I like to chronicle everything, down to the smallest process, so fo rthose who enjoy reading highly complex build threads, this is not for you. For the forseeable future, this new-to-me E61 will be my daily(-ish) driver, though I tend to drive one of my other Bimmers in nicer weather and leave my "daily" in the driveway.
While this is my first 5 series, I have had a slew of other Bimmers in my driveway, now and in the past. I currently have a 1989 325iC (lots of mods, 33+ page build thread here: phenryiv1's 1989 325iC Project - SETA 2.7i Swap Complete and Running! - R3VLimited Forums
) and am building/readying a 1997 328iC (Build thread: My 1997 328iC - New Acquisition
) as well. After driving a passed-down 2008 TL that I inherited from my wife when I traded my 2011 WRX in on a new 2016 MDX for her, I finally got rid of the soul-less TL and bought an E61.
I had wanted a 5 series for a while but was stuck on wanting a 5MT version, yet for years I needed AWD for my commute (100 miles per day to the top of a mountain in the MidAtlantic region) and recreational activities (snowboarding). Last year I had to have knee surgery and while I can still drive an MT, the doctor recommended at least one automatic in my car rotation, thus I traded in the WRX and took over the TL as a daily driver. I made it 10 months of bland driving before I finally decided on the 530. With the option of an automatic on the table the 5 series was back in play.
I originally considered an E90/91 but it was no larger than the WRX and smaller than the TL and with growing kids, that was an issue. The E61 checked every box. I also considered a 535 model but after talking to a lot of owners and some well-respected mechanics, I decided on the 06-07 530 models. This made it necessary to look at older cars than if I went with the 535, but in the end getting the N52 was the best option for me.
Since I still have the E30 (with significant mods, including a stroked 2.7L motor) and with the E36 coming to the road soon, I wanted a car with practicality but a soul and the E61 was it. I loved the look of the E61 (far better than the E60) from the beginning, and when I found my desired color combo with high miles, I was hesitant but excited. In typical BMW-enthusiast fashion, I reached out to my E30/36 experts for guidance and they referred me to the regional expert on E60/61s for guidance on the chassis. Of course, that would turn out to be the same guy selling the E61 that I desired.
Despite it having about 20-30K more miles than I wanted, the car was very, very clean and drove better then ones I had tested that had far less miles. The deal was solid, so I pulled the trigger yesterday.
The car has a few small issues, but nothing that I can't fix with DIY and a couple afternoons.
First "mod" installed:
Obligatory gas pump shot:
A few family portraits:
After a few days I realized that the hood struts were going. Not necessarily a place where OE or OEM parts are necessary, so eBay to the rescue:
Next up was a hatch mat. Nothing really stood out, and the FH Group F16400 mat seemed like it would do the trick for inexpensive protection. It only took a few minutes to trim to fit.
Next up was the grille. I have been a purist about my chrome grille in the E30 but the E36 and the E60/61 both seem to look better with black. As easy as this should have been, the inner tabs were a total pain to release. I ended up breaking both inner tabs on the stock grilles.
Next up are yellow fog light bulbs (arrived but not installed), tint on the windows, and maybe some way to carry snowboards. I also have plans to refinish some 18x8 ET 40 wheels, but that will be a few months down the road.