Car of the Month - February 2009

Cars of the Month

The Car of the Month for February belongs to:
Brian Thomason

  • Model: E12 528iA

  • Date: 1980

  • Exterior Color: Swartz (Black)

  • The Overview

    As is true with most of my cars, there’s a pretty good story behind this one. I sold my last E12 (March 2004 COTM) when I moved back to California from Texas, thinking that I would never get the car to pass smog inspection. Along with it went the L-block 3.5 liter engine I had been working on to install in that car, and a bunch of miscellaneous parts (that I wish I had now…oh well).

    I purchased (finally) another house in July and now had room to expand the fleet again. I wasn’t particularly looking for another car, but always thought it would be nice to have another E12. I was over at one of my manager’s houses for dinner this summer when one of her husband’s friends showed up. I had driven my 1970 2002 and he was asking about it, so I told him a little bit about the car. He mentioned that he also had an old BMW, but that I had probably never heard of it. Turns out, it was a 1980 528iA. His father was a local doctor, and had ordered the car new in 1980. When Jim (the previous owner) graduated from college, his Dad passed it on to him. He had gotten to the point where he was hardly driving it, and wanted to find a good home for it. Over the course of the next several weeks we talked about the work I did on my previous E12 and what my intentions would be for this car. Eventually, he passed it on to me, with promise of visitation rights whenever he wished.

    The car is a mostly stock 1980 528iA, black with black cloth interior. The odometer reads about 110,000 miles, but the car has closer to 220,000 or so (I still need to dig through the paperwork – I have everything, or will when Jim digs out his files – and see when the odometer was replaced). The bodywork, paint, and interior are original, having been garaged and covered for all of its life. The interior has had sheepskins and a dash cover since day one also. I changed the wheels to 16” Mille Miglia Cello, though I do have the original 14” turbines in the garage. Jim upgraded the suspension with H&R springs and KYB shocks. Beyond that, and the Alpine stereo, the car is stock.

    Since purchasing it, I’ve done a fan clutch, tune-up, front and rear window gasket lockstrips, and some other little things. The car runs well, though I am still troubleshooting the low-rpm (off-idle) miss. I think it’s probably the AFM. I’m thrilled to have the car, and hopefully Jim feels good that it found a good home.


    John Savage
    © 2009, ™