Time for another Honorable Mention Roundup, and we’re sporting some great 1990s style with one throwback to the 80s in this edition. With lovely coupes from Volkswagen, Porsche and BMW, two Audi sedans round out the lineup. Which is the one you’d like to grab for this holiday season? Thank you again to our readers who sent in suggestions, we always appreciate them!
Yesterday, a reader suggested that 2016 might be the year of the E28. It’s not a bad prophecy to make, after all, since we’ve seen all 1980s cars increasing in value, and the E28 is certainly a fan favorite. Handsome styling, good build quality, more than adequate performance and classic tail-out BMW handling make it a practical choice for a classic BMW. Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at some neat options outside of the natural choice M5; there was the Euro-bumpered Dinan 3.9 1988 535i that everyone seems to think is overpriced. Yesterday I also checked out a 1983 Alpina B9 3.5, one of my favorite unsung heros of the E28 lineup. Nate looked at a ultra-clean all-original 1985 535i that just sold for $12,000. Paul considered a lightly modified 1988 535is that everyone loved but failed to find a buyer. And even last month we looked at a rare option, when Nate checked out a right hand drive M535i. When this 533i popped up, I was almost certain we’d seen it before; it was a near clone of a car we looked at back in 2012, but it’s not the same car. Is this a good potential candidate to express your E28 love, then?
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:
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?
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?
There is something inherently appealing about buying an older car. If you’re willing to forgo the glam and glitz – and importantly, the warranty – of a new car it’s amazing the deals that you can get. A Volkswagen Phaeton is basically a Bentley underneath, and you can get a decent example for only $8,000 today, for example. Of course, in doing so you’re taking some risks – older cars are a great deal up front, but you’re buying something that has been used – so of course, there will be some issues. Or, in the case of really complicated cars, a lot of issues. For example, I can’t imagine what the used car market on the brand new S-Class cars is going to be in a few decades. They are going to be close to throw away cars because no one is going to be stupid enough to want to fix all of the massively complicated electronics on them as an independent and no one will be able to afford having the dealer fix them up. Back up a few decades, of course, and cars weren’t nearly as complicated so it’s at least easier on the surface to contemplate what was a cutting edge car with a lot of miles; in 1988, it didn’t get much more cutting edge or appealing than the BMW M5:
It’s a bit of a Euro-spec day here at GCFSB, and both of the featured cars are rare to see on this side of the pond. In the case of the earlier 420SEC, it’s rare to see them because there weren’t many produced and stateside we have the 560SEC that ran at the same time; in many respects, the smaller motor is a curiosity and a neat side note, but offers no real advantage to U.S. buyers. However, this example is very different; a Euro-spec 1994 M5. While the M5 left U.S. shores in 1993, it soldiered on for a few years in Europe with a revised and enlarged motor. Dubbed the S38B38, the new motor gained 25 horsepower but importantly 30 lb.ft of torque – it was now only 17 horsepower shy of 100 more than the U.S. spec E28 M5’s S38B35. That made up for some extra pounds that adorned the E34 chassis versus the earlier M cars and the M5 was even more of a flyer once again. A few of these 3.8 cars and motors have made their way stateside but they’re still quite rare to find. Usually, they have some neat oddities that we didn’t get here, such as this example’s Hurricane cloth interior. All in all, it makes for one tidy performance package that’s still quite discrete:
Not many people would dare to accuse the E28 M5 of having faults, but I will. First, the engine was turned down for the U.S. market. That’s a reality of the 1970s and 1980s, I know, but it’s still a gripe. Second, it only came in black to U.S. shores. And that too is a shame, because the E24 M6 really shows what a little color does to those classic lines. Third, on top of the black-only stance, it had bumpers that easily double as benches – for Americans, even. Fourth, though wide 16″ wheels were pretty advanced for the day, the reality is that there are increasingly limited good options for filling out those rims. Fifth has to be the interior. My dad has an 88 M5, and it’s a very nice car – but the seats are well worn and look nearly double the mileage they actually are. It’s often the case when I look at an E28 M5 that the seats either look completely redone or wrecked. Sixth has to do with the engine again – because the reality is that 25 plus years on, keeping the S38s running in top condition can be an expensive proposition. Okay, so maybe I’m overstating my gripes a bit, but it just goes to show that there’s at least room for improvement with the U.S. spec M5. How do you fix my list of gripes? Well, buying this car would be a pretty good start:
If you look hard enough, it’s amazing sometime what you can find. Take, for example, today’s E30 convertible that’s been modified with both the body pieces from an E30 M3 and the engine from an E36 M3. In the “best of both worlds” scenario, this isn’t a bad option – but to find it, you had to have a little faith. Personally, I was interested in both the widebody AMG SEC and the modified E24 6 that were in the ad’s cover photo, so I sought more information. What was inside is what seems to be a well built and very presentable box-flared E30 convertible with some serious motivation:
Okay, okay, you’re right – last week we featured BBS wheels too. But let’s just say I have a thing for BBS wheels and I’m in the driver’s seat on this one, so I get to control the radio, okay? Seriously though, BBS wheels are some of our favorites at GCFSB when they’re specified as either OEM wheels, OEM upgrades or aftermarket options. Today we have a few different options for you and like last week, I tried to get one of each marque. Unlike last week, we’re going to focus on specifically the “basket weave” design that BBS popularized. Let’s start with one of the more under appreciated BBS wheels, the RA found on 1987-1992 Volkswagen Jetta GLis:
Model: RA 375
Bolt Pattern: 4 x 100
Offset: ET 35
Tires: Not included
Price: $1,199 Buy It Now
a set of 4 genuine
BBS RA 375 SPORTLINE
They are OEM from VOLKSWAGEN GERMANY!!!!
6x15H2 ET 35
The wheels are hard to find in this condition, but don´t forget the rims are used, look the pics.
Shipping to USA $ 395. For shipping to other countries please contact me for the price.
Payment with PAYPAL only.
The refinish on these wheels sure looks great – I actually had a set of RAs that looked just like this, gold with a polished lip. They could be specified from BBS like that in the 1980s; these, however, have been made to look like that from the original all-silver (or super rare Helios Blue) that came on the stock GLis. I think they look great; gold was one of the most popular colors in the 1980s and these would dress up just about any 2002, 320i, E30, A1, A2, A3 or early Audi.…