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Price: SOLD | Visit the Bring a Trailer auction
Mileage: 195,000 Miles
Engine: S38B36 In-Line 6-Cylinder Engine
Transmission: 5-Speed Metric Mechanic Ultimate G265 Transmission
Exterior color: Jet Black Exterior (Schwartz 2 668)
Interior: Light Silver-Grey Leather Interior (0438)
Mac Autosport Tune
Miller WAR Chip
Super Sprint Mid-Pipe w/ 15 Degree Merge
Vibrant High-Flow Cats
Billy Boat Muffler
E28 Single Mass Flywheel
FX 300 Clutch Masters Clutch
Racing Dynamics Strut Bar
BC Coilovers / Camber Plates
E34 Thrust Arms w/ 750iL Ball Joints
E31 4-Piston Front Brakes
Aligned and Corner Balanced
M Tech II Steering Wheel
Alpine CDE-HD1488T Stereo
Old-School Bav Auto Cup Holder
Grey Alcantara Foam-Backed Headliner
Leather Shifter Surround
ZHP Shift Knob
Depo Projectors w/ City Lights
Lightly Tinted Windows
Factory Grade Re-Paint
Two-Tone Trim Delete
Shadow-line Rear Trim
Recovered Front and Rear Seats
S38 Top End Rebuild
Timing Chain Components Inspected
S50B30 Timing Chain Tensioner
Bottom End Inspected
Cooling System Refresh
R134 Air Conditioning Conversion
All Trim, Clips, Hoses, Schrouds, Undertray, Emblems Replaced as Needed
17” Style 22 M System Wheels w/ Throwing Stars
Bridgestone Potenza RE-11A Tires
The E34 was the end of an era for the BMW M5. It was the last hand-built M5, assembled by the same M GmbH technicians from start to finish once taken to Garching from the normal E34 assembly line in Dingolfing. It was the last 6-cylinder S38-powered BMW, an engine based directly on the fire-breathing, high revving, high compression, individual throttle bodied architecture that helped BMW dominate Motorsport for the previous two decades. It was the last M5 to retain the classic and iconic 3-box BMW design language—and the best evolution of it in this enthusiast’s opinion. Currently, it is one of the best buys in the classic BMW market. The population of clean E34 M5s is likely smaller than its predecessor the E28 M5, even though more E34s were produced (1,239 E28 US examples vs 1,484) because most E34s had the wheels driven off of them—literally in some cases. Yet, a sorted E34 M5 can be had for half of the price of a proportionally sorted E28 and is a better car in virtually every way without giving up any of the classic BMW experience.
At first glance, the nearly 200,000 thousand miles on this E34 M5 may turn people off, but that is a foolish judgement. After seeing and experiencing it in person, it is one of the best examples on the market, period. It was meticulously restored by both the current and previous owners, with no less than $30,000 in work. It looks, drives, and feels like a 60,000 mile M5. It was originally sold on October 19, 1992 by Gebhardt BMW and serviced there early in its life. The restoration work started in 2008 at 165,000 miles. The previous owner had a factory grade paint job completed in the original Schwartz 2, opting to delete the two-tone silver lower trim paint scheme. High-end specialists SVE Autobody completed the work for a sum of $10,000.02 (in 2008 money). The grills, bumper trim, door moldings, door seals, fender molding, marker lights, fog lights, tail lights, M5 badges, and Roundel emblems were replaced at this time. The windows were also lightly tinted and 3M clear bra installed. The Light Silver Grey leather seat pads were refreshed and recovered in perfectly matched soft leather for a sum of nearly $5000. A complete round of routine maintenance was performed including oil leaks, SLS-delete suspension replacement, and other miscellaneous items like the starter and cruise control parts. Then a Metric Mechanic Ultimate G265 transmission was installed (a $5000 option) including a single mass E28 flywheel, FX300 Clutch Masters clutch, stock throw out bearing, and modified front driveshaft.
Then Nick (the current owner) purchased it. Nick was the owner of Mac Autosport (now MoFab), a BMW performance specialist in Colorado. Nick is obsessive to a fault and has been building and sorting classic BMWs for over a decade. Nick brought the S38 up to spec by rebuilding the head, inspecting the timing chain components, inspecting the bottom end, replacing all gaskets and seals, refreshing the entire cooling system, and sourcing OEM trim and accessory bits from Germany to make the engine bay and underside look factory fresh. The latter included everything from large items like the airbox and aerodynamic under trays, to small items like the oil cooler shroud divider and even the airbox emblem. To make the S38 breath better he modified a Super Sprint mid-pipe with a 15-degree merge and high-flow Vibrant cats welded to a Billy Boat muffler. The exhaust is one piece from the headers back and mated to factory flanges for ease of removal. He finished the power delivery with a custom tuned Miller WAR Chip. To get that power to the road he installed BC E34 M5 Coilovers and camber plates. The steering box pitman arm, idler arm, and tierods were replaced, along with heavy duty 750iL ball joints in the front thrust arms. The rear subframe mount was also done. A Racing Dynamics front strut bar cinches things up and a corner balanced alignment takes full advantage of the suspension with wonderfully neutral handling. Brakes were upgraded with BMW E31 front 4-piston large diameter calipers and rotors. The M System wheels and Throwing Star covers were refinished and are wearing Bridgestone RE-11A performance rubber. Inside, he installed a grey alcantara headliner, leather covered shifter surround, ZHP shift knob, and an M Tech II steering wheel. Then, after doing all of that work, Nick tucked it away next to his E39 M5 and turbo E34 535i, driving it only a few hundred miles before handing it over to me to sell, because it is just too precious to put his young kids in.
The Jet Black paint is in excellent condition and presents fantastically. It has clearly spent its life indoors and been spared winter weather. The quality of the paint job is clear and its finish is notably glossy, not the dull matte that most black cars of this vintage succumb to due to age and exposure. There are no glaring defects, but close inspection does reveal very minor paint chips on the leading edges. There are two small dents in the center of the hood and two small door dings, one on the driver door, one on the passenger door. There is no clear coat failure. It is one of the best non-original paint jobs I have seen, even the areas where it meets the original paint are blended flawlessly. All body panels are original and all VIN tags are in place. There is no rust; all common E34 areas are clean, including the lower door trim strips. All trim is in place, including the M5-specific bits. The windshield glass is crack-free, but there is minor pitting. The side and rear window glass are lightly tinted and in excellent shape. The headlights have been replaced with Depo Euro “smiley” projectors with working city lights. They have lightly smoked lens covers that look great next to clear marker lights. The fog lights, indicators, markers, and brake light lenses are clear and crack-free. The M System wheels are true and straight with no curb rash, and the Throwing Star covers have an excellent finish. The Bridgestone RE-11A tires are worn evenly, with over 80% tread remaining.
The interior is likewise in excellent condition. There are no odors and it has never been smoked in. The carpet is free of stains and tears, and is protected by rubber floor mats. Nick replaced the headliner with a late-style grey alcantara foam-backed headliner and matching rear hat tray. The leather seats are in excellent shape, thanks to being re-covered in perfectly matched light silver-grey leather. There are no wear areas on the seat bottom or backrest bolsters. The power seat adjustments work as they should and the cables have been re-clocked with no seat twist. The rear seats are optioned with adjustable headrests, a center arm rest, and ski pass-through. The dashboard is crack-free except for one star-shaped crack above the passenger parcel tray. All dashboard and center console leather is in very good shape with no failed stitching. The M Tech II leather steering wheel is also in excellent shape. The instrument cluster has no failed bulbs or pixels and shows no warning lights. The SRS light has been deactivated. The onboard computer functions correctly and shows no check items. The HVAC control panel works as it should, the heat blows warm and the AC blows cold—it has been converted to R134 using replacement seals, evaporator, and receiver dryer. The factory stereo was replaced with Alpine CDE-HD1488T head unit. It has red illumination that is a near-match to the factory amber backlighting. It also has Aux inputs and Bluetooth. The shifter surround has been recovered in matching leather and a ZHP weighted shift knob replaces the original. There is a removable matching light-grey leather old-school Bavarian Auto cup holder in the center console—an uber rare piece of E34 bling. All switches, power windows, and door locks work correctly. The sunroof switch also functions correctly, but it does take some finessing to get it to close perfectly flush (a common issue). The trunk carpet has a faint discoloration. The tool kit is complete, including the ultra-rare blue BMW rag, and an M system spare tire resides under the trunk floor. Two keys are included with remotes.
I have already detailed the extensive build and mechanical restoration. The result of this is a turn-key M5 that needs nothing. It has had all of the common E34 / S38 issues addressed that virtually any E34 M5 will need regardless of mileage. The compression test shows #1 195, #2 200, #3 200, #4 195, #5 200, and #6 195, corrected for 17% altitude loss at 6,000 feet.
The S38 fires on command, idles smoothly, and pulls strongly to redline. The variable runner intake functions correctly. There is a slight rattle in the Billy Boat muffler until the baffles heat up. The clutch take up is correct, the shifter is crisp, and the gearbox shifts smoothly. The gearbox is very new and shifts like it, being slightly notchy, but it will get smoother with breaking in. There are no driveline or wheel bearing vibrations, the suspension is firm, but compliant, and the brakes are strong. The front and rear brake pads and rotors were all recently replaced and have plenty of life left as a result.
You couldn’t build this M5 for close to what it is selling for and it is decidedly better than most examples on the market with much less mileage (ones will inevitably need everything that this one has had done). Yet, its miles mean that you can use and enjoy it without the guilt of those lower mileage examples. Of all of the cars I have had in our inventory recently, this is the one I would keep. I would reckon you could put 20-30 thousand miles on it and still sell it in the mid-20k’s in a few years, as the E34 M5 is still hitting its stride. We would like to find a new owner who appreciates what it is and will maintain it at its current pedigree for years to come.
- Vehicle Identification Number: WBSHD9311MBK06284
- Type: HD93
- Model: M5 – USA
- Development Code: E34
- Chassis: Sedan
- Steering: LL
- Doors: 4
- Engine: S38
- Displacement: 3.60
- Power: 307 Horsepower
- Drivetrain: Rear
- Transmission: Manual
- Color: Jet Black (Schwarz 2)
- Upholstery: Light Silver Grey Leather (Silbergrau Hell Leder – 0438)
- Production Plant: DINGOLFING
- Production Date: 5-24-1991
- 240 Leather Steering Wheel
- 458 Power Seats Driver and Front Passenger
- 640 Car Telephone Preparation
- 694 Preparation for CD Changer
- 818 Main Battery Switch
- 925 Shipping Protection Package
The E34 5 Series was the most advanced of the traditional BMWs, both in form and function. Its iconic BMW 3-box design language was more refined than the E28, yet still traditional compared to the E39 that followed. BMW described it as “Sophisticated styling that is aerodynamic while in motion, and admired when parked.” It also said, “The more cars the world makes, the more desirable the BMW 5 Series becomes.” The successive two decades have revealed those words to be true, as modern cars have become bloated, numb, infotainment-centric appliances. Simply put, the E34 is one of the best looking and best driving 5 Series of all time. The M5’s exclusive kit only accentuate this. It looks absolutely stunning and has the perfect stance—slightly lower than stock. Get behind the wheel and the S38 engine is the defining element of the M5 experience. It isn’t fast by modern standards, but there is no replacement for the theater of the high-strung S38. It transports you go an era where BMW M GmbH existed for the sole purpose of motorsport and its engines could only be found in two options for the 1991 model year—the M3 and M5 (same sausage, different length). The tasteful additions to this M5 only add to the experience with composed neutral handling and an exhaust that lets the world know this is no ordinary 5 Series. Yet, because it is a 5 Series, it has all of the amenities and comfort one would ever need. When you arrive at your destination giggling from adrenaline, mind flowing with euphemisms, it’s impossible not to look over your shoulder and steal one last glance at one of the best BMWs ever made—the E34 M5!