the car to the road to the 935/78 ‘Moby Dick’ car, which somewhere underneath the long tail and stretched front end was actually a 911 (in theory, at least!). For BMW, exploiting the Group 5 FIA rules to suit their E9 chassis and make it competitive with the Porsche 911. That meant the aerodynamics of the 3.0CS had to be altered, and the result was wings, fins, and flares. But if the road going version of the also lightened 3.0CSL looked outrageous, the racing version simply took the recipe and turned it up to 11. Giant boxed flares widened the E9 half again. A huge front air dam looked capable of clearing cattle on the Sante Fe railway. Huge centerlock BBS magnesium wheels sported a footprint that would make most large commercial planes jealous. And if the tires didn’t shock them, the huge cantilevered wing protruding from the back of the trunklid certainly would spoil their plans to go airborn. This was the legendary car which gained the name “Batmobile”, and though they were not ultimately able to defeat Porsche in the Group 5 contest for 1976 (you know that, of course, because of the many Martini Championship Edition Porsches we feature), they are no less memorable than the 935:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1975 BMW 3.5 CSL at Jan Luehn Cars

Tuner Tuesday: 1988 BMW M3 AC Schnitzer S3 Sport 2.5

Though ultimately not as well known as Alpina, AC Schnitzer replaced the more famous brand a the defacto factory race team in the late 1970s and 1980s. To capitalize on their success at the race track (including the successful campaigns in the DTM), in 1987 AC Schnitzer launched their first brand-specific model based upon the new E32. That was followed by a more sporty E30-based model, dubbed the ACS3 Sport in 1989. It was available based upon either a normal 3-series, or those with a bunch of dough could opt to allow Schnitzer to modify their prized M3. And modify it did; subtle changes outside included revised mirrors, a light change to the rear end and a single-wiper conversion to really channel the DTM spirit. Wheels were either 17″ multi-piece Schnitzer design, or the ever-popular BBS RS model in 16″x8 or 9. As Alpina did, Schnitzer included their own steering wheel (4 options available), a numbered plaque, bespoke suspension 20mm lower than the standard ride height, and a unique rectangular-tipped exhaust. However, the real treat was the full 2.5 conversion, which really packed some extra power in the S14. Schnitzer brought the total displacement to 2,431 cc – just shy of the 2,467 BMW themselves would produce in the 1990 Sport Evolution. Coupled with a revised DME, the S3 Sport 2.5 produced an impressive 245 horsepower. They are exceedingly rare to come across, but our reader Daniel spotted this fully converted 1988 example for sale:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M3 AC Schnitzer S3 2.5 at Garage Current

1990 BMW 535i

7Only yesterday I was lamenting, once again, the dearth of nice condition E34s on the market. Well, as if to prove me wrong, another neat example has popped up on eBay. When these cars crop up in this kind of condition, they serve as a reminder of just how handsome an E34 can be when cleaned up. The lines are crisp and unfussy and the overall impression given off by the well-proportioned design is of a purposeful sport sedan. This particular example is an unusually specified 535i with ultra low miles. Unfortunately, it also has a rather ambitious price tag.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 BMW 535i on eBay

1989 BMW 325i AC Schnitzer

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Thanks to a Road & Track tuner feature, AC Schnitzer (along with Ruf, TechArt and HPA) was one of the first tuners to really catch my imagination. Big chunky 5-spokes and wings fore, aft, and midship were plenty to turn middle-school me into a daydreaming Autobahn master. In this day and age and much like the cars they tune or the pop stars we are force-fed, aftermarket design has become a caricature of hyper-stylized aggression. There was a time, however, when bodykits and wheels were subtly aggressive extensions of classic designs. This 325i sedan is exactly that, having received a bodykit, exhaust, wheels, and suspension that make it look more like an appetizing foreign model rather than a crazy tuner cartoon. Originally a Euro model that was imported to Japan and then Florida, it’s covered 43k miles on the road and nearly half that amount in shipping. The automatic is a bummer, but with so few miles and such beautifully restrained modifications it can be forgiven. The exhaust and suspension will help make the drive more exciting (as long as it doesn’t have the sad sound of good exhaust droning across an auto trans’ overly-smooth revs), and the bodykit and wheels will put a smile on any BMW fan’s face. Eventually a manual swap and some engine mods would help it keep up with its appearance, but for now it’s a very cool E30 that won’t break the bank.

Click for details: 1989 BMW 325i AC Schnitzer on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 2007 AC Schnitzer ACS4 Sport Coupe

Two weeks ago I took a look at a rare AC Schnitzer ACS3 Silhouette 3.0, the car that predicted the E36 M3 in many ways. Schnitzer has always been a bit left field compared to the more popular Alpina, but their products are generally very tasteful and seem to be sought with equal aplomb as their arguably more famous competitors. In many ways, the same things can be said of the E86 Z4 M Coupe. It’s got all the right components to make a stellar package, but seems to be generally overlooked as a potential classic at this point. Perhaps it’s because it’s too new, or the styling is polarizing? News flash: the styling on the Z3 was pretty polarizing not that long ago, too. Just like the end of the run Z3 M Coupes, the better driving Z4 M Coupes are stylish, different, and absolutely great to drive. Couple the two of these offbeats up and you should have a great combo, right? Well…..

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 AS Schnitzer ACS4 Sport Coupe on Boston Craigslist

Tuner Tuesday: 1991AC Schnitzer ACS3 Silhouette 3.0

It’s Tuner Tuesday and like clockwork we have another BMW 3-series to take a look at. However, today’s feature is very different than the normal Alpina, Dinan or Hartge models that grace these pages. It’s very interesting that today’s build company isn’t more linked with the road going cars from Munich because since the 1970s AC Schnitzer was the go-to race development team for BMW. And since BMW likes to link its race-bred technology with prowess on the road, Schnitzer models for the general public would theoretically be a natural step. However, they’ve never proven as successful as the aforementioned alternatives and are fairly infrequently seen. Today’s example is somewhat of a treat to run across; a first-year E36 chassis converted to ACS3 Silhouette 3.0 specifications. That yielded 240 horsepower and a tightened up, lowered suspension along with some great wheels and aero bits that make this 3 look pretty special:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 AC Schnitzer ACS3 Silhouette 3.0 on eBay

Feature Listing: 1999 BMW M Roadster with AC Schnitzer and Dinan Modifications

With all the hoopla surrounding the BMW M Coupe, it’s easy to forget about its sibling, the M Roadster. This wide-hipped roadster offers a lot of power in a very small package along with the ability to drop the top and listen to the noise of that straight six out the quad tailpipes. This Estoril Blue M Roadster is for sale from former GCFSB contributor Aaron Kraljev in Portland, Oregon. This M Roadster was his personal car and has been meticulously maintained. It also comes with a host of nice options and accessories, such as the hardtop, AC Schnitzer alloys and exhaust along with Dinan performance software. Looking to stand out a bit with your M Roadster? Read further…

Click for details: 1999 BMW M Roadster on Craigslist Portland

Wednesday Wheels Roundup

It’s a day ending in “Y”, so you better believe that my mind has been on wheels. I stumbled across a few neat sets this week and though I’d post them up for any wheel whores such as me. We’ve got a neat set of Schnitzer classic 5 spokes for E30s, along with a rare set of 924 Turbo Manhole covers. They’re forged and the proper setup for the narrow body 924, and fairly rare to see. Also rare to see are a set of the Penta AMG replica wheels. Not as valuable as the ATS made wheels, they’re nonetheless pretty neat. There’s a mega set of BBS RAs that would just be stunning on an early 80s Mercedes SEC and a neat and very rare to see set of BBS-like Melber wheels. What’s your favorite?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: AC Schnitzer 4×100 16×7.5 Wheels on eBay