Exterior photo of 1980 BMW E12 M5 Build

1980 BMW E12 M5 Build



Price: SOLD | Visit the Bring a Trailer Auction

Mileage: 206,382 Miles (Chassis)

Engine: S38B36 In-Line 6-Cylinder Engine (10K miles since rebuild)

Transmission: 5-Speed G265 Transmission

Exterior color: Salmon Silver Exterior (218)

Interior: Black Leather Interior (0438)

VIN: WBA39950006781155

Additional features:

Chassis: 1980 BMW 528i

Comprehensive Build / Restoration Detailed Below (from 3 generations of BMW 5 and 6 Series)


1980 BMW E12 M5 Build exterior photo

E12 M5—did I get your attention? Officially there was no such thing as an E12 M5 (1972 to 1981 BMW 5 Series), but this is the closest thing to it! The E12 was the first BMW 5 Series. In 1974, BMW M GmbH started tuning E12s with upgrades to the 525 and 528 models. Then, in 1979, the M535i debuted as the predecessor to the E28 M5 and a legacy was born. The thing is that the E12 has some distinct advantages over the E28 to make an M car out of. To my eye it looks much better, especially dressed with tidy Euro bumpers. It’s also smaller and lighter—and lighter is always better—and it has a more rigid chassis with a more robust, yet less complicated suspension.


 exterior photo

Those are the reasons why a local BMW legend named Dave chose an E12 as the basis of this restoration and build. Dave is a BMW certified Master Technician and had owned the car for a long time prior to the restoration. When it was time to restore it, he set out to do a comprehensive restoration and M5 build. He resides in Colorado, but summers are in Europe and he has extensive connections there. He has a vast parts cache of rare European bits including many rare E30 M3 items, in addition to horde of various Alpina and Hartge bits (don’t ask, he isn’t interested in selling any of them). His daily driver is a Design Edition E30 Touring, one of the first E30 Tourings in the Colorado BMW community.

He did the entire restoration and build of this E12 using his parts inventory of new old stock and rare used parts. It is a mix of E12, E24, E28, and E34 parts and most of the work was completed in the late 2000s. The paintwork was a glass-out job with undercarriage modifications done in preparation for the build. All components were refreshed or completely rebuilt prior to assembly. The build is itemized below, but the highlight is the drivetrain: an S38B36 from an E34 M5 mated to a Getrag G265 transmission. The engine was completely disassembled and rebuilt with upgrades in the form of a Dinan performance chip and Euro headers—the single biggest upgrade you can make to an S38. The S38B36 was the most evolved variant of the S38 to be released to the US market, good for 311 horsepower in stock form. The Dinan performance chip and headers should put this engine’s power closer to 330 horsepower and I can personally attest that it’ll whoop the S38B38 that’s in my E34 M5 Touring.

Dave carefully matched each component to complement the build. The chassis was modified and stiffened in order to handle the power and improve handling. The battery was relocated to under the rear seat for better weight distribution. The S38’s power gets to the road through a custom driveshaft and a 3:91 medium case differential. The suspension consists of H&R springs and Bilstein HD struts in E34 535i housings for improved stiffness. Stopping power comes from E34 540i brakes on each corner, and the rubber meets the road through staggered sixteen-inch Hartge wheels wearing square-sized rubber for wonderfully neutral turn-in.

This isn’t your grandmother’s E12 or your grandfather’s E28 M5—and it will properly out power and out corner the latter! The best way to classify the end result would be to call it a Euro E12 M5. It has judged favorably in multiple Colorado Concours de Elegance events (judging sheets from 2008 through 2011 are included in the records binder). Everything looks factory correct and nearly new. The interior and exterior are close to flawless. The engine bay, suspension components, and underside are also immaculate. It has changed hands once since Dave, currently belonging to a local collector who has built several hot-rod 2002s, and owns several E30 M3s and a 911SC RS wide body tribute. His Zinnoberrot (red) E30 M3 is the one featured on Hagerty’s website and print advertisements.

I am selling it on consignment for the current owner and it comes with a clean Colorado title. Currently catalytic converters are not installed, but they are included with the car to ensure it can pass emissions.

This E12 is incredibly unique, combining the best of multiple generations of BMW 5 and 6 Series. It is the product of a lifetime of knowledge from a BMW Certified Master Technician and years of dedication to the build. We would like to find a new owner who will continue its legacy appreciate it for the next chapter of its life.


1980 BMW E12 M5 Build exterior photo


pre> Engine: 1991 M5 S38B36 E34 Headers Euro 1984 M635CSi E24 Center Resonator Euro 1984 M635CSi E24 Rear Muffler Euro 1984 M635CSi E24 Rear Muffler Hanger 1985 535i E28 Center Exhaust Hangers 1985 535i E28 Starter 1992 535i E34 Alternator 1992 535i E34 Power Steering Pump 1986 BMW 528e E28 Fuel Injection System Stock E34 M5 Air Cleaner Housing E34 M5 Motor Mount Brackets Left Stock 1980 528i E12 Right Stock 1980 528i E12 Oil Pan 1980 528i E12 Coolant Reservior E34 540i Radiator 1988 M5 Water Pump 1988 M5 Hoses 1988 M5 Fan Clutch E28 Fan Blade 1989 325i E30 Oil Cooler and Lines E34 M5 Cruise Control 1989 325i E30 Throttle Cable 1986 528e E28

Drivetrain: Flywheel 14.65lbs Stock 1991 M5 E34 Clutch Stock 1988 M5 Clutch Master & Slave Cyl 1980 528i E12 Bell Housing 1985 535i E28 Transmission Getrag G265 1980 528i E12 Shift Arm 1980 320i E21 Shift Linkage 1980 528i E12 Driveshaft, Shortened 1 1/2” 1980 528i E12 Diff Medium Case 3:91 1984 533 E28 CV Axles 1985 535i E28

Body: Front Fenders Euro E12 Bumper Front Euro E28 Bumper Rear Euro E28 Front Valance Euro E28 Turn Signals Euro E28 Fog Lights Euro E28 (Same as US Spec E28 535i) Doors US Spec E28 Power Window Mechanism US Spec E28 Body Side Molding US Spec E28 Molding on Rear Dogleg Custom

Interior: Momo Steering Wheel
Headliner & Sun Visors 1985 535i E28 Sunroof Mechanism 1980 528i E12 Carpet 1985 535i E28 Power Windows & Locks Harness 1985 535i E28 Center Console Euro E12 E-Brake Handle Console 1986 528e Rear Seat 1985 535i E28 Front Seats 1987 Mitsubishi Conquest TSI Front Seat Brackets 1980 528i E28

Brakes: Front Calipers