Purchase Price: POA
E34 535ise · Malachite Green METALLIC · 80k
Chapter 1 - The Big Friendly BMW
This striking E34 535i SE is first and foremost a very, very nice car. Leaving aside for a moment its potentially famous connection, let’s talk about it objectively as a low mileage, well specced M30 powered E34 with not a speck of rust on it! It was in a very neglected state when it arrived and its survival was sadly hanging in the balance. Unlike most of our sales at Classic Bahnstormers, this particular car comes with a proposition, and is available at two prices and two levels of completion, so please don’t be put off by the POA.
Chapter 2 - The Wonderful Story of F757MJO and 3 More
The story - The car actually belongs to a friend of the business who rescued it from being broken. This gentleman is somewhat of an E34 aficionado with a special interest in the four-wheel drive IX models. The 535i was offered to him by a BMW breaker who had in turn acquired it from some scrap men/banger racers who apparently removed it from an address in Oxfordshire associated with Roald Dahl. The previous keeper of the car was Tessa Dahl (Verified on the log book) , Roald Dahl’s daughter. Roald Dahl is well known to have been a BMW enthusiast: his book ‘the Hitchhiker’ featured an E3 3.3 and the televised short story version an E23 733i. It is also well known that most of his cars were green and often specced with red leather. It is worth noting that the car was supplied by what would have been Roald Dahl’s local dealer, Hughenden Motors of High Wycombe. The car was registered in June 1989 and Roald Dahl died in November 1990 so if it was his car it was possibly the last one he bought. At this present time we cannot say for certain if the car ever belonged to Roald Dahl, but it certainly did belong to his daughter, a successful woman in her own right, also a published author, model and actress. We have submitted an enquiry to the Roald Dahl museum to try and establish the car’s provenance, and this will be updated if we get a definitive answer.
Chapter 3 - Bahnstormer’s Marvellous Medicine
The car - As per the first paragraph above, arrived in a state of neglect. It appeared to have been parked up for a long time but must have been stored under cover and in a well-ventilated environment because looking past the accumulated dirt and dust the potential of this totally unmolested 535i with a rust-free body and panels was obvious. None of the normal corrosion around the fuel filler flap, wheel arches, sill ends or jacking points was visible. A proper evaluation of the bodywork confirmed it to be the most rust free E34 we have ever seen, and other than some unsightly lacquer peel to the bonnet, front and rear bumpers, the overall condition of the car was good.
The car did not run and other than a claim from the BMW breaker that they had had it running, it was more or less an unknown entity. We began our normal protocol for bringing these cars back to life. We replaced the spark plugs, leads, distributor cap, and rotor arm. We drained and throughly flushed out the coolant system replacing it with new coolant. We then moved on to the fuel system in which we replaced the original fuel pump which had seized, as well as the filter, and then flushed the lines with new fuel. The fuel injectors responded and the car fired into life running almost perfectly from the get go. We had inspected the camshaft and oil spray bar before trying to start the engine, and remarkably the oil that was in the engine was in very good condition and no other issues were found. Next we moved onto the brakes. We stripped and cleaned each calliper, replaced all of the rear flexible lines and some of the hard lines with copper ones. We bled the brake system with new fluid and fairly quickly had ourselves a drivable car. Even on the first test drive, still covered in a decade’s worth of dust and dirt, the car drove fantastically well and the gearbox changed as smoothly as if it were rolling off the forecourt. I was quite astounded. The mechanical re-commissioning process was concluded by fitting a good but lightly used genuine BMW exhaust system with a new fitting kit, new axle carrier bushes, new camber limiter bushes, 4 new tyres, drive belts and a radiator. The gearbox oil has been renewed, as has the engine oil and filter.
Once the bodywork had been pressure washed thoroughly we sent the car off to paint to be tidied up, respraying the bonnet and front and rear bumpers to take care of the lacquer peel. The rest of the car was thoroughly buffed and the deep metallic Malachite Green paint work responded well. The car was then fitted with new BMW rondels, fore and aft, as well as four new emblems fitted on the centre caps. A faulty fog light was rewired and the car passed its first MOT in probably a decade with not a single advisory. To further enhance the car, we have serviced the noisy interior blower motor which now hums away as it should, dyed the faded rear parcel shelf and fitted smart new number plates.
For me the real selling point of this car is the beautiful interior and the fantastically smooth drive. This car drives so well, it is effortless, refined and quiet. It drives like a car which hasn’t been taken apart and put back together again a million times because it hasn’t been taken apart and put back together a million times. The steering is light and responsive, the engine is powerful and the gearbox is smooth. The driving experience is one of reassured opulence and total comfort. The switchable ZF automatic transmission has several modes and with sport engaged this thing will show a pair of back tyres to most modern traffic.
The stunning crimson red leather interior is supremely comfortable and free of wear apart from a very annoying cigarette burn on the back seat. Cigarette burn aside, it is in very good condition indeed, with all the electrically adjustable elements of the front captain style seats functioning as they should. In fact everything in the interior works except for the air conditioning which is an unknown and a dealer fit option rather than an originally specified option. The interior has not succumbed to any of the usual E34 ailments: no sagging roof lining, peeling door cards or broken sunroof switch panel. The thoroughly modern in-dash on board computer works perfectly and reports various functions of the car as it should. It is a very nice place to be and quite impressive too as all the passengers whom have enjoyed travelling in it so far have remarked.
Chapter 4 - Fantastic Mr Bucks $$$
The deal - This is a slightly unusual way to go about selling a car (or it is for us at Bahnstormers anyway). The car is NOT up to our normal standard. Unfortunately under closer inspection the paintwork really lets the car down. There are some small dents in the roof that don’t help but the car is unfortunately quite scratched in places. These are not necessarily deep scratches, more scuffs from wherever the car has been stored and things have been put on it, next to it and so on. The car was also written off in 2003 as a category C non economical repair, although Tessa Dahl obviously thought enough of it at the time to repair it and put it back on the road. The entire passenger side of the car has been resprayed in the past so we have concluded that the car was scraped against something or something scraped against it. There is absolutely no sign of any welding or structural repair and all the panel gaps are perfect. It is in my opinion a great shame as famous connection or not this car deserves to be appreciated. We took on the restoration/recommissioning of this car based on its eminently restorable condition but with our eyes open it was obvious from the outset that it was not going to be the greatest profit spinner ever, but as well as personally being fans of Roald Dahl, we are car enthusiasts above all else, and this car needed to be put back on the road.
We have done as much as we can do to the car based on what we think a good 535i SE auto is worth. In an ideal world I would like to find a beneficiary for the car so to speak, someone who can see the potential as we do. If you look at the way E28 535i’s have gone it is not hard to see that in the not to distant future this E34 could be a good bet. Ideally I would love to finish the work and get the car fully resprayed so much so I am prepared to do it at cost. This would require a buyer to step forward and be willing to invest further in this project. So the car is available in two potential ways: it can be purchased outright for the sum of £4500, or for this base price + the cost of the paintwork which will be done at cost.
In summary, this is an excellent opportunity to acquire a unique E34 in a fantastic colour scheme. The car itself drives perfectly and is very low mileage. The overall condition both structurally and mechanically is excellent and I have personally driven the car daily without a blip. The paintwork is presentable as it stands but I am perfectly happy to do more work to the car if a deal can be reached with a potential buyer. This is a beautiful example of a future classic that deserves to be admired, and maybe, just maybe, it might inspire you to write a few paragraphs as it has me.