Thursday, September 13, 2012

5k: 1988 BMW 535i E34 5spd

The E34 BMW market (5 series from 1988-1996) is currently near its low point for price.  The nice E28s are starting to appreciate and the E39 series still haven't reach rock bottom, but we think that the E34s are currently in the weeding/crushing phase before the nice condition ones start to appreciate a few percent per year.  But we aren't stock brokers or seers, so we can only guess, but this 1988 BMW 535i with 5 speed manual is for sale in Gardena, CA for $1250 via - an exclusive seller submission on Daily Turismo.  Contact Jorge at to buy the car.

This was the first year for the E34 and this car has seen some action - it's currently sporting some plus sized rims -but you can find stock 15 inch wheels for this car littering the junkyards in nearby Wilmington if you don't like the 'dubs' look.  We'd try to find some BBS basket weaves or something a little more vintage to match the looks of the car, but you could probably get some coin for the current shoes on this whip..yo.

This 535i is powered by the venerable M30 3.4 liter inline-6 making 208 horsepower and 225 ft-lbs of torque and mated to ZF 5 speed transmission.  It is a combination that makes for some sweet driving experiences in a car that you would expect to be pedestrian and well...boring.  But it is surprisingly rewarding to hustle an E34 535 around a few corners with the optional limited slip differential giving you proper tail happy behavior (not sure if this one has the 'winter package' that gives the LSD, but it's an easy check for a stamped S on the rear diff).

The interior on this 535 has an interesting set of cloth seat inserts...that we think may be some kind of aftermarket install - but perhaps a BMW historian could chime in the comments and clear it up.  The shifter boot clearly has seen better days, but it is an easy fix if you buy a new one for $50 online.

We like the classy understated looks of the E34 and while M5 versions are cheap, this 535i version is the next 'sportiest' option and is extremely inexpensive.  A few more details on the car - it runs and drives, but may need new ball joints or wheel bearings, but the AC blows cold and everything else is in great shape for a $1250 car.

Have another cheap car we may want to ridicule?  email us here:


  1. Mileage? CarFax history? Pull the car out to take better pictures? Maybe for $1250 we can make assumptions about the answers to these questions. Actually, those big wheels probably tell us quite a bit also.

  2. I could be wrong but I thought E34's didn't come out until 1989??


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