Litmus Test Double Take: 1988 BMW M5 and M6

Litmus Test Double Take: 1988 BMW M5 and M6

Neither the E24 M6 nor the E28 M5 need an introduction on these pages. Legendary even when new, they both captured the imagination of generations of German car enthusiasts and established the benchmarks for sedan and GT performance in period. Both went through a relatively long downturn in value, as well. And today, as each has moved firmly into classic status and the market ///Madness continues, each has increased in value considerably over where they stood a few years ago.

But with so many shared components, which is the one to get? While a lot of that boils down to personal preference, more so than ever it’s also dependent on your budget. We’ve seen asking prices for nice examples of each chassis hovering between $50,000 and $80,000 depending on mileage and condition, and with a hot market there’s no letup of good ones to choose from.

But what I have today is not the best examples of each. Both are higher mileage and neither is pristine. However, the real draw here in both cases is a no reserve auction format, giving us the opportunity to really see what’s what in the M market today.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay

All Black Everything: 1988 BMW M5 Euro Clone

All Black Everything: 1988 BMW M5 Euro Clone

Let’s get the elephant in the room out in the open: this 1988 BMW M5 has 225,000 miles, and the asking price is $42,000. It’s also pretty far from original.

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That’s good, because there’s really a lot to like in this particular example of the legendary chassis. First off, it’s one of the very, very few of the already scarce U.S. spec E28s that were imported with option 0232 – full black leather. That makes it one of 101 imported to North America as such, and of those only 30 were sold in the U.S.. That alone makes it quite desirable. But then this M5 goes a step farther, and by a step I mean several flights of stairs. Outside we have a European bumper and headlight swap; I know, some people prefer the U.S. setup in the same way that some people consider Marilyn Manson a musical artist. It’s also ditched the original M5 rolling stock for wider, modular and forged BBS RS wheels. And that high mileage? No worry, the S38 has been rebuilt and turned up a few notches, while the upgraded suspension has dropped down and stiffened the ride.

The result? Boy, does this look like one mean super sedan.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay

2000 BMW Z3 Coupe

2000 BMW Z3 Coupe

So much attention has been levied upon the BMW M Coupe that it’s easy to forget there was a non-M version of the E36/8. Equipped with the grunty, 190 horsepower dual-VANOS 24 valve M52/TU in front, a manual gearbox in the middle, and a standard sport differential in the rear, the Z3 Coupe offered high fun factor that wasn’t really present at the original launch of the model. The M52/TU lightened the load as well, swapping the M50 iron block for an aluminum one also seen in the contemporary E46 model. That was coupled with the dynamic shape of the “Clownshoe”; polarizing in looks, but hardly forgettable no matter your opinion. These have become niche cars that buck the traditional SUV-laden commute, yet are reasonably affordable and eminently practical as a daily driver:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW Z3 Coupe on eBay

1988 BMW 325iS

1988 BMW 325iS

1The E30 market is undoubtedly a little overheated. But it’s not hard to see why these cars are so beloved, especially in the configuration seen here. With a tight, sorted chassis, willing six-cylinder motor that sends power to the back wheels, and a snick-snick manual gearbox, it has all the vital ingredients of an 80s German sporting coupe. Simple, fun, unadulterated. The Ultimate Driving Machine. And with high miles, this one may even be relatively affordable.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 325iS on eBay

All Black Everything: 1988 BMW M5

All Black Everything: 1988 BMW M5

Following up on Craig’s Euro-spec Diamond Schwarz Metallic E24 comes an unusual E28 M5. There were a few things that caught my eye about this car; first off, Rhode Island is a small community and I feel like I know a pretty good percentage of the E28 M5s that live here, but this one was new to me. Not only was that unique, but the seller was selling two, with a 4-post black/black E34 to nicely compliment the original model. More things stuck out, though; immediately, the European bumpers and lights are a neat look, but it was inside and the black leather that really helps to set this car apart. About a month ago, Nate looked at a sacrilegious turbo swapped M5 with a non-stock black leather, but this one is claimed to be one of the original 101 all-black M5s imported to North America:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M5 on Providence Craigslist

Double Take: 1987 BMW M6

Double Take: 1987 BMW M6

The BMW M6 is quickly becoming the M bargain of the 1980s, replacing the M5 as the go-to Motorsports product from the company. There’s some irony in that, considering that in the period it was the premier product from Munich and until quite recently was considered the most valuable. However, as the M3 prices have soared and recognition that finding a clean E28 M5 is becoming quite difficult, the slightly more plentiful M6 is suddenly a more reasonable proposition. That said, prices on M6s are all over the map – from the low teens to well over the $30,000 mark. Today I have two similar looking 1987 models to look at; I usually focus on the updated and better looking (in my opinion) ’88s, so this is a slight departure for me. Besides the shining exteriors, where does the difference in these two models lie and are the asking prices in line?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 BMW M6 on Hemmings

Double Take Litmus Test: No Reserve 1988 BMW M5s

Double Take Litmus Test: No Reserve 1988 BMW M5s

Fans of the venerable and arguably original super sedan, take note! This post – and the included auctions – are two that you probably want to pay attention to. Why? Well, we have two examples of the awesome 1988 BMW M5 – not unusual, in all honesty, over the past few years. But the two examples differ in many ways; one is a flawed but original, lower mile example, while the other has high miles, plenty of modifications and is generally very clean. The kicker, though, is that both auctions are no reserve and with a few days to go on each, they’re racing for the top spot. Which will be garnished with the highest bid and where is the market heading?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay

Coupe Week Feature Listing: 1988 BMW M6

Coupe Week Feature Listing: 1988 BMW M6

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I think it’s fair to say that there are quite a few of our readership that came of age in the 1980s, and the cars from that era hold a special appreciation in our minds; this author included. As we work our way through our celebration of “Coupe Week”, I went bank into my memory banks a bit. Growing up flipping through car magazines every month, I studied and memorized the horsepower figures, the 0-60 times and scrutinized the driving impressions of every single car, but there were some that caught my attention. Admittedly, in the early 1980s I had a predisposition to the Porsche 928. It looked so futuristic, and with its big aluminum V8 the performance figures seemed otherworldly to someone who grew up with Toyota Tercels and learned to drive on a early ’60s Beetle with no clutch. But towards the late 1980s, a car came to my attention that I had largely ignored up to that point; the E24 BMW. Sure, they were good looking 2-doors, but to a young man power was everything and the 928 was top trump. But then my father sold his RT1100 BMW motorcycle and bought something the family could enjoy; a 1982 633CSi. My appreciation for the BMW instantly grew. The long hood and delicate A and C pillars were a symphony of design; the sharply angled nose and BBS Mahle wheels hinted at a connection to motorsports. Inside, I still remember the smell of the luxurious leather and the sound of the M30 heading its way up the tach. Solidly in “Camp 6” now, my new favorite car was the fastest version of the E24 that was available to U.S. customers – the M6.

Later on, my father’s priorities changed slightly and heading to the track more, he opted to get into a 1988 BMW M5.…

1985 BMW 535i

1985 BMW 535i

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We’ve seen some cool examples of the standard 535i recently, and today we have another clean, low-mileage example that is coming from its original owner. With just 116k miles, it looks pretty impeccable inside and out. The one main detraction is the automatic, but on the flipside it was just replaced. Having to drop some serious cash on the transmission and brakes was apparently enough for him to decide it was time to move on, as it’s up for sale with no reserve.

Click for details: 1985 BMW 535i on eBay

1988 BMW M5

1988 BMW M5

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The E28 M5 still gets me excited, whether I’m driving mine or just pass one on the road. Today I saw a well-used but sweet example with throwing stars, Euro bumpers, and a nice Dinan badge complementing the standard trunk emblem. While that owner clearly went down the deep rabbit hole of modification, today’s low-mileage example looks almost entirely stock on the outside other than a slightly lowered stance. Some work has been done under the hood though, with the reportedly-howling Euro headers and a chip ensuring this M5 lives up to the legend of hauling ass. It’s not perfect – a few blemishes in the interior and the commonly-scraped front spoiler – but the completeness is what catches my eye here. The full trunk carpeting, first aid kit, and fully-functioning electronics are all items worth paying a little more for. With low (for an E28 mileage), this is a good M5 that could easily be made great.

Click for details: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay

1987 BMW M6

1987 BMW M6

Black wheels. Do you know what they look good on? Porsche 917s, and a smattering of the 911 and 944 models that came with black and polished Fuchs. And, perhaps the “Bluesmobile”. That, as far as I can figure, is it. Don’t get me wrong, I understand one aspect of the appeal of the black wheel. The last 20 years of my life have been a constant struggle of cleaning brake dust off of brilliant silver wheels. Would it be easier to just paint them matte black and never worry about it again? Sure, it would end my Sisyphusian struggle against pad deposits on my wheels. But then, I’d stand back and look – and I’m quite sure, every time I would shake my head. No, it just doesn’t look right to me – even when they’re very expensive wheels on an otherwise stunning car:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 BMW M6 on eBay

Shark Attack: BMW 635CSi Roundup

Shark Attack: BMW 635CSi Roundup

In my recent write up of two pretty overpriced 318ti M-Sports, I suggested that a vintage 635CSi would probably be a better option if you were looking for a collectable BMW for around the same ask of those two models. To put my theoretical money where my unfortunately quite real mouth is, here’s a lineup of the venerable E24 grand tourers. For a modest price you get a tremendous amount of style, sport, near bulletproof engine and drive train and a potential investment. I have five examples to look at; interestingly, four of them are the last of the run, rare to see mid-88 and up refresh models. Also interesting though less surprising is that none of them sits on their original wheels. That, and their birthplace may be the only thing that links them though, as they’re all quite different. Which would be the one you’d choose? Let’s take a look at the oldest:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 BMW 635CSi on eBay