It’s said that time heals all wounds. The hurt of not being able to afford cars like today’s Nice Price or No Dice M5 back when it was new can be particularly stinging. Let’s see whether time and its current price offer sufficient healing.
There is little chance of healing from crashing at speed in a vehicle with little to no provision for safety. That’s why most of the comments on last Friday’s 1973 Volkswagen 181 “Thing” advocated it to be good only for around-town jaunts and not to serve as a jack of all trades car. For so limited a scope of use, and the fatiguing quality a car with limited sound and weather insulation might provide, the VW’s $13,000 asking price also found little favor. In the end, in fact, it fell in a 58 percent No Dice loss.
The Thing is arguably one of the simplest vehicles ever to come from any German auto manufacturer. More often than not, Germany’s auto industry has gone the opposite route, offering wildly complicated engineering solutions to seemingly simple problems. There is a lot to be said for the traditionally American opinion that all of life’s problems can be easily solved by just adding displacement. I think maybe that’s why we’re all so fat.
In the case of BMW’s lineup of cars, trucks, and whatever you call those hunchbacked things they try and sell, that complication has created a conundrum. It’s led to a generation of vehicles that, while still very desirable after the new has worn off, can at the same time cause a myriad of woes in maintenance and repair issues.
Fortunately, today’s 2000 BMW M5 in Calypso Red over a black leather and carbon fiber interior, comes from a generation before rampant complexity seemingly overcame the company.
That’s not to say that this 21-year old, 132,000-mile Bimmer doesn’t have its share of quirks and complexities. On a happy note, however, its seller claims that pretty much all of those have already been addressed making this a turn-key driver.
First off, the specs. The E39 M5 was the company’s first to use a V8 engine in place of the former racing-derived inline-six. The S52 features double overhead cams on each bank, and those are controlled by BMW’s trick double VANOS variable cam timing system. Like BMW’s larger V12 engine, the S52 treats the V8's banks as their own petty fiefdoms, giving each one a throttle body and requisite computer control. With all this tech, the 4.9 liter mill is good for 394 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 369 lb-ft of torque at a mere 3,800 turns.
In the E39, that’s all routed through a Getrag six-speed stick to a limited-slip differential in the back end.
According to the ad, this car has had a lot of those bits breathed upon. The VANOS has been rebuilt at some point as has most of the suspension’s twisting bits, the latter gaining poly bushings along the way. Additional work includes new power steering hoses and pulleys, plugs and cam cover gaskets, and a number of new sensors. All the fluids have been refreshed and the car rolls on new tires fitted to its factory Style 65 wheels.
Aesthetically, the ad calls the car a driver and not a garage queen. There is a crack in the front bumper cap which is also missing its tow hook cover. The grilles and fog lights are all intact, however, which is a plus. The color is claimed to be a rare hue for the M5 and will rainbow to different colors depending on how the light hits it. The interior is upholstered in leather and features the expected sport seats, wheel, and some edgy carbon fiber-pattern trim in place of warm wood. It all seems serviceable, and the seller claims to have had cluster work done to round up all the AWOL pixels in the digital displays. An aftermarket shift knob sprouts from the console and stands out as one of the interior’s few low points. That’s an easy fix, though. The title is clear and the A/C is said to blow cold.
As we noted, the later M5s gained cylinders, horsepower, and complexity on the road to making those work. Those later cars suffer on the used car market as a result of a reputation for the fragility and wear that such complexity has engendered. The E39 edition has gremlins of its own, but this car’s seller goes to great lengths in the ad to claim those have been addressed. Does that make this a car that will drive forever with nary a hiccup? No, for that you need an old Volvo. What this does seem to be is a fairly well-sorted edition of what is arguably one of the greatest cars of all time. The question for you is whether on not that makes it worth $22,000.
That’s the asking price and considering that the ad has been up on Craigslist for 27 days we now need to help the seller by weighing in on the car and that price. What do you think, is this M5 simply worth that $22,000 asking as it sits? Or, do you think it’s more complex than that?
H/T to FauxShizzle for the hookup!
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