2002 BMW 540i Sport

d7010589-a41f-40b6-bf6e-8a8fa79f49e0

I first came across the listing for this 2002 BMW 540i M-Sport nearly 6 months ago, and frankly I’m shocked to see it still for sale. It was a garage queen during the first owner’s stewardship and the current owner says he didn’t use it for daily commuting. The seller has done a great job photographing the usual problem areas associated with vehicles living in coastal areas, and included lots of important information. Additionally, there are numerous recent articles floating around the internet that heap praise upon this sleeper Bimmer, and we’ve done a fair amount of worshiping at the temple of the E39 ourselves. Still, the 540i M-Sport remains a cult classic, unlike its sibling, and mainstream media darling, the E39 M5.

When I was in the market for a new car, I often had moments where I’d be looking at a performance variant of a model, and wonder if spending the extra money was indeed worth it. There are many factors that effect the answer to that question, the majority of them vary person to person, but on thing remains true across the board. Nobody needs an M5, but everybody covets that badge. Nobody needs an 540i either, but between the two, it’s the more rational choice. The thing is, we’re irrational beings, even when we think we’ve got a solid handle on things, we let our emotions get the best of us. More and more we’re a society that deals in extremes, and the 540i M-Sport is hardly extreme. Is it reaching to say this car hasn’t sold because people are so obsessed with the prestige that comes with driving an M5? Maybe, but if it’s a stretch, it’s an easy one. The market for V8 powered Euro sedans with 3 pedals is shrinking given that the mainstream mindset is TURBO EVERYTHING! Growing general awareness of the quality of these cars, and an appreciation for them in the enthusiast community is great. However, I’d be willing to stake my internet reputation on the following statement. If given the choice between an E39 M5 and an E39 540i/6 M-Sport, people will choose the M5 9 times out of 10. That one person is most likely a GCFSB reader and they most likely already have one of these cars. To them I’d like to say, Congratulations! You have far more restraint than the rest of us.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW 540i Sport on Bimmerworld

Continue reading

1999 BMW Z3

Just the other day a friend of mine was complaining about the lack of “pure” sport coupes available on the used market for a reasonable price. They aren’t interested at all in roofless options which does eliminate fan favorites like a Mazda Miata, Honda S2000, or Porsche Boxster. I then asked, “well what about a BMW Z3?” and my perfectly reasonable question was met with a chuckle. I don’t know what it is about the Z3 that so many people so dislike but when thinking of driver focused sport coupes, it’s always the first thing that comes to mind. M Coupes are more powerful and aggressive looking, but they’re also highly sought after, therefore the reasonable price part of the equation goes right out the window. I love the odd styling and the wonderfully simple interior. Driver position is amazing in these cars and they’re surprisingly functional as well thanks to the hatch. The Z3 roadster might be what comes to mind when the name is mentioned, but it is the coupe that is the real star.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW Z3

Continue reading

1993 BMW 325ic

 

The majority of the E30 convertibles that I come across suffer from two common issues: they’re usually in very rough condition and they have an automatic transmission. The former is due to the neglect of owners who never thought they’d become a sought after classic and the latter is a symptom of the non-enthusaist buyers who took these things home by the boatload. There is no vehicle that reminds me more of smarmy, yuppie folks than the E30 ‘vert. At launch, this was the official car of the abundant 80s nouveau riche, perfect for whisking guys with names like Barry, Gordon, or Donald away from the office, and out to where ever they were summering.

By 1993 things had changed, Barry Gordon, and Donald were either broke, working the Asian markets, or quietly cruising along in a legitimate line of work. The the E30 sedan and coupe had died off in ’91, giving way to the larger, softer E36 body style. The convertible however, it clung to the 80s for dear life, soldiering on until 1993. This example is advertised as having had only one owner, I’d love to get their story on why they chose this car, and more importantly why they opted for the manual transmission. It’s very rare to see a a drop top BMW with a 3rd pedal, let alone a one owner car that appears to be in great condition, so you

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 BMW 325ic

Continue reading

1994 BMW 530i Touring

I feel as though I’ve been on a kick of featuring performance variants lately and while a well maintained go-fast-machine is certainly attention grabbing, I think there is something to be said for solid basic transportation as well. This 1994 BMW 530iT lives only a few minutes away from me and I swear I’ve seen it out on local streets. E34 wagons always catch my eye, I’ve written up a number of them in the past, and while I usually look for rare ones with a 3rd pedal, I couldn’t pass over this example.

It appears to be quite clean overall and the seller mentions that $1,400 in service was recently performed. With an older BMW that could have easily been one minor part and a bunch of labor, but still, good to know it has recently been in the shop. I’d be sure to find out where he took it and touch base with the shop to see how well they know the car. The seller does mention that he has all the maintenance records from new, so either they’re the original owner or the records came with the car. Lots more to find out here, but I have to say this is one intriguing package.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW 530i Touring on Craigslist Los Angeles

Continue reading

1991 BMW M5

Last week I wrote up a gorgeous E34 540i/6 M-Sport that was listed just below $20k. Seems that most people thought the price on that was too high, despite the low miles and it’s owner being a long time BMW enthusaist. So, when I saw this ’91 M5 on Pelican Parts with a sale price about $2k lower than that of the 540i, I knew I had to write it up. I’m interested to see what ya’ll think of this deal, because while this car has nearly double the miles of the 540i, it has some Dinan bits, and it’s an M5. Is this car really so special that it warrants the price being within a months rent of a 540i with much lower miles?

Yes. Yes it is.

This is the E34 M5 we’re talking about here. This is THE Bimmer of the 90s. I acknowledge how cool the 540i M-Sports are, but I’m an enthusaist, and I’m the target audience for specialty models. The M5 is popular with everyone, and if you’re looking to get into a young timer classic, name recognition is important. There might be more costs upfront but the return on investment will be higher as well. Five or ten years down the road, when you’ve had your fun and are ready for something different, what would you rather be listing, an M5 or a 540i/6 M-Sport? The answer should be M5 every single time, that is if you’re into making some money on the deal. I’m not saying that isn’t possible with the 540i or any other specialty variants that were similar to a top dog car, but I know it’ll be harder.

Name recognition goes a long way and down the road when the bubble on 90s German vehicles bursts, you’ll want the well known hardware on your hands. I still don’t think the 540i I wrote up last week is a bad deal. What the seller wants is perfectly reasonable for a car of that class, with that many miles, no matter how old it is. This M5 on the other hand can command nearly the same amount with much higher miles because of its cultural cachet. Have I hammered home that the M5 is the better deal? Okay, lets get into the nitty gritty of what I like about this example.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on Pelican Parts

Continue reading

1995 BMW 540i/6 M-Sport

I’ve written up a number of E34 540i/6 M-Sports (henceforth referred to simply as 540i) during my time with GCFSB and I honestly think this might be the cleanest, most appealing example I’ve come across. The seller has the original “throwing star” wheels, which I would certainly opt for over the 16″ Schnitzer Monoblocks that are pictured. I know they’re rare, but I never cared for the bloated starfish look. The rest of the car appears stock and there are some neat factory installed upgrades, like sport seat arm rests and factory rear reading lights. I know the latter isn’t of much concern, but it shows real attention to detail from the seller and that’s always a good thing.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 540i/6 M-Sport on Craigslist Boulder

Continue reading

1992 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.6

This 1992 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.6 isn’t an enthusaist dream machine, it’s basic transportation, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The listing caught my eye because this car is a one owner vehicle that’s up for sale only because the elderly owner has had her driving privileges taken away. In terms of ideal purchasing situations, that is right up there with the best. Not only do you have a vehicle that has been driven hard, but you also have the added bargaining power of knowing that they need to sell the thing. This example is up in an affluent area just east of Beverly Hills, so I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that the car has been routinely serviced. There is no mention of service records, but I’m hoping that there’s a big ‘ol manilla folder full of them in the glovebox. If not, I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to track down the shop that serviced the vehicle and get all the details on what it may, or may not need in the near future. My guess would be, not very much.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.6 on Craigslist Los Angeles

Continue reading

1986 Mercedes Benz 300E

It seems like just yesterday I was handing over the keys to my Audi S4 Avant to a happy buyer, thus setting me off on my journey to find my next vehicle. In reality, yesterday was actually late April. Here we are in the dog days of summer and I’ve yet to pull the trigger on a new ride, but not for lack of trying. I’ve driven a number of cars over the past couple of months, some new, some used, and I still have yet to feel that magic connection that I’m looking for. I’ve crossed cars off my list that I’ve long lusted after, E46 BMW M3/E36 M3, and some that I wasn’t a fan of until recently, 540i/6, E30 325i. Though I was rather dead set on getting my first BMW, I’ve been seriously considering a Mercedes lately. On the upside they’re more affordable in this current market, on the downside it’s really hard to find a desirable model with a manual transmission. So, when I came across this 1986 300E with a 5 speed manual the other day, I was immediately intrigued. When I saw that it was just 45 minutes away from me, I picked up the phone and got in touch with the seller. He told me that he had a buyer coming to check it out but if the sale fell through he would let me know. It was a long shot, but wouldn’t you know it, the car remained available and I went to check it out yesterday.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes Benz 300E on Craigslist

Continue reading

1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16

Here it is folks, your chance to put your money where your mouth is and drive the underdog of the 1980s. The Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 is the sleepiest of modern classic sleepers. While E30 BMW M3s are a dime a dozen for those that can afford them, the 190E 2.3-16 remains a rare sight. That means subdued W201 styling all the way round. To say that this car is capable of flying under the radar is a massive understatement. It was only available in Pearl Black or Smoke silver, the latter being the more attention grabbing of the two. Overall this looks like an enticing package, the question is, what will it cost you to enjoy it? Hagerty puts the value of a tier two car at $20,700 and a tier three car at $13,400. That’s a whole lot of ground to cover in between, and in that range is where I would expect the reserve of this car to fall. With two days left on the auction bidding currently sits at $7,200 which doesn’t even meet tier 4 market value, so barring a last minute flury bidding or removal of the reserve, I think we’ll be seeing this one back on the block soon.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 on eBay

Continue reading

1988 BMW M5

It’s been awhile since I’ve given any consideration to the E28 BMW M5. Not because they’re aren’t super cool either, they most definitely are, and will be fore the foreseeable future. For that reason I’ve been passing over M5 listings frequently, they’re too in style at the moment. The bubble in which they currently sit isn’t as bad as the 911 or the M3, but I think it’s fair to say that the M5 is over valued. People are snatching these things up left and right, adding them to their collections, and waiting for them reach retirement fund status. That’s a shame because not only does it screw with the market, it means these cars likely aren’t being driven as intended. That was most likely not the case with this example given that it has 190k on the clock. Whereas a potential buyer would hope that the majority of those miles were from easy highway driving, I hope they were were accrued on winding back roads.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay

Continue reading