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    / #1987 / #BMW-E28 / #BMW-M535i / #BMW-M535i-E28 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E28

    The M535i is often overlooked when contemplating E28s but now the #BMW M5 has moved into a different price bracket the M535i is gaining more of a following. This Alpine white example featured black leather and a dogleg manual gearbox and while the mileage was relatively high at 155k there were plenty of invoices supporting recent work in the history file. At £3990 it looked like a bit of a bargain.

    SOLD FOR: £3990
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    GENERATION GAME / #BMW-M535i / #BMW-M535i-E28 / #BMW-M535i-Eaton-supercharged-E28 / #BMW-M535i-Rotrex-supercharged-E28 / #BMW-E28 / #BMW /

    The UK’s only supercharged E28s are an impressively eclectic pair owned by an equally different father and son duo with a long-standing love of BMWs.

    SUPERCHARGED UK E28s Classic Fives with power!

    Owning the only two supercharged E28s in the UK, this father and son duo are the custodians of some seriously cool metal. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Woods.

    BMW E28s are precious things. Long gone are the days when you could pick one up for £400 (like I once did) and with the vast majority of the shabby ones now having rusted away, those that remain need to be cherished. Whilst the E24 6 Series might be the obvious choice for those looking for something sleek and ‘sharky’ to slam, the E28 is currently getting lots of love, too. Last year no less than three bigpower classic Fives appeared in DRIVE-MY and there are plenty of extremely attractive examples around, like this pair, for example.

    Kris Rourke and dad Jon are the custodians of this unlikely pair – one an exceptionally clean sleeper, the other more of a retro hot rod, with the two cars reflecting their owners’ personalities and motoring preferences.

    The very clean red car belongs to Jon, with Kris driving the brown bad boy. While both cars are without doubt very different, they share one significant similarity: they are both supercharged. That elevates this pair from being merely modified to really rather special, not least because of how rare a thing a supercharged E28 is.

    That father and son own E28s is unsurprising when you learn that Jon has been at it for years, which means Kris was destined to follow. “Dad’s always had BMWs and has had about six or seven E28s,” says Kris. “They were always in my life when I was growing up and my first car was a 2002ti, mum and dad’s 2002 in fact, which they gave me when I passed my test. It all started from there really. I’m also into Jap stuff and have had loads of J-tin, all modified and all with big power.” So the draw of another powerful, modified car was inevitable and the odds of it being a BMW were good.

    Pay attention, because things get a bit complicated now. “Two years ago I had a Fiat Cinquecento and loved it but then my other half and I had a baby and I couldn’t get the baby seat in the car so it had to go. Dad had a blue M535i at the time so he gave me that as it was more practical and bought himself the red supercharged car. I then sold the blue one to buy dad’s red one, which is now my brown one, and when I started modding that dad realised he missed it and bought himself the red supercharged one he now owns.” Got it? Good.

    For Jon, a London cabbie by trade, the appeal of the E28 is easy to see. “It’s a lovely retro classic car,” he says. “It stands out and it has road presence. All my previous E28s have been standard – as long as they go and work I’m happy,” he chuckles. “This red one is much more of a hooligan car, though. I was just looking around on eBay for interesting cars, spotted it and went for it. It had been in a garage for about seven or eight years and while the body was good, underneath it was rotten,” he says.


    Not that you’d have any clue as to the car’s previous state of disrepair now thanks to the amount of time and money that Jon has invested in it. The whole floor has been repaired, as have the sills, while the suspension has been renewed and new brakes have been fitted. Jon also replaced the chrome exterior trim with Shadowline, while inside the original cloth seats have been replaced with leather Sport seats. Thankfully having a rust-free body meant one less area that needed attention and the red colour really looks fantastic on the E28. So too do the 17” Style 5s – easily one of the greatest wheel collaborations between #BBS and #BMW .

    Of course, what’s really exciting here, on both these cars, is what’s under the bonnet, and these are the only two supercharged E28s in the UK. Jon’s car has the slightly more stock-looking engine bay, though there’s no missing the supercharger and its accompanying pipework. The kit here is a Jamsport setup, which cost whichever previous owner that decided to fit it a cool £6500, and uses a more traditional centrifugal supercharger.

    This E28 may be no spring chicken but you can still appreciate the work that has gone into fabricating the pipework for the kit. It’s all expertly finished and assembled and there’s a lot of engineering squeezed into here. The most impressive part of this setup is the custom alloy rad, intercooler and associated pipework, which originally cost an eye-watering £5000 and comes courtesy of McLaren (hence the price tag and quality of the work itself). The FMIC is tucked behind the kidney grilles and ahead of the rad. On top of that sits an oil cooler for the supercharger, as this older design requires an external feed. It’s not for show, either, with Jon telling us that running at around 6-7psi it’s making 303whp, which is an awful lot of power in a car as light as the E28 and definitely makes it a bit of a handful. Not that he’s complaining, mind, he’s loved every minute of the 18 months he’s spent with the E28 – a long time for him as he likes to change his cars often.


    And so we come to the brown E28, Kris’s rowdy, raucous, unashamedly showy counterpart to his dad’s more demure example. Kris was fortunate in that his E28 was in a better state, though as it had come from his dad that’s not much of a surprise. A quick glance at the exterior of the E28 is enough to tell you that there’s clearly something going on here. There’s a sort of rough-edged charm to the whole car, visible in the interior with its auxiliary gauges mounted on a bright red backing plate and that well-used Nardi steering wheel. Where the engine bay of the red E28 is a relatively discreet affair, on the brown car it’s much more of a mad scientist affair. What you’re looking at here is an extremely impressive home brew positive displacement supercharger setup.


    In case you don’t know, a centrifugal supercharger produces more boost as engine speed increases, normally producing peak boost very near to the engine’s redline and where it would normally be producing peak power in naturally aspirated form. A positive displacement blower, like a Roots or twin-screw item, on the other hand, produces peak boost instantly, meaning you get massive low-end torque and immediate response from the engine when you put your foot down, making for awesome mid-range thump. Positive displacement superchargers are also a lot more complicated to fit.


    Generally speaking they are large, bulky items that are traditionally mounted directly on a custom inlet manifold, feeding air into the engine via a chargecooler. In contrast, centrifugal superchargers are smaller and run cooler, so they can happily operate without any sort of intercooling. The fact that Kris’s car is running a positive displacement blower, an Eaton M90 to be precise, and a home-made installation at that, is very impressive.


    Of course, the fact that it’s a homebrewed setup means that it wasn’t perhaps running as best as it could have been when Kris took over custody of the car. “I’ve improved a lot of things since I bought this E28,” he says. “It had no management for starters and was just running a fuel pressure regulator, so I fitted a Megasquirt ECU and had the cam blueprinted. I changed every boost hose and pipe and replaced the FMIC with a chargecooler.” This is that big metal box on the front left of the engine bay. It cools the intake air by passing it through a core filled with water, which is itself passed through and cooled by a heat exchanger mounted at the front of the engine bay, hidden beneath a clever lift-off panel. “This saw intake temperatures drop from 90ºC to 40ºC,” says Kris, “and I’m planning on adding methanol injection, which should bring them down to about 20ºC and help the engine make more power.”

    The rather industrial-looking pipework under the bonnet is a bit of a maze but it all begins at the air filter which is shrouded in carbon and fed with cooling air via the hole in the front grille where the passenger-side high beam unit would normally sit. The air travels through the black flexi-pipe and into the supercharger inlet, then up through the outlet on top, round the back of the engine bay and into the chargecooler, through the core, and then into the original inlet manifold on top of the engine. The fact that the E28’s engine bay is quite capacious and allows for the supercharger to be mounted by the side of the engine and to feed into the original inlet manifold is a bonus. There’s a lot more beneath the bonnet beyond the supercharger, though, including a B35 Stage 3 head with bigger valves, a Schrick 296 cam and a Fritz’s Bitz exhaust manifold.


    It’s a monstrously impressive installation but how does it perform? According to Kris, the car made 252whp, which is definitely enough to be getting on with, but also an amazing 350lb ft of torque at just 1800rpm, which is the beauty of a positive displacement blower. When Kris had nitrous on the car it ran an 11.8-second quarter-mile, which is extremely impressive and puts it in the company of cars like the Jaguar XJ220, Audi R8 V10 and Aston Martin V12 Vantage S.


    “I took the nitrous off as I knew I would never really use it,” he continues. “I was too scared of blowing the engine up… but I might put it back on. I really want 400hp and the supercharger is holding the car back – it’s not making as much boost as it should and I need to run more boost to make more power.

    I’m considering my options. I might rebuild the supercharger or I might go for a turbo conversion. It’s quite a lot of money but it would definitely mean I could hit 400hp. And I like the idea of having a turbo. I have 90% of the parts I need, so I’m almost ready.”

    Of course, we can’t discuss Kris’s car without discussing its colour. It’s not paint or a wrap but is, in fact, Plasti Dip – the spray-on, peel-off rubbery coating that can provide a quick and easy way to change the colour of your car and then change it back again when you get bored! “I was approached by DipMyVehicle, who offered to dip my car for free in exchange for having it on the company’s stand at the Santa Pod show, so I went for it,” Kris explains. The colour is called Sunset bronze. Although it may look pretty brown when the light hits it there’s a subtle change in colour and you can see a light metallic element in the coating. Combined with the aggressive drop on Spax springs and black, 19” CSL-wheels it makes this E28 into a bit of a bad boy.

    The brakes have also been uprated, with E34 540i discs and calipers front and rear running Mintex pads, while the gearbox is a 260/6 unit running the ratios from the E28 dog-leg transmission with a separate bellhousing, Black Diamond Stage 3 clutch, and modified centre donut on the propshaft.

    Both cars have had a vast amount of time and effort devoted to them – Jon’s car on the bodywork and Kris’s on the mechanicals – but the results speak for themselves. E28s need love and attention so we’re delighted that this father and son team stepped up to the plate.

    It’s a lovely retro classic car. It stands out and has road presence.

    DATA FILE Eaton supercharged E28 M535i

    ENGINE #Eaton
    3.4-litre straight-six #M30B34 , compression ratio lowered to 8.1:1, #B35 Stage 3 head with 1mm bigger valves, #Schrick 296 cam, B35 inlet manifold, 550cc injectors, #Sytec FPR, #Bosch-044 fuel pump, 8-micron fuel filter, CDA carbon air box with cold air feed, custom crank pulley, #Eaton-M90 supercharger, ported top hat, custom charge cooler system, #Brownlow alloy radiator, Fritz’s Bits heat wrapped manifold and full system, #Megasquirt ECU running MS2. 252whp, 350lb ft wtq

    TRANSMISSION
    / #Getrag-260/6 gearbox with separate bellhousing, #Black-Diamond-Stage-3 clutch, modified centre donut on propshaft, factory #LSD / #Getrag-260

    CHASSIS
    8.5x19” (front) and 9.5x19” (rear) M3 CSL wheels with 225/40 (front) and 245/35 (rear) Bridgestone tyres, #Bilstein gas dampers all-round, #Spax lowering springs, polyurethane front torque arm bushes, E34 540i discs and floating calipers front and rear, #Mintex racing pads all-round

    EXTERIOR
    Plasti Dipped in Sunset bronze over original #Zinnobar red, driver’s-side high beam removed for cold air feed, clear front and rear indicator lenses

    INTERIOR
    Standard E28 M535i leather, three-spoke Nardi leather steering wheel, M5 gear knob, Innovative wideband #AFR gauge and boost gauge in centre pod

    THANKS
    Paul Higgs, Ed at Fusion Motorsport and Justin from dipmyvehicle.com

    DATA FILE Rotrex supercharged E28 M535i

    ENGINE #Gotech-Pro
    3.4-litre straight-six #M30B34 / #M30 / #BMW-M30 , #Rotrex supercharger, custom alloy radiator and intercooler system, 440cc injectors, #Gotech-Pro-X-ECU with custom wiring loom, #Ram air filter, Fritz’s Bits manifold and exhaust system. 303whp @ 7psi

    TRANSMISSION
    Standard M535i dog-leg ’box, standard factory LSD

    CHASSIS
    8.5x17” (front) and 9.5x17” (rear) #BBS-RC090 Style 5 wheels with 225/40 (front) and 245/40 (rear) tyres, #Bilstein dampers, uprated lowering springs, front and rear strut braces, #Black-Diamond drilled and grooved discs, EBC Redstuff pads

    EXTERIOR
    Zinnobar red, dechromed, clear front indicator lenses,

    INTERIOR
    Standard M535i leather seats
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    Sports family #Lancia - Thema-8:32 vs. BMW-M535i-E28 / TEXT José Ricardo Gouveia / IMAGE Pedro Lopes

    The truth of the lie. The demand for two super-saloons 80s, led us to the discovery of some undeniable truths. But also to demystify legends embodied by time. This is the story of a titanic battle between BMW M535i and Lancia Thema 8:32.

    The preparation this comparison could not have started more clinical form: the goal was to join two superberlinas 80s, equivalent in terms of performance and pedigree. There is much in the sights of Motor Classic, the choice of Lancia Thema 8:32 was based on its mechanical exceptional V8 Ferrari and pure appeal of driving a luxurious Italian - other than a Maserati - with the ability to get the better of very sporty the war of the traffic lights.

    As a counterpoint, the apparent sedated BMW E28 M535i, simple and discreet body inside, only reached the final choice by presenting a six-cylinder in line with similar power (218bhp BMW against the 212bhp of the Lancia). But if the role models close - themselves as magnet and iron, on the road to their separation could not be more drastic.

    Aesthetics

    Angular and well defined, with an elegant waist line and front grille typically Lancia Thema revealed in their ways why the Italians consider true masters of car design. No major frills, the saloon of Turin is still immensely enjoyable to look at, revealing details exquisitely placed each time we approach such as the dual support of mirrors, the sculpture of the bonnet or the design of bumpers.

    Since the BMW is pure menir German: geometric and sturdy with a back which seems to have been cut out of a steel block and a front in which only the double rim and the four round headlights stand, this is a well achieved evolution of the first 5 series, lending strength and muscle to the design of the masters Paul and Pietro Frua Bracq. But before the elegant Italian forms, loses luster.

    Technical

    Conservative in approach, #BMW-Motorsport GmbH delegated to division - responsible for the preparation of the most coveted sports - the transformation of saloon 5. lower chassis and firm a six cylinder in-line 3.5-liter "vitaminized" to the 218 horsepower and limited slip 25 percent to try to put the power down, the BMW is nonetheless quite conservative, with its head eight valves and one camshaft.

    By contrast, the Lancia is to equip a V8 Ferrari with three-liter, four camshafts head, 32 valves and 216 horsepower. Least six horses than the BMW, but exotic and impressive, idling or skim the redline.

    Life on Board

    As in the technical chapter, here the Italian back out benefited by genetic taste of its designers. The dashboard lined timber open tone and we pronounced the magnificent armchairs lined with fabric reminiscent of a mix of alcantara and velvet, the Lancia is worthy of the most demanding mobsters. Too serious and gray, the interior of the BMW in little or nothing is distinguished from the remaining range "Five", using logos simple ones "M GmbH" to stand out. In the midst of such shyness, only the excellent bucket seats saved the model of dishonor. Solid and warm, each more pronounced curve these remind us that we are sitting in a sports true.

    Benefits

    With over 210 horsepower available, both sports saloons still worthy performances of note. In the case of BMW, 218 horses announced for its six-cylinder engine feel something asleep, but still allow the model that weighs 1414 kg accelerates from 0-100 kmh in 7.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 230 kmh. But the Lancia feels more immediate, with its 212 horses ignite immediately the front tires, hell-bent on fighting the lack of traction of a model that weighs 1405 kg and has announced an acceleration of 0-100 kmh of just 6.8 seconds and a top speed of 240 kmh.

    Comfort

    Probably the only parameter in which there is a dead heat. In terms of rolling comfort, both the BMW and the Lancia are excellent, isolating the cabin from the drudgery of surface irregularities. Thanks to independent suspension and high-profile tires (something unthinkable in sporting-day) both saloons meet perfectly the luxury purposes for which they were created. In addition to the comfortable cushioning, an appropriate allocation of equipment covering items such as electric windows, power steering or air conditioning, it makes the driver and passengers life easier.

    Driving

    States for similar potencies and weight, in theory both the BMW M535i as Lancia Theme 8:32 should provide a level of enjoyment to the driving wheel. But could not be more different. Blessed with an eccentric Ferrari engine, the Lancia is one of the rare cases where the enthusiasm fades from the time that the eight cylinders are filled until we started walking. Theater in the roar that sends idle, the block does not give up in impressing the hearing, which prima - owner that warms the throat before his great performance. Helped by a smooth and precise gearbox, the engine is felt all of its 212 horses at once, flooding the interior with a bright cacophony. But we are quickly restrained the momentum of the right foot by a lack of traction threat of extinction rubber of front tires, no matter what the speed is. Subvirador is a mild adjective for a car that, with dated suspensions, can not digest the spontaneity of the accelerator.

    However, stealth M535i six cylinders is at least disarming. Doubt in the pattern of capacity remains even when printing more pace on driving. Direct yet lightweight and conveniently assisted steering commands, the "M" runs quietly and without fuss. However, just a curve in realizing excellence and balance of your chassis. Superiorly gifted, the BMW makes it easy to describe the trajectories in expressive power-slides, raising anyone traveling to your steering wheel Heroes recognized grace. Never losing his composure, the German sedan maintains a steering assistance that communicates the precise angle of the front wheels, while the rear axle takes the most out of limited slip prepared by the sports division of the brand.

    Economy

    In the market of the classics, both the BMW and the Lancia themselves in terms of price with the German to be worth 16,000 euros and the Italian to reach 15 000 in very good condition. But when it comes to maintenance, things are quite different. Like so many other Italian models, the Lancia has the scarce stock of the main defect replacement parts. And we're not even talking about the precious Ferrari engine, on which all eyes seem to be focused when it comes to profligacy.

    In the case of BMW greater availability of parts and mechanical simplicity are only opponent in the price of some items. But when it comes to restoration, it is always better when the pieces are the same.

    Verdict

    Fabulous in its time, both BMW M535i as the Lancia Thema 8:32 still make heads turn, but for different reasons. In the case of the Italian exotic engine that hides it gives it a pedigree far above its dynamic potential. But the German, with his quiet personality, conquers our hearts every curve described artistically, winning this comparison by the way can communicate what the mechanics will doing every second.

    We appreciate the collaboration to Classic Care Center (Tel 214 693 072), with the #Lancia-Thema-8:32 and Manuel Mascarenhas (Tel 962 793 114), with the #BMW-M535i . Both cars are for sale.

    Sports details donated by division sporty #BMW Motorsport GmbH make unlike the interior of the 5 Series E28.
    The five-speed gearbox is smooth and the Lancia relatively precise, especially at low speeds and when not asked too much engine.

    Aesthetically the M535i's body is distinguished from others by the use of a small rear spoiler, side sills deeper and specific bumpers, sports and more pronounced.

    Distinguished in appearance, the Thema only reveals the pedigree of his Ferrari engine in the logos "8:32" in yellow and bumpers painted in body colour. The interior features a number of useful tools...

    With its electrically adjustable seats, upholstered type alcantara, the interior of the Thema 8:32 is higher than the BMW.

    Lined with the finest materials, the interior is luxurious Lancia

    Kids, do not try this at home. Bending aside does not come naturally to Thema

    TECH DATA #Lancia-Thema 8 / 32 #1986 - #1989
    Number built 4000
    Engine V8-cylinder engine, front transverse position / #Ferrari
    Distribution 4 camshafts to the head, 32 valves
    Bore x Stroke 81mm X 71mm
    Displacement (cm3) 2927
    Power electronic injection #Bosch-Jetronic-KE3
    Max power (DIN bhp / rpm) 212/6750
    Torque max (Nm / rpm) 285/4500
    Suspension front, MacPherson type, helical springs; rear, rocker arms, coil springs; telescopic shock absorbers and bars stabilizing;
    Transmission Front, from 5-speed manual gearbox
    Steering Rack and pinion, with power assistance
    Brakes front ventilated discs; rear disks; #Bosch-ABS ;
    Unibody chassis, bodywork steel, four doors and five seats
    Fuel tank capacity 70-litres
    Wheels / Tires 15 '' / 205/55 VR15;
    Dimensions Length: 4590 mm
    Wheelbase: 2660 mm
    Width: 1750 mm
    Weight (kg) 1405
    Acceleration 0-100 kmh (sec. 0-62MPH) 6.8
    Top speed 240 kmh


    Spartan but coated with materials quality, the inside of the M535i stands up well over the years.

    Worked by Motorsport GmbH, the brilliant chassis 5-series #BMW-E28 is revealed in curve.

    Banks kind Bacquet has demonstrated remarkable strength, sin only the slight sway in the pipeline (BMW defect of this season)

    TECH DATA #BMW-M535i-E28 #1984 - #1987
    Number built 9483
    Engine 6-cylinder inline, front longitudinal position / #M30 / #M30B35
    Distribution 1 overhead camshaft head, 12 valves
    Bore x Stroke 92 X 86mm
    Displacement (cm3) 3430
    Power electronic injection #Bosch-Motronic-DME / #Bosch-Motronic / #Bosch
    Maximum power (bhp DIN / rpm) 218/5500
    Maximum torque (Nm / rpm) 310/4000
    Suspension front, MacPherson struts, springs Helical; rear swing arms, helical springs; shock absorbers #Bilstein and stabilizer bars;
    Transmission, 5-speed manual gearbox with limited slip differential (25%)
    Steering Recirculating Ball, #ZF
    Brakes with assistance ahead ventilated discs; rear disks; #ABS
    Unibody chassis, bodywork steel, four doors and five seats capacity
    Tank 70-litres
    Wheels / Tires 15.5 '' (R390) / #Michelin-TRX 220/55 VR 390
    Dimensions length: 4620 mm
    Wheelbase: 2625 mm
    Width: 1710 mm
    Weight (kg) 1414
    Acceleration 0-100 kmh ( 0-62MPH sec.) 7.2
    Top speed 230 kmh
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    FINCREDIBLE HULK #BMW-M535i-E28

    Once a mild-mannered E28 #BMW-M535i , this Finnish 5 Series is now a fearsome rage monster brandishing a terrifying 886hp courtesy of its turbocharged M30. Mental turbo E28 shows the kids how it’s done. This might look like a mild-mannered E28 but you wouldn’t like it when it’s angry… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Jape Tiitinen.

    BMW E28s need love. They’re getting rusty, rare and actually quite expensive to buy, certainly in the UK, and much like any classic they are not often casual, off-the-cuff purchases. You have to want an E28 because it requires commitment. Buying an E28 is a serious undertaking, one often reserved for lifelong BMW enthusiasts who’ve always wanted to own this classic saloon. Enthusiasts like Tobias Holmkvist, perhaps? “Well, when I bought this M535 my interest in the marque started to grow but I can’t really say I’m a #BMW guy,” he reveals. Oh, guess not then…

    So, just what attracted this 20-something car enthusiast to the sharkey E28? Well, for our Finnish truck body builder, this car presented itself as the perfect proposition for what he was planning. “I wanted to build a crazy car for street use,” he says in the matter-of-fact manner that someone might use when telling you that they’ve just bought a new shirt. “And to me the E28 is an old and beautiful model, plus this car already had a lot of performance parts installed. It was in pretty bad shape, though, and needed a rebuild so I bought it to have something to spend my time on.”

    Purchased in Sweden, Tobias’ E28 needed more than a little TLC to get it roadworthy again, requiring no less than a complete interior overhaul, rust removal and a respray, making this far more than just a casual project. But then again Tobias is a man who enjoys a challenge and likes building cars that are a little different from the norm (such as the 415hp Mercedes diesel estate he built back in 2008), so the prospect of restoring this E28 and turning it into a fire-breathing monster was no doubt a tantalising one.

    Now, if you want to build yourself a crazy powerful road car, you’re going to need to build yourself one serious engine. Luckily the M30B35 is the perfect candidate for turbocharging and makes the ideal base for building up a serious powerplant. Tobias has left no stone unturned, or at least no engine component unmodified, in his quest for power. The engine has undergone numerous evolutions but the current spec is its most impressive incarnation.

    First off, the block has been fitted with a reinforced bottom plate to stabilise it; it’s been bored out by 0.5mm and CP forged pistons have been fitted, though the crank has been left stock. The head was ported by Tobias himself and fitted with an Enem Z55 turbo camshaft, steel rocker arms and Stage 2 valve springs while ARP bolts ensure it stays clamped tightly to the block. Initially, Tobias was running a Holset HX55 turbo with a Megasquirt standalone ECU but he wasn’t happy with the way the car performed. “The Holset was too small,” he says, being rated for about 570hp, “so I removed the Megasquirt and the Holset and replaced it with the Precision turbo and MaxxECU engine management, which got the car running like a dream with better spool, more power and better engine control.” The turbo in question is a 7275, rated to 1015hp, offering the sort of horsepower potential that Tobias was looking for. In addition, it’s been fitted with a 46mm Precision wastegate. The intake and exhaust manifolds were both made by Tobias, with a 4” downpipe running from the turbo into a 3.5” exhaust with a single silencer, while on the intake side there’s a seriously beefy intercooler, measuring 600x450x100mm with a 3” inlet and a 4” outlet. You’ll also find 1680cc injectors sitting on a billet fuel rail, a VAG COP ignition system, a PWM controlled electric water pump and electric cooling fan. It’s a heavyweight list of mods and it results in some seriously heavyweight performance figures, with 2.3bar of boost resulting in 886hp and 758lb ft of torque, which is more than any sane person could ever possibly need, but whether it’s more than someone like Tobias could possibly want is another matter altogether…


    To go with all that power, Tobias has opted for an E39 M5 gearbox uprated with a Sachs 765 pressure plate and sintered clutch along with a homemade propshaft with M5 joints and an LSD at the rear, which allows him to put down some very long 11s on the Tarmac. The brakes have also been uprated, naturally, with 348mm discs up front and 320mm items at the rear, offering much needed enhanced stopping power. When Tobias bought the car it had already been fitted with lowering springs and uprated dampers, so he’s suck with that combo, adding Powerflex bushes throughout and M5 anti-roll bars to try and quell the car’s slightly tail-happy nature, though we wager that ramping up the power to over 800hp has probably undone most of his hard work on that front.

    Of course, even when you’re building a mental fast road machine like this, you can’t forget about the aesthetics and while Tobias has kept things looking pretty OE on the outside, there are plenty of hints that let you know this is most definitely not your run-of the-mill E28. Up front, one of the high beam lights has been replaced by a colour-coded air intake that feeds air directly to the massive cone filter wedged into the corner of the engine bay, while at the rear you’ll find an E30 M3-style spoiler crowned with a home-made gurney flap, complete with a message for anyone foolish enough to have attempted to tangle with this E28. And there’s no need for multiple exhausts here when one fat tailpipe does the job just fine, thank you very much.


    The AC Schnitzer Type 1 Racing wheels, Tobias reveals, were actually on the car when he bought it, and he liked them so much that he almost bought the car just for them, though they were in very bad shape and he spent 20 hours rebuilding them. Not that you’d know, mind, as they look absolutely spotless and the gold-on-white combo is pretty much perfect.

    The interior is a blend of OE calm and hardcore aftermarket additions. “I had always wanted a car with a full roll-cage,” explains Tobias, “so I decided to build one. A friend helped me with the TIG welding but I built it myself. It was very hard to make but the result was very good. I also fitted a set of E34 M5 leather seats and I made my own leather door panels, suede steering wheel and lowered steering column.” Tobias also chucked in a hydraulic handbrake, because that’s the sort of thing you’d expect to see in a 800hp E28 that’s very good at going sideways!

    The boot is home to numerous fuel system components, plonked unceremoniously to one side, but with the most exquisite components and the engine bay most definitely deserves a mention because while it might not be a polished-up show bay, it’s very clean and tidy. We particularly love the colour-coded piping and intake plenum.

    It’s taken Tobias four years to get the car to where it is today, a slow steady process of annual evolution, and this E28 has become something of a beast. It’s an epic machine that’s fulfilled Tobias’s brief of being “a crazy car for street use”. Judging from the pictures, Tobias seems pretty happy with the results, too, and it’s good to see a car like this being used in anger; then again, how else could you possibly use it?

    DATA FILE #BMW-E28 M30B35 Turbo

    ENGINE: 3.5-litre straight-six #M30B35 , bore increased by +0.5mm, stock crank, CP forged pistons, reinforced bottom plate to stabilise block, ported #M30 B35 head, #ARP bolts, Enem Z55 turbo camshaft, steel rocker arms, Stage 2 valve springs, custom intake and exhaust manifolds, #recision-7275 turbo, 1680cc injectors, #VAG coil-on plug ignition system, #MaxxECU ECU, PWM-controlled electric water pump, #PWM -controlled cooling fan, billet fuel rail, Precision 46mm wastegate, 4” downpipe with 3.5” exhaust and single silencer, 600x450x100mm intercooler with 3” inlet and 4” outlet. 886hp and 758lb ft @ 2.3bar.

    TRANSMISSION: #Getrag-Type-D six-speed manual gearbox from E39 M5 #Getrag , #Sachs-765 pressure plate, sintered clutch disc, home-made propshaft with M5 joints, LSD.

    CHASSIS: 8.5x17” (front) and 9.5x17” (rear) #AC-Schnitzer-Type-1 Racing #AC-Schnitzer wheels with 225/45 (front) and 255/40 (rear) Federal semi-slick tyres, single-piston callipers (front and rear) with 348x30mm discs (front), 320x22mm discs (rear).

    EXTERIOR: High beam air intake, E30 M3-style spoiler with custom gurney flap.

    INTERIOR: Full roll-cage, E34 M5 leather seats, custom leather doorcards, suede steering wheel and lowered steering column.

    THANKS: My friends that have helped me with this project, all your help has really been appreciated.
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    South African Special Taking a look at the #BMW-E12/8 #M535i , a rare model unique to the South African market. Just when you thought you knew all about the unique South African #BMW models another one comes to light, the unusual E12/8 M535i Words: Johann Venter. Photography: Oliver Hirtenfelder.

    Internally known as ‘model 4709’ this hybrid #BMW-E12 M535i comprised E28 components before the E28 was even manufactured in South Africa. Sounds like going back to the future. Today the word hybrid is all too common in motoring diction. In #1982 it was almost unheard of in motoring circles, but what we see in front of us today is exactly that: a hybrid. Was the #BMW-M535i-E12 the first mass offering by BMW’s M Division? In a word, no. That honour was reserved for another South African special: the #BMW-530MLE (Motorsport Limited Edition). Regular readers will be familiar with the four models unique to South Africa as documented by then deputy editor Sebastian de Latour on his visit to South Africa in 2012. During the ‘70s and ‘80s, the height of the Apartheid era in South Africa where world isolation was the order of the day, BMW South Africa was producing some of its most sought-after models.

    How and where did BMW get a foothold in a country positioned on the southern tip of Africa? Like in all corners of the world immigrants bring along their culture to the new frontier they settle in and South Africa is no different. A German immigrant was so attached to his motorcycle he brought it with him to South Africa and so it became the first BMW vehicle to land on South African shores, in 1928.

    Another German, #Gunter-Ludwig , started a small garage in 1931 named Club Garage, which later went on to become Club Motors. In 1932 Gunter acquired the rights to become the sole importer of BMW motorcycles to South Africa. By the late 1950s Club Motors imported the first BMW car, the Isetta, and continued to import a range of BMW vehicles until 1968. Club Motors would go on to become one of the biggest independently owned BMW dealerships in South Africa. So what has all this to do with the E12 M535i? Indulge us, if you will, and let us elaborate briefly on how South Africa started a trend of developing unique BMW models.

    In the mid-’60s BMW was firmly on the mend; expansion was on the cards, and it set its sights on acquiring the Glas factory in Dingolfing which had been hit by financial difficulties. Glas was relatively well-known for its Goggomobil, somewhat of a rival to the Isetta. The sexiest thing to leave the Glas production-line was arguably the 1700GT designed by Italian Pietro Frua which BMW continued to produce for a short stint as the 1600GT. Glas also produced a 1700 Saloon (also penned by the Frua design studio in Turin) which would have been in direct competition to BMW’s 1800.

    And so with the constellations aligned a path was set in motion in 1968 whereby Pretoria businessman Hannes Pretorius, together with Gunter Ludwig (of Club Motors), his son and several other shareholders formed Euro-Republic Automobile Distributors (Pty) Ltd. This is the very company that would assemble the Glas-bodied 1700 into the 1800 SA and 2000 SA under license at the Rosslyn plant just outside Pretoria. BMW AG shipped the four-door bodies and tooling it inherited from the Glas outfit to Rosslyn where they were fitted with the M10 1773cc and 1990cc motors. Brazil was the only other country in the southern hemisphere that these cars were exported to. In 1972 BMW AG took complete ownership of Euro-Republic Automobile Distributors (Pty) Ltd which became a subsidiary of the German company, by which time the operation was also assembling the larger E3 2500 and 2800 saloons, followed eventually by the 3.0S.

    In 1974 the SA models were updated (by raiding the parts-bin of other models) and brought closer inline with the look of BMW models of the time. The taillights from the E12 were installed upside down, the front received the grille from the E3 and front indicators from the E9 Coupés. At last, sporting the BMW kidney in the centre of the grille, these models were renamed the 1804 and 2004.

    Talk about hybrids! After it took complete ownership, BMW AG invested 9 million Rand (approximately £5.6 million) on tooling and assembly setup for the E12 5 Series which was launched in South Africa in 1974, two years after it had made its European debut.

    In 1972 BMW was brimming with excitement as it was in the final stages of constructing its four-cylinder headquarters and BMW Museum in Munich, a stone’s throw away from the Olympic Park where Germany hosted the 1972 Olympics. It also launched the E12 5 Series, named as such either because it happened to be the fifth in the range of the Neue Klasse or because it fitted in the middle slot in the new range/series… you decide! The Five was, however, the car that started the naming ‘Series’; penned by Paul Bracq with more rounded edges, a sloping rear and front indicators integrated into the bumper. It definitely was a more modern automobile, with a more driver-focused instrument layout; it consisted of a safety cell, reinforced sills and strengthened frontal structure. The introduction of the E12 5 Series, however, made BMW less of an exotic and more of a mainstream car manufacturer.

    One can’t possibly talk about the South African M535i without mentioning the 530 MLE, developed as a homologation special in South Africa to go racing in. The initial production figure was 100 but demand was such that over 200 were produced. This is truly the first car to make it out of the M stable – even relying on Schnitzer expertise with the development. The 530 MLE is probably the most significant of the unique BMWs produced in South Africa, a race car offered in race trim to the road-going motorist – designed for the track and sold to the public in order to qualify to go racing. It is the closest BMW came to producing a track car for public roads prior to the M3.

    It would also have a consequential outcome on the development of the #BMW-M535i . Let’s make a very brief acquaintance. Exterior: deep front spoiler and boot spoiler, made of fibreglass with extended wheel arches. M tricolour stripes adorned the shoulder of the car as well as the front and rear spoilers. Lightweight construction: body fabricated from aluminium and lighter gauge steel, drilled boot hinges and foot pedals. Interior: Scheel front bucket seats, foam base rear-bench and special Motor Sport steering. Engine: #M30 3.0-litre overhead cam motor tweaked by Schnitzer, with twin Zenith down-draught carburetors, special cam, competition flywheel plus an engine oil cooler. Running gear: close-ratio five-speed dog-leg ‘box with a limited-slip diff, Bilstein dampers, stiffer springs and thicker anti-roll bars. This all resulted in the MLE achieving 197hp at 6000rpm and 204lb ft of torque at 4300rpm.

    The 530 MLE achieved tremendous success on the track in South Africa over a short racing career but it was the most successful E12 racer in the world and in no small part thanks to Eddie Keizan and Paddy Driver behind the wheel. In his book, Unbeatable BMW Jeremy Walton attributed these cars as the closest to a works 5 Series BMW achieved in a road car. Sebastian de Latour did a feature on a replica 530 racer in the 2011 September issue of BMW Car and as part of his South African trip did a full feature on the 530 MLE in the 2013 March issue of BMW Car.

    After the 200 odd 530 MLEs sold, BMW SA continued to produce the 530 as the flagship in the 5 Series range. These cars, however, were far removed from the homologation special, still sporting a 3.0-litre M30 motor. They had little in common with the original and were really just sporting luxury saloons. It is significant to look at the M535i when it was launched in Europe as the car that was introduced in South Africa two years later was slightly different. At the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1979 BMW unveiled for the first time a car that would be mass produced that would wear the Motorsport badge. The E12 M535i was available in European markets from 1979 to the end of May 1981 with a total of 1410 being made, of which 450 were right-hand drive.

    The engine was the same unit used in the E24 635CSi which had been developed from the in-line six-cylinder found in the Batmobile and closely linked to the #M88 motor which powered the M1 supercar. The 3453cc engine has a bore of 93.4mm and a stroke of 84mm with a SOHC iron-block using Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection resulting in 218hp at 5200rpm and 224lb ft of torque at 4000rpm. The suspension geometry was similar to that of a regular Five with Macpherson struts in the front and semitrailing arms in the rear. The M division did, however, provide uprated springs with Bilstein dampers. Brakes comprised the standard four-pot brake callipers but with 3mm thicker ventilated discs up front. To put the power down a five-speed close-ratio Getrag gearbox with a limited-slip differential was fitted.

    What really got pulses racing were the embellishments: the deep colour-coded air dam, a chunky rubber boot spoiler, and BBS 6.5x14-inch cross-spoke alloys. Ice white cars got the tricolour BMW Motorsport stripes running down the side (by now made famous by the 2002 Turbo). In keeping with the sports theme Recaro Sports seats and an M1 steering were also on offer.

    You could, however, order a sleeper devoid of the trimmings which even meant excluding the M badges. The M535i was the fastest Saloon car on the planet, a trend which BMW still tries to uphold today with the Five. At the time it was good for 0-60mph in 7.5 seconds and a top speed of 138mph.

    The South African M535i was launched in 1981, two years after the European version. It was to be the replacement for the more civilised 530 that had been sold after the departure of the MLE. The South African M535i was not offered with the front air dam, rear spoiler or M tricolour stripes of the European model, which was pretty strange given that just a few years earlier BMW SA had offered the 530 MLE race car as a road-legal vehicle with all the fireworks including the war-paint to anyone with the right amount of cash. The MLE literally paved the way for the M535i, demonstrating what could be done with a big block six-cylinder in a medium-sized saloon. BMW SA also did not see the need on launch to offer the close-ratio gearbox, instead a normal H-pattern ’box with overdrive was fitted.

    Other than that it pretty much was standard fare, on the outside with just the usual smattering of M badges. Also standard were the 7x14-inch #BBS crossspoke alloy wheels with the centre caps bearing the BMW Motorsport logo.

    Underneath it again had the M30 3453cc engine with #Bosch-L-Jetronic injection, strengthened stabiliser bars front and rear with Bilstein gas dampers and a ZF 25 per cent limited-slip diff. On the inside there were Sports Recaro seats, an M1 steering, a Pioneer radio/tape deck with amp (European markets mostly got Blaupunkt), electric windows, air-con, electric mirrors, power-steering and central-locking all as standard. An electric steel sunroof was a cost option. The M535i produced 218hp (160kW) at 5200rpm and 228lb ft (310Nm) at 4000rpm and was good for 138mph (222km/h) at the top end. Wheels magazine compared it to a Porsche 928 and Car magazine in South Africa had the following to say: “The new M535i is difficult to categorise. It’s not a pure sports sedan like the 530, nor is it pure luxury car. To some extent it combines the best elements of both to produce a really fast car with a high standard of comfort and equipment.”

    While the rest of the world in 1982 was gearing up to become acquainted with the E28 5 Series, South Africa continued with its hybrid philosophy. With manufacturing volumes too low and retooling deemed too expensive the entire E12 5 Series model range received instead the new E28 5 Series dashboard (which became known as the E12/8) and fuel-injection also became standard across the range. With the new E28 dash the cockpit inside the M535i definitely became more driver- centric with the instrument cluster and controls focused on the driver. New technological marvels were introduced equipping the car with a service interval indicator, fuel consumption indicator, and active check control above the rear view mirror in a padded safety panel – checking seven key functions.

    Unfortunately, the South African M535i was once again deprived of the M aero-kit but for the first time the close-ratio Getrag five-speed dog-leg ‘box was available as a free option. Both gearboxes (five-speed overdrive) were paired with a taller 3.07:1 final drive. The M535i also had a unique set of tyres and wheels: metric-sized 165x390mm alloy wheels, as used on some European E28s fitted with 200/60VR390 #Michelin-TRX tyres. When Car magazine South Africa tested it, it concluded: “It’s a great car – developed specially by the Motor Sport Division of BMW A.G. for the motorist who wants exceptional performance in a luxury sedan.” Only 1416 examples of the Model 4709 E12 M535i hybrid were assembled in South Africa until production ended in December 1984. It was then replaced by the E28 M535i in January 1985.

    Enough with the #BMW-SA history lesson, let’s get acquainted with this M hybrid. It’s hard to believe that the M535i in front of us is 33 years old and yet this is a very honest car that gets driven regularly. It is definitely no show queen; the odometer shows 110,203 miles (177,355km). One definitely gets the sense that BMW’s philosophy at the time was to build cars that would stand the test of time. The Polaris silver paint works well with the chrome accents. The #Alpina shovel-spoiler in the front suits the car much better than the standard air dam that was fitted to European models as the lines are just so much cleaner and sharper. Step to the back and the spoiler found on the boot is also from Alpina. It’s smaller in size than the M article and again cleaner, in my opinion. Sometimes less is more. The stance is perfect thanks to a set of BBS cross-spoke rims 7x16 inches in the front and 8x16 inches at the rear as found on the E23 745i. It is rounded off with ContiPremiumContact 2 rubber (205/55R16 in the front and 225/50R16 at the rear) which fills the arches nicely. As I open the door I am transported back to my youth, the E12 is the very reason for my fascination with BMW. I remember there was a car that I drooled over almost every day. I could not miss it as it was on my way home from school. It was a Petrol blue E12 528i. A few years later a friend bought an E12 M535i in Henna red. It was my first experience with a dog-leg ’box, it went like a bat from hell. Then being inside the M535i was like being inside the Starship Enterprise, with an orange glow from the instrument binnacle and the red lights from the check control. Such fond memories!

    Once inside I am completely gobsmacked; it is immaculate. There is not a crack or a blemish on the dash, it virtually looks new. The Recaros, covered in Marine blue velour, do not even have a scuff. The M gear lever perfect and the biggest show piece has to be the four-spoke Alpina Sports steering.

    One turn of the key and the engine sparks to life and in true BMW fashion of cars of this era it quickly settles down into a big block six-cylinder hum. I find these dog-leg boxes still tricky today and the clutch is quite heavy. Drop the clutch and flatten the loud pedal and, exactly as I remember, the M535i squats down on its haunches and the nose reaches for the stratosphere. The exhaust lets off a mechanical growl that’s much different to BMWs of today. This car still feels quick today. Then again it only weighs 1465kg.

    The ride is compliant but the trade-off is the body-roll, which is more prevalent than in more modern Bavarian metal. Turn-in is good but not sharp as it relies on a recirculating ball setup but this car feels as solid as when it was new. The fit and finish is perfect. There are no rattles or vibrations. The four-pot brake callipers make easy work of dissipating high speeds and the Bilsteins ensure the wheels stay planted. The owner of the M535i, Shaun Sing, is a BMW Master Technician who started Tune Tech 20 years ago. It’s one of the most reputable independent BMW workshops in South Africa. Tune Tech not only services BMW products it does tuning and performance upgrades and builds race cars. Strangely enough Shaun qualified as an aircraft mechanic but found BMW far more appealing and in 1987 joined the Stuart Bromfield BMW dealership. The rest, as they say, is history.

    Ten years ago the original owner brought the car into Tune Tech to have the brakes looked at. Shaun somehow convinced him to part with this rarity. Shaun received the car with all the books/manuals, including the original brochure and a file with all the receipts for work that had been carried out. Since then very little has been done except that the fuel tank has been replaced, as well as all four headlamps, and the Bilsteins have been refurbished. Thankfully Shaun also removed the foglights, got the front spoiler and rear spoiler from Alpina, fitted the Alpina steering and the 745i BBS rims – all cosmetic enhancements that really set off this magnificent piece of South African motoring history.

    BMW set the trend for building the fastest Saloon cars in the world and the M535i really is the benchmark from where it all started. The BMW Rosslyn plant continued to build a variety of BMWs which included the E28 M5 and E34 M5, which was also the last in the 5 Series range made at the plant. Today Rosslyn is referred to as plant nine in BMW’s global hierarchy and only manufactures the F30 3 Series Saloon, 330 a day or one every four minutes; 85 percent of production is shipped to about ten markets worldwide. It’s a far cry from the days of the E12/8 M535i.

    SPECIAL THANKS TO:

    Ron Silke and Ulrich Thieme of www.e12.de

    The M535i was the fastest Saloon car on the planet, a trend which BMW still tries to uphold today with the Five.


    These three cars above can be viewed as the forefathers of the ‘South African Special’. The white car at the top is a 2000 SA which was built in South Africa using the shell of a Glas 1700 with BMW mechanicals. (This particular example hails from Rhodesia and was originally known as a Cheetah). The green machine is a post 1974 2000 SA with a BMW grille and upside down E12 rear lights while the E12 below it was the 530 MLE – a locally built homologation special.
    Drop the clutch and flatten the loud pedal and the M535i squats down on its haunches and the nose reaches for the stratosphere.
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