At $15,900 Canadian, Could This 1994 BMW 525tds Estate Be The New Family Canuckster?

Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe BMW 525tds presently lives in Vancouver BC, but accordingly to its ad it started life a Swiss Miss. It’s now old enough to come to the U.S., but at its price would be welcomed with open arms?

You know, if you or I were to mod a car in our garage—massage the bodywork, tighten the suspension, apply a peeing Calvin sticker, etc.—and then offer it up as the (insert name here) GT, most people wouldn’t give the effort the time of day.


Change that scenario to the builder actually being someone who has made a name in the auto-modding industry and you’ll generally find people much more likely to sit up and take notice. We had an example of the latter last Friday—a 1993 Mazda RX-7 RE-Amemiya—and boy did we all sit up and get our collective notice on.

Sadly for the seller of that JDM tuner car, most of the notice was negative, with both the car’s bodywork and its $39,999 price coming in for particularly close scrutiny. In the end, the Amemiya fell in a 64 percent Crack Pipe loss.

The news has been full of stories of late about people in the U.S. looking at ways to emigrate to Canada. Various political, quality of life, and health care coverage concerns are driving the apparent push north. Those are all pretty good reasons to consider Canada, but I’d like to offer an even more compelling one—this 1994 BMW 525tds Estate.

I can hear you packing your bags now. Oh and those of you who actually call Canada home can play along as normal, just don’t gloat.


As we all know, the E34 5-Series represents a transition model for BMW’s mid-size series. These were the first 5s to offer V8 engines and the first to eschew a design language (shark nose, slab sides) that could trace its roots all the way back to the ‘Neue Klasse’ series of the early ‘60s.


The E34 didn’t just drive a new styling trope for the 5-Series, it also became what is arguably one of the best looking models of the bunch. That was especially so in its elegant longroof form, which was also an E34 addition.

We received the E34 Estate here in the U.S., however we were denied any form of E34 with BMW’s 2.5 litre M51D25 turbodiesel six under the hood. This 525tds has that 141 horsepower mill along with a desirable Getrag 5-speed manual transmission backing it up.


Allow me to reiterate, that’s a handsome diesel wagon with decent power and a stick. Do I have your attention?


The seller says the car was originally sold in Switzerland and was imported into Canada by the only owner it has ever known. It now has a clear Canadian title although in the pictures it’s running Vancouver demonstration plates.


The car comes in Arctic Blue metallic paint which looks to be in perfectly serviceable shape and as understated as a Canadian epithet. The body below that is said to be rust-free and only seems to exhibit a single dent in the rear quarter of which to complain. Wheels are factory alloys and those are wrapped in tires that display plenty of remaining tread.

The interior is trimmed in blue cloth with matching wall-to-wall and an airbag-equipped dash that’s free from cracks or evidence of wear. As is fairly typical of European-market near-luxury models from this era, it comes with electric windows in front and manual cranks in the back.


The car is said to drive great and offers working A/C. The engine bay looks amazingly clean and reflects a service log that shows regularly scheduled maintenance over the car’s life. That life is 25 years at present and over that time the car has done a substantial 255,000 kilometers. Don’t worry, I’ll do the math. Rounding up, that’s about 159,000 U.S. miles. Yes, it does sound a lot worse in kilometers, and that is why the U.S. will never adopt the metric system.


Somebody in the U.S. might just adopt this Bimmer, however. At 25 years of age it’s eligible for the Federal look-the-other-way program and importing the car from Canada is going to be a hell of a lot easier than attempting to do so from its original home, Switzerland.

The question, of course, is whether anyone would want to do so at the car’s $15,900CAN asking. That’s around $11,840 American, and that gets you a car in which the back seat passengers actually have to crank their own windows. Who even knows how to do that these days?


What do you think, is this Euro-model 525tds worth that $15,900CAN asking? Or, does that price seem loonie in more than one way?

You decide!


Vancouver BC Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Conrad for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOCP. Hit me up at and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

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About the author

Rob Emslie

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