Working AC: 1988 BMW 528e E28

By Al — Let’s say you live in the greater Los Angeles area…you like
old BMW’s…you have plenty of spare parking…you have a decent place to work on
cars…and you are itching to get your fingers dirty on one of BMW’s most iconic
models…a 528e…If all the above describes you, buy this 1988 BMW 528e in Chino,
CA for $950.

The one body shot the owner provides
shows burnt out wasted BRONZIT body color throughout. All the body panels align
nicely indicating no previous body repair, and no major alignment issues. All the
windows and the sunroof works, and the R134a converted AC is cold as ICE…brrrrrr. The car sits
nicely on E34 15” wheels (replacing the venerable 14” bottlecaps) with name
brand Goodyear Eagles (no funky Chinese tires) with plenty of meaty tread.

The seller provides a couple of engine shots. The engine bay shows better than
any ¼ million mile car has a right to. Lots of new stuff under the hood. Sure…one of the
bigger engine e28’s (533 or 535) will better confirm your man-hood, but good
luck busting 20mpg. The 1988 528E sports an upgraded head and engine management
system and 127 hp over the previous years’ 121hp. This is the only model year 528e
that lends itself easily to the “E to I” conversion…you are only a cylinder
head/ intake/ computer swap away from 170hp.

The interior shot shows a nicely
recovered (in vinyl) driver seat. All the other seats wear their almost 30 year
old patina leather with pride. All door panels are present and accounted for.
All windows and sunroof work.

WOW!!!! SUCH A DEAL…WHAT’S THE CATCH???
The car is drinking coolant after an unfortunate bout of gridlock in 110F
weather on the 91 Freeway. The problem could be easy to rectify, or…not. It would
be up to the new owners to find out. It’s in decent shape, but there is no love
for the little M20 engine’d E28’s…so maybe this car would best serve as a parts
car? GASP.

FULL
DISCLOSURE…IT’S MY (Al’s) CAR. I only planned to keep it for 2 years, but you
know how
it goes…it grew on me…it’s been 5 years. The AC STILL works, the car
isn’t
powerful but feels light and tossable with the stick. It needs some work
to be
saved, or it could be a good parts car. I was daily driving it up until I
jacked it
up. I thought of myself as cool when I drove it, and I parked in the
best
parking spots…oblivious to door dings. If I didn’t have 3 other cars,
If I had less
stuff going on in my life, and if I had a decent place to work on it…I
might
fix it. Then again…I really want to get some other cool project…I guess
if it doesn’t sell…I’ll have to find time to clear all the boxes out
of my mom’s garage, and part it….but really don’t have the energy for
it.

Al is an accomplished life long auto
enthusiast. This affliction landed him in Detroit for several years working as
an engineer in the auto industry. When he is not busy scanning Daily Turismo,
Craigslist or one of the other fine car sites for great finds he works as an
engineer on baggage tractors, or hones his tolerance for BS by landlording.