Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe 535i is an odd duck. It’s claimed to be a track car, but its sheepskin seat covers and lack of a cage call that assertion into question. It’s up to you to question its price.
BMW’s E28 mid-sizer didn’t look all that different from its E12 predecessor- same shark’s nose, angular and slab-sided body, and of course a Hofmeister Kink in the leading edge of the rear pillar. Oh sure there are some noticeable differences- the tail lamps were now wider and chromier, and the air extractor behind that brand defining kink was now a vertical slot rather than a horizontal grille. But at the time, BMW probably figured if they had something that worked, why mess with it?
Today’s 1985 535i edition of the E28 has had the opposite approach taken in the time since its birth. Offered up as a track car that’s street legal - it’s two, two, two cars in one! - this 535i's appearance is that of a seemingly well kept but still aging street machine. That’s not to say however that it isn’t hiding some serious guns under the guise of its plebeian white paint and toupee’d dash cap.
Those sheepskin seat covers may look as snug as the valley between a pair of 36Ds, but while they may be thick and luxurious enough to quell even the most monumental of butt trumpets, they also face a sport steering wheel, short-shifted 5-speed stick and some plaques and stickers on the right side of the dash which usually mean this car has been touched, so hang on, mo-fo.
Under the hood, what was once a 180-bhp M30B34 now rocks what the ad claims to be a 3500 HIFLO Sportblock, which quite likely could have arrived by way of Metric Mechanic. What kind of moar powah does that provide? Who knows, but should it not be enough, there’s also the addition of what’s described as a Discrete Nitrous system to give you that crazy-ass Mad Max kind of last minute edge when fleeing a zombie horde, tsunami, or alimony-seeking ex.
I don’t know if Discrete is a brand name, or if the seller is describing the installation, but either way there’s no missing the blue NOS tank in the boot. Having a look at the car one might also notice the new Kumho tires that have been fitted, and perhaps if you squint, the new back brakes. You also might note the ding in the driver's-side fender.
The ad says the car comes with BBS racing wheels, but what are on the car in the pics look like Alpina open lugs so it’s up in the air as to whether the car comes with one or the other or both. Or maybe the seller simply thought the wheels were BBS in origin, which I don’t think they are.
Other mysteries are what appears to be an alarm lock on the boot lid, and the condition of that hot motor. The ad notes that the car had sat for a number of years, and that some work has gone into bringing it back from its Rip Van Winkleness, but also that more work is warranted.
Still, it seems to be in serviceable shape, although aside from a rear seat that looks to be in perfect condition, the interior is again shrouded in mystery, or at least hidden by the dash cap and sheepskins previously mentioned, as well as some nice branded floor mats.
It seems buying this car without checking under each of those would be like getting married without first seeing what your intended looks like without their drawers on. But that happens all the time, right?
Well, I’m not asking you to marry this BMW sedan, even though it is already dressed in white. I’m not even asking you to lay down your hard-earned (or nefariously gained, who am I to judge?) cash, I simply want your take on its price.
Based on its somewhat opaque description, countered by the inherent desirability of the E28 535i - well sorted, these are pretty fun cars to drive - what do you think about this seller’s $5,000 price tag for a car that still needs some TLC? Is that an amount that should have buyers lining up PDQ? Or, is that too many greenbacks for an old car with sheepskins?
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