1980 M535i

Pictures and info

Since returning with the car, I have enjoyed it thoroughly. I have also been slowly replacing parts and getting things in the working order that I want the car to be in. This includes working on the radio and power, Hirschman antenna which does not work currently. The motor works, but it is unable to raise the antenna when the radio is turned on. There are many other things that need to be done, such as hardwiring my Valentine One radar detector, to removing the power window switches from the center console and rear doors. The door strips that run underneath the windows on the inside of the doors, have varnish that is cracking and peeling. This is a common problem on E12 BMW's and one that I dealt with by refinishing the panels on my old 528i. I plan to do the same with this car.


I have a new license plate on the way any day now from the state of Illinois. I will keep that a secret for now, until I can post a picture with it mounted on the car. I have also mounted the rear //M535i badges on the car, but for now, the only pictures I have are with the faded "//M" on the trunk from the previous owner. A BBS spoiler that has never been mounted that I ordered from Germany over a year ago is waiting in my garage to be mounted on this car. I would also like to get another trunk lid to have the //M535i spoiler mounted on there. That way I could swap between them. This is a dream for the future. Currently I have much more that needs attention. At the time I do the rear spoiler, I plan also to mount the front airdam for the //M535i along with the Motorsport stripes. The //M stripes are actually on order from Germany as I type this. Not that they will be mounted for a while, but I figured with rare parts like this, it is best to snag them while you can still get them. FRONT SHOT



At the same time when I get the body work done for the front airdam, I plan to have the collision rust repaired on the driver's side rear quarter panel. The previuos owner's son supposedly backed it into a cement post at a gas station years ago. Unfortunately, since it was not fixed, the rust has started there and will need attention. I am not sure if the panel will be replaced completely, or if it is reparable. At the same time, the rear side marker lights in the fenders will be removed and the holes filled and repainted. Unfortunately, rather than use one hole for the wiring and mounting, when this car was federalized, they drilled three holes! One for the wiring, and two for the screws holding the housing on. That will only make it more expensive to fix I would guess. Also to the right is a picture of a different white E12 //M535i in Germany that is a wonderfully straight example. This is a good shot of how I would like my car to end up, with the addition of //M stripes on it. In this picture you can also see what the correct wheels for the car look like. The wheels on my car are from an E28. I have no idea why someone swapped the wheels on my car but it will be a slight chore I'm sure to locate the correct 14" basketweave wheels. The other two pictures to the right are of the latest addition! On July 16th, my vanity tag from Illinois finally came in the mail! COLLISION DAMAGE & RUST




Here are some pictures of the parts I scored in mid to late September. The wooden console shelf, and especially the rear headrests, were items I never thought I would find. The door panels were a great deal for all four. The new door panels (if you can get them) are $150 each and you have to die them black. These panels were purchased from a euro 528i parts car and are in nearly flawless shape for $110 for all four panels. Old bashed kidney grille

Old bashed kidney grille 2

Rear-seat headrests

New Euro non-a/c console

New kidney grille

New rear door panel, mounted

New front door panels, umounted

Old rear panel, unmounted

Old panel, window switch hole

Wooden center console piece

I pieced together the new center console using the parts I got from Maximillion Importing (800-950-2002). The parts included the euro, non-a/c console itself, the section that holds the ashtray, defrost switch, and cigarette lighter, a new ashtray, a new radio mounting piece that goes below the ashtray console, and finally the wooden console tray that I was so happy to locate. The before and after pictures below speak for themselves. When my friend helped me do the shortshifter, he ripped out the rat's nest of wiring under the shifter console from the power window install attempt. Now that some of these interior issues are starting to work themselves out, the car really is even more beautiful to behold. Crappy, beat-up console when I bought the car.

New, clean layout with proper euro console

November 2003

   At last I located a suitable set of M535i replacement wheels. The E12 M535i was available with either 14x6.5" Mahle/BBS wheels as standard, or the 14x7" Mahle/BBS wheels as an option. The 14x7" wheels were standard on South African E12 M535i's I'm told.

   I located a set of the 14x7" wheels in decent shape and they are now mounted on the car in place of the E28 bottlecaps that my car came with. The car looks much better!

New Mahle/BBS wheels

Closeup of new wheels

December 2003

   I am collecting parts in preparation for getting the car painted and primed as an E12 M535i would have looked from the factory with Motorsport stripes, front airdam, and rear spoiler. Some owner along the line before me decided to remove the weather shield plastic from behind the door panels that protected the insides of the doors from moisture. This, in combination with the side impact beams that were welded in when the car was federalized, mean that my doors are rusting from the inside. Only one of them (the passenger side front) is really starting to exhibit signs that the rust is coming through on the bottom, but as long as the car is being painted, replacing all four doors is the right way to do it.

   I located four brand new doors from Bavarian Autosport who were selling BMW OEM doors in BMW factory primer for super cheap to get them out of their warehouse. The only non-perfect one is the driver door which I am confident will be fixable before painting. I also have plans to get a new hood as there are some rust spots on my hood (and it is slightly bent when viewed from the front) and just before Thanksgiving, the M535i front airdam arrived after five weeks of waiting for it to come from Germany. I already have the Motorsport stripes so the only thing left is the rear spoiler. I plan to keep the rear trunklid as a new one from BMW is $520!!

Four new doors waiting in the garage.

One new door, front side

One new door, back side

New M535i front airdam

New M535i front airdam

Rear headrests, mounted

Side-view, Dec 13th

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