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Certified Pre-Hooned – BMW E28 5-Series

Pull Up to the Bumper Baby - BMW 520i E28

To combat the all-encompassing darkness that is Ostrobothnian Finland without the required amount of December snow, I decided to post these snaps of a gold BMW 5-Series I took when the fall colours were still present in my town. The trees surrounding the parking lots have since dropped their leaves and it now gets dark at 3pm, but in these photos there’s still vibrance and colour to inject me with some October RGB.

This mildly mangled BMW has undoubtedly spent its time circling the town corners, perhaps leaving a trace of tire smoke in its wake, with beer cans and baseball caps aplenty in its brown cabin that comfortably seats five hoonsome individuals. While E28’s can take a beating, their numbers are decreasing – so even a creased debauchery Bimmer should be rescued into retirement instead of facing a light fixture while in search of light entertainment.

What caught my eye in this otherwise vaguely fuddy-duddy sharknose was the AC Schnitzer sticker on the boot lid. Even if a disfigured front bumper and a crumpled hood corner could easily be tracked down to an elder gentleman’s misappropriation of the location of the garage rear wall, a German tuner/decorator sticker increases the likeliness of hoonage at least ten-fold. I’m also strangely reminded of the brilliance that is the opening scene of Un homme et une femme – 20 ans déjà.

Otherwise, the E28 seems relatively straight and rust-free. And there must be life left in the M20B20 six, so may it chatter on like a deranged sewing machine.

Bonus Content: Feast your eyes on the (Most Probably) Only Geo Prizm in Finland. Shot on the same day as the BMW, it made sense to include the partially covered NUMMIsuutari.

Who would bring one here? We have enough ’90s Corollas, believe me.


  • eggsalad

    Make fun of US-spec "diving board" bumpers all you want. This is the alternative.

  • Van_Sarockin

    Rode hard. Put away wet. That hood wouldn't have that damage without something happening to the fender. So some, but not all damage was repaired. Other issues almost certainly lurk beneath those still waters.

  • dukeisduke

    I like that E28. The Chevy Prizm? It's a cheap Corolla alternative.

  • facelvega

    I keep feeling the urge to get an E28 as my next daily driver, they're actually pretty common as a stylish drive in my neighborhood. Of course, then I remember that the people who drive them tend to own whole brownstones and can afford to spend a grand or two on them every few months without blinking.

    Who here has kept an E28 or E30 running lately? How hard is it to stay on top of them really?

    • cheapthrills

      I have an E30 racecar, and my cousin has gone through a few E28s. After you soak up a lot of knowledge and pour in lots of maintenance, they're really not that bad. There are lots of wear items, but the important stuff is generally overbuilt. The parts are reasonably priced, and the forum support is excellent. It would be way expensive if you don't do the repairs yourself. They drive very well, get decent gas mileage, and are pretty safe and comfortable, even by modern standards. Perhaps that's why their prices have been climbing so much recently. If you bough a decent example, dumped $1000 on all the wear items, I'd say you could budget $500 a year after that for maintenance.

  • TurboBrick

    Hey, I used to haul drunks in the middle of Ostrobothnian winters in a black e28 520i, only we were classy and skipped the baseball caps. Unfortunately we weren't classy enough to skip the 90's eurodance music. Not a bad car to drive, but honestly my Renault 25 was more comfortable and the PRV was way more powerful than the small six.

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