24 Hrs of LeMons Ready: 1989 BMW 540i 6-Speed

I hate to do this to you guys, because this next car is ugly. Real ugly. Uglier than a monkey’s armpit. Uglier than a Kardashian without a corset. Uglier than a mud fence. Uglier than a Bangle butt on a Bugatti. Uglier than a LeCar. U…G…L…Y, you ain’t got no alibi. Feel out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down to the ugly pit. Uglier than a shaved ape in a Birkenstocks. Ugg. Beauty may be skin deep, but ugly is to the bones…this car is bound for the crusher or nearest 24 Hours of LeMons racetrack, you decide. Find this 1989 BMW E34 540i 6-Speed offered for $500 in Glen Burnie, MD via craigslist. Tip from Cory.

From the seller:

1989 bmw 535i
condition: fair
cylinders: 8 cylinders
drive: rwd
fuel: gas
odometer: 250000
odometer broken
odometer rolled over
paint color: white
title status: clean
transmission: manual
For sale: 1989 BMW e34. Began life as a 535i with an inline 6, but the engine was professionally swapped for a BMW M60 V8. The original 5 speed transmission was retained in the swap.

The Good:

The heated (front only) seats are pure, unmitigated German luxury in the winter. You could use them in the summer too, and there is probably a German word for that. Look it up on the dark web.

The engine starts, it drives. The drive train is truly the best attribute of this car, and probably meets the expectations you would have for something defined to be a ‘car’.

Reasonably new Hawk brake pads. Brakes are good. Seriously.

The lights/basic electrical systems work, and is sufficient to enable it to drive. All the fancy extraneous luxury wiring? Don’t hold your breath.

BBS wheels are pretty sweet. Probably? Consult flushbros or something.

Comes with a rather large cache of parts: stock suspension components, a hood, doors, wheels, gas tank. A bunch of stuff that I’ll dig out of my attic, most of which I’ve probably forgotten. I can give you a bunch of old siding and Plymouth parts too.

Clean title….that means I don’t have to abandon this one in random Lanham neighborhood!

The adrenaline rush when you’re careening down the road at 90mph* and you pull some harry potter shit* and you’ve transmogrified yourself* into another lane with every bump bigger than a pop tart.

It could be a sweet race car. It’s pretty fast with the V8. It would be faster if you took the dead weight like the seat heaters out. That’s why I bought it, but never found the time to strip it.

Tons of cargo space. For stuff and things.

New gas tank straps! See below. For real, these stupid things cost me a large percentage of my asking price.

Classic BMW crayola aroma. Simply intoxicating.

Hauling capacity. Doubles as a boat trailer!* The hobie cat is not included in the sale; the photo is for illustration of potential utility only.

The Bad:

The rear suspension is completely blown. The only damping you get will be your pants when you hit a speed bump*. For the duration that I’ve owned it, it has been nicknamed ‘the moonbounce’ because it could do double duty as one of those sweet inflatable bounce rentals at really lit children’s parties.

The body is rough. Some of the doors don’t open (one of the rear doors, I forget) some of the doors don’t close (the other rear door). I’ve been curating a nice sheen of mildew on all the external surfaces, but you never know, that stuff might be the next COVID vaccine. Most of the body panels have dents or scratches, trim is strategically removed to increase buoyancy.

The interior is rough. The back seats are missing, (unless you dark web freaks call the battery a seat) the front seats are still made of leather. The driver’s door is opened from the inside by pulling a cable. For safety.

The fuel tank holds about 4 gallons before gas starts falling out. This makes long distance trips less efficient, but you can really hone your pumping skills. It’ll save you money if you know the right math. The straps were replaced becausemoonbounce© and speed bumps. A serviceable replacement tank is included with the car, with bonus gas! More savings!

The tires are severely dry rotted and have the effect of harder adrenaline hits at speed*. 3x moldy e34 bottlecap wheels with better tires are included in the sale.

The cacophony of the power steering pump. It just needs fluid.

You need vise grips to open the hood release. Vise grips not included, but maybe negotiable.

Dubious odometer reading.

For an additional $500, I have an entire replacement Bilstein suspension for this car. Sport shocks and lowering springs that actually look pretty new. I am not trying to make money on these; I’m just trying to recover some funds. This replacement suspension doesn’t make this eligible for the esteemed Dingleberry concours 2021, but it would go a very long way to make it a pretty fun beater/track car. Unfortunately though, this eliminates the potential revenue stream associated with renting it out at parties. Your call, your math.

I need this vehicle gone ASAP, as I have now exceeded the parking capacity of the driveway, and because I procrastinate everything that I do. It’s been languishing for too long; I should have sold this years ago so it can be babied the way it deserves. If I don’t get any reasonable responses by next weekend (1/17) you will have the opportunity to pick at this car at the Hawkins point Crazy Rays in the next couple of weeks. It is currently tagged/insured, so it may be possible that I can deliver the car to you, but I can’t guarantee I will make it*. A trailer for removal is HIGHLY recommended, along with an empty truck for the remainder of the parts.

*Don’t do this. Don’t sue me.