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:sad3: Hi everyone. I am new to the site and am wondering if some E28 afficionadas can help me work out if the car i looked at today was an m5 or a m535.
The reason why its a little complicated is that this car is a South African imported car. The thing that made me stop in my tracks is that the car has a odd chassis number: 5351000A. This was not what i was expecting at all.

The car is a aero blue (like a light sky blue) colour with matching blue cloth interior. It has all the electric goodies inc air con and electric head restraints.The seats are logo'd, it has a M steering wheel, the clocks are m logo'd and the engine is a 6 cylinder with the M Power logo on the left bank. The car felt quick but not as fast as i was expecting. It had the aero kit, a twin exhaust. The owners manual that was stamped was not a m5 manual.

The seller seemed a genuine guy and i think he probably thinks he has a m5 but the chassis number concerns me. He had a letter from SA BMW confirming that that chasis no corresponded to an M5 but that doesn't prove anything.

I would really appreciate anyones input. Perhaps there are other indications that knowledgeable people would look for. Is the lesser engine still badged M Power?


Finally if the advice is walk away then i would really appreciate any info as to any other E28M5's that people know of in the UK that might be for sale. I am looking for a mint sub 90k example. Thanks in advance for your thoughts/help guys
 

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Discussion Starter #3
raymond woertman said:
Check Out This link about a genuine SA W28 ///M5 (model code DC98). This also includes the range of chassis numbers.
Yes that was what i was guided by and which has caused me to question this car. Thanks anyway
 

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Hi....I have seen this car advertised, it has been on the market for quite a while - perhaps a year now. At the advertised price it needs to be really good though.

If a light blue metallic, then it's probably either Cirrus blue or Cosmos blue - similar shades, both were available on European cars. The colour label should be on the RH front strut housing (silver typeface, black background).

Body kit wasn't standard on UK cars, not sure about those in SA. Does the car have a sliding sunroof?

You will have no doubt read the many other posts about SA M5 (some of them from me), it's unusual to find one in the UK - I haven't heard of another though quite a lot of other classics have come into the UK from there, so there's every reason to find an M5 as well, even if it is a slightly unusual choice.

Other pointers - apart from the engine (and you are right to be suspicious, there are M535's out there with S38 engines transplanted into them), perhaps the most obvious M5 differentiator is that the battery will be in the boot behind the fuel filler, inside a proper steel battery box spot welded to the floor and painted in body colour. On any other E28 the battery is in the engine compartment in front of the LH wheel arch.

The battery box is hidden by a carpet box moulded around it, with an access panel through the top (very important this is all in good condition, new items are apparently unavailable). It should have a big battery (85Ah) that fills the space available in the box, with a small hydrogen vent tube at the front end though this will be hard to see with the cover in place (4 toggle clips to remove). Likewise the left side of the boot should be fully trimmed with a small compartment with drop-down flap to take a first aid kit. This (removable) panel hides the jack, wheelbrace and wheel chock.

The tool kit in the boot lid is almost the same as the 535i (i.e the wide one with a good selection of tools and spare bulbs). Theoretically it should include a special plug spanner as the spark plugs were smaller than those on the single-cam (M30) engine.

While you're in the boot, check the spare wheel matches the (BBS cross spoke) road wheels which have a flat edge, about 15mm, to the rims. These are unique to the M5 (I think). It should have a circular hardboard cover over the wheel which sits on a threaded post with plastic top which you rotate to get it off. If still there, the hardboard cover has a yellow sticker which relates to the M5 tyre spec and it also has a circular hole through which the valve can be accessed.

There is no bespoke M5 handbook as such - there was a slim multilingual M5 supplement to the standard all-model E28 owner manual added to the "bookpack" - this has a silver cover. I'm assuming this - or an equivalent -would be supplied in SA.

Finally, in the ads I have seen, the car is still wearing SA registration plates. You should check that there is no import duty owing on the car (though this should have been sorted by Customs at port of entry) and if the car is not yet registered in the UK, then ask the seller to have it registered at his cost.

Before registration (to gain a V5 Registration Document) it must be MoT'd. The reason for applying some caution here is that an SA car might have critical components that are not marked in accordance with UK Type Approval requirements (e.g. the headlamps or the seatbelts if these were manufactured in SA rather than Europe; a UK car of this age should have dim/dip headlamp function, does this one?). A car from SA would have a speedo calibrated in km/h and in theory an mph speedo will be needed. In practice, such issues could make the initial MoT a problem, so make sure it is done before you buy, this should minimise your risk....especially for a car at the advertised price. If you are in doubt about rules on imported cars, ask at your local Department for Transport Vehicle Registration Office.

Really good M5's are getting extremely scarce in the UK now....best of luck in your quest to find one.

Hope this helps.

Mfiver
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Mfiver said:
Hi....I have seen this car advertised, it has been on the market for quite a while - perhaps a year now. At the advertised price it needs to be really good though.

If a light blue metallic, then it's probably either Cirrus blue or Cosmos blue - similar shades, both were available on European cars. The colour label should be on the RH front strut housing (silver typeface, black background).

Body kit wasn't standard on UK cars, not sure about those in SA. Does the car have a sliding sunroof?

You will have no doubt read the many other posts about SA M5 (some of them from me), it's unusual to find one in the UK - I haven't heard of another though quite a lot of other classics have come into the UK from there, so there's every reason to find an M5 as well, even if it is a slightly unusual choice.

Other pointers - apart from the engine (and you are right to be suspicious, there are M535's out there with S38 engines transplanted into them), perhaps the most obvious M5 differentiator is that the battery will be in the boot behind the fuel filler, inside a proper steel battery box spot welded to the floor and painted in body colour. On any other E28 the battery is in the engine compartment in front of the LH wheel arch.

The battery box is hidden by a carpet box moulded around it, with an access panel through the top (very important this is all in good condition, new items are apparently unavailable). It should have a big battery (85Ah) that fills the space available in the box, with a small hydrogen vent tube at the front end though this will be hard to see with the cover in place (4 toggle clips to remove). Likewise the left side of the boot should be fully trimmed with a small compartment with drop-down flap to take a first aid kit. This (removable) panel hides the jack, wheelbrace and wheel chock.

The tool kit in the boot lid is almost the same as the 535i (i.e the wide one with a good selection of tools and spare bulbs). Theoretically it should include a special plug spanner as the spark plugs were smaller than those on the single-cam (M30) engine.

While you're in the boot, check the spare wheel matches the (BBS cross spoke) road wheels which have a flat edge, about 15mm, to the rims. These are unique to the M5 (I think). It should have a circular hardboard cover over the wheel which sits on a threaded post with plastic top which you rotate to get it off. If still there, the hardboard cover has a yellow sticker which relates to the M5 tyre spec and it also has a circular hole through which the valve can be accessed.

There is no bespoke M5 handbook as such - there was a slim multilingual M5 supplement to the standard all-model E28 owner manual added to the "bookpack" - this has a silver cover. I'm assuming this - or an equivalent -would be supplied in SA.

Finally, in the ads I have seen, the car is still wearing SA registration plates. You should check that there is no import duty owing on the car (though this should have been sorted by Customs at port of entry) and if the car is not yet registered in the UK, then ask the seller to have it registered at his cost.

Before registration (to gain a V5 Registration Document) it must be MoT'd. The reason for applying some caution here is that an SA car might have critical components that are not marked in accordance with UK Type Approval requirements (e.g. the headlamps or the seatbelts if these were manufactured in SA rather than Europe; a UK car of this age should have dim/dip headlamp function, does this one?). A car from SA would have a speedo calibrated in km/h and in theory an mph speedo will be needed. In practice, such issues could make the initial MoT a problem, so make sure it is done before you buy, this should minimise your risk....especially for a car at the advertised price. If you are in doubt about rules on imported cars, ask at your local Department for Transport Vehicle Registration Office.

Really good M5's are getting extremely scarce in the UK now....best of luck in your quest to find one.

Hope this helps.

Mfiver
MFiver

Thanks for the input- all very helpful. I did look in the boot and noticed the carpeted battery cover on the right hand side. Unfortunateley i did not look at the battery itself. The spare wheel was a BBS but i did not take in all the details described.

I agree re the MOT i would never buy this car without an mot. The seller it has one which suprised me as u would not think an unregistered car could obtain one. As u say the car is still on SA plates.

Overall the car was a mix of conditions. The bodywork was very good with no signs of rust. The engine bay was immaculate but the interior of the car was somehow at odds with the rest. This felt quite dirty and smelt damp. When i put my hand on the rear footwell it felt damp and i disturbed some faint whitish powder that could have been mildew. Also when i lifted the carpets in the boot there was a small puddle of water.

The seller wont budge on his £9800 and i dont think its worth that. the problem is that there are so few e28's that judging prices is very difficult. I missed a superb alpine white recently that sold on ebay and which i saw as it was 5 miles from me. That was amazing and sold for £8000 (although it didn't have leather).
I drove this SA car and was underwhelmed. It had a very strong vibration that i felt at one point (i couldn't tell if it was road speed or engine speed related) and it has been sat for nearly 2 years. I think the seller of this car imported it to make a profit which is also a turn off.

Do you know of any cars in the UK that might be for sale which fit my requirements.

Thnaks again for the advice/tips
 

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Interesting to know this car has an MoT. I would want to see that and the V5 as well before parting with cash!

The wet footwell could be a problem with sunroof drains (if it has a sunroof, that is?) or possibly the sills are full of water. The drain holes can get blocked, especially if some enthusiastic bloke has sprayed the sills full of wax to prevent corrosion (this is the voice of experience...gained the hard way with an M535i).

In the boot, the lid seal may be tatty and causing a leak though much more likely are the lamp cluster seals, a weak point as they perish. These are available, very easy to fit and not particularly expensive.

The body condition sounds to be generally good but....

The inner sills on an E28 are not sealed - they have holes for the wiring looms to weave in and out. The inner sill faces are covered with a kind of hardened thin rubber compound sound deadening sheet with self-adhesive backing which is fragile and breaks up into chunks if disturbed. It's possible for the sills to fill up with water - there's a rubber grommet in the front end of the sill, in the rear of the front wheelarch behind the plastic splash guard. If this grommet is missing and the area behind the splash guard full of dirt (the heater air intakes also drain into this area) water gets in and eventually floods the car - it is a real pain to dry it all out as the heavy underfelt soaks it up like a sponge. Not a UK winter job unless you have a garage with dehumidifier!

Look carefully at the sills (comments above about drain holes). They should have a nice hollow metallic ring to them when tapped. This is much more difficult on a car with the M-Technic body kit as it hides a lot of the sill. Jacking points soon go crusty and are an E28 weakness: having both sills done properly by a specialist BMW repairer will absorb at least £1000. Look at the front footwells (outer corners where they join the sills). Damp front footwells are another indicator of problems here. Turn the front wheels onto full lock (first one side, then the other) so you can get a good look from outside behind the wheels. Front wings go at the top at the front, lower down just above the bumper near the wheelarch and at the bottom rear where there's a drain hole behind the splash guard which can fill up with dirt.

If the car has a vibration (50-60mph is common, usually gets worse under braking) it could be one of many things but most likely it will be to do with the steering or front suspension - lots of joints to wear, it's an E28 Achilles heel.

The performance should be strong (depends what you are used to, mind you), though the real benefit compared with something like an M535i - especially one with a dog-leg gearbox - is only really felt above 80mph or so. At 100mph (approx 4000 rpm) the car should feel like it is just cantering, though it will be reasonably "busy" mechanically.

Like most cars, standing unused doesn't suit an M5 - I think you will find that a car used daily feels better for it.

Cars for sale? They do come on the market from time to time but you will not find yourself in a position where you have several to choose from in the same week - there were only 187 RHD GB-spec cars to start with. Many have done huge mileages now. A good source is the classifieds in "Total BMW" magazine, together with the BMW GB Car Club website and the Club magazine. Try advertising for one? Munich Legends in Sussex are a source of considerable knowledge too. I think they may have one currently (if so it's been there a while) but it will not be cheap.

The advice has to be to exercise patience, look at as many as you can, buy the best car you can afford, though leave yourself some slack in your budget as even a good one will soak up money, especially if you are a perfectionist - after all, the youngest is now 16 years old and although fairly well built and tough they are far from immune from the ravages of time.

Don't worry about a car with cloth trim. Buy an M5 solely on the basis of condition and history (e.g. evidence of timing chain change), not the spec. It will save you money in the long run. If time allows, go round the car and make careful note of all the cosmetic and any obviously faulty parts you would want to change if you owned the car (use digital camera?). Take a note of the VIN number and then call your local BMW dealer armed with that and your list to get an estimate for the bits - be prepared for the answer to come to a large number! Although my own experience of parts availability has been good for a car of this age be prepared to find some parts now no longer supplied.

There are many spec variations between individual cars including a few with unusual colour/trim. Having said that, cars with the Buffalo leather option extending to the dash and console look the business as long as it is in good condition. Dark coloured trim probably hides wear and minor defects better...

Early cars (up to about # 59?) have a 3-piece underbonnet sound insulator stuck to the underside of the lid while later cars have a full width sound deadening pad held on with pushbutton clips. The later cars also have "M5" on the door sill kick strips.

On a GB car, don't forget to check the chassis plate on the RH strut tower which tells you it's an M5....

The white car sounds interesting, I don't often look at ebay so failed to see it but if it was really good then the price sounds reasonable.

Have fun....

Mfiver
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Mfiver

Again thanks very much. I will walk away from the SA car as i think its 2k too expensive (factoring in some work it will no doubt need). Here is the link to the ebay m5 that in hindsight was an amazing car. I hope that works


http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=2496445780&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT

This had been owned by series of wealthy individulas and had had money just chucked at it. The guy who owned this one has a friend who has an immaculate ex-nigel mansell e28m5 stored in a garage in the west end with only 60 k. One one problem-he's not interested in selling

Like u say i can see im in for the long haul if i want to find a lowish mileage m5
 

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Thanks, the link worked just fine.

That car looks excellent though the doors need to be treated with caution - another E28 rot point. This is a relatively early car as it has the 3-piece underbonnet insulator...didn't know that went with M5 kick strips but I've been wrong plenty of times before, once more won't harm.

White with optional dechrome ("satin black chrome") without body kit - I don't think I've seen that particular combination before. I've seen a white one with chrome bumpers and a white one with body kit though!

If I'd seen this, I might have been tempted to go for it myself....if it went for £8k that's probably a very fair price if the car is as good as the description and photos suggest.

Re. the ex-Mansell car, I have heard about it previously but haven't seen it.

Happy hunting!

Mfiver
 

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How Do

I looked at this M5 about 14 months ago also chap had a black M5 as well also S/A put it this way i am very supprised he now has only one and does not still own both!! I am in the same boat as you currently searching for concours M5 willing to pay SERIOUS money for perfect car.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
chambers said:
How Do

I looked at this M5 about 14 months ago also chap had a black M5 as well also S/A put it this way i am very supprised he now has only one and does not still own both!! I am in the same boat as you currently searching for concours M5 willing to pay SERIOUS money for perfect car.
Hi Chambers

Do you agree about the Southampton based blue SA M5? I thought it was very poor to drive as it had a bad vibration at some points and generally felt like a really old tired car. What was your feeling?

I have pritty much given up on finding a mint lowish mileage E28 M5. I think its got to be the hardest car i have ever hunted for. A mint 50's Ferrari would be much easier.
 

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Hi
Can,t advise re blue car as I originally went to see black M5 but both were in my opinion
absolute sheds.Vender claimed both were owned by wealthy South Africans with no expense spared re maintenance und upkeep.I travelled half way down country to discover the bigest let down in verbal motor description in my whole life! "indistinguishable from new" my a--e.

I am currently experiencing same difficulties as yourself re locating e28 M5 although I am really trying to find concours example with fund to suit.Recently I have seen a few though,maybe same cars as you?? I know were there is a met black one owner car genuine 91,000 fsh
 

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Just thinking about the blue SA car again having re-read earlier post from mogwai....

It has to have an MoT to be registered as far as I know, although I haven't ever imported a car myself I'm sure that is the first stage once the Customs issues are dealt with.

I would want to see the actual MoT test certificate and check the details - if the vehicle is not UK registered then the VIN number will suffice to identify it on the "ticket". If no MoT available, or "misplaced", then I would suspect a problem, i.e. it has been submitted and failed on one or more items.

Has anyone who has viewed the car actually seen the MoT certificate? If this car has been on the market for as long as I think, it will now need re-testing.

Whilst I have seen other classics from SA advertised and at auctions (I've attended a few BCA classic sales at Blackbushe and at Bridgewater) the cars I have seen have usually been late 60's or earlier, which would pre-date Type Approval legislation and will probably have been manufactured in Europe rather than in SA. What I'm getting at is that it may be more difficult to deal with a more recent car actually assembled in SA. Pure conjecture, of course....buyer beware!

Regards

Mfiver
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Mfiver

Thanks for the input. I have already decided that i would not go near this car with a bargepole. The owner is clearly a amateur car importer looking to make money on the car. This is totally the "wrong history" for a car. As it has come from SA it also makes any meaningful enquiries re its past almost impossible

The car is tired, the interior giving away the fact that it is not, despite the sellers protestations, an immaculate example.
I would only want to buy a cherished car that someone has loved and owned for several years. This car is a complete non starter and the seller will have to wait for a complete mug to come along before he gets his £9500 IMHO.

There is quite a decent car for sale on scibertec.co.uk. This is the only other M5 i know of. Where was that 91,000 mile example?

Cheers
 

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Thanks for the link....

Looks OK from the images but would certainly need detailing. Low owners is usually a good sign. I think this car may have been for sale for a while too but I could be mistaken. The pictures somehow look familiar.

If you go and see it, let us know how you get on (and please note the VIN for anoraks like me!).

Regards

Mfiver
 

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Mfiver said:
Thanks for the link....

Looks OK from the images but would certainly need detailing. Low owners is usually a good sign. I think this car may have been for sale for a while too but I could be mistaken. The pictures somehow look familiar.

If you go and see it, let us know how you get on (and please note the VIN for anoraks like me!).

Regards

Mfiver
 

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The blue (described as "Aero silver" [?]) SA M5 is profiled in "Classic and Sportcar" this month - in the "Driving the Ads" section at the back. It gets a glowing write-up but somehow it doesn't really fit what appears above - perhaps I shouldn't be too surprised if it is "over-egging the pudding", the mag exists to sell cars (and dreams).

The article says the car will be MoT'd before sale....so presumably it doesn't actually have one at the moment. Caveat emptor....

You guys out there who have actually viewed it will be able to confirm:

1) in the photos (not necessarily reliable) it appears not to have the sunroof (seems like it wasn't an option in SA, maybe they also needed to use up a load of body shells that would otherwise have become basic 518i's!) and

2) the seat trim material looks like the type fitted in 525i/528i/535i/M535i, i.e. pinstriped "luxurious nylon flock" (oooh! such an appealing 80's description from the brochure) rather than the "Highland" checked cloth applicable to the M5.

The car appears not to have been fitted with headlamp wash/wipe (arguably a blessing) unless it has been taken off.

So there are a few spec differences compared to a UK car - for tall drivers with relatively short legs (like me) the lack of sunroof might actually give a better driving position.

Kind regards

Mfiver
 
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