Stick Shift E39 Touring: 2002 BMW 525it – SOLD!

by | Aug 2022 | Classifinds, Wagon Wednesday

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August 15, 2022, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!”

Regarding project cars, we often have to weigh rarity and desirability against the likelihood of a long road back to redemption. This BMW 5-Series is a desirable E39-chassis wagon with the rare 5-speed manual gearbox, and while it has undoubtedly fallen on hard times, it’s not so far gone that a wagon enthusiast shouldn’t try and rescue this one. The 525iT, originally listed in August 2022 on Craigslist in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, where the seller claims a pending house move is forcing him to downsize his stash, and he’s asking $3,500 for his non-running E39. Comparing that price against the Classic.com model guide shows us that the seller is well below the average E39 selling price of just under $10,000, which doesn’t account for the scarcity of wagon models:

If you are serious about buying this tired E39, you can start the conversation by calling (609) 784-4900.  When you connect, please remember to mention you saw the BMW featured here on GuysWithRides.com.

BMW’s E39 5-Series is perhaps the high watermark for the company’s mid-size sedan. The build quality was good, the dimensions near-perfect, and the engine choices offered something for everyone. You could get a sleepy sedan with a V8, a manual gearbox, and a commuter-friendly six-cylinder with a slushbox. The E39 M5 has practically been a hero car for enthusiasts everywhere since birth. Overall, it’s hard to go wrong with an E39 model regardless of configuration. However, if you want to buy one that’s sure to be a collectible someday and isn’t an M5, the 525iT wagon with three pedals is a very good bet. Wagons were already declining in popularity when this Touring model was made, so the fact that BMW still built it and offered it with a manual transmission is pretty amazing. It’s a reminder of how enthusiast-friendly the company used to be. These days, you can’t find a 5-Series in wagon form, much less with a stick, so the E39 and E91 (and the E46, if you can find one) are your best bets. I’m not even going to get into the E61 – too obscure and too many horror stories regarding reliability.

The Ihor Okhrimenko YouTube Channel features this vintage 2002 BMW E39 commercial:

The seller’s wagon is very much a project. Cosmetically, it looks pretty darn tired, but the seller doesn’t think it’s all that bad. Plus, it’s a desirable color, featuring Oxford Green paint over a tan interior. The six-cylinder is typically buttery smooth, if not particularly fast, and the seller claims his runs fine with no mechanical or electrical issues. The outside shows some tell-tale signs of cheap fixes, like the gaudy aftermarket headlights. The front bumper needs some work, and the rear gate wears a tacky “M” badge. These are easy fixes, but less easy to resolve is the title issue which is due to the previous owner incorrectly signing the title. The seller isn’t sure how to get it fixed or whether the state will issue him a replacement, but he’s moving to a new house and just wants to lighten his project-car load. The 5-Series needs a new battery to run, so be sure to throw one of those in the car when you head over to pick up this rare 5-Series wagon.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“2002 BMW 525it touring manual wagon in Oxford green with sand beige interior.
6-cylinder engine, 5-speed manual transmission, rear-wheel drive.
Bimmerforums claims the car to be One of 1,696 produced in this combo.
The car runs, drives, shifts, stops, and everything is fine with no electrical or mechanical issues. The car has been sitting for the past 5 months, so the battery is dead but starts with a jump. I’m selling because I’m buying another house and could use the funds/space (I need to get rid of 3 of my cars). I have a Maryland title for the car that was incorrectly signed by the previous owner and tried having them submit for a new title, but they stopped answering me, so I’m at a standstill with it. Either I’d have to register it in Vermont for a title or try getting one from filing for it as abandoned. If I had more time, I’d figure it out myself and daily it as intended; not sure how to do that type of paperwork, so my loss is your gain. Located in South Jersey
.”

Rare E39: Would you take a chance on reviving this desirable 5-Series wagon?  

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