Can the relatively-unloved E34 M5 start reaching towards the $20ks now that pretty much every other generation regularly commands more than that? We’re at a funny point in the market for every model number of M5. The E28, E39, and E62 are all fetching mid-$20ks for solid examples, with outliers entering the surrounding price decades. The E34 stands alone, seemingly stuck in the teens for anything decent, from 245k-mile survivors to examples like today’s 93k-mile, black-on-black business machine.
The E36 M3 is hands-down one of the performance bargains out there right now. Even as we’ve seen E36 prices come up a little, they’re still pretty much the cheapest entry point into an ///M car – of any generation. This 1995 Coupe exemplifies this value, looking nearly perfect in black on black after 114k miles, but asking less than $9k. E24, E28, E30, E34, E36/8, E39, E46, E92, etc… all of their ///M models, in this condition, would cost significantly more. The only blemish I see here is some worn paint on the front of the engine, but the interior and exterior both look pristine. I may be partial towards the E36 sedan, but I could do without a couple doors for this price.
One of the things I’ve liked about moving back to Washington State from the SF Bay Area is that seeing rare, expensive cars is special again. Living next to the most expensive zip code in the country meant that pretty much every luxury car was the top-of-the-line model, from BMW M5s and Alpina B7s to Audi S8s and RS7s to Mercedes-Benz E/S/CLS/SL/ML/G/GL63s and 65s. I got desensitized and disdainful, scowling at the 80 year olds puttering around El Camino Real with 500-600hp on tap. The Mercedes AMG 65 models always caught my attention with their gunmetal wheels as the main giveaway besides the badges, a nearly $200k car just hanging out next to the yoga studio and completely unnoticed by the general public.
Well, they were roughly $200k when new. Depreciation hits them harder than their (transmission-limited) 738 lb-ft of torque and now this twin-turbo V12 GT is roughly a third of its original price. They’re not the most attractive roadsters, but it’s certainly a more balanced design than the “umm… copy-paste-update new shape here!” look of the current R231 SL. This R230 looks a bit more classic in black on black and has the Panoramic Roof option on the folding top so you can see the sky without exposing yourself to the commonfolk. Carbon fiber puts a performance veneer on the interior, but this will never be a canyon carver. It’s a 604hp highway bomber, and hopefully having covered fewer than 12k miles will keep scary-expensive maintenance on the V12 at bay for a while.
Whether it’s rarity or aesthetic taste, the Canadian E28 M5 has some serious cache in the E28 community. Most easily identified by the black interior, the 90 Canadian E28 M5s are just that much more sinister over the more common Natur-leathered US edition (save for about 30 black on blacks sold here). Today’s example is no garage queen, and not even especially clean; it looks like a used 80s BMW, reflected in the price starting at $5k with 1 bid and a Buy-It-Now of $9,900.
A brief description from the Great White North:
Up for auction is a very nice example of one of the coolest bmws ever,one of about 90 1988 M5s ever sold in Canada,all canadian cars were black on black. In total,only about 115 black on black 1988 M5s were ever sold in north america. This example is solid,rust free and straight,only a tiny hardly noticeable ding on panel under rear window. The paint overall is good only issues are some flaking paint at lower front fenders behind front wheels and some road rash on the lower front bumper. All body panels have original Bmw part# tags.. There are bilstein shocks at all four corners. The interior is pretty clean and in good overall condition,the dash has a crack,the leather is iin good condition with no rips. The car has an alpine tape deck with CD changer in the trunk. The sunroof works perfectly. The A/C is currently not working. The car runs great and shifts well with 315,000 Kms on the clock. Just replaced the intank fuel pump.I will assist the winner anyway I can. For US bidders, I know a dealer who can transport and import this car into the US or just fly in and drive it home.
Getting an M5 for under 10 grand sound pretty good. However, I’ve been following reader Jim Post’s advice in my M5 search, looking for an example that has already had the money put into it, as opposed to getting a cheaper one that will inevitably need significant investment. Though rough, the black interior is a rare version of an already-rare car, so if that gets you going and you’re ready for a project this could be for you.
I can’t fully explain my recent E28 fascination. Maybe it’s maturing, maybe it’s just an evolution, but my E30 lust is firmly in 2nd place. The M3 too far gone, the 325is too banal, the E28 strikes me as simultaneously under-the-radar yet special. Taking the specialness factor up one notch today is the much-desired black-on-black Canadian E28 M5. I’ve heard E28 enthusiasts lament the Natur leather that came as the only option in the US. While I certainly appreciate the double-Vaderness here, I don’t mind the Natur either. It’s Canadian, but hopefully that is less of a roadblock because it was also offered here, unlike other Canadian models like the E30 wagon. With a nice 130k miles on it, this M5 has few blemishes and would be a great way to up the E28 ante.
Brevity from the seller:
BLACK ON BLACK, CANADIAN CAR 216,000 KMS NEW BRAKES, BATTERY, TIRES. INTERIOR IS IMMACULATE, EXTERIOR AWSOME MINUS 2 FLAWS (1 IS A CRACK BY THE FRONT EMBLEM WHERE SOMEONE TRIED TO PRY IT OFF, SECOND IS A DIME SIZED BUBBLE IN THE DRIVERS DOOR UNDER THE MIRROR.) CAR WAS PAINTED BY ORIGINAL OWNER AND SHINES LIKE CRAZY.
WILL BE SOLD WITH ALL MANUALS AND SERVICE RECORDS IN MY POSSESSION AS WELL AS THE ORIGINAL SALES BROCHURE AND BMW WINDSHIELD COVER AND SKI BAG.
The $13,500 Buy-It-Now seems high but not out of the question, and the $5,000 starting bid encourages a little more optimism. If it could go smack dab in the middle, that’s a pretty clean deal.
I struggled with the 964 scavenger hunt to be honest, but this in turn taught me an invaluable lesson on the challenge of finding that just right Porsche. Perhaps owing to its longevity and continuous shape, the 911 is pretty much the ubiquitous sports car, and even for the relatively-educated model years and changes can blend together. I love Porsches, but being more of a BMW/VW guy, I’ll bashfully admit that sometimes I’ve lumped them together as “another 911.”
Late-model, black on black RWD 964s are apparently not just “another 911.” So this became an exciting scavenger hunt for me. The closest example I could find was a Turbo, which probably puts it in the “too much money” category, but it’s still worth a good look because this is a beautiful car. Low-mileage and pure early-90s Zuffenhausen sex, this is one of the best of the breed.
1992 Porsche 911 Turbo for sale on SF Craigslist
If Evan’s Lightweight 3.3 Turbo can go for ~$64k American, $48,800 for this immaculate 911 Turbo seems fairly reasonable. The interior is impeccable and the exterior looks flawless, a black-on-black beauty. It’s no bargain, but it’s not just another 911 either.