The E34 5 Series is one of our favorite platforms. The third generation in a lineage that now stretches to seven when counting the current G30, the E34 took modernized styling applied to the 7 Series a few years prior and brought it to the mainstream. Introduced over thirty years ago and replaced by the E39 over twenty years ago now, enthusiasm for the E34 continues to be strong, with plentiful aftermarket support and no shortage of individuals choosing to modify and enhance theirs in a variety of ways, from preservation of the factory original state, to any variety of potent engine swaps. The E34 also proved to be an exceptionally reliable car as far as BMWs go, with inline-six powered types commonly surpassing the 250,000 mile mark. A well put together interior and an array of robust drivetrains are among the reasons why many E34s last so long and remain on the road today, but these characteristics also make it difficult to find a well-kept manual car that’s in good enough shape to bother maintaining.
Perhaps all of that helps to explains the excitement on the Internet when a number of automotive news media outlets reported on the discovery of eleven unused, never-registered E34s in Bulgaria. According to various sources who point to Motor1, the lot of Fives was originally procured for use in a rental fleet, but never made it out of a storage facility where they’ve been parked for what looks like several years.
Most of them appear to be low-spec base-models with slick roofs, radio delete panels and few other frills. Interior photos indicate that all could be manual though, and some of the models look to include the entry-level 520i while a few others are more powerful 525i’s.
Storage conditions were clearly not optimal, with likely every car in need of some sort of cosmetic refreshing, but there’s still a lot of potential in view. Most of the equipment and trim looks complete as well, with no obvious signs of things having been pilfered for looted over years of dormancy.
There’s at least one wagon in the mix, and along with low option spec, most of the interiors look to be finished in cloth, which is quite popular among the enthusiast crowd right now. Condition of the cabins looks good considering the circumstances, with none of the typical E34 issues in view. The undersides are photographed as well, and there’s no obvious corrosion or rust captured either.
To a good number of BMW aficionados, the E34 is all one will ever really need. They’re modern enough to hold their own in traffic and daily driving, but still come with timeless styling, an engaging driving experience and classic over-engineered construction. The examples found in the Bulgarian warehouse aren’t particularly special in any way besides somehow managing to escape use for over twenty years, but that doesn’t mean they won’t make for great transportation that offers an experience that is reserved for all but the best remaining third-generation 5 Series.—Alex Tock
[Photos via Център за БОРБА с Ръждата.]