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benjj

Help valuing a 1989 520i SE manual

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My neighbour knows I like old tat so he's offered me his father's car.

 

We've not talked cash so I'm wondering whether to a) buy it and keep it or B) buy it, tidy it up and sell it.

 

The car details:

1989 BMW E34 520i SE manual
Dolphin Grey
20,244 miles (real, not doctored!)
Full BMW service history
Grey cloth interior (immaculate)

 

It is completely rust free, original wheels, original everything. Bit of a timewarp car really. Paintwork is utterly perfecto. All glass mint.

 

However it's been off the road since 2008 (so for 7/8 years). It wasn't laid up because there was a problem with it, just that the old boy got another car and just stuck it in the garage. The MOT expired in 2008 and he didn't drive it again apart from warming it up every few months.

 

It starts, idles etc perfectly. Guess the brakes are all fubar though.

 

A few pics below.

 

NRyDTdRp.jpg|http://thumbsnap.com/NRyDTdRp

IUXVIf6r.jpg|http://thumbsnap.com/IUXVIf6r

XEEUcK13.jpg|http://thumbsnap.com/XEEUcK13

lZcCMOkz.jpg|http://thumbsnap.com/lZcCMOkz

cA9msdjA.jpg|http://thumbsnap.com/cA9msdjA

FFTk50PI.jpg|http://thumbsnap.com/FFTk50PI

otNh8poy.jpg|http://thumbsnap.com/otNh8poy

nIN1LMHg.jpg|http://thumbsnap.com/nIN1LMHg

D1TLuyBV.jpg|http://thumbsnap.com/D1TLuyBV

 

The registration is "OO 1900" so not sure if that's worth any money or not. Will come on the car.

 

Any ideas what it could be worth?

 

Cheers gents,

Ben

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The plate is a standard UK mainland plate - from the very first ones actually, 1903-1930 (the sort that started with A1 and ended with XX9999 I think).

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I know the miles are very low but it's going to need some recommissioning work so I would value it similarly to a decent roadworthy 520i- around £1,000.

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Nice low miles, decent plate and good exterior colour are all plus'. Bland interior, low spec and being a 520 are the less desirable attributes... If the body is really rust free then i'd agree with J4M35 and say it's worth a grand'ish. All IMO of course... ;)

 

C.

Edited by cableguy

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The body is definitely spotless. I'm speaking as a bloke who has restored a Citroen DS back to bare metal and back up again so checked properly!

 

I'm thinking if I can get it cheapy cheap I could put a few dozen hours into it and flip it for some cash to spend on one of my other cars. Tricky decision.

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The body is definitely spotless. I'm speaking as a bloke who has restored a Citroen DS back to bare metal and back up again so checked properly!

 

I'm thinking if I can get it cheapy cheap I could put a few dozen hours into it and flip it for some cash to spend on one of my other cars. Tricky decision.

 

If you're looking to upsell it, it's almost certainly worth at least researching the value of the plate alone- As I said above I don't think the car has massive potential value right now but the plate might double it for all I know (I know nothing about how plates are valued).

 

Low miles are a useful selling point but when the car is 25+ years old it makes no odds to the car's functionality. Anything which is rubber is going to be heading south pretty quick as soon as it's pressed into service- the rubber parts on the intake, in the suspension, belts, radiator, thermostat, expansion tank cap and even the fuel and coolant hoses.

 

I don't think now is the time to attempt to sell a 520i for strong money but if you could get it cleaned, tidied, waxoyled and stored somewhere dry for a few years it could pay dividends.  

 

I'm consistently surprised by how cheap apparently tidy 520i are. I think it's fair to say they're among the least loved model of the E34 range. However as the E34 population thins and the 90s generation mature, the two litre engine and SE spec might be overlooked in favour of the manual gearbox and classic looks.  

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Thanks James. I don't really have the wedge available to buy it and sit on it for long if I need to put more into it. Oh for oodles of free dough!

 

Good point on the plate though. If it were worth something I could feasibly buy the car, sell the plate and just stick it in the workshop as is for half a decade or so!

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The rub for me is that it's an m20 version not the m50 so it's a proper early car. Clean and tidy it has an appeal to use and enjoy but it's not a gold mine in waiting.

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build a nice 2.7 M20 for it, cruise control retro fit which is also plug and play. Then waft about, no creeks with a nice warm cloth trim

 

that could be epic with some subtle period mods, still keeping the cars character but enhancing its strong points with some much needed torque 

 

If you had loads of money a 3.1 M20 would get it up the road real well. More power and torque than an M30 3.5

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Good point it being an M20, hadn't thought of that.

 

Wonder if any benefit in buying it cheap, selling plate, selling engine to the E21 boys and parting the rest as it's minty mint.

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The mileage is the main plus point. It's one of the only E34's left with so few miles. The engine doesn't matter - a Wolseley 6/110 isn't fast either but it's a nice thing to cruise to shows in.

 

The number plate is worth about £1000-1500.

 

The car all minted up with a new cam belt etc is worth about £3000, maybe more.

 

However, to have the money to buy a new 520i in 1988 means that a) he's not daft and B) he knows how much he paid for it - the thick end of twenty grand I expect.

 

I don't think you'll be driving it away for a grand, but...........

 

One option would be to do the work, sell it and keep a thousand quid for your efforts - or the number plate.

 

I have NO 1663 on an old V5.

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My M90 with lairy Piper cam and gas flowed/ported/polished head kind of spoiled me a bit!

 

build a nice 2.7 M20 for it, cruise control retro fit which is also plug and play. Then waft about, no creeks with a nice warm cloth trim

 

that could be epic with some subtle period mods, still keeping the cars character but enhancing its strong points with some much needed torque 

 

If you had loads of money a 3.1 M20 would get it up the road real well. More power and torque than an M30 3.5

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Fair points well made!

Firstly, you'd be a prize twat for doing that.

 

Secondly, it's 'breaking'. They don't have 520i's in North America.

 

 

 

 

 

:razz:

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This is all very interesting, thanks.

 

Surprised the plate is worth that kind of cash. It does look strangely symmetrically satisfying though!

 

 

 

The mileage is the main plus point. It's one of the only E34's left with so few miles. The engine doesn't matter - a Wolseley 6/110 isn't fast either but it's a nice thing to cruise to shows in.

 

The number plate is worth about £1000-1500.

 

The car all minted up with a new cam belt etc is worth about £3000, maybe more.

 

However, to have the money to buy a new 520i in 1988 means that a) he's not daft and B) he knows how much he paid for it - the thick end of twenty grand I expect.

 

I don't think you'll be driving it away for a grand, but...........

 

One option would be to do the work, sell it and keep a thousand quid for your efforts - or the number plate.

 

I have NO 1663 on an old V5.

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build a nice 2.7 M20 for it, cruise control retro fit which is also plug and play. Then waft about, no creeks with a nice warm cloth trim

that could be epic with some subtle period mods, still keeping the cars character but enhancing its strong points with some much needed torque

If you had loads of money a 3.1 M20 would get it up the road real well. More power and torque than an M30 3.5

What's an m20 3.1 going to put out? 240/250bhp. Seems like a waste of money to have less power than many diesels on the market.

I say leave it alone. Might be a nice thing to keep if you have a garage.

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What's an m20 3.1 going to put out? 240/250bhp. Seems like a waste of money to have less power than many diesels on the market.

I say leave it alone. Might be a nice thing to keep if you have a garage.

 

Interesting angle, for me a 240/250bhp diesel would be a much bigger waste of money...

 

£500 spent on an engine to achieve a 50% increase in power and torque is a comparative bargain.

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You won't build a 3.1 m20 on £500. That will probably only cover the gaskets. It's completely bespoke getting an m20 up to that size. The 2.7 on the other hand is much more viable.

But ultimately why would you want to piss about trying to make the car quicker?

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It's a nice old car that has been standard and well looked after four 25 years.

 

It only takes one idiot to ruin cars like this, and you'd be surprised how nice a 20'000 mile 520i is to drive. An E21 with that mileage would have the usual scene morons fitting cheap coil overs and removing the front bumper in an effort to impress 13 year olds but an E34 is a much more genteel machine.

 

There is ££££ to be made there. Go for it!

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I'm largely with Andy on this. But, buy the car for a grand, then it's brakes, bushes all round, probably fuel and brake hard lines too, and then you're not really looking at much of a profit. Also consider how much your neighbour would laugh if you flipped it for a quick buck - maybe he'd be fine about it.

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