Yes I reused the old arms and ball joints. 60k miles, they looked fine. I think you CAN buy the thrust arms without bushings. I will check with my parts guy at EAC Tuning, but I'm pretty sure he can get them without the bushings.
here's a question just to confuse things a bit!...
i read somewhere (can't remember now, sorry) that the e39 models with the m-sport suspension option got uprated steel balljoints.
in my own experiences the difference in quality between genuine oem parts from the stealers and aftermarket patent parts is very marked.
i know it's an expensive way round; but surely if you REALLY care about your car you'd be better off buying genuine bits to start with, then if you're not happy/know you're not going to be happy with the brand new oem bushes, then press them out and fit powerflex or whatever other option you want to go for...
(just my 2p)
also, i'm sure you've heard it all before - there's a lot of hearsay (particularly on internet forums!!!) about the longevity of poly bushes and aftermarket replacements over the oem. basically a lot of people argue that poly bushes in particula don't last as long as their oem rubber counterparts and as a result, they're nice and tight for a while, but once worn they give loads of slop and need to be replaced far more frequently than oem...
myself i cant definitively comment - i've driven plenty of perfomance cars, both with and without poly bushes; the polys were nice, but i never owned or knew anyone that did loads of miles on them, so i cant pass fair judgement.
if it was me personally, i would go with brand new oem as they should be a noticably marked improvement over old, tired bushes anyway.
edit - thanks for the post and the pics by the way, nice write-up