Car of the Month - April 2009

Cars of the Month

The Car of the Month for April belongs to:
Sherman Watters

  • Series: 5' E12

  • Body: Saloon

  • Model: 528i

  • Engine: M30

  • Region: USA

  • Version: Left Hand Drive

  • Transmission: Manual

  • Manufacture Date: 03/1979

  • Exterior Color: Swartz (Black)

  • Sherman Writes:

    My encounter, obsession, addiction, whatever you want to call it, my friends don't exactly know what to think still, began several years ago when my wife and I decided we'd had enough of debt and got serious about ridding our lives of it.

    When we finally got rid of both our cars we owed money on I came across an e30 which I thought would only need minor work to make a daily driver and she agreed we'd purchase it and make it one of our 2 cars for daily use.

    I purchased the car, towed it home, replaced the dried and cracked intake boot, started it, took it to get inspected, it passed smog and I was on the road.

    Shortly afterwards, a neighbor had an e28, 85 528e automatic, I picked up, did some minor repairs to, had it inspected, smog also, as it wasn't 25 years old yet either, and my wife began driving it, and loved it.

    I soon realized how easy these cars are to work on, I'd been doing all my own repairs since my first car, a 61 Ford Falcon, at age 16, so I'm thinking I'm in Heaven with my new found Bimmer friends.

    In the course of time, due to my 6 foot 5 inch frame, I took more of a liking to the 5 series and sold the original 90 325is, for a nice profit I might add, and began looking for another e28. By this time both my sons were in e30's. I found another e28, an 87 535is automatic, that hadn't run for two years, replaced the main and fuel pump relays started it up, registered and inspected it am now even more impressed with these old cars.

    And then it happened, lost one of the automatics, and oh crap, I thought. I decided rather than spend the money on the repair I'd search and find an e28 with a manual tranny and see how that'd work as a daily driver. I had not owned a manual tranmissioned car for nearly 25 years and wasn't sure since I work out of my car making sales and service calls most of the day, and driving in Houston traffic, how it would work for me but found it very enjoyable in the 85 535i 5 speed I had picked up.

    Now, I'm thinking I'll replace the other automatic e28 with a manual and the search began which landed me in this e12, 79 528i e12 4 speed.

    I found it through a Craigslist ad in Nashville and decided on a trip to Kentucky to see family and take care of some other business to stop in Nashville and pick it up, if it was as advertised, and bring it back to Texas and it'd be our second daily driver. It was, so it went on a trailer, followed me home, got some minor things done to it, replaced radiator and emergency flasher switch, and the rest is history.

    The car is all stock except for the wheels and will for the most part stay that way. I've added a passenger rear view mirror, haven't gotten the electrics hooked up to it yet. I'll upgrade to a 5 speed tranny if and/or when the clutch or transmission starts giving me problems. And I'm hoping to do a Euro bumper exchange somewhere down the road and add a rear spoiler. Other than that it should stay stock. There are a couple of very minor rust issues that'll eventually get attention. The rest of the body is straight so I'm hoping after repairing the rust I'll be able to bring the paint luster back without a complete respray.

    This e12 should stay in our family the rest of it's natural life and you'll see in the last picture it'll have several e28 cousins to keep it company. From left to right, our e28 M5, the original 85 528e auto, the second manual purchased the 85 535i and the other automatic, the 87 535is. The automatics will eventually get sold but this e12 and the e28 5 speeds will stay.

    As you can tell, I'm thoroughly impressed with these old Bimmers.

    More Pictures Here

    John Savage
    © 2009, ™