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Pre production BMW E39 M5 Oxford green

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(NOTE, this thread is also copied on a non BMW specific forum so some of this early content is pretty obvious to some of us on here)

The BMW E39 5 series, once hailed as "the best car in the world" by the motoring press of the time, even today the E39 along with the E46 3 series and E38 7 series are often lauded as "peak BMW' by many including myself so much so that despite owning many cars over the years, I've struggled to move on from this era of BMW so keep coming back to them.

When the M5 was launched in 1998 praise was high with it beating the competition in many ways.

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Having just built an E39 M5 touring, ( BMW E39 M5 touring build #2 - Page 11 - Readers' Cars - PistonHeads UK ) I was invited to join the UK BMW E39 M5 owners group on their stand at the Ultimate BMW show at the end of April and it was during the journey up to Gaydon where the show was, that several owners met at a services to convoy up to the show. It was at that stop off where I first saw what soon would become my 14th E39.

As I pulled up (my touring parked next to it) It immediately jumped out at me as Oxford green which is one of my favourite colours, is also a fairly rare colour and also what can been seen in the pic, chrome trim rather that the much more common high gloss shadow line trim.

After chatting with the owner it transpired that the car in front of me was BJ10003. For those of you who read my early E46 M3 thread ( The search for an early E46 M3...... - Page 1 - Readers' Cars - PistonHeads UK ), you will know I have an interest in early pre preproduction cars and as the RHD DE92 E39 M5 chassis number sequence started with BJ10000, that made this one the 4th RHD E39 ever made. During our conversation the owner stated that he was going to list it on Collecting cars auction site in the next few weeks and as its significance had piqued my interest, I said it might be something I would make an offer on.

After the show, during the journey home I couldn't get the car out of my head and I remembered I had an old issue of car magazine from December 1998 with an oxford green M5 on the front! Could it be the same car?! Unfortunately not as, as soon as I got home I went rummaging for the mag only to find that it was a LHD car.

S210 Dynamic stability control
S216 Hydro steering-servotronic
S261 Side airbags for rear passengers
S302 Alarm system
S346 Chrome Line exterieur
S354 Windscreen, green-tinted upper strip
S357 Protective glazing
S401 Lift-up-and-slide-back sunroof, electric
S415 Sun-blind, rear
S416 Roller sun visor, rear lateral
S423 Floor mats velours
S428 Warning triangle and first aid kit
S430 Interior/outside mirror with auto dip
S459 Seat adjustment, electric, with memory
S473 Armrest front
S488 Lumbar support, driver and passenger
S494 Seat heating driver/passenger
S496 Seat heating, rear
S500 Headl.washer system/intensive cleaning
S508 Park Distance Control (PDC)
S520 Fog lights
S522 Xenon Light
S534 Automatic air conditioning
S548 Kilometre speedo
S555 On-board computer V with remote control
S602 On-board monitor withTV
S670 Radio BMW Professional RDS
S710 M Sports steering wheel, multifunction
S774 Fine wood trim
S775 Headlining anthracite
S785 White direction indicator lights
S812 National version Great Britain
S853 Language version, English
S863 Dealer List Europe
S877 Omission of non-combined operation
S880 On-board literature, English
S916 Dummy-SALAPA
S991 Control, preseries

M3EG English green heritage leather

324 Oxford green 1

Built on the 19th November 1998, its the first RHD Oxford green M5, one of only four RHD E39 M5 in Oxford green with English green leather, one of only 8 RHD E39 M5 built in 1998, the full factory spec of 003 listed above with a few things highlighted.

S991 Control, preseries denotes that it is a pre production car, one of 16 RHD DE92 E39 M5's built in chassis number range BJ10000 - BJ10015.

S548 Kilometre speedo yet it is an S812 National version Great Britain car.

S496 Seat heating rear. Now this might sound quite trivial but heated rear seats were never offered as an option on the series production M5 and an option not fitted to any of the 15 other pre production RHD E39 M5's. There is nothing on the BMW parts catalogue but interestingly the wiring diagrams for them are listed on BMW's WDS (see below, MSS52 is the engine management for the S62 engine used in the M5)

The heated rear seat buttons are located on the doors just in front of the ash tray unlike the more common position on the back of the centre console, used by BMW for heated rear seats switches on other models.

Despite the car being built in November 1998, it spent the first two years of its life in Munich with BMW before coming over to the UK in July 2000 to be sold on within the BMW dealer network.

From what I have been able to work out, it is the oldest surviving RHD E39 M5 still in use.

BJ10000 Alpine white with Mtex cloth - destroyed by BMW
BJ10001 Avus Blue with black leather - no record of it since 2007
BJ10002 Mineral grey with caramel leather - SORN needing work (according to a previous owner)

Nevertheless, I kept thinking about the car all week so arranged to go and have a proper look at it and decide what to do. After a proper look around and under it and a good chat with the owner it was obvious the car was pretty tired in some areas and cosmetically challenged when the owner bought it. He had had the car repainted, the wheels refurbished in the correct shadow chrome finish with a new set of Michelin PS4 tyres but other than putting the plate on it and changing back to pre facelift lights, it was as far as he went with it.

I couldn't let a significant piece of E39 M5 history go so after a day or two thinking about it, a deal was done and I was on the tube to collect it later that day.

The day I collected it just before heading round the M25 back home.

The english green leather has seen better days and somewhere along the line, it looks like its lost its wood to silver then partly reverted back to wood and the car had been face lifted with the later steering wheel, wide screen nav and later grey dials which I suspect were done when the car was imported in July 2000 to replace the original black faced KMH cluster.

So what are the plans? A light rolling restoration to bring the car up to a standard I am happy with so stay tuned!
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Hi B,

Excellent writeup and overview there! I wish BMW hadn't have destroyed the Alpine White example - it's a RHD AW that I'd love to have!

I haven't forgotten, I'll be back in touch with you about the trim and cluster :)

I'm sure soon enough this example will be looking sweet - I'm still not convinved the the green leather/carpets though !

Cheers, Dennis!
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I followed your M5 Wagon build on PH :love:. Amazing work! And I shall be following this thread too. I too have recently bought my Avus Blue Example (My first BMW) and am slowly going through it to right some of the wrongs and tidy up. Hope to see you at a PH meet or similar at some point....
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As I have been driving both the touring and 003 back to back it became quite apparent how much more responsive the M5T is so I suspected that 003's S62 was not performing how it should be so before doing any work to it, it was time to get a base line to work from.

Last weekend I took a trip to see Charlie down at SRR.

387.7bhp is not far off the 394bhp (400PS) the S62 is meant to put out but it is down about 80lbft on torque at 2500rpm and a dip in torque at 3750rpm after comparing it to another healthy E39 M5 tested on the same dyno.

I suspect a pair of tired MAF's and O2 sensors that are past their best, all of these were replaced on the M5T with new Bosch ones so I will go with a set of these for 003 soon.

A quick snap with Charlies E38 750iL in the same combo of Oxford green with English green leather!

First job ticked of the list in de-facelifting 003. A customer of mine had fully face lifted their M5 all apart from the speedo which was still running the original black face dials so lucky for me, they were up for a swap!

Both clusters sent off to Keith at AK speedo, he had the facias swapped over and back in the post in no time at all.

[footnote]Edited by BSSBMW on Sunday 28th May 23:19[/footnote]
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