﹒One owner from new
﹒Utterly incredible service history
﹒Rare Racing Dynamics wheels
﹒Incredible condition throughout
Much in the way the E36 version of the M3 popularised the model, the E34 version of BMW’s 5 Series did the sme for the M5. The previous E28 version was of course a magnificent machine, but it was built in small numbers, it was a car that BMW was very much finding its feet with. But find them it did, and thanks to the positive press around the E28 M5, the automotive world was left salivating at the notion of an E34 version. BMW did not disappoint.
Launched in 1988, the E34 M5 was a more ‘resolved’ proposition. BMW knew it was going to be a big seller, it knew it would be a focal point in its showrooms and it knew it needed to satisfy the hype its production had brought. Early cars were fitted with a naturally-aspirated 3.6 litre straight-six engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission delivering 315bhp to the rear wheels. The car boasted perfect 50/50 weight distribution.
Unlike the E28, it was a more subtle car in terms of looks, with only some badging, small spoilers and M5-specific alloys to give the game away. It was a Q car, a stealth missile of a car. And from day one, it was a ‘must have’ for petrolheads the globe over.
This 1992 BMW, which was built in June of 1990, has had just one owner from new. This is a unicorn of a car, as many have been through a number of owners by this point. But not this car. Instead, it has been the pride and joy of one man, and that man has lavished care and attention upon it with no limitations.
It’s been a regular in main dealer workshops for routine work, it has been maintained religiously, it even had a BMW warranty for the first fifteen years. There’s paperwork to back it all up. It is… incredible.
Upgrading from a 535i, the owner wanted something with more power. Something with a bit more bark and a lot more bite. The M5 was the car that would fit the bill, and so this one was secured. Finished in Sebring Grey with now incredibly rare Siam Grey Bufallo leather, it also came with electric rear blind, side blinds, electric memory seats, heated seats and heated mirrors.
However, he made some changes from the off. He wasn’t a fan of the factory alloy wheels, so the car was sent to Racing Dynamics for a set of staggered alloy wheels - this was the first M5 (in fact, the first BMW) to wear them in the UK as it happens. He also had a Racing Dynamics steering wheel fitted, too. The stereo was upgraded to an Alpine eleven-speaker system, installed by a specialist in Milton Keynes. However, the head unit has been replaced this year (still a period unit).
Over the last 29 years, the car has racked up a hair over 180,000 miles. But frankly, this number is meaningless. The history of this car is staggering. To the point where we have never seen anything quite like it. If this car had ten owners, but still had this history, it would be an incredible find. To have this history and just one owner, though? This is the holy grail of M5 finds.
Sadly, and after much wrestling with the idea, the owner has opted to offer the car for sale. It’s not our place to go into detail, but let’s just say it’s nothing to do with the car. If he could keep driving it, believe us, he would. But instead, he’s offering this car to a new, lucky custodian.
Staggering, that’s how we can describe the paperwork that comes with this car. We’ll get to the juice stuff shortly, but first, a documentation aperitif. You’ve got all the manuals for the car, this included the period Alpine head unit, the graphic equaliser and even the brilliantly period (and still fitted) Snooper radar detector. There is an operator manual for the - again still fitted - Panasonic car phone.
There’s a leather book pack, still with the original tag. Within this, there is an owner’s manual, dealer network book and of course, a fully stamped service book. And we do mean fully. It can be stamped no more, as it’s full.
Now we have the main course. The folders. Yes, plural, because there are five of them. Each one meticulously curated, and in date order throughout. And each one full of detail of everything that has been done to this car. There is of course the paperwork that supports the fifteen years the car was under warranty. Then there are myriad invoices for the servicing, the brakes, the fluids, the parts, the repairs when needed. This car has wanted for nothing, and the paperwork shows it.
There is documentation to show a considerable upgrade to the self-levelling suspension system. In fact, the power steering pump, lines, suspension components, belts, and everything else involved was replaced in 2012/13. The system is now running 11s fluid.
Not only has the car not wanted for anything, it’s also never been allowed to receive any work of a substandard quality. That’s what this paperwork proves. BMW has been the main recipient of the car for its upkeep, while for more general work like oil changes and the like, a specialist was used. It is… incredible.
Literally, the only thing that gives away the 180k on the clock is the 180k on the actual clock. The leather, the carpets, the dash, the door cards - they are all in impeccable condition. Let’s start with the dash. Everything works, including the air-conditioning, which is ic cold. There are no warning lights, every switch works (including the trip computer) and everything looks great. Of course, there is some sign of life on the steering wheel and the stalks and the gear knob in particular, which has frayed. But come on, it’s been used, not hidden away.
The seats, in that rare Buffalo leather, are excellent front and back. The owner isn’t a big chap, so there’s little in the way of wear. Plus, the leather has been regularly fed and conditioned over the years. Furthermore, all the electric adjustment and memory function works as it should. Open the glove compartment and the factory torch is still present, as is the eleven band graphic equaliser for the stereo system. Alpine, naturally.
In the rear, there are side and rear blinds. The one for the rear window is electric, and works as it should. The side blinds are sprung, and retract into the doors. The rear quarter blind has become overwound though, so will need attention.
Look up, and you’ll see the headlining has been replaced with a grey suede, as have all the pillars. It looks and feels excellent, and is vast improvement over the original offering. Sadly though, in the process of doing this, the sunroof has developed a snag. It still tilts, but it no longer slides. This will need investigation. Or not, given how well the A/C works.
In the boot, the original netting is still present and correct, the drop-down tool kit is complete and under the floorboards there is an original, unused spare wheel. Further up the boot floor, there are the three 100W Alpine amplifiers and rear bulkhead-mounted Alpine subwoofer.
Door shuts are all clean and tidy, with clean paint and no rust to be observed. The hinges are all in good condition, there are no bumps, rattle or groans from any of the fittings. It’s simply in excellent health and condition. Some cars with 50,000 miles aren’t this good.
As you can see from the pictures, this E34 M5 presents very well indeed. Is it perfect? No, of course not, it’s covered 180,000 miles. But, does it have the wear associated with such mileage? No, not one bit. It looks like it has done but a fraction of that, which stands as testament to how well this car has been looked after. There are a couple of stone chips on the nose, which is to be expected. There are two small (think beer mat size) areas on the roof where the lacquer has come away, and on the rear lower spoiler the section for the towing eye is a slightly different colour. We’re also informed that there is a fine imperfection on one rear arch, where there is slight bubbling. However, it is very minor, and didn’t even show on the photos.
Those are the only issues, if you can even call them that. The owner is passionate about this classic machine, and wants to give over as much information as possible. But honestly, he’s simply passionate about it. This car has been - for its entire life - with an owner that really cares about it. As such, we can say that the car is as exceptional as it looks. It has of course had paint over the years, but it’s been done expertly and as such, there is no question of quality. The panel gaps are all excellent, and there is no hint of any damage. It’s a very straight, true car.
The glass is all excellent, as are the rubbers, many of which have been replaced. One of the rubbers that sits in the recess for the passenger door handle has cracked, but that’s expected with the age. The sealing rubbers are all excellent, as are window surrounds. The rear spoiler is excellent, too.
The car sits on staggered Racing Dynamics alloys which are all utterly flawless. They wear recent, excellent condition rubber. Through the five-spoke alloys, you can see the rebuilt and repainted calipers complete with M5 logos. You can also see the mint, recent brakes. The hoses are new, too, as are the hidden rear drum/handbrake components. It’s just stunning.
As you can well imagine given the history of this M5, it is in exceptional mechanical health. Despite the mileage, it’s still probably one of the best out there. It has wanted for nothing over the course of its life. It has been serviced more than regularly, the throttle bodies have been recently refurbished, too. When the calipers were refurbished, the hoses were fitted along with new fluid. Open the bonnet and remove the relay box cover, and you’ll see new relays, each one with a printed label stating when it was replaced. The detail is staggering.
Fire the big six up and it barks into life with an eager snarl. The engine breathes deep and revs freely. No knocks, no taps, just that famous M5 growl. On the road, it performs faultlessly and still seems to have all of its horses in check. It’s fast, make no mistake. Plant the throttle and it takes off, but with no smoke or resistance. Just power.
The steering is direct and sharp, while the suspension is as good as it was thirty years ago. Better, probably, given how much work was done in terms of replacing the entire system and upgrading it to run on 11s fluid. It’s an agile, sharp, focused machine that offers a proper ‘man and machine’ drive. No computers getting in the way, no active this or dynamic that. Just power, a perfectly poised chassis and rear-wheel drive. Bliss.
The most recent MOT was passed with no advisories. Light corrosion on some of the piping was mentioned and resulted in a thorough clean, after which it was found to just be a surface issue however the owner had the M5 completely undersealed (this was part of a 3-4 years normal undersealing process). Remember, nothing has been missed here. And when something needs doing, it gets replaced, not repaired. Not many cars can boast such care.
The seller would like to make you aware that there is a small oil leak, but again, this is in keeping with a desire to fully inform. Apparently, it may be from the timing case. However, David Olias of Classic MD Autos replaced the crush washers from a recently replaced timing chain tensioner (by David), and also the O ring for the oil return valve. So they’re all good.
Finally, we have the spares. Hundreds of pounds worth of fixings, of service items, of relays, wiring and fusing. All the stuff that was bought, but never used. All lovingly packed away and ready to be shipped off with the car.
The miles are high, so what? This is a one owner E34 M5 with the best engine (ask any aficionado and they’ll tell you the 3.6 is the one to have). It has, no hyperbole employed, the best service history we have ever seen, and it is in incredible condition.
And in a way, the miles are a good thing. Sure, you could go and buy one with 30k on the clock, but would you drive it? Would you push it and exploit the car’s abilities to their full potential? Of course you wouldn't.
This one, however, has been driven, it has been used, and that is what it demands of the next lucky owner. It’s a proven machine, one that has been maintained like no other.
If you want an M5 you can really, really drive. This is it. You honestly won’t find better.
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