Old BMW models are a gamble. Enthusiasts love them for their straightforward, driver-centric ethos of combining excellent driving dynamics with understated luxury. However, when you buy a classic BMW, it can be like adopting a needy pet that can get costly and stressful. But in the same way that people irrationally love their pets, a lot of drivers irrationally love their old Bimmers.
Today’s Autotrader Find is a classic BMW that has seen a few miles of road in its day. It’s a 1986 BMW 535i with 563,132 miles on the clock. This old 5 Series (or E28, if you want to say it the cool BMW way) is an archetype for what BMW enthusiasts love about BMW, like an inline-six engine, a manual transmission and sophisticated styling that is distinctly BMW.
You’d be right to be worried about the potentially costly maintenance of an ’80s BMW with more than a half-million miles on the clock, but it has undergone some major work around the 400,000-mile mark according to the listing. This includes a new timing chain, a rebuilt driveshaft, a new transmission and much more. It also has quite a few aftermarket parts like the exhaust, the intake manifold, a short shift kit and pretty much the whole suspension system.
However, despite the many aftermarket mods, this E28 still has a charming subtlety to it. It more or less looks like it did when it rolled off of the factory line in Dingolfing over 30 years ago but with some imperfections in the body including some rust. The interior is in fantastic shape considering the age and mileage, and the listing says it was upholstered in 1997. Even for being 23 years old, this interior looks like it’s in great condition. Something that the owner appears to be particularly proud of is the high-end stereo in the car, the details of which you can read in the listing if you’re an audio nerd.
This BMW 535i is for sale in Finksburg, Maryland, near Baltimore with an asking price of $3,500. It’s a very affordable way to get behind the wheel of a classic German sport sedan as long as you don’t mind a little rust and a lot of miles. It could serve as a project car if you’re feeling ambitious and want to do a full restoration, or it could just be a really cool beater that’s more interesting and fun to drive than most cars in this price range. Find a BMW 535i for sale