Here in the U.S., when you’re under 25 it’s tough to rent a car. It’s even tougher to import a foreign car here that’s under 25. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe BMW is over 25 and that’s why it’s here. Let’s see if its price makes it worth keeping around.
Ring, riiing, RIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNGGGGG, bup, bup, bup, bup. Ah, the melodious sound of a two stroke engine. It’s like a room full of Chihuahuas all barking in unison while someone scrapes their toenails across a chalkboard. In other words, it’s bliss.
Not so blissful too was the price of yesterday’s 1978 Yamaha RD400 pocket rocket. A narrow 50.18% of you gave that bike a Crack Pipe loss due to the obvious - and relatively easily fixable - flaws presented in the ad.
Now, if the results had turned out differently, what kind of car might go well with that bike.
Well, how about a grey market 1986 BMW 535i with more M-Tech than Marshall Mathers’ man cave? The car is so Euro spec that it comes with cloth sport seats, something almost unheard of here in the U.S. where we like to plant our butts on dead cows or nothing. We also equate cloth with men of the… and, well, yeah.
The e28 was the basis for the first M5, which melded the capable 535i chassis with the DOHC straight six of the mighty mid-engine M1. This one is not an M5, nor sadly does it rock that rabid raccoon S38 mill.
Instead it’s that M5’s base, the 535i, and the engine is a U.S.-spec M30B34 out of a 635i. That change was apparently required when the original six took a dump. The SOHC M30 produced 182-horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque from the factory. Here, it’s anybody’s guess.
Transmission duties are handled by a Getrag 265 five-speed as you might like, and the seller says it operates flawlessly. Some of the other mechanical aspects are not so flawless as the ad notes a crazy high idle, suspension bushing wear that causes a brake wobble, and the need for a new high beam switch and brake accumulator.
Aesthetically things look reasonably serviceable. The Zinno paint appears to hold a shine, and the M-Tech bodykit seems complete and undamaged. I’m not sure if I like the throwing star wheels on an E28, but that’s a personal preference and they are at least both brand, and size, appropriate. There are some rust issues-bubbles here and poppers there-but it’s not like the car’s Swiss cheese or anything. Structurally, it seems sound.
Inside, things are very tidy and very European. This is a sunroof-delete car and unlike the cars that officially got U.S. gigs, this one only has power windows in the front. The dash is amazingly intact and even comes with a period-correct Blaupunkt cassette head unit for all your Kraftwerk needs. The sport seats are, as noted earlier, cloth and the thigh bolster on the driver’s needs some re-stitching. Oh, and there’s no A/C because… Europe.
The seller says that the car gets a lot of attention at the local Cars and Coffee and it’s easy to see why. E28s are some of BMW’s best work both inside and out, and this one seems to be both unique and a pretty good example. The question however, is whether it’s worth $8,995.
What do you think, is this crazy mixed up kid of a 535i worth emptying the bank to the tune of a fiver-shy of nine grand? Or, is this grey market car priced for the black market?
H/T to Van Man, rocks the Man Van for the hookup!
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