‘Of the Zealots, by the zealots, for the zealots,’ is how BMW pitched its M Division model line-up to its largest market (America) in ’87. The dictionary defines a zealot as ‘a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in the pursuit of their ideals’. Few at BMW’s M Division in Garching back in those early days would have protested at that definition of their day-to-day work.
Introduced as part of the M1 launch and hoping to broaden the appeal of the new BMW ‘M’ badge, the M535i was far racier than any other BMW saloon that had been seen before. The engine was from the E9 CSL, a limited-slip diff was standard and the whole car was overhauled to create a much more serious performance prospect.
Just 450 right-hand drive cars were ever made, with 200 for the UK; bear in mind the M535 emerged nearly 40 years ago, that it was a powerful rear-wheel drive car with no driver assists and how cheap it once was, and it’s a miracle that any have survived.
This wonderful early M-series presented in arctic silver with original M-stipes and period correct 16″ Alpina alloy wheels was once owned by ex rally driver Tony Pond. The interior is said to be in superb original condition from the headlining, the Recaro seats to the carpet, retaining the original steering wheel and M dog pattern gear knob. Complete with original owners wallet and service book, this is a fantastic example of the forefather to the cult M-series BMW’s.