High Miler – 1986 BMW 535i

As E28 (second-generation) BMW 5-series start to disappear, the cars with the greatest survival rate seem to be the less-inspiring 528e models, usually equipped with a power-sucking automatic transmission. They’re most often seen with flaking clearcoat, bent park-bench bumpers, and a sagging rear. So it’s always a pleasure to see one of the more sporting e28 models, whether it’s a 533i or an M5. For today, we have this 1986 BMW 535i with 300,000 miles for sale in West Seattle, WA for $2250.

1986 BMW 535i left rear

Why don’t we have color combinations like this anymore? At least if you’re going to settle for Delphingrau paint, go with the contrasting Cardinal red leather sport interior! While this car has the common failure of the paint, it was a southern California car, so has no rust. There is a long list of suspension, interior, brake, and stereo modifications, along with a 3.73:1 differential and custom short-throw shifter. Usually later wheels don’t work so well on these 1980s BMWs, but this is a very successful exception.

1986 BMW 535i left front

The transmission and starter have also been rebuilt, and a new half-shaft on the right side. The cruise control, trip computer and air conditioning are down for the count, and the service indicator light is on. While those are common maladies for a car of this age, it does seem to have received some good care to maintain the quality of the core driving experience. The driveshaft u-joint is also ready for replacement.

1986 BMW 535i interior

Surprisingly for a listing posted by an enthusiast, there is no engine shot. There are a few in the seller’s photo set, and it looks pretty clean, especially for the mileage. What we can see of the interior is typical for an older, southern car – lots of dash cracking, failing window tint, and dried out seals. And that brings us to the car below – this 1985 BMW 535i is being sold in Seattle, WA for parts. Immediately you can see some nice parts you’d like to carry over to the other car, including European bumpers (the front one has some slight damage) and big-and-little headlights. Perhaps some of the parts in the rest of the car would help bring the ’86 back to optimal condition, as this parts car only shows 118,000 miles.

1985 BMW 535i left front


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