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Double Take: 150k-mile E28 M5s

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E28 M5 values are continuing to climb, and examples that are good but flawed are now going for amounts that, until recently, were reserved for nearly perfect, low-mileage beauties. Many enthusiasts and publications have seen this coming for a while, but this past year has seen the largest jump yet. Today, we have two M5s that have covered a little over 150k miles – certainly not spring chickens. We’ve seen well-traveled M5s go for over $30k, but exceptional care and appearance seemed to rationalize such a high price. Both of today’s cars have their flaws, signifying that the 80s ///M appreciation is spreading far and wide.

Click for details: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay

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Year: 1988
Model: M5
Engine: 3.5 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 153,600 mi
Price: $33,500

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You are looking at an all-original, rare E28 M5. Original paint, all matching vin tags, no modifications, and in excellent condition. The engine runs beautifully, always starts right away, and provides all the power that these cars are known for. It is a true pleasure to drive. The oil has been changed every 3000 miles, and it has always been babied, never driven hard.

If you know this car, you know how rare they are: 1239 imported to US, many fewer of those are left today, and even fewer of those in their original condition. I purchased the car in 2006 from my father who purchased the car in 1996 in Houston, Texas after which it has lived it’s life in Southern California. About 30,000 miles ago it had a complete engine rebuild done by Precision Motors in Costa Mesa (, practically making it a new car.

I used the car as a daily driver for 2 years before keeping it in a climate controlled storage for the last 7 years, only driving it a few times a month or taking it to car shows. I’ve been storing the car both because I absolutely love it, but also because it is a no-brainer investment. This car will only go up in value if it is maintained well. It breaks my heart, but I’m selling the car now because I’ve started a small business and need the money to finance it.

Last week I spent $2,000 to bring everything up to perfect running condition and making sure it needed nothing. This included:

Fuel Filter replacement

Air Filter replacement

Oil Filter replacement

Flushed and replaced all fluids

Spark Plug replacement

Coolant hoses and hose clamps replacement

I also had a compression test done to assure potential buyers it was mechanically sound. The results of that are that all cylinders are firing between 125 and 135 LBS and in great condition.

Cosmetically the car is in excellent condition. The original pain looks fantastic, there is no rust, the dash is completely crack free, and all the body lines are perfectly straight as it’s never been in an accident. I have a carfax report that I can make available for anyone interested.

Of course there are some imperfections as can be expected in a 27 year old car. On the exterior, there are a few small marks, a few dings, a slight dent just under the bottom of the driver-side rear door where a jack was positioned incorrectly, and the rear spoiler is slightly weathered and it’s plastic very slightly warped on one side. I have tried to represent all these in the photos taken. On the interior, the plastic frame around the passenger door handle just fell off, and there is a very small, 1 inch crack on the rear seat that has been taped. The electrical system of the car is in great working order except for the following: the power to the passenger seat and passenger window is intermittent; sometimes it works well sometimes not at all. It’s the same with part of the instrument cluster including the gas gauge and odometer, sometimes they work great and sometimes they don’t. These things just happened within the last year as I’ve been taking it out of storage, so I’m guessing some wires just gave in, hopefully an easy fix.

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A full rebuild at 120k miles is surprisingly early, but should mean the S38 will remain solid for years to come. Overall, it looks like a nice, driver-quality M5, but there are plenty of little issues that lead me to think the price is severely optimistic. From the dents and crunched side valance to warn seats and some interior electrical issues, this car is far from perfect. Even with the rebuild, I think the seller will have to be ready to accept $10k less than his asking price if he really wants to unload this car.

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Click for details: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay


Model: M5
Engine: 3.5 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 155,169 mi
Price: $19,900


Rare opportunity to own an affordable driver quality 88 M5. This car is mostly stock except for Billy Boat Performance exhaust (also have factory) previous owner did some maintenance in the past year. -New radiator / hosing / and overflow tank. -New bushings and thrust arms up front. -New motor mounts. -New transmission mounts. -New shifter bushings. -New Billy Boat exhaust system. -Fresh window tints (legal) -Freshly revalanced driveshaft. -Various relays and switches. -New rear window motors. -New headunit with Bluetooth/ipod. -New front/rear brake disks. (rears not yet installed) Original/OEm parts that come with the purchase. -OEM leather M steering wheel (was removed for preservation, extremely good condition) -OEM Exhaust system (mid section-back only) The bad: Dash has normal cracks (but has a dash pad, can barely notice its aftermarket), normal wear on the leather, normal wear on the paint. (has been repainted in its life. remember its a driver quality and not a $50,000 showroom quality)


This seller is a little more reasonable, accepting the imperfections and setting a price that is strong without being outrageous. The BB exhaust system is what came on mine, and I love it, though it may be a little too rumbly for those trying to keep a lower profile. This one has undergone a repaint with some questionable gold pinstriping added to the sides and bumpers, but the interior looks quite nice given the age. Pinstriping aside, this M5 could be made into an extremely clean driver for much less than the $13k difference compared the one above, thus getting the nod as the better deal here. A $20k, 150k-mile M5 being a good deal is still surprising news. How much longer until they become the same unobtainium as the E30 M3?