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1978 BMW 530i – REVISIT

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The 1978 BMW 530i that Carter featured last September has reappeared, once again with a reserve. It’s not everyday you see an E12 in survivor condition, so let’s appreciate this car for what it is and reflect upon the first in a series of what would be some of the world’s favorite sport sedans.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 BMW 530i on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site May 31, 2015:

We have an affinity for unmolested survivors here at GCFSB. There’s a special place for plain-jane models that have spent their many years in great care and live on to exhibit what showroom floors once looked like. While it’s not surprising to see an E12 M535i in perfect condition, seeing a standard 530i gives a unique perspective on what an everyman BMW looked like in the late 70s. Compared to American land yachts, these were sharp, tight European offerings with a significantly sportier demeanor than the mid-size sedans their continental brethren like Mercedes and Volvo were offering. The M30 stood the test of time, but the first 5 series had as many teething problems as a first-gen Apple product – namely an insufficient A/C setup and emissions equipment that actually harmed the engine in addition to restricting output. This example seems to have escaped those problems and the ire they created, traveling just 86k miles (and apparently getting washed after each drive) over its 37 years. The copper exterior is exceptional, while the interior and engine compartment are epically clean if not especially attractive. The originality and care given are truly impressive even if the generation and model aren’t.

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Year: 1978
Model: 530i
Engine: 3.0 liter inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 86,600 mi
Price: Reserve auction

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I Offer for sale a rare and beautiful BMW 530i with a nice combination Copper, and Tan color. This car is in excellent condition for its age with no accident. When you look at the floor, under the hood, engine compartment and glove box, you can’t believe how new it is. The door panels, handles, bumpers, window frames, windows, carpet and floor are original in perfect shape. Tires are brand new. Engine and transmission are smooth without any problem, no oil leak so far, and starts perfectly every time. The black dashboard also shows well with some small crack on it. All the VDO black face gauges and horn are operable, and comes with power steering, power windows and air conditioning but AC needs to repair. It comes with clean title, and history, two keys, and owner manual, and all tools package the original wheels are all straight and curb damage free. I have more pictures, Email me if required I’ll send them or any other questions you may have. She needs nothing, runs and drives perfectly and fun to drive, remember it’s not a brand new car, it’s a 37 years old car

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Bidding is hot but low, currently sitting under $5k. Clean E21s have gone for 2-3 times that amount, proving that the popularity of the 3-series is not reserved solely for the E30. Given the obsessively-maintained condition, I’d expect the seller has set a rather high reserve – maybe $7-8k? Unfortunately, it looks like they’ll have to be patient or compromising in order to find someone willing to continue loving this copper time capsule.



  1. Brad
    Brad May 31, 2015


  2. KevinR
    KevinR May 31, 2015

    Cosmetically, this car appears to be in amazing condition. Conspicuously absent from the ad copy is any mention of a service history.

    The seller does say “she needs nothing,” but earlier in the copy he stated the air conditioning doesn’t work. I’m not sure how that qualifies as needs nothing. An air conditioning repair could easily cost into the thousands of dollars depending on what is wrong.

    I certainly wouldn’t bid high on this car without an extremely thorough pre-purchase inspection. I know from experience owning a ’79 528i that these cars can rack up repair expenses very quickly.

  3. Carter
    Carter June 1, 2015

    I’m pretty sure this is the car I wrote up last year in September with a few less miles on it. It appears to be almost exactly the same and I find it hard to believe two Topaz Brown cars are out there in near identical condition with near identical mileage. Back in September, the BIN was under $5,000:

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