Rare and Go Anywhere

BMWs 1992-1995 E34 5-Series station wagon, known as the Touring, is common enough. If you want one, they’re out there. Prices will depend on condition and modifications, since most of the cars were heavily optioned. Stock 525iT with a slushbox or supercharged M3-powered 5-speed track monster? Sure. What do you want to pay?

Regular US-market options were limited; most of the cars came with power everything, dual-pain (not sic) sunroof and an onboard computer. Available with a silky 2.5-liter inline-6 or a torquey 3.0-liter V8, all power motivated through an autotragic gearbox to the rear wheels. A rare US-spec car would be a special-order stripper with the 6-button OBC, pleather seats and no sunroof.

Other Touring markets had available all manner of interesting options, up to and including an M5 variant. And this, a 525iX Touring with a row-your-own 5-speed manual.

According to the seller the car made its way over from Germany, through an east coast importer, and then landed in Alaska. It’s now in Oregon still wearing its Alaska tags, and comes with all the importation paperwork. It should be easy to register this car anywhere except in California where they’re bastards about such things.

The car itself looks like a lot of other E34s. Which is to say, it’s a little rough around the edges. Outside door trim is loose, the plastic bumper cover is broken, and it has the overall feeling of being cosmetically tired. Some of that, no doubt, is the lack of cleanup before the photos were taken. The Orientblau paint may shine up, though the nose appears to be a little sandblasted, but there’s no rust.

This 525iXT is interestingly optioned. It has no sunroof, but does have leather, tushy warmers, headlight washers, and park-distance control. It has the Euro “smiley” ellipsoid headlights, if you’re into that sort of thing, as well as clear front corner lenses. The wayback area appears clean, as does the interior (note: the front area photo is bad but I’m including it anyway). The seller claims the wheels are from a later model, but they are actually be correct for this car.

At around 150k miles, consumable items like front suspension bushings and automatic climate control boxes will be coming due for replacement. Some of the recent work – new HVAC blower motor, tailgate struts, tires – will alleviate some of the inevitable pain of replacing the lamp control module (LKM) and front axle CV boots (which every iX car eventually gets). At this mileage I’d want a thorough check of engine compression, the cooling system and the clutch, as well as the front driveshaft and axles. Worst case, if the engine was junk, you could just slide in a 3.2-liter M3 motor.

This car is pretty rare in the US, and just scarce everywhere else. It’s spendy for a stock E34 Touring with 150k on the clock, but it’s an unusual version in good colors with a 5-speed. Based on the pictures and the description, you could rub on it for a weekend and have a nice ride. Sure, there will be goofy issues that come from owning a weird version of a car not known to age well anyway, but so what? That’s part of owning interesting cars.

And the best part is, it’s here already.

~Jonathan

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