Purchase Price £3750
E28 518i lux · Lachs Silver METALLIC · 126k
518i's are something of a rarity. They do not come up for sale very often and certainly not in such good condition as this one. Sadly that is because there are very few of them left on the road. They were never sold in great numbers in the UK despite the E30 3 series of the time with the same engine being sold by the bucket load. However with the power of hindsight it strikes me as a bit of a shame, because you see the 518i makes the perfect retro daily driver: smart, practical, economical and parts are abundant because of the glut of 3 series cars that were sold at the time (and are compatible) but still with all the charm of Claus Luthe's elegant 5 series design.
The M10 is an excellent BMW engine. It first went into service in the early 1970's powering BMW's legendary 02 range. By the time this 518i rolled off the factory line as one of the last M10 powered cars, BMW had perfected it and added the super reliable LE Jetronic fuel injection for greater fuel efficiency, turnkey simplicity and reliability. Despite being only a 4 cylinder engine it works remarkably well in an E28 body shell. The car feels urgent and peppy to drive but being an 8 valve engine it produces a nice torquey drive that is very economical with most owners claiming 30-35 MPG (I have used this car as daily transport and feel this is a fair assumption).
This particular 518i is lovely. It's fairly low mileage of 126K, has striking Lachs Silver metallic body work and clean chrome bumpers. The body is very straight, we have repaired the rear wheel arches as some rust had begun to appear here. The car has had some welding throughout its life and despite being solid some of it is a little on the functional side. The only welding we have done is to the rear near side sill for its current MOT and this is of course up to Bahnstormers normal as it left the factory or better standards. The bodywork shines up beautifully and this purposeful gun metal colour accentuates the body design. We have added original lightweight option 14 inch BMW alloy wheels, and 4 new tyres to enhance the overall look of the car. The only bits that let the body down are a previous repair to the sunroof panel and some crazing of the lacquer on the bonnet although this can only be seen from certain angles in certain light.
We have added lots of new parts to the car including service items such as distributor cap, rotor arm, HT leads and spark plugs. The car has had all its fluids changed. The car has also had all of the air and vacuum pipes replaced. Other than the welding the car required nothing for its MOT and the two advisories have also been dealt with. We have also added new bonnet struts as well as replacing both of the headlights and both of the front fog lights which where cracked. During the cars shake down period in which I drove it daily, the alternator bush was also replaced, a common fail point on the M10 engine. This particular 518i drives superbly and has benefited from new shock absorbers and springs front and rear.
Inside we have fitted a complete Pacific blue herring bone interior. Sadly the original interior which was a Pacific blue velour had succumbed to wear to the driver's seat and was quite stained throughout. As we have been unable to find a good velour seat (velour interiors do not seem to be standing the test of time very well) we have chosen to replace the entire interior with the much harder wearing and in my opinion much more attractive herring bone interior from a car which had only covered 43k so is in excellent condition.
The result is a superb car that drives faultlessly. It is a lot of fun to drive with an engaging engine and gearbox. I really believe the 518i is an ideal choice for daily classic transport. Smart, interesting, easy to drive with all the mod cons such as power steering, electric mirrors and windows etc., perfectly capable as a motorway cruiser and weekend pleasure car but also perfect for commuting with realistic MPG, insurance and a boot that is still big enough for life.