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At $5,200, Is This 1985 BMW 535i a Credible Classic?

Nice Price or No Dice 1985 BMW 535i

The reason given for the sale of today’s Nice Price or No Dice BMW E28 is a lack of space following the purchase of a new truck. Let’s see if this old-school Bimmer is priced well enough for someone to start planning it a new space.

The Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail brazenly dismissed his battle injuries, claiming the hacking off of his limbs to be nothing more than a scratch. Minimizing flaws or injuries is a common trait and one we saw with last Friday’s 1995 Buick Century estate. The car’s seller said that it was in great shape, but offhandedly noted in the ad that it “Randomly shuts off, but will start back up.” Like a forest floor strewn with severed arms and legs, that casual mention in the ad’s description stood out. It also made the car’s $4,000 asking price untenable for the vast majority of you, ending up in a 70 percent No Dice loss.

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The flaws on today’s 1985 BMW E28 535i are also noted in the ad, and are more of the visual nature, rather than evidenced by some mechanical gremlins. Those flaws include a scrape on the front bumper, fog lamps that need to be realigned, a couple of cracks in the dash, and a driver’s seat that, were it a person, would be leaning against a wall panting breathlessly and urging us to go on without it.

Are any of these aesthetic and comfort issues insurmountable? Of course not. They all simply make the car look a bit more like a daily driver or weekend warrior than a garage queen.

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The good news is that the car seems to be mechanically sound. The 3.5-liter M30B34 straight-six is said to run without issue or dashboard warning light. That 180 horsepower SOHC six is mated here with a ZF-sourced four-speed automatic which is also claimed to be problem-free. In fact, the only mechanical detail that doesn’t seem to be working is the odometer. Apparently that decided it had had enough at 238,662 miles. I expect that’s probably par for the course on Bimmers of such advanced age and miles.

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The automatic may dull much of the interest the car generates among enthusiasts. So, too, might the Alpine White over beige color scheme. That’s neither the most exciting nor most elegant, but aside from a few flaws here and there, it looks pretty serviceable. A set of ARE two-piece alloys do dress the car up a bit. And yes, those are Doral tires mounted to the wheels. That’s a secondary by Japan’s Sumitomo and available at places like Walmart. We’re not here to tire shame, however.

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In the car’s favor are a new catalytic converter and O2 sensors. This is a California car and owing to the state requiring replacement emissions equipment to carry a long warranty, cats here are significantly more expensive than in other states. A related benefit is not having to go through the hassle of a non-passage of the required smog test at title transfer. In fact, the seller says the car has a clean title, valid registration, and a smog certificate as validation of such heroic deeds.

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Another plus is what looks to be a complete tool kit in the boot lid. Sure, the tools look suspiciously covered in surface rust, but they seem to be all there. Also in there is a huge subwoofer taking up nearly half of the boot’s capacity. Maybe the seller will help the new owner lift that space-waster into a nearby dumpster. Removal of the stereo’s wiring may be a little more daunting than that, but it should probably be done as well.

Are we done? Save for the price tag, I’d say that we are. That price is $5,200, and I’d now like you all to weigh in with your opinion as to whether this 535i is worth that much scratch.

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What do you think? Could the balance of good and bad equate to that $5,200 asking? Or, does the bad outweigh the good and that price?

You decide!

Long Beach, California, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Don R. for the hookup!

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