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Estate Sale Find: All-Original 1988 BMW 535is

The E28 platform BMW is among the most loved of the 5-Series lineup: comfortable, quick and a deft handler for a family car, the 535is was the next best thing if you couldn’t afford the upkeep on the legendary M5 super sedan. This 1988 sport package-equipped 535is is said to be a highly-original estate sale find, and it’s listed here on eBay with an ambitious $12.5K opening bid.

I owned an exact replica of this car, although mine was a 1987 model in Alpine White with a Pacific Blue interior. Red is certainly a more popular color for this car, and it presents quite well. The later models came with painted side-view mirrors (mine were flat black plastic) and all of the IS models came with that sweet rear spoiler, front air dam and torquey M30 inline six engine – ranked as one of the best engines in the world by Ward’s. This car’s only deviation from stock is a set of desirable BBS wheels, possibly fitted by the dealer.

Inside, all of the original sport package bits are still present, which include the leather sport seats, three spoke steering wheel, and Premium Sound stereo. In this car’s case, thankfully, it was equipped with the 5-speed manual transmission. Some of the IS models were also spec’d out with the limited-slip differential – since the seller didn’t bother to confirm this, I’m guessing he’s a bit of a BMW novice since the locker would add some additional value to potential buyers.

The M30 3.5L inline-six – also affectionately called the “Big Six” by enthusiasts – is one of those motors that’s near impossible to kill. A very stout engine with lots of usable power and torque, it’s a pleasure to drive in-town or on the highway, where it really shines. These are excellent starter classics that are easy to wrench on and parts are still widely available and cheap. The opening bid is a joke, however, so hopefully the seller brings it down so someone can enjoy this specimen.


  1. Warren Westbo

    As posted on FB, I had an ’88 528e. It was a great car hidden in an old man’s body.

  2. Carter

    No limited slip listed on the options; Sport electric seats, Sport suspension and M-Tech spoiler only.

  3. DavidLMM

    LSD doesn’t show up when I decode my E30 M3 VIN, either. Bet it’s included as part of the “is” package, and not called out separately. Other “is” cars came w/ LSD in the period.

  4. Peter R

    listing ended due to an error in the listing – I never saw that before – wonder what was wrong?
    BTW I just sold a ’91 M5 with only 80k miles on it. Just a great car

  5. Tommy D

    Ended early for whatever reason means sold. I’ve had a few E28 535’s, but must say my ’84 533 was livelier, a little more free revving, and loved it’s 5spd and LSD.

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