Hugging the Ground – 1984 BMW 535i

It’s not too hard to find high-mile, weathered examples of E28-generation 5-series BMWs listed for sale. The tricky part is finding upmarket versions, especially if you want one in decent cosmetic condition as well. In terms of enthusiast appreciation, the E28 sedan is very much appreciated, just like its little E30 brother. So if you’re trying to keep on the lower end of the range for these cars, you’ll either need to put up with a smaller engine, mechanical issues, or cosmetic problems. From all appearances, today’s car appears to have more items in the “pro” column – check out this 1984 BMW 535i for sale for $3000 in Danville, CA.

1984 BMW 535i left side

Black paint looks nice and glossy, with the seller acknowledging some fading on the roof and other unspecified blemishes. It definitely has some needs: there’s no heater, it’s time for a timing belt (ha!), there’s a 3-inch crack in the windshield, and its emissions test is due. That said, the odometer only shows 150,000 miles – do whatever you can to verify this, as for the price you’d normally expect somewhere in the 200s. The car is (too) low on Raceland coil-over suspension, but that can be fixed by adjusting it, and while the straight pipe probably sounds great initially, it seems like it might be tough to live with in the long run. Wheels are Style 19 from an E39 540i, and will look good once the stance is fixed.

1984 BMW 535i interior

Here’s the surprise – an interior with no visible cracks on the dash and no visible splits in the seats. It’s not a great angle, but what you can see is in great condition, and speaks to the mileage given. Among the other positives are a refurbished cooling system and aftermarket anti-roll bars. It’s not totally clear what engine is under the hood – top-end North-American market 5-series came with an M30B32 engine in 1984 and would have been designated 533i, with the 535i only appearing the following year. Even with the ambiguities and mechanical needs, this car looks to be a very good start – what would you do with it?


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2 Responses to “Hugging the Ground – 1984 BMW 535i”

  1. Tirefriar Says:

    The reason for sale is stated in the ad – needs smog. With those straight pipes I doubt it very much. If I was considering this one, I’d have the seller smog it as condition of the sale.

  2. Dave Says:

    This is a really good deal for an E28 535i. I agree that it has much to do with California’s emissions laws. It still sounds a little fishy; the price seems too reasonable for San Francisco.

    I also suspect this is a 528e, despite the BMW sport interior. He mentions the need for a timing belt. All of the M30 sedans, of course, had timing chains. He also hasn’t posted pictures of the engine or trunk badges.

    Does anyone know when this slamming/stance idiocy will finally come to an end? It’s been here about ten years too long IMHO.

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