Basket Case M535 Will End You

It looks so innocent...
It looks so innocent…

Like I said before, our LeMons BMW 633csi has given me a bad case of BMWs-with-overbite fever (hyperarchomunichosis, in technical terms). As such, I’ve got saved searches on Craigslist, eBay and Autotrader classic for 70s and 80s BMW 5 and 6-series cars. With the reserve met at a mere $999, today’s find may well be the most siren-like of all time.
Stumbling upon the ad, one thinks “score! Euro-M535 for cheap!“. You see, the M535 is basically and M5 with the high-strung M88 (or US-spec S38) engine omitted in favor of the ubiquitous and long-lived M30. All the M suspension, interior and body-kit goodies with an easily tuned, easily replaced from the junkyard serviced engine? What could possibly go wrong?
Sure, it hasn’t run since ’98 and the transmission is toast, but the sale includes another transmission anyway. 167k miles is nothing if we’re talking about a well-maintained M30.
Clearly well cared for
Clearly well cared for

It has been well maintained, right? “A Carfax report shows illuminating clues as to the history of this car”. Huh. At least it’s got the spiffy Recaro-sourced M-Sport interior.
Can't wait to sit in those
Can't wait to sit in those

“Interior needs to be redone or removed and cleaned, this car sat for 11 years and for the last 3 months the drivers window was broken so some rain water got in”. Oh. Right, then.
Believe that's what they call a "300 foot" paint job
Believe that's what they call a "300 foot" paint job

But hey, it’s got those spiffy Euro-bumpers and an M-Sport body kit, which the seller points out sold in another auction for $1100 for just the body kit. Never mind those few rust spots on our current example.
Grab me, baby
Grab me, baby

To summarize, for just north of a weekend in Vegas, you could have a not-M5 with lousy paint, a shot interior, an engine that’s been sitting since Third Eye Blind was at the top of the charts, metric-sized wheels, and a mostly functioning electrical system labeled entirely in German!

Kennzeichenl's acting up again
Kennzeichenl's acting up again

Check it out on ebay.

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  1. P161911 Avatar

    Buy it, strip the body kit off and sell it for $600-$800, the seats might be worth $200 for the pair if they are mechanically sound, and you have a great LeMons racer. The basic mechanicals of this are pretty much the same as the 635csi. These really are THAT bad to work on. You will need a new set of wheels so you could get cheap and decent tires. I suggest installing a set of diving board bumpers and 528e badges to make it a sleeper. Flat black Krylon will take care of the paint.

    1. Mike_the_Dog Avatar

      Good thing wheels and tires count as safety equipment and don't go toward the $500 limit.

      1. P161911 Avatar

        You might even be able to sell these metric wheels for a little more cash to some freak that wants to restore an e28. If not what does aluminum scrap go for these days?

  2. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

    Seems like such a good idea on paper, and yet in reality it becomes a black pit of disrepair.

  3. Manic_King Avatar

    Wow, check that gear stick…..this car has some strange and rare M-Tech. sport gearbox, which is worth quite a lot probably when rebuilt.
    Same goes for the whole car. This thing is bargain of the week for someone with a garage, time and money. And optimism.

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      Yeah, that's the problem. It's so tempting, but usually a project car has at least one thing going for it: e.g. interior's good, but the paint's bad. With this one, there's not a part on the car that doesn't need to be re-done in some major way.

      1. aSoundofSleep Avatar

        Very tempting, but I think the pros very far outweigh the cons here. By the time it's even running<i/> you'll have put more money into it than what it's probably worth. Don't even get me started on trying to get all the electrical gizmos to operate. This is a hellish LeMons car or some one's worst nightmare PCH.

        1. FTGDHoonEdition Avatar

          "Very tempting, but I think the pros very far outweigh the cons here. "
          I am not the kind to usually nit pick but just for clarification did you mean "cons very far outweigh the cons here." ?

  4. joshuman Avatar

    If anyone is seriously considering this, I can go have a look at it for you. August and September were fairly dry but winter weather has started and there has been a lot of rain in October. That driver's side window is not going to help the interior at all.

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      Apparently, it's been fixed by the seller, who seems like he's actually a nice, cool guy.

  5. engineerd Avatar

    I'm pretty sure Mad_Science has been singing this a lot lately:
    Do you sell Bimmer with (Bimmer with) Overbite, Ebay
    Just to let me down (let me down) and change the reserve
    And then worst of all (worst of all) you never call, Ebay
    When you say you will (say you will) but I bid on you still
    I need you (I need you) more than anyone, Bimmer
    You know that I have from the start
    So Bimmer with (Bimmer with) Overbite, don't break the bank
    "I'll be under a grand", you told me time and again
    But you're more, I search around and then
    I went to Craigslist, I can't take any more
    It's not you, you let me down again
    (Hey, hey, hey!) Ebay seller, try to find
    (Hey, hey, hey!) A little time and I'll buy your car
    (Hey, hey, hey!) I'll be home
    I'll be beside the phone waiting for you
    Ooo-oo-ooo, ooo-oo-ooo

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      Just don't tell my wife.

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