1991 BMW M5 Dinan 3.9 – Revisit


The E34 M5 may be the least-loved of the breed, but who is going to argue with a 3.9 liter stroker S38? I adore my S38B35, and the thought of a torquier, gnarlier Dinanified inline-6 with an extra pint of volume makes me tingle. This Calypso Red M5 has made the rounds, first selling on BaT in 2012 for a relative pittance before spending the last year-plus trying to spin a profit. The speculative seller has repainted it but accrued fewer than 1k miles, making clear his intentions to cash in on a rare, tuned M-car. The reality that E34s aren’t appreciating like E30s or E38s has apparently begun to set in, as he’s asking now asking $6,500 less than in 11/2014. If you’re looking for a monster E34, this is probably the way to go. But when you could be getting an E39 with 60 more horsepower and a generation newer everything, does anyone like the E34 enough to pay the premium? I’m guessing the seller is going to have to have more patience or less pride before this M5 can start spinning its wheels again with a real driver.

-NR

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site November 28, 2014:

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1991 BMW M5

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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.

Click for details: 1991 BMW M5 on eBay

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1988 BMW M5

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When I first saw this car, I thought I’d be writing a “Revisit” article due to the grey brick background and beautiful E28 M5. Alas, it’s just another very clean M5 from Motorcar Studio, nearly a dead ringer for the one I featured just over a year ago. That 138k-mile example’s auction ended without a buyer at the $32,900 asking price, so they’re coming in a little lower at $27.9k for this 194k-mile M5. It actually looks to be in as good or better shape despite the higher mileage, especially in the interior where the apparently-original leather looks as good as a redo. Mechanically, all records from new with diligent maintenance from just two owners is about as good as it gets with a high-mileage classic. S38s have been known to reach well over a quarter-million miles without a rebuild given devoted maintenance and a little luck, and with a compression test showing 200 PSI all around, this looks like a good candidate.

Click for details: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay

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1987 BMW M6

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The shark-nosed E24 looks good in just about any color, but red always seems extra appropriate. From more than a few angles the Paul Bracq design cuts some Ferrari-worthy lines, and the S38 engine helped it streak down the roads with similar power and performance to the contemporary Italian 328. Thanks to the good looks, considerable speed, and increasing coveting of early M models, we’ve seen prices for these fast and luxurious GTs start chasing the E30 M3.

This red example has just 54k miles, making it one of the nicest on the market. We should expect nothing less from Hemmings, one of the most reputable names in classic cars. It has all of the documentation from new, but isn’t quite all-original. The self-leveling rear suspension has been replaced with conventional shocks, a reasonable update for longevity and maintenance. OEM+ BBS wheels are the other update, giving a little deeper dish and allowing for more modern tire sizes while looking almost identical. The original shocks are included in the sale in case you want to go old-school, but the original wheels are not. The Lotus White interior is very nice, but not the most attractive color. Low miles and nearly perfect condition mean the seller is shooting high and looking for almost $50k.

Click for details: 1987 BMW M6 on Hemmings Classifieds

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1991 BMW M5

I’ve talked about opportunity costs before, and when considering a car such as yesterday’s 320is it bears reminding. There are plenty of people, myself included, that spend a fair chunk of the day dreaming about what super rare car they’d import from Europe if given the chance. And we’ve be Mr. Feelgood for you, supplying a steady stream of somewhat attainable European market goodies over the past few weeks. But does all this dreaming overlook something that’s right at your fingertips? In the case of the E34 M5, I think that might be true. This chassis is still generally overlooked compared to the E28 and E39 models, but those that have spent some time behind the wheel of these well engineered, hand built Q-Ships proclaim they’re one of the best BMW products made. They’ve got plenty of the right ingredients – the last of the S38 motors producing 315 horsepower, Motorsport details throughout, a great subtle look which still is commanding of respect, and limited numbers – only 1,678 were imported. It’s the right recipe for a future classic:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on eBay

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1987 BMW M6

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As cool as I think the sharknose E24 M6 is, it never quite grabbed ahold of me the way the E28 M5 does (hence my purchase of the latter). Despite sharing the heavenly S38B35, something about the way most E24s sit comes across just a little too soft, more Lexus SC400 than Ferrari 550. Well, today’s beautiful red M6 changes all that with a lower stance and beautiful – if very 80s – gold BBS 3-piece wheels. Something about the red, chrome, and black bits seem to all come together perfectly on this car, pulling me in like no E24 before it.

Click for details: 1987 BMW M6 on eBay

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Honorable Mention Roundup

We get a lot of submissions from readers – something we greatly appreciate! But the reality is that we don’t get the chance to write up all of these cars, and some deserving examples slip through the cracks. For some time I’ve wanted to do a roundup of all the examples we missed out on, so today I’m doing just that. Here’s a group of neat cars that we didn’t get a chance to look at in more depth. Thanks again to all of our devoted readers who have sent in some of these suggestions – we really do love getting your suggestions, so keep sending them and tell us if this “Honorable Mention Roundup is a good idea!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC on eBay

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Clone Wars Fast Wagon-off: Audi S6 Avant v. BMW “M5” Touring

We’re all fans of fast wagons here at GCFSB; Andrew’s owned a S4 Avant 6-speed and I’m on my third sporty 5 door. There’s something wonderful about these versatile vehicles; they’re the automotive equivalent of having your cake and eating it too. You can literally throw everything including the kitchen sink at them, go blasting down back roads with lurid 4-wheel drifts, or simply tote the family along in smart style. It’s not that having a wagon makes you smug, in my mind, it’s that those who have opted for that route simply are a higher evolution of thought. It’s the difference between the Australopithecus SUV market and the Homo Sapiens; sure, “Sport Utilities” may be the rage now, but the reality is many are just heavily disguised wagons or are doomed to extinction in the near future. But for right now, it seems the other way around in the U.S.; though some are on the horizon, fast wagons are currently hard to come by and that makes us look towards the past for some evolutionary inspiration. Since we love looking at older cars anyway, that’s not a bad thing – so let’s consider these two utility vehicles that are actually sporty:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW “M5” Touring on eBay

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Canadian 1988 BMW M5

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Typically, there’s no reason to list a car as Canadian as its more of an importation detail than a real differentiating factor for the model. Perhaps the most notable exception is the legendary E28 M5, with a known history of BMW rushing to churn out 1340 examples for North America and standardizing them with most of the options list and exclusively black paint and (mostly) tan “Natur” leather interiors. 101 examples were sent over with full black interiors – 30 of the US allocation and all 71 M5s for the Canadian market. This creates something akin to a small herd of albino unicorns, and every once in a while they pop up and reignite the forum discussions as to whether a black interior inherently creates more value. The jury is still out on that last point, though I’d suspect that the rising tide for E28 M5s will help them gain some steam purely based on their rarity.

This M5 is one of the 71 Canadian black-on-blacks and is the nicest example I’ve seen. 124k miles and excellent condition make it a high-dollar M5 to start, right in line with the other $30k+ sales we’ve seen.

Click for details: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay

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1991 BMW M5

One could argue, pretty convincingly, that the E36 M3 is the best value if you want an M car right now. Good examples can still be found under $10,000, parts are plentiful, and there’s a huge selection of examples to choose from. But for me, the best value has to be the E34 M5. First off, if you’ve never seen a used advertisement for a second-generation M5, you might have missed that these supreme sedans were the last of the handbuilt M models. If you hate movies, you might have missed that a M5 was also an unsung hero in the cult classic Ronin, even if it couldn’t get away from a Citroen and the S8 was more memorable. If you’ve been living under a rock, you might not know that it’s father – the original M5 – is currently on a fairly steep appreciation curve. Yet the second generation M5, while considered a bit softer than the E28, was a potent sleeper nonetheless. And for me, it’s the ultimate M car; not because it’s the fastest, prettiest or most valuable; but because it expresses the ethos of what made BMW great. A Spartan warrior wolf in taxi-cab clothes, the M5 combined literal race-bred technology into an easily digestible package; it was a pleasure to drive fast or slow, it was reasonably reliable (and especially so considering the performance envelope), and yet unlike Porsche Turbos, Lotus Esprits, Chevrolet Corvettes or any other “sports” car that offered similar performance, it was a stealthy package – it was the adult choice. In 1991 if the M5 was graduating high school, it would have been Valedictorian and voted “most likely to succeed”, but it would have gotten my vote for “most athletic” and “prom king” as well – it’s that good. Despite these superlative qualities, a reputation second to none in terms of quality and driving experience, the E34 M5 still hasn’t caught on as a market darling:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on eBay

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