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1988 BMW M5

E30 M3s have been on my mind recently, but I’m thankful that considering the ways to get ahold of one has only served to remind me that the E28 M5 is the car for me. The M3 could only supplement, not replace the 4-door brawler. I just can’t do without the lines, the usability, and most of all the sweet howling fury of the S38. I bought mine with a healthy dose of mileage and a rebuilt engine so that I could explore, learn, and hammer on it without worrying too much about a pristine garage darling. The issues listed are common, but can range from simple (odometer – it’s not frozen, the gears are bad and easily replaced) to potentially complicated (seats not moving can be a simple switch or ridiculously-expensive motors). 120k miles is a nice middle ground where it’s not going to bring a huge premium, but it’s still pretty fresh for an E28. With a $9k starting bid, this could be a great deal on an appreciating classic.


Year: 1988
Model: M5
Engine: 3.5 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 119,805 mi
Price: No reserve auction

Thank you for the interest in my rust free Dinan tuned 1988 BMW M5 VIN WBSDC9307J2791487. Black (086), Natur Leather (0237) interior. 5 speed Manual transmission, 3.5 Liter inline 6 cylinder engine. Most likely if you are looking at this post you understand the rarity of this vehicle. The vehicle is entirely rust free and a great example of the second rarest M-badged BMW ever produced. Entirely hand built, with production numbers somewhere around 1,236 imported to the United States. My personal history on the vehicle is that I purchased the vehicle sight unseen two months ago with a no start condition. Given the maintenance records and overall condition of the vehicle I was comfortable with the nature of the purchase. Upon arrival of the M5 I had it sent directly to a local BMW specialist garage which subsequently diagnosed the M5 with two bad fuel pumps. The fuel pumps were immediately replaced and the vehicle has been running great since. Upon driving the vehicle home from the garage, I realized that the odometer was frozen, I contacted the previous owner and he assured me that prior to the no start condition the odometer was not frozen and was recording the mileage accurately (I have legal disclosures and correspondence to prove this). I have driven the vehicle over 200 miles in order to assure that the vehicle is running properly. The engine has not been rebuilt but runs very strong, it pulls hard in every gear. It has a Dinan performance chip with all receipts from the purchase and install. I have service records for the majority of the vehicles life that show it was appropriately maintained. The M5 is in overall amazing shape. This being said it does need a couple things, new bushings upfront, ball joints, the AC doesn’t work, and seat motor in the driver seat won’t move the seat back portion of the seat forward. All this being said, it is a solid vehicle that could be a very interesting collectors piece. Feel free to contact me with additional questions or to request pictures.

If you’re a classic M-car fan, I cannot recommend the E28 M5 highly enough. It is a blast to drive, exceedingly rare, and the E28 community is supportive and fun. Their detractions are well-documented (e.g. fuel consumption, repair costs), but my experience has been entirely worth it. My only reconsideration would be to buy a lower-mileage version like this one, but I have no regrets considering the lessons I’ve learned and the fun I’ve had. This is a clean example (though the engine department is unnecessarily dirty) that is a great buy for anything under $15k.

– NR


  1. Ry
    Ry September 30, 2014

    The story seems good enough, pics look good enough….I’ve always wanted an e28 M5…but, it’s discouraging that this owner is throwing the towel in in only 2 months of ownership. I’m dying to own something with this engine!

  2. Zanzibar 996
    Zanzibar 996 September 30, 2014

    Read : complete new a/c, ball joints
    And mostly other suspension parts.

  3. Ed
    Ed October 3, 2014

    I love the idea.
    It has the original SLS, which needs to go, so it will need all new suspension… all new a/c, not sure what is wrong exactly with the seat, the exhaust back box looks rotten, a replacement will be needed…looks like the original 15″ bbs, would need an upgrade in wheels and tires, I would personally want to upgrade the brakes, steal braided lines, and some strut tower braces, but those are just my own preferences…if the engine has no problems, to bring this car to a nice drivers car would cost a good $5 grand…if the engine does have problems….this could be a lot of money….

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