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E12 Club The BMW 5 Series E28 1972 – 1981 As a direct successor of the “New Class” BMW 1500 – 2000, the new 5 Series ...
E12 Club The BMW 5 Series E28 1972 – 1981

As a direct successor of the “New Class” BMW 1500 – 2000, the new 5 Series four-door middle-class Saloon made its debut in 1972. Since the capacity of the Munich plant was not sufficient to cope with the planned production, a completely new specially designed plant was set up in Dingolfing in Lower Bavaria.

BMW 518, 1974 – 1981 4-cyl. ohc 1766 cc 66 kW (90 hp)
BMW 520, 1977 – 1981 M20B20 6-cyl. ohc 1990 cc 90 kW (122 hp)
BMW 525, 1973 – 1976 M30B25 6-cyl. ohc 2494 cc 107 kW (145 hp)
BMW 528i, 1977 – 1978 M30B28 6-cyl. ohc 2788 cc 130 kW (177 hp)
BMW 520, 1972 – 1981 4-cyl. ohc 1990 cc 85 kW (115 hp)
BMW 520i, 1972 – 1979 4-cyl. ohc 1990 cc 92 kW (125 hp)
BMW 528, 1974 – 1981 6-cyl. ohc 2788 cc 121 kW (165 hp)
BMW 525, 1976 – 1981 6-cyl. ohc 2494 cc 110 kW (150 hp)
BMW 528i, 1978 – 1981 6-cyl. ohc 2788 cc 135 kW (184 hp)
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  •   vasil.buraliev reacted to this post about 1 month ago
    Car #BMW-528 / #BMW-E12 / #BMW-5-Series-E12 / #BMW-528-E12 / #1975 / #BMW / #1975-BMW-528-E12
    Name James Heaney
    Age 42
    From Melbourne, Australia
    Occupation Interior designer
    First classic 1973 Holden Statesman Deville
    Dream classic 1962-’1968 Mercedes two-door Coupé
    Daily driver Audi A4 quattro
    Favourite driving song I’m in Love With My Car Queen


    I first saw ‘Bernadette’ in the early ’90s, in stunning Siena Bronz with Champagne Beige interior and sparkling alloys, in the European car showroom at Port Melbourne. My partner at the time told me not to touch it because it would be too expensive to run... so I did just the opposite and bought it. I had been looking for an old Benz or something European – it had to be ‘old school’ with a smell of leather, a wood-grain dash, a classic shape, stately looks and a bonnet that opens forwards. How sensible, the opposite to ‘conventional’ cars.

    Bernadette fitted the bill. A 1975 E12 BMW – the first of the 5 Series – with double-barrel carburetted 2.8-litre ‘six’. It was designed by French stylist Paul Bracq and aimed directly at the 280 Benz. I fell for its wedge-like profile, with long bonnet and short backside (like all good German sports cars should be), so James and Bernadette became an item. Fortunately, my partner also loved the 528 when I finally brought it home.

    I had a daily runabout so Bernadette was my Sunday car, but I also liked to take the BMW on weekday visits to clients. Whether it was used for long drives or short outings for summer picnics, the old girl never missed a beat, and always had a real presence when parked. It loves to eat up the highways and feels at home travelling at 140kph (88mph) or shunting in stop-start traffic, but – just like its owner – the 528 hates the cold until it’s fully warm. It also loves a bit of a drink, with that big straight-six and one-ton frame – it’s a tough old bird.

    In 2003, however, the honeymoon came to an end. I returned home from working overseas for six months, and during that period Bernie was looked after by family members who didn’t give it any exercise. While merrily driving down the freeway listening to the stereo, windows down, on a sunny day, I heard a funny noise. Then steam began to pour from under the bonnet; I glanced down at the temperature gauge and, to my horror, it was boiling. With a cough and a splutter, Bernadette crawled over to the side of the road.

    It was a sad day as the mechanic told me the worst: “You’ve cooked the engine.” I watched the BMW roll on to the back of a truck in all its classic glory – it still looked beautiful, even in death. Everyone told me that I should get rid of Bernadette, that it would be too expensive to fix, and that parts would be hard to find, so the car went into storage with a friend for several months while I tried to get some money together.

    I was happy to do it, however, and have never regretted it. The BMW was always reliable in the past, and the fact that no one else has another like it was enough for me. The mechanic agreed and sung its praises, before suggesting that the rebuilt motor should last for another 29 years.

    Since then, somebody has run a coin down its side in Fitzroy, a trendy suburb of Melbourne, leaving a deep scratch. The ashtray has also been pinched, and I’ve never been able to find a replacement because it was an unusual, chrome-edged version and parts are becoming harder to source.

    Bernadette is getting rarer each year, and attracts comments such as: “Nice old BeeEmm,” or, “They don’t make ’em like that any more.” German cars of this period are true classics, with the build quality that you expect of a European machine – and which has been somewhat lost in recent years. I have no interest at all in newer BMWs, it’s classics all the way and my next purchase will be a two-door: Bernadette needs a partner, too!

    ‘Merrily driving down the freeway I heard a noise, then steam began to pour from beneath the bonnet’

    Clockwise, from main: dry climate Down Under helps keep bodywork rot-free; ‘wedge’ profile appealed; Heaney with beloved 528; E12 is regularly showed.
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  •   John Glynn reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    Matthew Hayward posted a new blog post in E12 Club
    Buying Guide BMW M535i E12
    •   Cars
    •   Friday, 12 July 2019
    This original M Sport saloon set the template for all that followed.
    1. Continue Reading
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  •   Matthew Hayward reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    ilia.ermakov uploaded 31 photos in the album 1980-1981 BMW M535i Worldwide E12
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  •   Matthew Hayward reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    ilia.ermakov uploaded 12 photos in the album 1980-1981 BMW M535i UK-spec E12
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  •   Matthew Hayward reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    ilia.ermakov uploaded 4 photos in the album 1981-1984 BMW M535i ZA-spec E12
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  •   Matthew Hayward reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    ilia.ermakov uploaded 2 photos in the album 1976-1984 BMW 5 Series E12
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  •   Quentin Willson reacted to this post about 2 years ago
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  •   Quentin Willson reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    ilia.ermakov uploaded a photo in the album 1979 BMW 533i Sedan E12
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  • ilia.ermakov uploaded a photo in the album 1981 BMW 528iA Sedan JP-spec E12
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