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Lot 107: BMW M535i

Classic & Sports Cars, Barons (28 April 2009)

BMW's press pack maintained that the E12 M535i set a new standard in understatement and that it offered the restrained dignity of a Savile Row suit. What Car? magazine called it the ultimate boy-racer's car and about as retrained and dignified as Gary Glitter's gold lace stage costume. At �13,745 new in 1981, it must have been intended for a rich boy racer! Developed by BMW's Motorsport subsidiary, this exclusive 140mph model combined performance, comfort and tractability in traffic, offering pure excitement. The 3,453cc straight six engine, developed 218bhp at 5,200rpm and a sizeable 228 lb/ft of torque, 60mph coming up in 7.1 seconds and 100mph in 19.8 seconds. Just 200 RHD examples the E12 M535i were allocated in 1981 .

Updating a car as successful as the first 5 Series is always daunting, so it's understandable why BMW's first redesign of the car was very conservative. To many it was difficult to tell the new E28 5 Series from the old E12. The E28's windshield, roof and doors, for example, either carried over directly from the E12 or were only lightly modified. The most obvious change was to the car's rear third where the fenders and trunk lid stood high rather than drooping as in the E12. But the nose was also thoroughly changed with a new hood that didn't wrap over into the front wings (as it did on the E12) and the grille was more aerodynamic.

Despite the update being evolutionary on the outside, there were substantial changes beneath the E28's skin. The use of new materials and advanced construction techniques dropped somewhere between 132 and 200 pounds (depending on the model). The inside of the car was redesigned to be more ergonomically efficient and safer by reducing the number of protruding bits and increasing the use of padding. Finally, there were new electronic systems like a service interval indicator and an optional antilock braking system.

The E28 M535i benefited from all of these upgrades, plus a the addition of an automatic option. The model continued to excite motoring journalists as it offered a superb mix of luxury and performance in a relative compact car, which still offered seating for 5.

This example has benefited from, new, replacement front wings and other panels, treatment of any corrosion and a very expensive repaint, with wings off and glass out, and a careful reassembly. The front suspension has also been rebuilt and the car has been fitted with "poly bushes". The vendor has photographic records of the body works carried out.

Finished in Zinnobar red with grey interior, the car is equipped with the four speed, switchable, sports, automatic transmission, plus limited slip differential and replica Alpina alloy road wheels (+ original wheels and tyres).

An outstanding example of this rare car, which is offered complete with a comprehensive history file.

Lot Details
Auction Classic & Sports Cars
Lot Number107
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£3050
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating0
Registration numberD922ALB
Chassis numberWBADC820600660478
Engine number41713930
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors