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1988 BMW M5 with Provenance for sale on eBay

This is the first North American E28 M5.  Let that sink in.  The FIRST.  #1.  San Diego BMW dealer and racer Rug Cunningham took delivery in 1987 and put the original super sedan to good use soon after, racing in Mexico, Nevada, and some cross-country rallies.  Apparently it’s been towed around a lot, accumulating what the seller estimates to be over 80k(!) of its 170k miles just rolling behind an RV.  Cunningham’s transportation man bought it at Rug’s estate sale a few years back and is now selling it, full of history, documentation, and love.

The auction is just over $10k as I write this, reserve not met.  A few nice upgrades (BBS RS 211s, a police scanner…), extensive paperwork, and a great history make this a tasty example of the first Bavarian uber-sedan.  Mileage is scary at first, but if it has really only driven the estimated 85k miles under its own power, that number becomes less intimidating.  I don’t know how high the seller expects the provenance to drive the price, but if it stays in the low teens, this is an awesome chance at some BMW M history.

– Nate


  1. e39 m5
    e39 m5 January 4, 2010

    What a beauty! Yes – this was the one that started it all. Hard to believe that is the first one. Engine looks super clean. I would love to drive that car…

  2. Jim
    Jim January 4, 2010

    I love these cars as anyone who regularly reads my comments here knows. The clock says what the clock says and whether the seller claims 80k was behind and RV or not does not matter.
    His comments in the eBay add about these cars selling for 40k or so needs a qualifier. Yea uber low miles museum pieces sell there not 160k mile plus cars which have been raced. I respect that the car has personal meaning to him in that his friend raced the car but that does not add any value to the kind of buyer looking at 160k mile plus 22 year old sedans. The fact it’s been raced often and dragged around hurts the price not helps it IMO.

  3. Nate
    Nate January 8, 2010

    Bidding ended yesterday at $12,000, but did not meet the reserve. Maybe next time…

  4. Jim
    Jim January 11, 2010

    12k is about fair value for that car, maybe a bit more.

  5. David
    David January 22, 2010

    Jim.. several cars have sold in the low $30,000’s lately… Vin #006 sold for $46,995 a few months ago… That car had very low mileage, was in nice condition and sold to a collector in California. The other cars that sold in the $30,000 to $39,000 range had between 40,000 & 115,000 miles on that as was told to me… I don’t judge someones idea of value on a car unless I’ve seen it in person and know the history myself. Some vehicles have a ‘book value’ that is usually correct but with some of the auction prices going so high the ‘book’ values don’t mean anything. I’ve been in the auction business for over 18 years and I still get surprised when ‘experence’ says one thing about value and the ‘crowd’ shows you that anything can happen…
    As for this M5, vin #004… it’s still for sale and reasonable offers are being considered. No expectations on anything crazy or un-realistic. But I doubt that it’s going to be sold in the ‘teens’… It’s a very nice M5 that has been very well maintained… & like Nate mentioned in his article above, it’s the first NA spec built M5. I would think that has some sort of extra value in itself… They aren’t going down in value!!!

  6. Jeff
    Jeff April 1, 2011

    How does one contact the seller?

  7. David
    David April 1, 2011

    Jeff…. You can call Ron Perry at 949-278-1282 regarding my car…. He has it in his shop in California. Ron knows the car very well and can answer any questions about it and it’s history. He can also deal with any serious offers on the car… If you want to contact me personally after talking to Ron then give him your number and I’ll give you a call…
    I appreciate your inquiry…

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