'88 535is 196k in SoCal

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shipsareneat
Posts: 35
Joined: Sep 04, 2015 1:02 AM
Location: San Diego

'88 535is 196k in SoCal

Post by shipsareneat »

1988 BMW 535is (manual)
1967xx miles; located in San Diego
VIN: WBADC740XJ1718904
$3950

Photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/M2rxVTaABBE7bdJZ7
(let me know if additional photos are requested. I will also add a video of cold start and drive)

TL;DR: a ready-to-enjoy classic that has the right stuff where it counts and is ready to offer many more miles and years to a caring owner, without the stress of preserving a garage queen.

Bentley manual included with sale. Comments and questions welcome!

The good
General
  • Authentic "is" including decklid spoiler, front air dam, LSD, 16" basketweaves, sport steering wheel, and sport seats
    Starts, runs, drives reliably and solidly
  • No fluid leaks or battery draining gremlins --> can leave it parked for a couple of weeks and it will start right up and not make a mess of the driveway
Strong drivetrain
  • Engine: good, consistent compression test numbers. Does not leak or burn oil between changes. Valves adjusted and spark plugs inspected at recommended intervals. Oil pan protected by a skid plate!
  • Transmission: Smooth shifting and (believed to be) original clutch are a testament to how gently this car has been driven over the years. Fluid change at 177k
  • LSD: rebuilt by PO at 171k, fluid change at 177k
Interior
  • Handsome cardinal red door cards on black interior
  • Leather on sport seats redone by PO
  • Working power sunroof and windows (rears a bit slow in the cold)
  • Mostly-complete large tool kit (missing channel locks and pliers)
  • Tastefully modernized radio allows bluetooth connectivity (see pics). Rear speakers are stock and the front footwell ones are aftermarket
Unless noted below, it works!

The bad
  • No catalytic converter: buyer responsibility to install emission system needed to register in their state. There is currently a flex coupling in place where one can be easily added.
  • Worn shifter bushings cause side-to-side play in knob (does not inhibit shifting precision)
  • Non-functional radio antenna
  • Gas tank filler neck pinholes: can top off if you're on a road trip, but not if you're going to park it.
  • Slight driveshaft vibration under load at precisely 13 mph, related to CSB. Hasn't changed over the past 20k miles so I haven't messed with it
  • Weak A/C (system converted to R134a by PO but I don't think compressor or condenser were changed to reflect this)
  • Deactivated cruise control
  • Deactivated brake pad wear sensors
  • Deactivated ABS (computer and actuator are functional, but one of the Hub sensors/rotors needs cleaning or replacement to correct this. I have pulled the relays in the mean time)
  • Was lachssilber, clear coat was failing. Repainted with single stage in 2016. I still have the paint in case the buyer would like to make touchups
  • Central locking works intermittently (bad connection at the control unit likely)
  • Half of passenger seat motor functions don't work (motors spin but cables need to be replaced)
The ugly
  • Standard e28 cracked dashboard
  • Left rear quarter panel met a sign post in a sleet storm (see ding in pictures)
  • Rust-perforated footwells driver and passenger side
  • Some small surface rust spots on hood and sunroof
  • Small rust hole in left rear corner of trunk
Background
My first and only car to date. Engineer-owned and maintained since September '15; 176k to 197k current miles. Reliable (never let me down/stranded), fun, practical car that got me through college and continues to be my daily driver (although I don’t commute with it much these days). It was a NY car its whole life until I brought it out to CA, so there is some underlying rust. However, the drivetrain is ready to go another 100k with the right owner. I learned so much working on this car and it has required only routine maintenance the past 2 years, but now as I balance my priorities it is time to let go, although I am not in a rush to do so.

My general approach to this sale is that if it does not go within a month or so, then I will gradually make an effort to pass emissions and register in CA. Price will increase accordingly.

Ideally this car will go to someone who will continue to enjoy it in its current form. I could also see the mechanicals and "is" bits being swapped over to a car with a healthier chassis/body/paint.
Last edited by shipsareneat on Nov 10, 2020 9:51 PM, edited 4 times in total.
JWCIV
Posts: 19
Joined: Mar 10, 2018 3:31 AM
Location: Santa Rosa

Re: '88 535is 196k in SoCal

Post by JWCIV »

I've seen your car street parked on Talbot across from the yacht club, haha. Wanted to park my '88 IS next to it to get a photo but it was sandwiched between two other cars. Nice car, seems like a reasonable price and hopefully goes to a good owner. Also, I've never seen that Midway shopping center parking lot so empty. Usually gotta park in China to go to Sprouts
shipsareneat
Posts: 35
Joined: Sep 04, 2015 1:02 AM
Location: San Diego

Re: '88 535is 196k in SoCal

Post by shipsareneat »

Yep that would be me! That would have been nice, I've seen a few other e28's around town but never met any owners. What color is yours?

Appreciate the comment!
JWCIV
Posts: 19
Joined: Mar 10, 2018 3:31 AM
Location: Santa Rosa

Re: '88 535is 196k in SoCal

Post by JWCIV »

Mine is Royalblau, kind of an M5 clone with shadowline and M5 wheels. It lives in Ocean Beach but sometimes I’m driving around the other side of the hill
SeattleGuy
Posts: 612
Joined: Jun 25, 2018 6:26 AM

Re: '88 535is 196k in SoCal

Post by SeattleGuy »

That's a nice car at a reasonable price, especially if the buy knows DIY bodywork. Can you tell me more about who did the front seats? They look great. I have cardinal seats and it's not a top priority but something I am interested in doing down the road, thanks and GLWS.
shipsareneat
Posts: 35
Joined: Sep 04, 2015 1:02 AM
Location: San Diego

Re: '88 535is 196k in SoCal

Post by shipsareneat »

SeattleGuy wrote: Nov 03, 2020 10:43 AM That's a nice car at a reasonable price, especially if the buy knows DIY bodywork. Can you tell me more about who did the front seats? They look great. I have cardinal seats and it's not a top priority but something I am interested in doing down the road, thanks and GLWS.
Glad you think so! :D Regarding the front seats: I have many papers for garage work on the car, but don't know if I have anything for the seats. Will have to check. In any case, it would have been a shop in Long Island.

I don't know about the feasibility of pulling the ding out, but I'm sure some combination of massaging and filling could make it look decent.

However, you have reminded me of a semi-relevant detail: still have the paint from the respray in Fall 2016. So that could make the repair effort easier...
slowdawg84
Posts: 2
Joined: May 17, 2015 9:25 PM
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: '88 535is 196k in SoCal

Post by slowdawg84 »

Just shot you a PM, let me know if you don’t see it. Thanks!
Lee74
Posts: 6
Joined: Sep 20, 2020 5:26 PM
Location: USA

Re: '88 535is 196k in SoCal

Post by Lee74 »

I would like to have your car, but I don’t think I can get the time off to go look at it quick enough, before someone else will probably get to it before me. I am in WA and I think it would be a bit before I could make a trip to see and get it. Nice car, and hope it’s available in a few months or to find one like it then or closer to me
shipsareneat
Posts: 35
Joined: Sep 04, 2015 1:02 AM
Location: San Diego

Re: '88 535is 196k in SoCal

Post by shipsareneat »

Lee74 wrote: Nov 10, 2020 12:20 PM I would like to have your car, but I don’t think I can get the time off to go look at it quick enough, before someone else will probably get to it before me. I am in WA and I think it would be a bit before I could make a trip to see and get it. Nice car, and hope it’s available in a few months or to find one like it then or closer to me
I will update this posting when it sells. It is still available unless noted otherwise!
cek
Posts: 8821
Joined: Mar 18, 2013 6:25 PM
Location: əʞɐl ʇlɐs puɐ əlʇʇɐəs
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Re: '88 535is 196k in SoCal

Post by cek »

shipsareneat wrote: Oct 30, 2020 1:59 AM 1988 BMW 535is (manual)
1967xx miles; located in San Diego
VIN: WBADC740XJ1718904
$3950
Thank you for taking the time to check all the right check marks in posting an ad here. Well done and appreciated.

"ding" in left rear quarter is a bit more than a ding, but besides that and the rusr, this is a nice car that seems priced appropriately. GLWS!
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