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Kevin Zimmermann's BMW E28

by Christian Mack
27th April 2017 · Germany

When the BMW E28 (the 2nd generation of 5 series) was introduced, many people thought the car was simply a facelift with such subtle modifications from the original exterior. Underneath however was a much more impressive change. It was filled with engine management, ABS and a computer controlled transmission. Many people see the E28 as a modern classic, being old enough to be interesting but new enough to be reliable. 

But this isn't a story about any E28, so let's meet Kevin's E28:

Kevin started off his car fascination with a 2001 Polo GTi. As much as he enjoyed owning the car, he was fed up with all the electrical issues he was faced with, problems that could only really be fixed with a computer. This wasn't what he wanted from a car, he wanted to be able to be hands on, no fancy stuff, just spanners and hammers.

He knew that he wanted to get himself something older. Something more simple, something that he could drive without lights popping up on the dashboard telling him that he has a problem with his ABS, ESP or what ever other 3 letter acronym was about to ruin his day.

Around the same time of selling his not so loved Volkswagen Polo, Kevin really began to fall in love with classic cars. The origin of which was pretty much all sparked off by the very famous Stance works blog. He began his search for a classic euro car from the 70's, 80's era. It wasn't an easy choice but he finally decided that it was going to be something around the E12, E28 model of BMW. He didn't want to go too old for his first classic car, it needed to be cool but it also needed to be reliable. 

After a couple of months of searching in late 2015, he found the perfect car. The advert was online for only 30 minutes before he had rang the guy and booked a train to go see the car. And only a couple of days after that he had the bought the car, located 600km from Berlin. 

When he finally got to see the car, he was amazed. The condition was far beyond what he had expected and from what he could see in the photographs. 90% of the car was original paint and it had little to no rust at all. He didn't need to think twice before buying the car.

On the other hand, it was only a 518i. It had no radio, no speakers, no electric windows or any optional extra that you could have chosen from the factory. The car itself was as minimalistic as it could have been. And to be honest, it was just how he wanted it. Now it was time to drive it, enjoy it and start making it into the car that he had always dreamed of it being.

Even before he owned the car, he had a pretty good idea of what he wanted to do with it. Kevin wanted it to be the lowest around. No compromises at all. Laying frame was the only way to go.

When it comes to styles, Kevin is pretty open minded. It could be a stock classic, fitted, tucked or whatever. But when it came to his E28, he didn't want it to be "kinda" low, it needed to lay frame.

During Kevin's first winter owning the E28, he got to work ordering parts for his build. Let's start with his wheel choice.

Kevin bought a set of original 17" BBS RS 212. He refurbished the wheels himself, finishing the polished lips, new gold bolts, gold plated hex's and green/gold emblems from Japan. No aftermarket lips or redrills here. Kevin also told us that the rare stock slanted lips are his favourite part of the wheels.

Mid season 2016 he cut the springs because he really couldn't wait for the new suspension to be built. A little later the car was off to TA-Technix for a suspension build but due to a little dispute with their boss, nothing actually happened. Luckily Kevin got in contact with Mr Carstyler and VogtSlamn to build him his own custom system. The system was based on a set of lowtec coilovers and could go even lower if the frame wasn't already touching the ground. Kevin was more than happy. Yes it's actually lower at the rear and yes that's how he wants it. Unfortunately the 2016 show season was over by the time the car was ready.

Over the last winter he did a lot of little changes to the car, like the Zender front, E12 chrome mirror and the plate delete, cleaned the front plate holder and replaced a couple of parts here and there so it finally looked the way he wanted it now for 2017.

For now he just wants to drive the car and enjoy it. Since Kevin owned the car he hasn't had a single mechanical issue at all. There is probably a lot to come up in the future too, like a trunk setup and air management, some interior changes, new wheels and the usual replacements here and there.

"I'm also a huge fan of rare parts, and always happy to come across some or go on the hunt. But now I just enjoy it and share the passion with like minded friends. Because that's what it's all about. It's about having a good time with good people.

Life is a compromise, your passion isn't."

Photos by: Christian Mack
Words by: Christian Mack
Car Owner: Kevin Zimmermann