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5-Series Auction Stalls Without A Winner – 1988 BMW 535i

The second generation BMW 5-series’ improvements, in many ways, were the Tradewind that filled the sails which carried on the momentum of the original Neue Klasse replacement into the 21st century. Technologically abundant and with an ebullient new suspension arrangement, the 5-series effectively began to shape the clay that would become the sports sedan segment. Semi-trailing arms in the rear softened the ride, and ABS (standard on U.S. market cars after 1985) improved the ride handling and performance. So captivating was the drive in the new five-series that it made over 700,000 customers fall madly in love enough to sign their name on the dotted line and take one home. Today, finding an E28 in good condition poses a troublesome challenge for those looking, and having the opportunity to purchase one in pristine condition is a particular rarity. That makes our recent 535i auction closure without the reserve being met a bit of a baffling and disappointing outcome considering its exemplary state.

Originally produced in the final year of the second generation 5-series, this 1988 535i was outfitted with a 3.4-liter M30 straight-six motor and the best gearbox selection, a 5-speed manual. Output was rated at around 180 horsepower when new, and given the list of recent maintenance and general upkeep of this car we are satisfied that it is still close to that initial figure. A recent oil change, fresh fuel lines, a new radiator with hoses, engine mounts, a battery, and new brake master and slave cylinder just touch the surface of current servicing.

The Bronzit Beige Metallic paint (option 139) is still original to the car and at all angles is flawless. A modestly lowered stance gifted by Suspension Techniques springs and Bilstein sport shock absorbers provides handling and aesthetic improvements without sacrificing comfort. 17” BBS Style 5 wheels are timeless, beautiful upgrades and the five included in the sale are covered in newer Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber. Inside, the humbly sporty improvements continue with an M-Tech tri-spoke steering wheel, factory electrically adjustable sport seats, and rich Llama leather covering the front and rear seats. This 535i tastefully nudges the distance between itself and the M5 without using extreme aftermarket modifications.

Although our 535i did not sell this week, this Bavarian bombshell is still available for sale. The sale comes complete with an additional BBS wheel, the factory owners manuals and guides, a large binder stuffed full of service records, the original tool kit, the original spare tire and wheel, and all of the Concours trophies (at least eight) it has won throughout the past decade. A clean Carfax report and California title appropriately finish out the included pedigree pieces that such an important member of BMWs history should warrant.

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