PH FLEET: BMW M5 (E28)
Harris acquires a crashed M5 as a parts donor but plans swiftly evolve to more exciting schemes...
Earlier this year we shot a video of my E28 and, during filming, it jettisoned a wheel centre. Normally this wouldn't bother me too much, but it left the rim looking bare and it was compounded by the missing towing-eye covers from the front spoiler. I am not a man for aesthetics, but the car looked like it was missing two front teeth and had its right arm in a sling.
I asked if he knew of any spares hanging around.
One man's loss
This was his response: "Your timing is perfect as I have also literally just had an incident I'm not especially proud of(!) and mine is properly bent courtesy of a rather large oak tree. Gutted is not the word."
Being a grave digger around someone's recently-pranged P-A-J isn't good form, so I tried to be subtle. Tim said it needed shelling and that now wasn't the right time for him to be undertaking such a job - he was happy to sell the car as was.
We did a deal and not long after Tim arrived with his car. Its motor is showing 190,000 miles with only a light top-end having been done in that time. The shell is a mess, as is the left rear corner where it looks like the trailing arm has failed, sending him into that immovable oak tree.
The living dead
Watching him poring over my car - identical in every way to his - was rather painful, but he has promised to get himself another one when the time is right, and he insists that he would prefer his M5 to be a legacy donor to a fit and healthy car. This marks him out as a proper human being, and for that I thank him.
My original plan for the car was simple. Leave it as-is, have the motor out and rebuilt so that when, one day, mine needs some attention, we have a spare. But looking at the car now, other thoughts are forming. One is the same plan, but a hotter motor. I hear some US builders are getting a decent 350hp from 3.7-litre versions - now that in a 1,500kg E28 would make a truly magnificent sleeper.
The other is turning it into racing car. I need to investigate the homologation situation, because as far as I know, despite being a Motorsport product, the E28 M5 was never homologated for competition - in which case it's a non-starter. The third is obviously to build it into another road car, but I think it would be less hassle to have the spares for mine.
The longer I own this car, the more I adore it. Every drive is an event; every day passed it becomes cooler and more significant. Thanks Tim for helping me prolong its life.
Car: 1986 BMW M5
Run by: Chris Harris
Bought: August 2006
Purchase price: £9,500 ... possibly
Last month at a glance: Search for spares results in buying another M5...
The M5 awakes from hibernation fighting fit