Was this the history on it that caused you to walk? Any rust?
I walked not because of any one particular issue, but based on the accumulation of the following points, as compared to the other E34 M5ís that were available at that time in a similar price range:
- The car had been tracked - I donít know how extensively, but often enough that the shop I spoke to referred to the car as that ownerís ďtrack carĒ. They were very familiar with that owner, knew him by name, and he is still a customer of theirs today. For me, as a track car, it may have been driven hard, lots of RPM, lots of high-RPM shifting, etc etc. None of this is fatal to the car, but when youíre choosing between a couple cars, would you choose one that had been driven gently, or one that had been tracked (all other things being equal) ? Yes, some people drive manual transmissions poorly which can be detrimental as well. Itís a personal decision.
- It had a situation where some part of the cooling system let go. I donít know which part.... a hose, a radiator, whatever. I was told it was while the owner was on track at a driving event. He reportedly told the shop that he immediately came in to the pits and shut the car down, that it did not overheat. Did it get only slightly hot? Did the needle get just shy of red? Did it get into the red but no obvious ill effects were suffered? Did the head warp? It was not removed to be checked, I know that. Is the head gasket now on its last legs? I donít know. But ultimately, another unknown, another thing to think about and consider when youíre comparing cars to purchase.
- It had been totally re-painted. The current seller did not apparently know that until I told him (after I found the old For Sale ad). I donít know if it was re-painted due to an accident, or just because single-stage Brilliant Red paint from the Ď90s can oxidize heavily if left in the sun etc. Was it a good quality repaint or a cheap ďIím about to sell this carĒ repaint? I donít know. Was it re-painted with single stage paint or a base/clear combo, or what? I donít know. Was all the trim and glass removed, etc, or was the car just masked off in-situ and then sprayed outside under a pop-up tent? I donít know. There were no receipts in the receipt binder, I was told. So, another unknown/comparison point to think about.
- This car is a 1992. US 1992 M5ís came with a 3.73 differential. M5ís were already geared long for American roads when they were equipped with a 3.91. The 3.73 only exacerbates that long gearing. If I had bought this car, I would have wanted to swap it out for a 3.91. Go looking for a large case 210mm 3.91 LSD for an E34 M5, and you will discover that they are far and few between, and somewhere in the vicinity of $900-$1000 right now. Another comparison point.
- The car was priced at ~$17,900 at the time. I was talking to the seller regularly and trying to get him to bring the price down, but he was fixed at that time at around $16k.
- For comparison purposes, one of the M5ís I was considering at that time was a 1991 (3.91 rear end), had ~20k less miles, extensive service records, reportedly street driven only, no known or suspected history of an overheat, etc etc, and was priced similarly.
So, I decided this car wasnít for me and I went with one of the others that were on the market at the time.
Regarding rust, this red one had no rust that I could detect from any of the photos that I saw. If I had decided to pursue the car further, I would have either gone the route of a full PPI, or flown out there myself to look it over. So I canít say for sure what state the body is in - but I got the impression that the car was clean and ďrust-freeĒ, as they say.
I also cannot say that this is a bad example of an M5. It seems like a nice one, actually. It seems presentable. It seems to be in decent condition, unknown history notwithstanding. If it had been priced at $13k when I was looking at it.... who knows? Maybe I wouldíve bought it. The value could be there at $13k, being that there arenít many of these cars out there for sale and that prices are going up.
The owner/seller is a really nice guy. I would feel comfortable that he is honest about whatever he tells you. But I was looking more at what was unknown about the car, as compared to what else was out there for sale at the time.