Every classic car brand has an Alfetta – while some of their cars are very hot among collectors, or are gaining attention, the Alfetta is just as likely to be languishing for sale, week after week, as the owner’s price expectations continue to drop. For BMW, this is true for the E12 5-series – while the 2002 and E9 coupes have moved out of many budget-oriented car fans’ range, and the E3 sedans are going up with the rising tide, the old E12, which has many classic BMW characteristics, is still low on the list for many car enthusiasts. Of course, that means you get the classic BMW experience at a cut price – check out this 1977 BMW 530i for sale for $1200 in Portland, OR.
Black on red, black mesh wheels with a polished lip, and blacked out door handles were pretty cool in the early 1980s, and with the benefit of hindsight, are pretty sweet now too. The car’s exterior color also helps mask the size of those picnic benches on either end of the car, saving you more money by reducing the need to replace with Euro pieces. The paint looks glossy still, though there is a small patch of surface rust on the roof.
The seller claims to have done a number of repairs, including brake master cylinder and brake bleeding, new thermostat, housing and gasket, new belts, new starter, and more. The electric windows are said to need some attention, but most crucially, the seller believes the car to have a blown head gasket, with symptoms including running hot and roughly. Though there’s a lot of life probably left in this engine, this would be a good opportunity to mothball this engine and upgrade to a 1980s 3.3 or 3.5-liter engine from a 5-, 6- or 7-series.
Red leather is great – why can’t more manufacturers do this in a tasteful way today? Unfortunately, it’s got significant cracks in it, so you’ll want to spend some time looking for a replacement set of seats from someone’s parts car, or upgrading to a pair of Recaros from a later car. The rest of the interior looks good, with minimal dash cracking and a manual shifter. The modern steering wheel needs to go, to be replaced by a Nardi or something as 1980s-tastic as the mesh wheels.
Here’s the engine – since you know you’ll need to spend some time in there, it’s nice to see it isn’t terribly dirty, though you should expect some oily muck on its lower extremities. Black does look to be the original color, and there’s no visible rust on the strut mounting points. So yes, this car is saddled by its smog-era baggage, but even residents of smog-nazi states can upgrade the car in a substantial way without getting in trouble, as long as they’re careful with documentation. What’s holding you back?