The Story: Ryan’s 2000 BMW E39 M5


All cars have a story, and I’m about to get very carried away telling mine.   It’ll be long, it’ll be detailed, and it’ll be full of links to YouTube videos and website articles better-articulating what I have done with this car.

Sunday, July 18th, 2010.  6:42pm.  The corner of Village Way and Library Street, in Hudson, Ohio.  I was in the downtown area of my community with my grandparents at a concert on our green.  During intermission, we always took a little stroll to get some ice cream.  This stroll happened to be a tad more expensive, but much more fun than the usual.My M5 was poorly backed in to a spot, showing it’s age with the pre-facelifted headlights, a gaudy front license plate, and more than a handful of stone chips in the hood and front bumper.  There was an orange For Sale sign on the inside of the windshield, displaying the car’s year, make, model, and the owner’s phone number.  I snapped a few photos with my iPhone 4, hence the exact date and time.  My grandparents were a lot less excited about the car than I was.

I should mention that I’ve always been a car enthusiast.  Not only a car enthusiast, but a European car enthusiast, thanks to my dad.  When I was a kid, he had a 1991 Porsche 964 Turbo.  From 2003-2006, he drove a loaded BMW 530i/5 Sport.  In 2004, he purchased a 1998 Ferrari 355 F1 Spider from Florida.  Being around a car-nut, I guess it rubbed off.  Luckily for me, he had good taste.

It was probably a mixture of the Internet and Top Gear that taught me what an M5 is.  I knew it was a sport version of BMW’s 5-series model.  I knew it had power, technology, and a larger-than-anticipated price tag.  My best friend and I used to bike around our town all summer, totaling some 2,000 miles per season.  I can remember seeing a jet-black post-facelifted E39 M5 downtown, turning around, and pedaling back to look at it. I appreciated what it was, but never thought that I’d own one.  Looking back in my iPhoto archives from 2009-2010, I have several pictures of my car poorly-parked around town.  I always saw it, knew it was an M5, and snapped a photograph.  Little did I know it would be mine one day.  Here are a few photos of the car I took before I owned it.

July 18th, 2009  

Noticed an M5 badge, took a photo.  I had no idea that exactly 365 days later, I would spot this exact car for sale- and buy it.

SSPX0706 SSPX0707 SSPX0708

SSPX0853 SSPX0854

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 July 18th, 2010.  Found downtown for sale.

July 18th, 2010. First time I saw this car for sale.

2000 BMW M5 Back Camera Back Camera Back Camera

Shortly after finding my future M5 for sale, I found myself on my bike at our local favorite restaurant, Yours Truly.  I gave my dad a call and told him of my find.  We didn’t have any immediate plans to buy my first car, but I always have been one to push the buck early.  I told him what it was, and that I really liked it, and he laughed at the idea of a 16-year-old even thinking about a BMW M5.  That night, I remember staying up for hours doing research on the car.  YouTube videos, reviews from when it was new, and research about it’s reliability and maintenance.  I fell in love with nearly everything that I found.  The next day was a Monday, so I called the number on the for-sale sign.  It was hard to tell if the last digit was a 1 or 6, as the sign was very low behind the windshield.  I tried my luck with a 1, and reached a mental hospital.  The 6 got me to the middle-aged second owner of the car, Dave.  I told Dave that I had seen the car downtown, and that I really liked what I saw. I asked how many miles the car had on it, and how much he wanted for it.  I found that the car had 147,347 miles, and that the price seemed reasonable at $12,900.  I told Dave that I’d think about it,” and “call him back later.”  I got my grandfather and dad to agree to go over and look at the car, drive it, and see if it would be a good fit.  Dave turned out to live about 1.5 miles closer to town than I did, so the trip was short.  His 5-bay garage housed the M5, a Z3M, a C5 Corvette, his E39 M5 replacement 2008 E60 M5, and some little red project car (MG?)  We spent our first 15 minutes talking with Dave about the car, and looking over its condition.  We found that the car had been meticulously cared for, but was driven as his daily driver for the past 7 years. We found the usual signs of use, stone chips on the front, slightly-foggy headlights, and the typical pre-facelift trim wear on the interior center console, shift knob, and parking-brake handle.  We decided that we should take the car on a short drive, so we piled into the M5.  We just took a short ride down his street, to highway 480, and then back into town.  My dad drove, since I didn’t even have my temporary license yet. 90MPH felt as stable as can be.  I remember my first ride in the M5’s passenger seat, it felt smaller than I expected, but very well built and comfortable. The array of buttons for the radio and climate-control looked impressive, and the car felt very solid and powerful. My dad backed the car back into Dave’s driveway, and begun the negotiation process. $900 off the original price later, and I saw a handshake.  That was a feeling that I’ll never forget.

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2000 BMW E39 M5, Silverstone Metallic. 2002 BMW E46 330xi, Topaz Blue Metallic. BA Business Management, Kent State University. E39Source Owner.

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128 thoughts on “The Story: Ryan’s 2000 BMW E39 M5

  1. HI. great car. I like e39 especially m5)) Your m5 in is in excellent condition. keep it up! I have e39 too, but 3.0 diesel. in the US I have not seen diesel versions.

  2. Hey Ryan, I’m a fan of your youtube, and I recent bought a 2000 E39 M5 and had a few questions in mind, sent you an email, hope you could get back to me! Thanks

  3. Hi Ryan,

    I’m really enjoying you sharing your journey with you M5. In hindsight, would you have rather bought a more turnkey car and paid much more money or are you happy that you paid a much lower price but had more control over the repairs/updates? I keep going back and forth on whether to purchase a 60-80k mile or one with 100k miles or more. I noticed some owners are selling right before the inspection II service is needed or other major repairs (clutch, possible vanos issue, radiator, etc). At what mileage do you expect you may need an engine overhaul. any thoughts are appreciated.

    • Derrick,

      I would not have done anything differently. It’s been an amazing experience, and I have few regrets. I have learned an incredible amount and it only keeps getting better. I could write for days to answer this question, but I don’t have the time. I will say this- I see more people with engine trouble these days on cars with less than 100,000 miles. The most solid cars seem to be in the 100s, 110s, 120s, 130s or even 140s. My M5 has been incredibly reliable- all the way from 143k when I bought it, up to 191k now. But each engine is different. I wrote this article the other day to somebody who asked me about S62 longevity. Please read if you’re interested:

  4. Hey Ryan how’s it going? Hope all is well with you and your M5.
    Quick question, are you getting any drone noise out of your new exhaust?

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