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1988 BMW M5


We try to refrain from writing up total dumpster dives here on GCFSB, but sometimes it’s worth it to examine a car with potential – even if that potential ends up being parting out. This particular ruffian hits close to home, as my E28 M5 isn’t perfect but I will turn in my car-guy card if it ever gets anywhere close to this condition. The worst bits are the paint, lurking rust, and awful trunk that is minus one spare wheel/tire and carpet set but plus one hideous subwoofer. The seller claims it starts and runs cleanly, which is promising but not enough to dive in head first. I bought my 200k+ mile M5 to have a solid base that I could feel good about keeping on the road. If you are a BMW mechanic, this could be a cheap M5 for a long term project. Otherwise, it may end up as nothing more than a moneypit or a parts car.

Click for details: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay


Year: 1988
Model: M5
Engine: 3.5 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 220,052 mi
Price: No reserve auction


1988 BMW M5

220,052 Miles
Very solid chassis with limited rust
16″ Momo wheels
Hella H4/H1 Headlight upgrade
Aftermarket stereo with multiple amps & sub

1988 BMW M5 – Black over Tan leather, 5-speed with a S38B35 engine. This car is a very solid original M5, in need of a full repaint. All of the VIN tags are present and accounted for on the fenders, doors, trunk lid. The VIN tag is not present on the hood.

The interior of the car is in fair condition – the rear seat bottom has a tear, and the front seats could use some reupholstering on the bolsters. The carpet is very clean, with the exception of the drivers footwell which needs a deep cleaning. There are no holes in the carpeting. The drivers inner door panel leather is scratched from fingernails. Installed in the glove box is an original BMW Cellphone, 80’s vintage with cord.

The car starts and runs smoothly, with no smoking. There is a hole in the muffler, which will need to be welded closed or replaced. We have driven the car around our shop, and it shifts through all the gears smoothly. The car will sit at idle and run perfectly without any overheating.

Recent service work includes new alternator and belt, replaced clutch master cylinder and pedal tree assembly under dash. A new rear differential mount, OE BMW was also installed.

The chassis is very clean, but does show some rust in the typical area for E28 BMW’s around the rear valance corners and near the bumper shock mounts. Please see the photos below for reference. The trunk gasket has come unglued, and there appears to be indications of rust below the gasket. We purchased the car as it sits, and the car arrived with the sunroof taped shut to prevent leaking.

At some point, the door gaskets began separating from the body, and an intrepid previous owner attempted to re-adhere these to the body using what appears to be Gorilla Glue. You can see the glue on the gaskets in the photos below. As shown, no spare tire is included with the car. The faceplate for the radio is missing. The matching tan leather ashtray cover is included, but not installed as there is a vintage radar detector in the ashtray spot.

There is no spare tire or wheel and there are no tools in the tool tray. There is a large subwoofer box in the trunk and two amplifiers mounted on the rear seat partition. The radio faceplate is missing, and not included.


It’s sad to see any M5 be listed as an abandoned vehicle. Someone out there sees the value in it, as bidding is pretty lively while hovering right around $5k – about half of low end of reasonable M5 values. I’d love read the story of this E28 being brought back to life. On the other hand, if it ends up on for parts I’d love to get my hands on that front spoiler and fog lights and see if the seat motors are working…



  1. MDriver
    MDriver November 22, 2014

    sorry but someone needs to take this poor beast out back and put it out of its misery…
    if you look at this car objectively you would need to get it for ZERO $$$
    AND be able to do a good chunk of the work yourself…
    I need not go down the cost/laundry list of things she needs….and w/over 200k on that marvel of motor
    nope…. leave this one to the parts vultures

  2. Ed
    Ed November 22, 2014

    As a 2k beater I would hoon the tires off of this.

  3. Z
    Z November 22, 2014

    Hate to say it but shoot it and put it out of misery is the best course of action. I don’t think its even good as parts car.

  4. Ry
    Ry November 22, 2014

    Those rims are as fitting to that car as tan mom’s tan is suitable for a mom. By that I mean the entire history of this car must be assumed to be a string of awful decisions!


    I would chip in if we could afford, as a group, to get this car forensically examined like they do on Top Gear from time to time, I think it might have more stories than a comforter at a Ramada Inn.

  5. Z
    Z November 22, 2014

    Comforter at Ramada Inn, lol

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