CCG Project: 1985 BMW 535i (Euro-market)

Sometimes, life truly can be serendipitous. Roughly 10 years after purchasing my dearly departed Euro-market 1985 528i, I found a Euro-market 1985 535i in Indianapolis for the extremely attractive price of $3000. Same color, even! And coincidentally, scheduling pickup with the seller led to my birthday of September 18th as ideal. Happy birthday to me!


Of course, for the price, there are some issues. The car was owned by a mechanically unskilled gentleman in Indianapolis who bought the car on a whim in 2011, before running out of time to care for it due to his business. This led to it sitting for almost three years…meaning the interior was gross, the trunk was full of moisture and mold, surface rust has begun developing in areas of moisture accumulation, the taillights had cracked, taken on water and corroded to the point of no longer functioning, brakes were nearly seized…and so on.

There’s a lot of good, though! The car is actually quite straight and clean otherwise. I was very happy to see that the car presented better in person than it did in the seller’s pictures after a five-hour drive from Milwaukee to Indianapolis. The paint and body are in good shape with no signficant rust, the interior is workable, and most importantly the car started and drove – and aside from the groaning of rusty, nearly-seized brakes that had been stationary for three years – quite well! It even survived an automatic car wash run without leaking into the interior, leaving me quite impressed.


Even better, the car came with a huge stack of paperwork and some desirable aftermarket goodies. While the owner I purchased the car from may have neglected it, prior owners babied it considerably. BBS RK wheels, Bilstein shocks, Eibach springs, various rebuilt and refreshed components, detailed service records for a large portion of its 320k (!!!!) or so miles and more have left me feeling quite happy with this deal.

So, the plan for this is to do what I always dreamed of with my Euro 528i, but could never afford to: build a wonderful weekend cruiser and occasional HPDE/track car. It has tbe low-compression M30B34 engine, which is a perfect base for a turbo setup, and the extremely desirable one-year-only Getrag 265/6 transmission (the strongest BMW ever offered in the E28 chassis). Substantially larger brakes from the following E34-generation 540i are a bolt-on swap, and some new suspension bushings should complement the Bilstein/Eibach combo already installed quite well. I’m thinking some period Recaro seats would be the perfect way to finish it off, too.

Stay tuned, there’s definitely more to come from this project!

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