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Euro Love: Gorgeous 1988 BMW 535i Euro Conversion

As I’m about to embark on a road trip from the Bay Area to Seattle, I’m entertaining the idea of making a quick stop at the 5er West gathering in Portland, OR starting tomorrow. I have yet to hit up a full-on E28 gathering, and it’s high on my list of things to do. Rolling up in this 535i would certainly drop some jaws. A strong contingent of E28 enthusiasts support the Euro conversion with its significantly smaller bumpers, different headlight setup, and generally “cleaner” look than the big-bumpered E28s. Personally, I love my big ass bumpers and think they are delightfully 80s, and out of respect for how the car arrived, I would never alter my M5. The 535i is a different proposition, however, and today’s example demonstrates why so many people covet this conversion.

1988 BMW 535i with Euro Conversion for sale on eBay

From the proud seller:

Alpine Weiss/Cardinal Red 101,600 Miles Factory Installed 3.25 Limited Slip Differential -2 Owner -California Car -All Records including Original Window Sticker and Purchase Contract -New windshield and gasket -New Spax springs -Bilstein sport shocks -Real Dinan sway bars -New fuel pumps by La Jolla Independent -2 new crank sensors -New interstate battery -New idle control valve -New floor mats -New shift knob -Refinished BBS Style 5’s RC090 17″ Finished in Nogaro Silver -Michelin PSII 235 45 17 -Euro bumper conversion using all new parts -Euro lights, grills, center grill, wipers and arms, etc. All new parts -Professionally polished to eliminate swirls by show car detailing This is a 2-Owner, California car that has had a very good life including proper maintenance with all records including the original purchase contracts, books, and window sticker. This BMW has been properly serviced and is owned by a true BMW enthusiast. Please feel free to ask any questions regarding the car and its condition. As you can see from the pictures this a very fine example.

Bring A Trailer calls this “The Perfect E28.” It’s certainly firing on all cylinders; low mileage, restrained upgrades, and beautiful original paint are all combining to send bidding into a frenzy. I especially love the dark-centered Style 5s and lush Cardinal interior. With just under 3 days left on the auction, 56 bids have pushed it up to $15k. Sounds steep, but this may well be the finest 535i in the US. I’m very interested to see where it ends, as that should set the high watermark for non-M5 E28 prices.



  1. Larry
    Larry July 19, 2012

    There’s a pretty good discussion going on in the BaT comment section too. Not surprisingly, the E28 fans can justify the rapidly inflating bid price, while everyone else thinks it’s nuts.

    Personally, I love the E28 design – especially in Euro trim. I’d love to own one someday. And there’s no doubt this example is well built and cared for. According to the builder, the owner got a great starter car and went all-out with OEM parts – apparently, he’s got well over $20K into it.

    But even discounting my white car aversion for a moment, I’d question the value of investing over $15K for any 100K+ mile non-M5 E28, regardless of how nicely turned out it is. Then again, I’m not the one buying it.

  2. Mike
    Mike July 19, 2012

    I can’t get the link to work, was it taken down?

  3. Paul
    Paul July 19, 2012

    I’ve always been a fan of any ’80s Bimmer in Alpinweiss. Fantastic example of a late model E28.

  4. Sam
    Sam July 20, 2012

    I find these Euro-spec absolutely fascinating (although I’m glad the US/Euro discrepancy is largely over with today, at least visually).

    It’s like going back and time and re-writing history. Americans are experiencing these already great cars now looking and functioning a million times better. The E28 was given the worst 5mph bumpers of all the BMW cars of the time. It’s also great that this gets exposure so people can see just how good they look the way the designers intended them to be. Hopefully more people will import examples from Europe or convert their existing cars to euro-spec.

    However, what’s odd about this one is that it’s not an authentic grey-market car, it’s just a convert, yet the bidding is where it is. I know it’s clean and original paint and a lot of work done…but the fact its the euro-parts were added on after, and not from the factory. Also, minor gripes: body-color side mirrors look like an afterthought too, most E28 euro and non-euro had black plastic units which blended with greenhouse better, and the smoke silver inner alloy wheels are distracting and should have been left bright silver.

    After some quick searching I found an authentic grey market e28 manual on craigslist for only $2,500. Which would you rather have? The modded euro at a premium, or the closer-to-authentic euro with some needs for a fraction of the price? If the attraction is finally acquiring a car the way it should have looked originally…grey market units shipped here but left cosmetically unchanged after federalization should be the goal, not modded examples long after importation.

  5. Wes
    Wes July 20, 2012

    $15k? And it’s not even a 535is? And the RESERVE hasn’t been met?

  6. […] After 51 bids, the much talked about 1988 535i sold for $17,455. That is surely the high end of what a non-M5 E28s are going for these days. If any early 5er deserved it, it was certainly this car: Closed Auction | Our Post on this Car […]

  7. ggkthx
    ggkthx July 24, 2012

    $17,455? 535is? Meanwhile in my neighborhood a clean car, maybe not as clean as this but awe inspiring none the less, is selling for $7k. Someone got ripped off here, lmao.

    You can find a M5 or M6 with decently low milage and immaculate condition for less than 17k…. saw one for 16k on ebay the other week that was a winning bid. What are the people thinking who bid on this? They must be rich guy doctors who just have money to blow.

  8. […] week, Nate featured an impossibly mint 1988 BMW 535i with Euro market fascias, updated BBS Style 5 wheels and a stunning color combo of Alpinweiss over […]

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