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Hey all. A few months ago I picked up my first M5 and have been enjoying it so far.

Being new to the forum, I figured I would give a summary of my past and current cars. They're not for everyone but hopefully some of you might find the history interesting. I've owned and modified 4 door cars for over 15 years so from the natural progression of things, it's no surprise I ended up with an E39 M5. My list includes a couple 95 Pontiac Bonnevilles, a 98 Infiniti i30, a 97 528i and an 07 Infiniti G35s.

The Bonnevilles have the longest history stretching back from 2002 till present. I molded in E39 headlights to both Bonnevilles. Both had cam/heads/headers and I still own the second one. I built the headers, exhaust, suspension for the second car as well as made it a 6 speed manual. As odd as it may sound, I learned a lot from these cars because I had to either make or adapt other things to mod them.




The i30 was a buddy's car that I helped 3.5l and 5 speed swap. I picked it up of from him and modded it a bit more while daily driving it for 7-8 years. I actually re-swapped it with a newer 3.5. The 3.5 swaps were done using the 3.0 static mechanical timing equipment and 3.0 ecu plus a piggyback. On the second swap I interpolated cam timing maps to choose and set (drill) my own timing. The car ended up trapping 106 mph and getting 30 mpg highway. I only managed a 13.3 1/4 but that was with a high 2.0 60' and failing clutch. I parted that car out last year because of 225k of rust belt action.



I picked up a G35s (6MT, STS, LSD) a couple years ago to replace the i30. While it's much nicer and right wheel drive, it just doesn't get up and go like my i30 did.



My first E39, the 528i, I got for free. It had been sitting for a couple years but ran and wasn't rusted out. The plan was to make it a relatively reliable winter beater and second car. Due to the initial price, it left a lot in the budget to get it in decent shape. I did valve cover, oil, trans and other gaskets, wheel bearings, ball joints, as well as other mechanical body and electrical repairs. Virtually everything I did to the car was easy and methodical. Everything came apart and went back easy. This basically showed me that if I decided to pick up an M5, any body or suspension repairs should be pretty easy. The car ended up going back to the family member it came from over the summer but with the intention of my wife and I borrowing it when we need to.



Early this year I started looking all over the US for M5s, just toying with the idea. Then I started to realize I could get into something with 100k miles for a reasonable price, especially if it's not a clean title. I really wanted to get something that's a little rough but mechanically sound to do a touring swap down the road.

Right before a work trip out to San Diego I noticed a ridiculously clean 109k mile Imola 03 in the LA area. It had a rebuilt title but good service records and a reasonable asking price. The seller had pictures of the damage that totaled the car and it wasn't much more than a bumper, fender with some other bits. The car matched the description and drove great so I picked it up a few days after taking a look at it. How clean it is kills the touring swap idea, but there's worse issues to have. The convenient part of buying the car on the west coast for me is I'll be moving to San Diego next year and I have a place to store it.

Between multiple trips out to San Diego already and a trip up to Palm Springs/Joshua Tree, I've put about 1k miles on it so far. I've also got some general maintenance and repairs in, all of which have gone smoothly.








Maintenance hit list from last weekend:
Spark plugs
MAFs
Cabin filters
Headlight level sensor and LCA linkage
Passenger rear license plate light
High concentration washer fluid pump
Regular washer fluid tank level sensor
Windshield trim
And I added some WeatherTech floor mats










The only other near-term items I'll be replacing are the fogs (one is cracked), R/L outer coverings for the bottom of the windshield, and trunk struts. I would like to do some mods down the line but for now it's just maintaining and enjoying it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys.

@umichchris I think I know the Imola car you're talking about. It probably wasn't this one since it's spent most of it's time in my buddy's backyard in San Diego since August or so.. Unless my buddy isn't telling me something.. lol.
 

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Im pretty positive, I see the same dent in the roof around the sunroof. I also brought out two car jacks and some shop lights to check out underneath. Add to that, I’ve been searching online on all platforms nationwide for Imola, Sterling and Lemans cars. The only Imola in LA County the past 60 days was this one and one down near San Diego with 150k miles on the clock.

Check your Carfax, if this one was salvage title and was out in the north east a year ago before the rebuild, it's the same one.

Could be a different car, but def looks like the one i checked out. I'm not saying its a bad car...just triple check the full car history and make sure the title registers w/o issue. happy motoring man!
 

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It definitely sounds like another car. Your timeline doesn't make it possible. The title has been in my name since Mid-July. I did run a carfax prior to purchase and it's been registered in Cali it's whole life. The rebuild title was issued in '14.
 

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oh man, thats awesome to hear then! the one i saw was rough and the guys story was sketchy AF. he didnt even have the title, just a certificate of sale and application for rebuilt title. it was a damn mess. so im happy you didnt buy it....but i thought it was the same one from your photos. you dodged a bullet then! :)
 

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Looks good.
 
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