A BMW E28 535i "sharknose" with 80s charm
This particular 1987 5 series has been quite influential on me (even though I’ve only been in it twice). Liam, the owner, gave me a lift in it a few years ago and at the time I didn’t really know much about classic BMWs. I had just bought my first BMW E46 project and thought I was only interested in the newer models. The experience of riding in Liam’s car left quite an impression on me and it ended up being a big factor in my recent decision to purchase an E30 of a similar vintage.
Funnily enough, Liam was originally looking for an E30 325i when a mutual friend came across the ad for this E28 535i online. He decided to go and check it out and after a test drive, he said it was an easy decision. The car wasn’t in great condition cosmetically but had been mechanically well maintained. It was specced from the factory with a M-Technic front bumper, BBS wheels and the “comfort” package which combines a lovely ride with springy seats.
One of the first issues that Liam decided to tackle was the cracked paintwork on the bonnet. Turns out that this had been dented and badly repaired so he took the car to Impact Prestige Bodywork for a new one to be painted and fitted. After the car was given a thorough inspection, the decision was taken to do a full respray. The resulting finish is flawless and the metallic Schwartz Black paint is mirror smooth and seems to change colour in different lighting conditions .
The M30B34 engine puts out 215 hp and an impressive 310 Nm of torque. It sounds absolutely fantastic and third gear seems to go on forever. Unfortunately, the original engine suffered catastrophic failure a couple of years ago after the throttle cable became stuck at a roundabout. Without a rev limiter, the car red-lined causing valves to hit pistons. It took over a year for a replacement engine to be sourced and the car sat for quite some time.
Now back on the road and going strong, this car just oozes class. The suspension manages to feel sporty yet soak up bumps in a way that I haven’t felt in many cars. The seats are so comfortable and help to smooth out the many imperfections in the UK roads. The interior is a lovely place to be and the original leather looks slightly cracked but still feels plush. It was an expensive car when new and it came very well equipped. It even has a 1980s on-board computer which sits to the left of the steering wheel and indicates MPG, range, max-speed etc. Above the rear view mirror is a diagnostic panel with several check lights for various sensors. I’m sure that it felt like a space ship in its day!
The exterior styling is beautiful. With its simplistic lines, overhanging shark nose grill, large windows and cross-spoke alloys it looks distinctly 80s yet remains timeless in my opinion. While its M5 counterpart sports more M-Technic embellishments such as side-skirts and a rear spoiler, I actually prefer this combination of the simpler, more rounded rear, tucked sills and the stylish front bumper.
It turns out that Liam is considering selling the car due to a lack of space and time. These cars (especially in this condition) are getting very difficult to find. I’m sure that it will fetch significantly more than he paid for it 5 years ago and the prices are only going one way. It’s taking all of my self-control not to buy this car and to focus on my E30 project instead!