1988 M5 – Is this one worth it?

BMW M5 | July 11th, 2015 by 5
1988 bmw m5

The original BMW M5, the E28 model, is the first true M car. The M1 might be considered the first, but it was produced in …

The original BMW M5, the E28 model, is the first true M car. The M1 might be considered the first, but it was produced in such low numbers and was really only produced for homologation purposes. So, the M5 was really the first car to come from BMWs M Division. The E28 was the perfect car when it debuted back in 1986. It was incredibly fast, about as fast as the Porsche 911 of the time, handled fantastically, was extremely comfortable and luxurious and could seat five. Even by today’s standards, it’s fast and agile and could be considered the perfect car. So, clearly, it’s a very highly sought after collector’s car.

But is this one worth buying?

1988 bmw m5

This specific car is a 1988 BMW M5 with 190,000 miles on the clock. It’s Schwartz Black over tan leather and sits on wheels from an E34 M5. It is said to have been kept in a climate control garage for most of its life, though judging by the milage it spent most of its time on the road. It was resprayed once before, but aside from that, the car looks to be in superb condition with little in the way of wear and tear, though there aren’t many pictures of the interior to prove that. Now, normally an original M5 of this supposed condition goes from anywhere between $40,000 and $100,000, depending on mileage. This one is selling for $19,500.

The low price can be attributed to the mileage, but I have a feeling that there’s a bit more to this car than meets the eye. The change of wheels from the original car to ones from a newer M5 tells me that this car was owned by someone who likes to tinker and customize. The blacked out taillights on an ‘88 M5 tells me that said tinkerer didn’t have the best of classic car taste. Then there’s the case of the conspicuous ALPINA badges on the body and steering wheel. Yet, there is no ALPINA livery anywhere else on the car, nor does it have ALPINA wheels or the ALPINA badge on the engine’s valve cover, like a proper ALPINA would. So why put ALPINA badges on a car that doesn’t even look like a real ALPINA? This worries me.

While these simple modifications may be just that and there not be anything wrong with the car at all, they just seem a bit suspicious. If I’m going to buy a classic car, I want things to be as original as possible, because old cars can be quite the headache if they aren’t.

bmw 5 series e28 m535i 1 750x425

I want to love this M5, because the E28 M5 is one of my all time favorite cars. I want this to be a realistic example of what can actually be bought, because it would spell hope for my dreams of actually owning one someday soon. But this model seems a bit suspicious. What’s with the ALPINA badges on a car that is so clearly just a standard M5, why black out the taillights on a classic car and why take rims from a different M5 and put them on the original classic? The high mileage doesn’t worry me, old-school BMW straight-sixes are bulletproof, but the odd circumstances do. While $19,500 isn’t much for the original M5, I think I would have to ultimately pass on this one. What do you think?