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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone -

I’d like to re-introduce myself to the forum, and start this thread as a journal of my journey with an E39 M5 that I have recently acquired. A quick (or maybe not so quick) introduction and a history on how I ended up where I’m in my automotive journey…

I’m a long time BMW-guy and had many bimmers over the years, and currently have 4 M-cars and wife’s driving a 16’ 640GC. Of course it all started with staring at the pictures of nice BMWs in the magazines and a ride or two with adults in the ultimate driving machines. Once I was financially able to afford a nice car, there was no guessing to which brand it would be – had to be a BMW!

It all started back in 2003 when I picked up my first - a 2000 Impala Brown 2.3 liter Z3 Roadster with 30K miles on the clock. Impala Brown was a relatively rare color, and classic brown Dakota nicely complimented its exterior. Was a great car, have lots of great, top-down memories with it.

bmw02 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

bmw01 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

Next was a 2004 530i Sport, and it was a very different, but nonetheless excellent car. I've installed an M-Tech aero kit*to it, as I started to gravitate towards M-car design.

bmw04 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

Sadly, few days before Christmas 2007, my beloved Z was totaled – I got t-boned by a distracted driver in a Chevy truck. Even though the car was scrap, I was relatively unharmed.*

bmw03 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

By that time, I was a big time Z3 enthusiast, and as soon as I got insurance check, I bought me a 2002 2.5 Roadster, 37th to the last one off the assembly line!

bmw05 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

bmw06 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

Though, my affair with that car was short-lived - my son was starting daycare and I needed a vehicle with the back seat. Little Z had to make way for a 2004 645Ci Sport. Took me 3 months of nationwide searching to find this CPO 6er in Black Sapphire/Chateau Red with 27K miles on it. Flew to Chicago to pick it up and drove it back to Texas. Certainly was a worthy replacement and a beautiful car.

DSC_0231_2 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

DSC_0278_2 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

Meanwhile the lease on my wife’s 530i was up, and we decided that there was nothing else on the market that would come close to the size, performance, and practicality of the 5er – and we got her a 2005 545i M-Sport as a daily. The car was a monster and I still feel a bit sad that it is gone. It was a very, how to put this mildly... problematic car. After the CPO was over, sucked lots of $$ out of me. But it drove beautifully when it wasn’t in the shop!

01-6 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

DSC_3896 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

But after driving my 6er for a few months, I realized that I was missing the feel of a smaller, tossable car. So I decided to get another Z - and this time, I wanted a proper M-car - I wanted an M Coupe.*

M coupes are a rare breed, with only ~2200 S52-engined examples and ~690 S54-engined cars made for NA market. A search for the right car took a while, but finally I found a 2000 S52 in Wisconsin that I purchased and brought to Texas. The car went through some restoration work, complete overhaul of several areas, few mods, etc. Every bit on the car was brought back to 100%. This is how I got my first “keeper” car. Had it since 2008, and it is not going anywhere anytime soon. Truly an amazing car to drive.

coupe006 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

coupe024 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

coupe020 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

For a while, I had 3 black bimmers in the garage. The lineup looked something like this:

DSC_0031 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

But constant repairs that needed to keep 545i on the road took their toll and I sold the car. Replacement for the E60 was my first brand new BMW (special ordered from Dingolfing) – a 2014 F10 535i. Terrific mile-eater. Was primarily my wife’s car, but I enjoyed a few long-trips in it. She totaled it a month before lease-return…not her fault.

535i-01_zps2b04fa26 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

535i-02_zps7ce1cbdf by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

My 6er meanwhile was getting DD duty and soon I had a lot of miles on it and maintenance and repairs piled up. I drove the car for 7 years, but E63 M6’s were getting cheap, so I sold my 6er and I pulled a trigger on 2006 M6 Coupe in Indianapolis Red. That V10 under the hood sure is a screamer, and this body-style of the M6 is just soo great. Wonderful all around car with enormous power. Currently my DD.

IMG_7559 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

IMG_7560 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

After my wife totaled her F10, we needed a replacement soon (she can’t drive stick). Local dealer had pretty amazing deal on a 640i Gran Coupe lease in Alpine White and we pulled the trigger. One of the few modern BMWs that I like. Very confident cruiser, with all the creature comforts and technology that you can imagine. Probably not a keeper, but all around great car.

IMG_2665 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

IMG_2666 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

About two years ago I decided to switch jobs, and my new work location was about 50 miles from home one-way. The prospect of putting 500+ miles a week on my then low-mileage M6 didn’t sit well with me. I needed a driver car, and I decided to pick up a high-mileage E46 M3 Coupe to do the duty… and what a car it was!

Got a car in Philly and drove it to Texas. In a very short time, E46 M3 became one of my favorite cars to drive. Nimble, powerful, torquey, tossable, and very quick – I absolutely loved every mile I drove in that car. And I drove 37K miles in 16 months. One of the best BMW cars hands down, and even though I have sold the car, I will 100% own an E46 M3 Coupe again. Unbelievable car.

IMG_4702 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

IMG_4704 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

IMG_5229 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

Few months ago, I noticed that prices on E36 M3s started to climb up, and good examples were disappearing. I always wanted to get an E36, and after driving E46 for a while, I started looking for a clean example, but this time I wanted only one color – it had to be Dakar Yellow! After several months searching, one popped up on Craigslist in San Francisco – I bought the car unseen via text message/Paypal 2 hours after it was posted. Flew out to CA and drove it back.

IMG_5910 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

IMG_5936 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

E36 is everything you expect and then some. Great car, very old school. Possibly another keeper. The car is currently undergoing restoration; I will post a link to M3 forum thread later on if anyone is interested.

In May I switched jobs again and no longer commuted 100+ miles a day, and decided that I had too many cars and no longer needed E46, especially with new E36 being restored and eating up my car budget! So I sold my E46 M3 (which was completely restored and looked like new by that point) to a good dude from Iowa, hopefully it serves him well and continues to be trouble free monster for long time. Probably the first car I regret selling.

Money from sale of my E46 were supposed to be used to install a lift in the garage, new workbench, some tools, and couple new sets of wheels. But I couldn’t help browsing classifieds and car sites to see what “else” was out there... I always lusted over E39 M5 and almost bought one about 8 years ago, but they were still a bit out of my price range and still depreciating back then… But now…

Now the time was right. I decided that I want either a low mileage 6-speed E46 M3 Coupe or and E39 M5. So after couple of weeks looking, I had a car lined up to go see in Chicago (again), and I already had the plane ticket purchased… but instead I accidentally saw a post here on M5Board from a member here in Fort Worth about him possibly selling his car.

Oh. I had to see it. I mean, it was Imola Red and it was right in my backyard! So I pestered Steve (Hi Steve!) to meet up with me so I could see the car. He called me, we agreed on the time and I drove up to his place after work to see the beast.

IMG_6606 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

IMG_6600 by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

It was…honestly it was a bit underwhelming. Granted, I have never drove E39 M5 before, so maybe I had my expectations high? I thought of E39 M5 as this absolutely perfectly balanced car that was amazing to drive and after driving it for a few minutes (on the tiny neighborhood streets of course) I was thinking to myself - is that it? Hmm… It felt heavy, a bit clunky, not composed. I was surprised and disappointed at the same time. On the way home I thought to myself - never drive your heroes?

The car was overall in good shape, with few areas needing attention, but appeared mechanically sound, with lots of maintenance records and clean carfax, so I decided to give it a shot. So we agreed on the price, and I went to pick it up next day. Steve was the best seller you could possibly have - gave me all the maintenance records, all keys and manuals, even replacement windshield cowl with some rivets he purchased for the car! We chatted a bit about cars, and I headed home.

It was getting late and tollway home was absolutely empty. And this is where I realized what I just got. Christ! The car completely changes once you start pushing it hard on the highway. By the time I made it home I was totally in love with the car. Now I totally get what everyone is raving about – E39 M5 is such a jewel or a car. Drove it for the next two days and its amazing how good it is. Still can’t believe my first impression of the car was soo wrong.

And this is how my journey (and this thread) gets its start. My plan is to have the car fully restored to its original (yes, 2000 MY) condition and keep it long term. So far, I have been going over the car with a fine toothed comb and putting together lists of all the big and little things that need to be replaced, fixed, changed, restored, etc. Ordering bunch of parts and boxes are arriving every day!

The plan is to use this thread as a journal for the restoration for the car. Cheers, and sorry for the long read (if you really read all of the above you are crazy), I like to ramble.

So far it has been given a good bath inside and out so I could crawl everywhere and check everything. Updates to come hopefully soon!

Untitled by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

Untitled by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

Untitled by Alex Kustov, on Flickr

Alex
 

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Welcome & congrats!
Amazing story. You are a true enthusiast... wow! Brand loyalty at its finest.
yes, i did read it all... :)
Look forward to see your updates.
 

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Welcome. Great looking car. I started a similar journey last year and had decided to restore my MY00 with **Gasp** MY00 components.

Good luck on your journey - looking forward to the updates.


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Congratulations on the purchase! Nice introduction as well. I'll look forward to your restoration posts.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks all! 111.5K miles - barely broken in!

Small update on some of the minor things fixed - I'm pretty much bound by which parts arrive first at this point!

The piece under the headlight was missing the gasket and had not been properly installed, plus it had some gunk and pieces of what looks like double sided tape on there:



So I removed the piece, installed new gasket, cleaned the gunk and re-installed it correctly (there is a dent on it that I will have to fix later on):




One of the foglights was busted:


So I have replaced both with some OEM pieces and bulbs:



Both side markers were in bad shape – one cracked, one dirty inside, so I replaced both:




And of course – new fresh badge!


To be continued…
 

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Congrats! I'm very much looking forward to your updates and yes, you are quite loyal to the brand. Are you wearing a BMW shirt right now? :)

2 things:

  1. Will your collection ever include an E30 M3? Feel like that would definitely bookend your collection.
  2. I'm extremely envious of your driveway. Does it have multiple area codes?
 

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Great story and pictures.
Newer BMWs are mildly good to lease, only older BMWs are awesome to own and keep.
Enjoy your M and welcome on board.
 

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Thanks all! 111.5K miles - barely broken in!

Small update on some of the minor things fixed - I'm pretty much bound by which parts arrive first at this point!

The piece under the headlight was missing the gasket and had not been properly installed, plus it had some gunk and pieces of what looks like double sided tape on there:



So I removed the piece, installed new gasket, cleaned the gunk and re-installed it correctly (there is a dent on it that I will have to fix later on):





To be continued…
Do you have the part number for that gasket?
 

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Great to see another MY2000 currently going through the restoration process. I've had mine for about a year and a half now, and I'm ever so close to completing my initial restoration work to the car. Maybe I'll post up some pictures and a detailed restoration thread as well!
 

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For this journey, I can't recommend Adam (Clemster) on this board enough. Check out his ongoing part out thread in the for sale section - he is my first go-to on any needed parts.


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Discussion Starter #12
Congrats! I'm very much looking forward to your updates and yes, you are quite loyal to the brand. Are you wearing a BMW shirt right now? :)

2 things:

  1. Will your collection ever include an E30 M3? Feel like that would definitely bookend your collection.
  2. I'm extremely envious of your driveway. Does it have multiple area codes?
Haha, strangely enough I don't think I own a BMW shirt. Got couple hats...
E30...out of my price range right now. Despite owning many cars, I actually have a very tight budget and its more of a hobby. I'm afraid I dont have the dough, or desire to spend so much of it on E30 M3 right now. I drove a couple, they are fun, but probably the only other car I will add at some point will be E46 M3 Coupe.
Driveway is long, but narrow. Can't shuffle cars without moving others out. Not ideal, but great for parking bunch of cars!


Do you have the part number for that gasket?
Yep, 511 181 9 11 49

For this journey, I can't recommend Adam (Clemster) on this board enough. Check out his ongoing part out thread in the for sale section - he is my first go-to on any needed parts.
Thanks, will definitely check it out.
 

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WOW this was an amazing story I'm so thankful you shared this story with everybody. I myself just purchased a Le Mans Blue E39 M5 all the way in Pennsylvania with 90k miles


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Discussion Starter #14
These cars are definitely worth traveling for. Better to get one far but in better shape than one close but not in best condition. Though they all worth saving.



Kidneys looked fine, but after close inspection the grids had too many broken tabs and were barely holding in place.





So I yanked them out and cleaned up the openings.



I do like chrome kidney surrounds, but I prefer black grids. So I purchased black kidney grilles (they are cheaper), and luckily my chrome surround pieces had all their tabs intact and chrome in good shape.



After taking black ones apart, I used chrome surrounds on black grids with all the intact tabs:



Looking goooood…..

 

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The paint on mine is in OK shape. It was repainted in a few spots, but it is still in pretty good shape. Honestly I didn't expect it to be in as a good a shape as it is for a car that was a semi-daily driver for 15 years.
 

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Nice job on the grills, love the idea and didn't know you can separate the grills. I would like to do the reverse, can you link me to where you purchased the grills? Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #18

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Awesome story and write up. Looking forward to more updates :)
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Over the weekend, I was cleaning and restoring interior. Overall, it was in very good shape with few notable problems:

-After 17 years in Texas sun and heat, leather up front (I think this is due to the fact that windshield was never tinted) was a bit dried up, which resulted in it starting to harden, losing its pliability and becoming a bit cardboard-like. This also resulted in some very slight top coat wear and cracking that needed attention.

-interior had a faint unpleasant smell, which I can only attribute to one of the owners smoking? Though it was definitely not a fresh (or very pronounced) smell, more like – somebody smoked in the car at some point maybe few times? It was definitely not a smokers’ car, but a bit of smoke smell lingered.

-Finally, there were few interior pieces that were broken, needed attention, or just a thorough cleanup.

Over the course of the last week and this weekend, I have addressed most of the stuff above. First, the entire interior has been given a good cleaning – and by good cleaning I mean – disassemble everything you can, get into every crevice, steam clean the carpets, vacuum every nook, wash everything with shampoo, damp cloths and such. Lot of q-tips and tooth brushes were sacrificed….








After everything was thoroughly cleaned, I decided to tackle the odor. Honestly, by the time all the cleaning was done, there was not much of it left as most of it was probably trapped in the carpet, seats, and interior surfaces that were thoroughly cleaned by that point, but a hint of it still remained. I wanted it completely gone by the time I would start on leather, so I got my trusty 3500mg industrial strength ozone generator fired up and blasted the interior and trunk (just folded the seats) with it for 2 hours.



I left the car opened up overnight for ozone to dissipate, and it was minty fresh in the morning!
While I still was waiting on few parts to arrive, I decided to tackle leather. Overall leather was in good shape for 111K miles being baked under Texas sun. But like I mentioned above, needed some love. It was a bit hardened and a bit worn…




The best leather softener and conditioner I have found over the years is Leatherique. I have brought back absolute cardboard back to life using it. Mind you, it the leather is really hard, it will take a LOT of it and may applications to soften up. This one was not bad at all, so I have drenched every leather piece of the car in Leatherique, put garbage bags over the seats, and let it bake in the hot Texas heat overnight. 12 hours later, I have removed the bags, reapplied conditioner again to the spots that visibly soaked it up, and left if for another 5-6 hours. Everything was cleaned up with Prestine Clean and then soft clean slightly wet microfiber and let dry overnight.



Results were good, and leather felt nice and supple for the most part. I will do another application at 6 months and over time, it will be back to 100%. Now it was time to fix the wear. I have used 75% Fiebing’s Oil dye and 25% atom wax mixture applied with a soft sponge and massaged into the leather (wear gloved, the dye WILL dye your skin for a LONG time, ask me how I know!), then buffed with slightly damp microfiber to knock down shine. After completely dry, was sealed with Lexol leather protectant. Leather looked great again!

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Not the best lighting, but I will make some better shots sometime later. Best thing about Leatherique is that not only does it make the leather supple again, it makes it smell great. Pretty happy with how this one turned out.





More on the interior to come!
 
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