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1987 BMW 535iS

1987 BMW 535iS

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Details

Price: SOLD

Mileage: 265,000 Miles

Engine: M30B34 Inline 6-Cylinder Engine

Transmission: 5-Speed Manual Transmission

Exterior color: Zinno Red Exterior (Zinnoberrot 138)

Interior: Pearl Beige Leather Interior (0206)

Additional features:

Sport Seats

Power Seats

Sport Steering Wheel

BMW Premium Sound System

13 Button On Board Computer

Sport Suspension

16” BMW Style 5 Wheels

Falken Pro G4 A/S Tires

Texas / Colorado Car

Lots of Recent Maintenance

1987 BMW 535iS exterior photo

Background

The E28 (2rd Generation) BMW 5 Series was the one car, more than any other, that established and defined the mid-size sport sedan segment. By its second evolution of the 5 Series, BMW had nailed the recipe of a luxury sedan that was large enough to haul four adults comfortably, while sporty enough to easily out drive its contemporaries and satisfy the requirements of the performance driver. The 535iS, only available for the final two years of production, was the range-topping non-M 5 Series. It was powered by the venerable M30B34 in-line 6-cylinder engine, which produced 182 horsepower. The M30 is one of BMW’s most reliable engines, with many examples lasting well into a 400k-mile lifespan. Power was routed to the rear wheels through a Getrag G265 gearbox. The “iS” also got an M-Technic rear spoiler, sport seats, and sport suspension settings. Relatively low production numbers and the fact that the E28 was so good that many literally had the wheels driven off of them makes surviving examples rare. 

 exterior photo

Summary

This 1987 525iS is definitely a survivor, but despite its age and miles, it looks fantastic in Zinno Red over basket weave Style 5 wheels. It came to Colorado via Texas in 1994 and has lived here ever since. I got it in trade from a BMW mechanic who used it as his personal car. He went through it, updating lots of maintenance items, including a full tune-up and addressing oil leaks, transmission and shifter seals, sway bar end links, suspension bushings, CV axle boots, brakes, more. I have receipts for all recent maintenance and a spreadsheet from a previous owner dating back to 2002. It is completely stock and original down to the factory stereo and comes with summer and winter wheels and tires. The interior and exterior certainly bear some scars from its age and mileage, but compared to most driver-quality E28s, it’s not nearly as knackered as most. More importantly, it is an absolute blast to drive, and makes me smile every time I get behind the wheel. Lots of torque down low combined with smooth-revving power complete the old school BMW recipe of a naturally aspirated in-line 6-cylinder engine powering only the rear wheels.  

1987 BMW 535iS exterior photo

Exterior

Zinno Red looks fantastic on an E28. Red stands out on the E28, as most were ordered in black, white, and light blue. The paint is in good shape and presents nicely, no doubt thanks to the care of its previous owners. There are no major paint defects, paint chips, or peeling, but there are lots of small imperfections commiserate with age and mileage. The lower leading edge of the front valence has the most damage, being heavily pitted from Colorado roads. The rear portions of the front fenders have some peeled paint. The painted panel on the rear M-Tech spoiler has significant UV fading. I could have both areas addressed at extra cost to the buyer. Overall there is minimal rust, but the lower front fenders behind the wheel wells do have minor rust, the worst being on the driver’s side. The front fenders are an easy part to replace if the buyer wants to address this. All VIN tags are in place, all panels are original, and the Carfax is clean with no accidents. All trim and black-work are intact and in good condition. The rubber bumper pieces are fit loosely in spots, likely due to UV exposure. The headlight, indicator, and brake light lenses are in good condition; the passenger side marker lens and driver’s side fog light are both missing. The windshield glass has no cracks, and the side window and rear glass are in good shape. The Style 5 wheels are in excellent shape with no bends and minimal curb rash; the center caps are present with good Roundel emblems. They are wrapped with Falken Pro G4 A/S tires that have 80% tread remaining. A second set of steelie winter wheels and studded snow tires are included in the sale. 

 interior photo

Interior

Interiors are a weak spot of E28s and, unfortunately, this one is no exception. The light Pearl Beige doesn’t help, but vast improvements could be made with minimal expense in the form of new seat covers and darker floor mats. The good news is that nearly everything works, including the often troublesome power seat functions. There are no odors and it has never been smoked in. The carpets are relatively clean for beige and have been protected by factory floor mats (which are not as clean). The front seat leather is in fair condition, with heavy creasing and several tears—the worst being on the driver’s side bolster. At some point somebody swapped the original driver’s seat with another passenger seat by fitting the seatbelt receptacle to the inboard side. All power seat functions, including the power headrests work. The dashboard has the typical cracks that most E28s do, but a soft fitted dash cover from Bavarian Autosport covers it. The shifter knob has minor wear and I replaced a torn boot. A wooden knob is included if the buyer wants. The instrument cluster gauges and lights work, including the odometer. The 13-button board computer and the radio have good LCD screens, but neither backlighting bulbs work. The heat blows warm—but so does the air conditioning. I have not troubleshot the reason why. The blower motor bearings chirp only slightly under hard cornering or braking. All power door locks work. The door cards are in good shape, aside from a few screw holes from previously mounted cup holders. The windshield wipers function, but the metal hole in the hood cowling that the linkage extends through has some rust that doesn’t allow the wiper a good purchase on the windshield. The result is that they function, but poorly. This is not an easily accessible area and it will not be fixed easily. I have remedied this by applying regular coatings of RainX, and it works surprisingly well. 

 engine photo

Mechanical

When you buy a used BMW, you buy the previous owner’s stewardship. This E28 has had long-term ownership by proper owners. The previous owner, who is a BMW technician at a BMW specialist repair shop, gave it a comprehensive maintenance overhaul. The list included:

  • Repacking the CV Axles and installing new Boots
  • Rear Subframe Bushings and Control Arms
  • Front and Rear Brakes
  • Front Control Arms
  • Front Sway Bar End Links
  • Tie Rods
  • Valve Adjustment and Valve Cover Gasket
  • Accessory Belts
  • Fuel Filler Hose
  • Transmission Mounts
  • Transmission Output Shaft Seal
  • Shift Selector Seal
  • Shifter Bushings

Previous recent maintenance shows the distributor cap and rotor, battery, and catalytic converter being replaced. Prior to that is a spreadsheet showing regular oil changes, coolant, brake fluid, and gearbox oil changes, along with lots of preventative and routine maintenance.

The M30 engine starts on command, idles smoothly, and pulls strong to redline. It does have the typical leaks and seeps that every M30 has, but nothing major. The clutch take up is correct. The transmission shifts smoothly and the shifter bushings are tight. The suspension is firm and compliant and the brakes are strong with lots of pad thickness and rotor run out remaining. There are no driveline noises or vibrations. The M30 is arguably one of the most reliable BMW engines of all time, and this example’s mechanical condition will allow it to last a very long time. We would like to find a buyer who will continue to enjoy and care for years to come.     exterior photo

VIN Decode

VIN Decode

  • VIN: WBADC7406H0964512
  • Type: DC74
  • Model: 535i – USA
  • Development Code: E28
  • Chassis: LIM
  • Steering: LL
  • Doors: 4
  • Engine: M30
  • Displacement: 3.50
  • Power: 182 Horsepower
  • Drivetrain: RWD
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Color:  Zinno Red (Zinnoberrot - 138)
  • Upholstery: Pearl Beige Leather (Perlbeige Leder – 0206)
  • Production Plant: Dingolfing
  • Production Date: 9/19/1986

Options

  • 226 Sports Suspension Settings
  • 458 Seat Adjustment, Electric Front Driver / Passenger
  • 481 Sport Seats Front Driver / Passenger
  • 551 On-Board Computer
  • 716 M-Technic Rear Spoiler
  • 841 Aussensp.in Wag.fa.u.325is Sch