BMW’s E12 5-series was arguably the first manifestation of their transition from a brief phase as a manufacturer of spartan sport sedans into their current phase as a builder of luxury sport sedans. The experience of driving a 5-series (or any of the cars that came after) was very compelling, but not quite as raw (nor were the cars as light) as any of the Neue Klasse-derived cars. Curiously, these still remain one of the undiscovered bargains of the classic BMW world, perhaps just because they’re overshadowed by the E28 5-series and the E10 2002. So let’s take a look at this 1980 BMW 528i for sale for $3750 in Portland, OR.
What a lovely shot for showing off the shape of this car, though it doesn’t do a good job of helping you evaluate the car’s condition. The fog lights that were once annoyances – remember the stereotype of the BMW driver with his misaligned fog lights blinding you, day or night? – are now a cool period add-on. Equipped with a 5-speed manual, this car also has a rebuilt engine with a newly machined and refurbished head, and is said to run very well.
The cypress green exterior over black leather is an attractive combination, and the leather is said to be in good condition with no tears. The dash seems to be in decent condition with moderate cracking, and wood trim looks good, while the headliner, rear parcel shelf, and rubber trim around the front passenger door seem to have issues that might need attention. The shifter is a bit unusual, though the shape looks right. The only modern addition is a Bluetooth-capable head unit, useful if you want to use this car as a driver.
Another arty exterior shot here, and though it does look like the paint has a good shine to it, these colors were prone to clear coat failure, first on the roof and then on the hood and trunk lid. The typical BMW turbine wheels look good on this car, though they’re a pain to clean and no longer benefit from any novelty – that place has been taken over by the steel wheels. Speaking of wheels, the tires are said to be nearly new, and there are new brake pads as well.
Here’s a final shot of a 1975 530i in about 1976 – this very car, along with the 2002 that preceded it, was an early influence on the enthusiasm responsible for this site. Sadly, it was lumbered with an automatic transmission, and worse yet, a vinyl roof, but that made it accessible and kept a young enthusiast in BMWs.