Junkyard Find: 1994 BMW 530i

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1994 bmw 530i
Because BMWs of the last quarter-century tend to be complex machines, intolerant of owners who flake on maintenance and expensive to fix once all those deferred problems result in a major failure, American self-service junkyards are full of Bavarian machinery. I see dozens of discarded E30 s, E28 s, and E36 s every year, and hundreds of scrapped 7 Series cars. I’m not sufficiently interested to raise my camera and document their demise most of the time. However, an E34 5 Series with V8 and manual transmission isn’t something you see every day in the junkyard.Here’s a ’94 that I shot in a yard in California’s Central Valley last week.
In fact, I do shoot some BMWs for this series; for example, we have seen this 1998 Z3, the occasional 2002, and even an über-rare 1965 BMW 700. I’ll photograph a junked E30 pretty soon, I promise.
This one has the look of a much-abused track-day car, with its trashed one-piece Sparco seat and rear seat that doesn’t match the rest of the upholstery (suggesting that a weight-shedding owner ditched the original rear seat and a subsequent owner picked up a replacement at the junkyard).
By the middle 1990s, American 3-Series buyers were still getting manual transmissions in large numbers, but few were the BMW shoppers who opted for three pedals in a bigger car.
Cosmetically challenged E34s are very cheap, and so we see quite a few in the 24 Hours of LeMons race series. The six-cylinder cars have done well, winning their share of races, but BMW V8s have some severe reliability problems in this sort of racing. Still, a car like today’s 530i is a lot of fun on a road course.
It’s a near-certainty that someone will grab the transmission and pedal assembly from this car before it gets stuffed into The Crusher, but the engine out of a (non-wrecked) car like has about as much chance of getting rescued as a 250,000-mile Jaguar V12.
BMW pitched this car as a sensible daily driver.[Images: © 2016 Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars]
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  • Ryoku75 Ryoku75 on Jul 11, 2016

    I get to watch these at Chump car quite a bit, expensive road cars but great budget racers when you can throw out the electrical crap. Given some local recent events involving armed robbers, driving a BMW, and targeting kids via Pokemon Go, and a certain Matthew Brodrick incident. I dont have a favorable outlook on BMWs. But then again I never liked cars that require special brand sourced tools.

  • Northern yacht Northern yacht on Aug 22, 2016

    old mercs and bmw's are "the shit" those days this side of the pond, or in the pond really in my case, olds mercs have always bin.. from the 50's to the 90's they made some of highest quality cars ever made, and therefore they take there time to die, there are Sh*tloads of old w124's, w210's w201 still around over here, if you go out.. you will see at least few of them, many of the old beemers seem to hold up fine, my family car is and old E320 4matic, at the moment it is making me crazy, but it still is a sweet car

  • Art Vandelay Interesting, the Polestar 2 I had as a rental utilized Android Automotive which is what GM said it is going to exclusively, yet it still offers Apple CarPlay according to this. Wonder if GM will do the same.
  • Stuart de Baker EVs just aren't ready for prime time for those with a single car and who take road trips. Being able to charge as soon as you arrive at a charging station, and even the chargers working on your car is a crapshoot. In the former case, you could have to wait for nearly an hour while someone else is charging.I also don't find EVs particularly fun to drive (I've driven a Tesla Model S and an Ionic 5.) I LOVE driving my '08 Civic (stick). I love the handling, the feel and responsiveness of the engine, the precise steering (the Michelin Pilot Ultra Sport tires help, but even with the snows on, the car is a joy). I have 152k on the clock, and hopefully another 25 years or so of driving (I was born early in the Eisenhower Administration and I have exceptionally healthy habits), and I'm going to try to keep the Civic for the duration.My Civic causes a less global warming emissions than some of these humongous battery operated trucks.
  • FreedMike They should throw in a Lordstown pickup with every purchase. Make it the “vapor twofer.”
  • Random1 Pretty excited about this update, I didn't see it available in mine this morning, but any day now... I think only Apple maps will be on the center display, and not Waze yet, but I assume that'll come soon enough. As to the unnecessary Tesla comment above : I'll take the build quality, the looks, and generally normal items that all cars should have over the M3 any day of the week.
  • Jonathan H. The ES production is going back to Japan so it's safe to assume its assembly building will be utilized for the new EV. Seems like a good fit for what will probably be fairly low volume compared to the Camry/Rav4 assembly lines.