Apologies first off, as we've not been as sharp on this remarkable piece of auction news as we should have been. Still, better late than never, right?
The E39 generation of BMW M5, as you'll well know, is one of the legendary super saloons; scratch that, it's one of the legendary M cars, a masterclass from BMW that it arguably hasn't quite matched since. Combining handsome good looks with V8 brawn and assured dynamics, the M5 was a class leader from day one.
Then, as is the way with regular production M cars, it depreciated. Lots were made, many were used pretty hard and a replacement arrived a few years later. At their worst (or rather best, depending on perspective), a good E39 M5 was about £6,000 - no longer.
Because Gooding & Company sold an E39 M5 at Monterey for $176,000. At today's exchange rate that's £136,000. For an M5!
Of course this isn't your typical E39, razzed to oblivion and plagued with Vanos issues. Previously owned by known collector Glen Konkle, who purchased two of every BMW he wanted - one to drive and one to preserve - it's covered just 437 miles. Painted Titanium Silver with Black Nappa leather, the M5 is entirely original, right down to the VHS video that came with every E39 5 Series.
While this might sound like good news for those in possession of a turn-of-the-century M5, the prospects could become even worse for anybody in the hunt for one. According to marque specialist Eric Keller, quoted in the original Road & Track story, a car with a jazzier paint scheme - blue with caramel, for example - could have made $200,000.
The message is coming through loud and clear, then: the best of the last old-school M cars - those that only had manual gearboxes, atmospheric engines and traditional body styles - are very much in demand. Should your budget not stretch comfortably into six figures however, there are alternative M5s available. This Le Mans Blue car may have done 163,000 miles, but the service history is good, the car looks spot on and it's only £8,250. Up the budget to £14k and this M5, almost identical to the auction car, is available. And for £20,000, this Silverstone car is on offer with just 80,000 miles. Choice is yours...