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1990 BMW M5

From the “Cars that need no introduction” file, witness the M5. So ingrained into the halls of automotive Valhalla is the M5 that it seems as though there was never a time without one. Yet while there were fast sedans that predated the Motorsport 5-series, the reality is that this was the blueprint which all subsequent fast sedans (tried to) emulate.

If you look up “benchmark” in the dictionary, the M5 should appear as an alternate definition.

But enough of the hyperbole, hoopla and heady praise. You know the details of what makes this car great. So what makes this particular one special?


Year: 1990
Model: M5
Engine: 3.5 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 57,505 mi
Price: $19,975 Buy It Now

Selling my beloved M5.

This particular example started its life in Japan. It had reached 53k miles before it was brought over to Canada in 2005. When the car arrived, it had bad head gasket, which is common with Japanese imports and the paint was quite tired. The previous Canadian owner rebuilt the motor, a complete overhaul was performed on the head with a Port and Polish, as well as replacing the rod bearings while upgrading to the S50 timing chain. The original pistons, connecting rods and cylinder walls were completely intact and were thus reused. This was all done at 86k miles on the odometer (53k miles) by EC Automotive Machining in Edmonton for which I have the receipt.

The car was repainted in original GlanzSchwartz color with matching lowers body panels. Also replaced was the radiator, alternator, fuel filter, brake pads and rotors, spark plugs, belts.

I bought the car last November from the owner in Canada and drove it personally from Montreal to New York city and registered it with no issues. The car has a clean NY title and zero rust. In the last few months I have replaced the idle air control valves and did an oil change with Liqui Moly 10W60 and did a brake fluid flush, i have the receipt.

However the car is not perfect. It is missing a small piece on the driver side bottom door which I have shown in one of the photos. It can easily be replaced and painted. The rear driver side window regulator is acting up sometimes, its on it way out and will need to be changed but it still works, very common for these cars. During the winter the battery had died completely and it wouldn’t unlock. The key trick from the forums was performed to open it, so now the central locking system needs to be reset. I’ve heard it’s a simple procedure but I just never got to it. The radio wiring had been setup to work with the upscale Japanese Nakamichi brand and those radios are difficult to find. I never restored the oem wiring to make the CD43 work since the S38 sounds so good when revving it, I never cared to change it.

To be noted, the car has a freshly reupholstered 370mm M Tech II steering wheel, custom suede door panels with rare euro black wood trim, driver side glove box, suede shift boot, a rare original CD43 radio, rare factory extended leather stitched center console, brand new original HELLA Fog lights are on the car. Tires are Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 with of course forged squared Throwing Stars. The engine pulls very hard to the redline as expected. There are no rips or tears in the leather. Also The rear SLS has been deleted and replaced with Bilstein shocks all around and the A/C works and is ice cold. This is my 4th E34 in the last 3 years. I have now an E38 and have been enjoying it a lot, the M5 rarely gets driven so I decided to sell it, especially that I moved to California and the car is currently at a close friend of mine’s home in New York. The reserve price is very reasonable.

I would not hesitate to drive the car anywhere.

The chassis currently has only 92,546 Kilometers….which is 57k miles, might go up slightly as the car is still driven occasionally.

Video of the car pulling:

if you have questions about the car you can reach me at 7 one 8 724 99 two three.

Payment method of the balance after the Paypal deposit will be cash or certified cashier’s check.

NOTE: The pictures were taken a couple weeks ago when the car had clear aftermarket DEPO tail lights, which have since been replaced with the original BMW HELLA amber tail lights and will be sold with the car.

An HD91 model, this European-specification M5 was produced in September 1989 for the Japanese market. These are far more prevalent than the U.S. spec models, with a total of 5,877 produced compared to 1,678 U.S. models. Of course, Euro-spec cars in the U.S. are quite rare, but the condition and low mileage do help to set the car apart. With below 60,000 miles and in classic black/black, this car appears quite impressive. Popular are the 4-post seating and M System II ‘Throwing Star’ updated wheel covers. Options are fairly typical: (302) alarm system, (339) satin chrome Shadow Line, (354) green stripe windshield, (401) sunroof, (415) rear sunblind, (459) electric seats, (494) seat heaters, (534) automatic climate control, (560) rear co-pilot seating, and (655/676) HiFi. The seller has good documentation on the importation and work completed, as well as some upgrades and repairs. All in all, it is a well presented M5.

But what really sets it apart in this market especially is the no reserve auction format. It would be easy to throw a giant number up in the “Buy It Now” section and watch the car gather dust for months as it was repeatedly relisted – often the fate of the cars on these pages. But without reserve, the auction gives us a chance to see how much the current market values an E34 M5 – what has been the most affordable of these cars over the past half decade. This one breaks the mold, having already passed $20,000. I believe it will fall short of $25,000, but though it doesn’t pull numbers like its earlier siblings, there is no denying that the market is trending upwards on nice examples of the second generation M5.



  1. MDriver
    MDriver August 4, 2017

    Bad head gaskets common in Japanese M5s?? at 53k on the odo??… the owners drive the hell out of them and not take care of them??
    Lots of questions…at least for me…anyone serious about this car I will gladly go visit for you in Queens.

  2. Alex Auto A
    Alex Auto A August 4, 2017

    Que Bella!

  3. ace10
    ace10 August 4, 2017

    The mostly-original, 72K mile, Red over Black that came through BaT last month was quite clean. It went for $24,250. (So, right around $25,5 with the vig). My final bid was just short. I wasn’t totally sold on the car, but I have come to regret that decision in the weeks since. Even the wife thought it was a decent buy. Which never, ever happens.
    I’m still on the prowl for an E34 M5.

  4. Bernard
    Bernard August 4, 2017

    Where do you see this is a No reserve auction??? The seller clearly says: The reserve price is very reasonable.
    I also agree with MDRIVER: It is NOT normal to have a complete engine rebuilt for this mileage…This car was probably beaten…I would not touch it with a 10-foot pole..

  5. Carter
    Carter August 4, 2017

    @Bernard – if it was a reserve auction, it would say “reserve not met” under the current bid. As it does not, either the reserve is off, or was never there. Either way, it’s primed to sell.

    Re: rebuild – my father’s M5 required a LOT of work because it sat in a moist climate for quite some time. Miles were a bit higher than this car’s, but it was not beaten on. Even if it was driven a bit hard, as long as the wear components have been properly sorted I guess I’d not be as worried as you two, and it appears bidders aren’t either.

  6. Wilourosen (the seller)
    Wilourosen (the seller) August 4, 2017

    In Japan cars are not allowed to pass the 50k mile mark due to strict smog laws because of carbon buildup. It is common to find cars that were not maintained properly over there. In the case of this car it had a bad head gasket at arrival into Canada probably due to cooling system failure. This is why the previous owner did an engine rebuild by a professional shop in Edmonton, everything was taken a part, inspected and replaced (except for the pistons and rods as they were still intact, S50 timing chain upgrade was performed.

    TONS of maintenance beside the engine rebuild was done also as pointed out in the description, like new guibo, idle control valves, belts, plugs, radiator, brakes, thermostat, alternator etc…and valve adjustment obviously at the time of the rebuild as well as synching the throttle bodies. The transmission was taken down to inspect the clutch and it was an aftermarket one in excellent condition. The engine has had an oil change every 1,000 miles since the rebuild (recommended by the rebuild shop for the first 5k miles). It runs beautifully and pulls very hard. What else could one ask for when buying an S38.

    Some people are hesitant on buying cars, especially with an S38 from Japan because they have doubts about the longevity of the motor. This one was completely rebuilt.

  7. PKeegan
    PKeegan August 22, 2017

    I had a PPI performed on the car. If anyone is interested let me know and I can share it.

  8. Carter
    Carter August 23, 2017

    Thanks, @PKeegan – generous offer!

Comments are closed.