Purchase Price £3750
E28 518i lux · Royal Blue METALLIC · 98k
Please note, the mirrors have been permanently dyed black and the original pin striping redone in silver grey since these photos where taken.
518i's are something of a rarity. They do not come up for sale very often and certainly not in such exemplary 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 and 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 am using this car daily at the moment so I will be able to see for myself).
This particular 518i is lovely. It is a car that we restored two years ago, the current owner decided to part with it due to lack of use. It's low mileage of 98K, has lovely gleaming royal blue metallic body work and absolutely perfect chrome bumpers. The body is very straight, we have replaced the front passenger door because the original had gone rusty after a previous bodywork repair. The car has had very little welding with only some tidy, minor repairs to both the rear sills. The bodywork shines up beautifully and this lovely dark, almost purply metallic blue makes the car seem very smart indeed. It retains its original lightweight option 14 inch BMW alloy wheels, complete with BMW locking wheel nuts and 4 new tyres.
We added lots of new parts to the car during its restoration including service items such as distributor cap, rotor arm, HT leads and spark plugs. The car has had all its fluids changed including Differential and Gearbox. The car has also had a new airflow meter and all of the air and vacuum pipes replaced it also had a pair of front drop links. We added new badges front and rear to maintain the car's smart appearance, and new bonnet struts as well as replacing one of the headlights which was cracked. During the cars shake down period in which I drove it daily, the alternator was also replaced for a new unit.
Inside we repaired the central locking, repaired the instrument cluster, and fitted a complete pearl beige hounds tooth interior. Sadly the original interior which was a pearl beige velour had succumbed to some serious sun bleaching which had made the seat material dry and brittle causing the drivers seat to fabric to tear. As we where unable to find a good velour seat (velour interiors do not seem to be standing the test of time very well) we chose to replace the entire interior with the much harder wearing and in my opinion much more attractive pearl beige hounds tooth interior. We have also refitted the boot carpet which was all missing when the car first arrived.
This time around the car had a small amount of very high quality/as it left the factory welding in the drivers side front floor corner after some misadventure with the previous owner, a new thermostat, a new water pump, an excellent drivers seat which we where lucky enough to acquire in the mean time and we decided to have the rear wheel arches and near side rear door painted as this was something we wanted to do previously but sadly the other work required had to take precedence at the time.
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.