Lusting the Legend

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Yes, we’ve been digging around You Tube lately, but it’s yielded a Chris Harris video that expounds the same feeling we have for the legendary BMW e28 M5.

Ah yes the 1980’s. The decade that produced Germany’s best cars and don’t us make list them, because it’ll make your eyes hurt.

Anyway, being just out of college in 1987, my taste for cars was bigger than my student loan tapped wallet. Hell, I was driving a 1970 BMW 2002 in black primer (I still have the prized MOMO Monte Carlo wheel). Hanging out at a girlfriends’ house on Sheridan Rd. in Glencoe availed plenty of high-end car viewing. Eventually, we were able to tell what car was coming around the turn just by its sound. Mercedes Hammers, BMW 325i’s and 528e’s, Deloreans, Ferrari 308s, XJ6s, 16v GTIs, SAAB 900 Turbos and the easy 911. One evening we heard a new sound we’d never heard before: a glorious high-rev growl. A modified 535i? Sure looked like it.

Three weeks later while at Knauz in Lake Forest, there it was: the new M5! I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Classic Q-Car black out treatment with tan leather sport interior. Wait, was that a leather dash and suede headliner? I was in love.

Twenty five years later, I still am. I’ve owned every e28 less the legend and diesel (naaa… forget diesel). I currently have a $900 rat-rod 1988 528e that I’m converting to 535is cosmetics. It may have 200k on the engine, but doesn’t burn any fluids and has very minimal rust on it’s original Delphin Grey paint. Every time I drive it, it puts a smile on my face. Which is more than I can say for my 1986 3.2 Carrera (gasp!). As Chris Harris says: it’s mechanically spot on. It communicates to the driver exactly what he needs to know through metal connections and leather. No drive-by-wire condoms and safety nannies to ruin the pure driving pleasure. Sure it’s not fast, but what it lacks in power, it makes up for in character and soul.

Come to think of it, I think that’s what best sums up 1980’s German cars…character and soul.

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