For $750, Would You Rescue This Poor Abused 1991 BMW 535i?

Illustration for article titled For $750, Would You Rescue This Poor Abused 1991 BMW 535i?
Nice Price Or No DiceIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Normally, you would give a wide berth to any car whose claimed abuse is equitable to a cathouse mattress. We’ll have to see if today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe BMW, which is so described, comes with a price that might make it the singular exception to that rule.


To say you are all mad about plaid is assuredly the understatement of the year. The fact that the glorious plaid interior we considered yesterday came wrapped in a somewhat unexceptional 1979 Datsun 810 seemed beside the point, and its modest price tag seemed almost secondary, earning the car a quite fashionable 81% Nice Price win.

That Datsun may have been cheap enough for what it was, but the description in its ad did truly let on to more costs appearing down the road. Swapping out the dying five-speed with the included four-cogger offered with the car won’t be a wallet emptier, and after all who buys a used car without some anticipation of further investment to keep it rolling?

This 1991 BMW 535i is described in its ad as needing that further investment following its purchase—investment into things like… oh, just about everything. In fact, the writer of the ad—who has listed it for a family member—charitably describes it as “a piece of sh**.” The car is priced accordingly.

Illustration for article titled For $750, Would You Rescue This Poor Abused 1991 BMW 535i?

We’ll get to that price in a sec, but first the car. Looking at the pictures there’s a lot to like about this E34—arguably the best looking 5-Series BMW has aver offered—but, like a catbox turd mistaken for an Almond Roca, there’s sorrow just beneath the surface.

The ad claims that the 242,000-mile Bimmer has suffered at the hands of its most recent drivers. They, it seems, sadly lack the understanding of proper—or even basic—automotive maintenance requirements. Either that or they are sadistic malcontents who’s singular desire is to see the poor German sedan suffer a humiliating catastrophic demise.


What’s up with it? Well, the ad notes that the M30 under the car’s hood leaks like it’s Julian Assange. It says that it’s sending oil from every orifice available, and is sucking vacuum from the atmosphere because of course it does. Hey, at least we know the oil pump is still working!

Illustration for article titled For $750, Would You Rescue This Poor Abused 1991 BMW 535i?

Other issues include a driver’s side balljoint that’s apparently going bad, which the seller says will end in someone’s fiery death. Also, the interior has seemingly been trashed, either by a pack of feral pit bulls or two teenage drivers who would rather Instagram than massage essential oils into its leather, or vacuum its carpet. It’s hard to decide which would be worse, although at least with the pit bulls there wouldn’t be the likelihood of suffering a contact high from all the hotboxing that probably went on in the car. I got your number, teens!

Despite all the bad news, this 535i refuses to give up the ghost and still runs and drives albeit apparently whilst liberally lubricating the streets where ever it goes. Also in the plus column are a fairly new battery and brakes and the clean title the seller has in hand. That’s probably the only clean aspect of this car, however.


The price is $750 and the guy listing the car says that it needs to either go to a good home where its years of abuse cane be carefully peeled away like the layers of an onion, or it needs to be parted out. Why would we be even considering a car with such an ungenerous description, even at a price that would put a flat screen TV in the range of alternatives? Well, let’s go back to the pics. Two things stand out: the car looks to be solid other than what has been so uncharitably described as its failings, and also, those baskets upon which it rolls could easily recoup much of the overall outlay. Other parts may even make buying the car a savvy investment if eBay is your friend. Aside from that, I’d pay the price just so I don’t have to look at the seller’s meaty hooks ever again.

What do you think, is $750 a fair price to take a gamble on bringing home this sad victim of abuse? Or, would you not touch it at any price based on its description?


You decide!


Norfolk Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to danfromMemphis for the hookup!

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Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.


Aaron James

Tavarish already has this loaded up on a u-haul tow dolly behind his Mercedes.