RHD M-Car: 1981 BMW M535i

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I’ve long lamented not having a pole barn in my backyard. Why? This is due to finding cars like this 1981 BMW M535i, a vehicle that would make any BMW enthusiast giddy to see in their collection. Even if it had to sit idle for another few years as time and money allowed, you’re still eminently aware of how hard it is to find one of these early M cars in project-grade form. This example starts and runs despite long-term storage, and you’ll find it here on eBay with bidding just over $5K at the moment.

BMW aficionados will always treasure the E12-chassis M535i because it’s the senior statesman to the eventual M5 super sedan. While BMW has traditionally teased “sporty” models ahead of an M-car introduction, the M535i seen here still offered the mechanical goods fitting of any vehicle blessed with the Motorsports badge. It also came with a host of high-grade cosmetic tweaks, including BBS wheels and Recaro seats.

Of course, I’m also drawn to this car because it’s another right-hand drive BMW and would pair nicely with the RHD 320 I already own. Despite being dusty and left in a storage unit, this M535i remains in easily restorable condition, and all of the special bits are there – including the M1-inspired three-spoke steering wheel and aforementioned Recaro seats. The dash doesn’t appear to be cracked, and given how hard it likely is to find replacements, that’s a good thing.

The M90 inline-six is a wonderful motor, delivering in excess of 200 b.h.p. and paired to a close-ratio transmission with a limited slip rear end. This example has some needs both cosmetically and mechanically, including rust in a variety of areas but nothing dire. The lack of alteration is particularly encouraging, and I’m sure this rare M535i will eclipse its reserve with ease.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Doyler

    Want want waaaaaant!!!!

    Jesus why does it have to be on the other side of the ocean!!!

    Like 1
  2. Bakyrdhero

    I actually may not have looked twice otherwise, but the authors write up had be drooling for this car. Well done!

    Like 0
  3. pat gill

    The first M car, fantastic to drive, I really miss mine, this one is only 100 miles from me but I am trying to cut down on projects, no really, if only I could live to 100…………………..

    Like 0
  4. Mark

    I own 1987 535is from 1996
    Unbelievable car

    Like 1
    • leiniedude leiniedudeMember

      Glad to hear Mark, been searching for one.

      Like 0

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