As I examine the auto graveyards of the land in research of items of the automotive-heritage puzzle, often I recognize that I’ve been neglecting a particular style of vehicle or truck that warrants far more interest. The BMW 5 Collection is these types of a vehicle. I’ve documented the initially-era E12 and the third-technology E34, but not the 2nd-era E28. So, when I went to California in December I made a decision I might photograph the extremely initial E28 that I discovered. That automobile turned out to be this faded, higher-mile 1984 528e in a junkyard in John Steinbeck’s aged stomping grounds.
American BMW customers experienced the alternative of the reasonable 528e or the sizzling-rod 533i throughout the 1984 design year. The 528e received the identical engine as the 325e, whilst the 533i been given the powerplant from the large 7 Collection dreadnaught that yr. Still, the house owners of this motor vehicle bought the last giggle. Long right after most of the 533i cars threw rods or crashed into concrete abutments, this car held on racking up the miles, finally finishing with a extremely respectable 270,094. That is the type of mileage total I see on the likes of discarded Camrys and Mercedes-Benzes of the center 1980s.
The “e” in the product designation stood for the Greek letter eta, which signifies efficiency to nerdy engineer varieties. Don’t forget, there was not much length among the horrendous gas lines of the 1979 Oil Crisis and the period of time in which this car stood proudly in a BMW showroom. This, irrespective of the starting of the mid-1980s oil glut that finished up — much more than anything else — primary to the downfall of the Soviet Union and made prospective buyers of luxurious sedans end stressing about gas financial state.
So, the motor in this motor vehicle made excellent torque (170 lb-ft) and did well on fuel, but arrived with a ranking of just 121 horsepower. Which is a ton a lot less than the horsepower you would get in the incredibly cheapest Corolla currently (though the ’84 528e weighed only 2,953 lbs, about the exact same as a ’20 Corolla and a fantastic fifty percent-ton much less than the existing-working day 5 Collection).
These cars nevertheless drove really properly, irrespective of their energy handicap, while the Entertaining-O-Meter readings have been a great deal reduce with the 3-velocity automatic.
In actuality, the 1984 5 Collection was just a little even bigger than the 3 Series that 12 months, and so general performance figures ended up becoming fairly comparable among the 325e and 535e.
Like most substantial-mile cars I locate in the junkyard, this just one looks to have been well cared-for above its extended existence (abused beaters have a tendency to get scrapped well right before they get to 150,000 miles). The inside looks decent, in spite of the problems caused by junkyard purchasers, and the human body is stable beneath the faded paint.
When that oncoming Tradesman blows a tire, forcing you to veer head-on into a careening LTD Country Squire on wet pavement, this is the car you required in 1984!