Arguably his greatest work was the E39 5 Series. Signed off in 1992 by gnomic, notebook-toting beardmeister Chris Bangle, the purposeful and chiselled E39 was beautiful in 1995 and still looks fresh now. That's all the more impressive when you realise that the E39 development process began way back in the mid-1980s.
The last E39 saloon was built in 2003, and a 530 petrol from that year is one of this week's Sheds. We say 'one of' because today we're giving you a bonus Five in the shape of another petrol six, a 2001 525, and at the end of this we'll be inviting you to pick your favourite.
Refreshingly, neither vendor is a graduate of the 'exclamation mark' school of ad writing. The 525 is described as 'not a bad car', while the 530 is equally quietly described as 'very original'. Both cars have reassuringly empty-looking MoT histories. It's good to see big faults on MoTs as long as they've been put right, and that seems to be the case with the 525 which was showing ABS and stability control warning lights at its last MOT in March. On the assumption that it's the faults rather than the warning lights that have been fixed, that's two potentially expensive sources of worry we can forget about - for the time being, at least.
Under the bonnet, E39 liquids may try to escape through leaky cam covers, oil filter gaskets and power steering systems, radiator cracks or perished hoses. More natural liquids will try to get into the boot lid, so check the floor for damp.
Internal engine woes may or may not include failed crank and camshaft position sensors, busted water pump impellers, problems with the PCV (crankcase ventilation valve), leaking injectors and failing piston seals in the VANOS variable valve timing system, normally indicated by an offbeat rattle at idle and dodgy engine running at lower rpm.
If the steering wheel seems a bit wobbly at moderate A-road speeds then you've got a dose of 5 Series shimmy. This is an odd manifestation that not many seem to understand. Every man and his dog will tell you of a 'cure' - anti-roll bar bushes and drop links, upper and lower track control arms, steering boxes, bent rims and warped brake discs have all been tarred as the culprits - but you might have to try a few of these suggestions before you find the one that makes it go away.
So, which of these two would you have? It's a harder choice than you might think. You can't split them on MoT length, as both tests fall due within a day of each other in mid-March. The 525 has a slightly smaller mileage on its clock, and a smaller price, but the leggier 530 is two years younger, comes from the last year of E39 manufacture and has a near-complete full BMW service history. Plus it has a 30 on its bootlid rather than a 25. That number alone could be enough to justify the £1,500 price tag.
Here's the ad for the 525i.
Not a bad car...drives very well PLEASE CALL BEFORE TRAVELLING AS NOT ALL CARS ARE KEPT ON SITE Air Conditioning, Front & Rear Parking Sensors, Leather Upholstery, Accoustic Parking (front & rear), Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, Cruise Control, Central Locking
And here's the ad for the 530i.
A very original E39
BMW FSH to 106,000
Factory Extras include:
Comfort Seats with lumbar
Split/fold Rear seats
MOT to 20 March 2018