Thursday, September 1, 2016

Red Flags: 1991 BMW M5

 I know, I know.  Another E34 M5?  Getting a bit predictable, huh Daily Turismo?  An E34 M5, then an 1800S, then a ratty 911, soon we will win a game of tractor chicken, then eventually convince an old man to burn some books and then cancel the town's longstanding anti-dancing predictable.  Find this 1991 BMW M5 offered for $5,500 in Los Angeles area, CA via craigslist.  Thanks to Sean S for the tip!

The price for this beast seems entirely too good to be true, but ya never know what the car REALLY looks/drives like until you see it in person.  These could be photos from 5 years ago, because the asking price is certainly from the past.  Do your homework on this one, and check the carfax/autocheck because there is a good chance that it is the same car described here with 269k miles on the odometer, but now shows 173k.  It could be something as innocuous as a new (used) dash, but it pays to be prepared for the inevitability of owning a sub $5k M5.

The seller says the 3.6 liter inline-6 runs great and pulls hard...which is good because fixing the S38 can get very expensive very quickly, even for the DIYer.  If you are the kind of guy to head to a dealer for maintenance, just walk away now.

The thing the seller admits is wrong is that the Getrag  280 5-speed is going to need some fixin, and that will get expensive very quickly.  Only a few shops around will deal with them and they were only used for a limited number of M5/M6 cars.  It seems that oil level issues can cause the 4th gear to burn up and end with a non-rebuildable transmission, so some folks will now swap the 280 for a 265 (from the more common 5-series models with inline-6s) but the swap is far from bolt-in with driveshaft shortening required.  Bottom line, do your homework with an E34 M5 that needs tranny work.

See another red monster for cheap?


  1. Beautiful looking car. Maybe an LS1 + 6 speed swap candidate due to the trans problems and high mileage?

  2. Beautiful looking car. Maybe an LS1 + 6 speed swap candidate due to the trans problems and high mileage?

  3. The e34 m5 is still an undervalued classic. There will be a day that those of us that have always wanted one will kick ourselves.
    on this same topic I will just put this here
    Canepa M1


Commenting Commandments:
I. Thou Shalt Not write anything your mother would not appreciate reading.
II. Thou Shalt Not post as anonymous unless you are posting from mobile and have technical issues. Use name/url when posting and pick something Urazmus B Jokin, Ben Dover. Sir Edmund Hillary Clint don't matter. Just pick a nom de plume and stick with it.
III. Honor thy own links by using <a href ="http://www.linkgoeshere"> description of your link </a>
IV. Remember the formatting tricks <i>italics</i> and <b> bold </b>
V. Thou Shalt Not commit spam.
VI. To embed images: use [image src="" width="400px"/]. Limit images to no wider than 400 pixels in width. No more than one image per comment please.