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At $19,500, Is This LS-Swapped 1987 BMW 528e A Sleeper That Might Keep You Awake?

Illustration for article titled At $19,500, Is This LS-Swapped 1987 BMW 528e A Sleeper That Might Keep You Awake?
Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or No DiceIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Safety standards and aerodynamics preclude modern-day Bimmers having shark-nosed styling like today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe E28. That retro cue isn’t the only attraction here, as behind that nose lies an LS1 V8, late of a Chevy Corvette. What could all that goodness possibly be worth?

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I think that one of Jeremy Clarkson’s most endearing qualities—and let’s be honest, he has but a few—has been his unflagging advocacy of all things British. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Jag or jellied eel pie, if it’s British, Jezza will be its greatest cheer-mongerer.

Few of us can muster that same enthusiasm for all things British, a fact borne out in the comments, and eventually the vote, on yesterday’s 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Pure Plus. That not-Jezza-ness extended to the Evoque’s $17,000 asking price, earning the stylish but otherwise unremarkable car a massive 90% Crack Pipe loss. Oh well, stiff upper lip, stoic Evoque seller.

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When you think of BMWs, what immediately springs to mind? For me, it’s straight-six engines wrapped in executive class clothes. Yes, I know the Bavarian company is much more than that, but for the longest time, those particular aspects have been my jam.

Illustration for article titled At $19,500, Is This LS-Swapped 1987 BMW 528e A Sleeper That Might Keep You Awake?
Photo: Craigslist

That’s primarily because BMW’s six cylinders have over the years been some of the best engines out there—silky smooth, efficient, and with enough power to keep you coming back for more.

One engine that wasn’t perhaps up to the company’s standards was the 2.7-litre M20 that BMW dropped into the U.S. market 528e. The “e” appended to that model name stood for “eta,” and in BMW-speak that meant this was the efficiency model.

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Illustration for article titled At $19,500, Is This LS-Swapped 1987 BMW 528e A Sleeper That Might Keep You Awake?
Photo: Craigslist

That M20 was designed for mileage over muscle and in the E28 528e, it proved much more fuel-efficient if rather lackluster in the power department when compared with its platform-mates. BMW even added a large fuel economy gauge to the instrument cluster in the cars and a nagging nanny of your driving habits. The further you pushed the fun pedal, the farther the needle swept into dark territory.

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The idea was to put the onus for efficiency on the driver through a visual cue of how those pedal presses affected fuel economy. It’s sort of like Cheesecake Factory addressing their patrons’ weight problems by giving them smaller forks.

Illustration for article titled At $19,500, Is This LS-Swapped 1987 BMW 528e A Sleeper That Might Keep You Awake?
Photo: Craigslist
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All that preamble may sour you to this 1987 BMW 528e. That is until you discover that its fuel-sipping six has been replaced by an LS1 V8 out of a Corvette, an engine that never met a fuel pump it didn’t like.

The conversion to romper-stomper status looks extremely tidy, as does the car overall. It’s claimed to be a “rust-free California body” and has traded not just its German mill for American power but in reverse its American diving board bumpers for the smaller home market blades.

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Illustration for article titled At $19,500, Is This LS-Swapped 1987 BMW 528e A Sleeper That Might Keep You Awake?
Photo: Craigslist

The champagne paint is handsome and seemingly without issue, and while the BBS RT077 wheels may not be the best choice here aesthetically, they are at the very least some pretty valuable rollers.

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The interior looks amazing in its burgundy leather and black trim. The Nardi wheel is another aftermarket bit that looks a little out of place but again is a respectable option. The carpet dash toupee, however, is not.

The ad says that the LS1 is backed up by a Getrag six-speed stick and that the exhaust has electronic cutouts for your choice of choir harmonies. The installation is claimed to have been done professionally and extends to upgraded M5 brakes and a Porsche 944 booster to feed those. I’d like to know if the pumpkin in back has been likewise upgraded before I’d start putting my foot into it in earnest.

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The ad does say that the A/C works on the car, so I guess that’s some consolation. Whether things like the speedo and tach also do is TBD. Also, it should be pointed out that the original headliner M20 and its understudy LS1 are within 10 or 15 pounds of one another so there shouldn’t be any major handling issues manifested by having the Chevy living in the nose.

Illustration for article titled At $19,500, Is This LS-Swapped 1987 BMW 528e A Sleeper That Might Keep You Awake?
Photo: Craigslist
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There’s a claimed 7K on the swap but no mention made of the miles on the rest of the car. The title is clear and in the seller’s words the car “is awesome and hauls ass.” The E28 is also one of the best looking cars to come out of the early ‘80s so there’s that. Now it has the power to match those looks.

What might all that be worth? And before we get into that, let’s just get over the whole idea of this being “someone else’s project.” That’s the case with almost all swaps and we’re just going to have to get over that if we’re going to enjoy them the way we should.

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Illustration for article titled At $19,500, Is This LS-Swapped 1987 BMW 528e A Sleeper That Might Keep You Awake?
Photo: Craigslist

Okay, back to the show. The asking price here is $19,500. That gets you a turn-key car that’s both a classic and a contemporary performer. Do you think that combo could command such an asking? Or, is this a sleeper priced to keep you snoring?

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You decide!

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Chicago, IL Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to onlytwowheels for the hookup!

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

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

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DISCUSSION

fleetfilter
SuburbanPhile

Fantastic build.

Wonderful execution.

Probably a blast to drive.

Working AC!

CP - just don’t see anyone spending $20k on it.