Older Nitto NT555 Extreme ZR High Performance Tires
California Blue Plate Car
Time Capsule E28
2-Owner Southern California Car
Every Single Record Since Delivery
The E28 (2nd 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 outdrive its contemporaries and satisfy the requirements of the performance driver. The 528e was the combination of lightweight, economy, and fantastic BMW driving dynamics. Under the hood was the venerable M20B27 in-line 6-cylinder ETA engine, one of BMW’s most efficient and reliable power plants—ETA is Greek for efficient. The high torque, low revving ETA engine is perfectly suited for the E28 platform, with an easily accessible power band. If driven correctly, it allows fantastic performance without sacrificing the civility the E28 is known for. If that power isn’t enough, add an “i” head, which drops the compression to 7:1 for turbo applications or “i” internals for a factory stroker motor. 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. Pristine examples are even harder to find, especially in a 528e.
This 1986 528e in Alpine White over rich Llama (dark beige) leather is an outlier example in time-capsule condition. It is a 100% stock, European delivery 528e that spent its entire life in Southern California before we brought it Colorado—the Euro first aid kit is still sealed in cellophane in the trunk, along with the Euro hazard triangle. The original owner kept it for the first thirty years, and then sold it to his mechanic in 2016. It has museum-quality documentation that is enclosed in protective sleeves and organized chronologically in a three-ring binder. The documentation starts with hand-written and typed initial pre-purchase order correspondence, leading to the sale and acceptance paperwork showing a final price of $25,786—$54,797 in today’s money! From there it documents a European delivery, US shipping release, and California CARB compliant catalytic converter installation. Minute details like 1986 528e options, interior color, and premium sound system are discussed—BMW actually made the customer pay for the sound system in advance and then refunded it post-sale if it was not included in the final build! This is followed by a BMW Automobile Club of America (now BMW CCA) membership application in excellent shape. After that is a two-inch thick stack of every single maintenance service completed over the successive three decades. The records show fastidious and methodical old-school “lifetime maintenance” done at frequent intervals—oil changes, fluid flushes, driveline oils, spark plugs, accessory belts, timing belts, filters, valve adjustments, fuel injector cleanings, suspension bushings, fuses (replaced preventively), and more. The records also show common E28 items like the transmission output seals, fuse box wiring, instrument cluster, coolant and power steering lines, air conditioning compressor, and other components being addressed. The last timing belt service was done on December 12, 2017 at 135,303 miles. This included a valve adjustment, spark plugs, distributor cap and rotor, water pump, engine air filter, coolant flush, and an oxygen sensor. The fuel pump and brake pads were done last year prior to our ownership. In preparation for sale we replaced the oil pan gasket, front thrust arms, tie-rod ends, driveshaft, adjusted the C/O for Colorado, and gave it a fresh oil change. We also swapped the original wheels and tires for a set of perfect 14-inch E28 bottle caps with Falken Sincera tires (the original wheels are the ones pictured and included). The Carfax is clean and all paint and panels are original (a paint gauge report is included in the records). As it sits, this is a turn-key 528e ready for the next chapter of its life. BMW carpeted floor mats, two keys, all owners’ manuals, a BMW tape-deck cleaning kit, a complete tool kit, factory jack, and the Euro delivery first aid kit and hazard triangle are also included in the sale.
Alpine White looks fantastic on the classic form of the E28. The paint is in excellent shape; it has clearly always been stored indoors and lived in friendly Southern California weather. All paint and panels are original, which is verified by a paint gauge report in the records. There are no glaring defects in the finish or body, but close scrutiny does reveal small imperfections. The worst are a small crease in the passenger front door, one large rock chip in the hood, and faint depression on the left rear corner of the roof. There is absolutely no rust and the door jam VIN tags are in place, along with the CARB compliant emissions sticker. The body panel VIN tags are not in place because it was a European delivery car. The Carfax is clean. The trim is in very good condition, with only minor warping of the right front bumper trim and very light oxidation on the upper surfaces of the chrome bumpers. The headlight lenses have minor pitting, but are crack-free. The markers, indicators, and taillights are in great shape. The right rear taillight does have some small superficial cracking. The windshield glass has no cracks, but it does have minor pitting. The side and rear windows are tinted, which has protected the interior from UV exposure. The original fourteen-inch bottlecap wheels have some very minor curb rash with older Nitto tires. A second set of are nearly perfect fourteen-inch bottlecaps are included with chrome center caps and Falken Sincera tires with good tread remaining.
The interior of this E28 is in excellent condition. Interiors were a weak spot of E28s and this one is nearly perfect. Llama Beige suits the Alpine white exterior perfectly. There are no odors other than that fantastic classic BMW leather smell; it has never been smoked in. The carpets are free of rips or stains with the exception of large wear spot on the passenger side under the glove box. The factory floor mats are in great shape with the exception of some staining on the driver’s floor mat. The dashboard has the typical cracks that most E28s do, but I do have a crack-free E28 dashboard I would be willing to include and install for extra. The instrument cluster gauges and lights work, including the odometer and there are no check engine or ABS lights. The 13-button on-board computer and the radio have good LCD screens with good backlighting. The heat blows warm and the air conditioning blows cold, blower motor does not chirp, all power door locks work, as do the power windows. The door cards are in excellent shape. The power mirrors do not work, you can hear the motors struggling. The seat leather is in excellent condition, with no notable creasing or wear. All power seat functions, including the power headrests work. The shifter knob is excellent, as are the shifter and e-brake boots. The owners’ manuals are all present, along with a complete factory toolkit and the aforementioned Euro extras.
When you buy a used BMW, you buy the previous owner’s stewardship. This E28’s stewardship has been proven in spades. We could find few gripes on our inspection. The timing belt was last replaced at 135,291K miles in 2017. The maintenance logs show frequent and regular oil changes, fluid flushes, and strict adherence to BMW’s maintenance schedule. The M20 idles smoothly, and pulls strongly to redline. It doesn’t leak or spot. The clutch take up is correct and the shifter is crisp and direct. There is no transmission or driveline whine. The stock suspension is firm, but compliant and the brakes are strong with lots of pad thickness and rotor run out remaining. We pay for and ensure it passes emissions in Colorado. As it sits, this is a turn-key E28. We would like to find a buyer who will continue to enjoy and care for it for years to come.