Joel Feder Gives A Shift – M5 Part 1
The Ultimate Driving Machine. Whether or not BMW still actively uses this tagline, it’s pretty much settled at this point. Their newer models are getting ridiculously complex (still desirable, though), and they’re even getting ready to offer (gasp!) front wheel-drive models, but the blue-and-white roundel from München remains a highly sought-after badge.
Joel Feder has the gearhead’s Beemer, in my opinion, but I’ll let him tell you about it himself.
[bd] Introductions. I know who you are, where you are, and what you do for a living, but how would you introduce yourself to our audience?
[jf] I’m currently the social media manager at High Gear Media. You could say I’ve been an auto enthusiast since the day I was born, and there’s a photo floating around of my father and I playing with a 280ZX when I was four months old. Normal kids made houses out of Lincoln Logs, I made garages for my Hot Wheels, and each car had a specific parking spot. I inherited my automotive passion from my father, and then took it to the next level of obsession. I currently live in Portland, Oregon with my wife, daughter, and our dog. Outside of autos I love waterskiing, hanging out on the lake, being with friends, and making the most of life.
[bd] Tell me a little bit about your M5. Any modifications or history to the car?
[jf] My car is a 1991 BMW M5 which makes it an E34. I’m the fourth owner but the third owner kept the car less than a few months, so the first and third owners put most of the miles on the car. I bought it from the third owner out of the Seattle, Washington area. The car is bone-stock outside of a Dinan Stage I suspension.
The first owner put this in which removed the rear SLS. He also swapped the steering wheel with one from an E36 M3. It looks the same but it’s slightly thicker and has a little smaller diameter. The only other modification (if you’d even call it that) are the Turbine wheels from the 1992-1993 models. When I bought it, it had Fuzion ZRi tires that were both worn out and far below my standards. I replaced them quickly with Michelin Super Sports. The clips inside the original shifter knob broke so when I replaced it I put a shorter weighted M knob on it from the E46 ZHP (the E34 M5 shift knob is quite tall).
[The Beemer] currently has about 144,000 miles (I haven’t been home in three weeks… can’t remember exact mileage off the top of my head) and the powertrain is all-original. I have every single service record for the car from all three owners, the window sticker, the key cards and factory radio codes. It has the full tool kit untouched as well.
[bd] This one’s been going through my mind since you told me you were up for this. You spend time in all kinds of new vehicles. (I think you’re in a $70,000 Tahoe this week?) And you’re in close ties with players across the auto industry. With all the advanced power, performance, safety, conveniences, and insider knowledge, why are you so partial to what is essentially a needy, high-strung, older BMW?
[jf] It’s true, I have at least one—if not more—new vehicle(s) in my driveway each week due to my job. When I decided to buy the E34 M5, I did so based on the car it is. It has only a driver-side airbag, ABS, and that’s about it. There’s no traction control or electronic stability control, there’s no navigation system or fancy electronics, it’s simple. It’s a drivers’ car. I knew we were going to have a kid soon, so I needed something that could practically hold the entire family if we drove out to the coast for a weekend (the wife set a rule about having four doors).
The E34 M5 is classy, it’s fast, it handles very well, and it always puts a smile on my face. It engages the driver, and the sound from that S38 engine is terrific. The fact that it’s very rare and few people actually know what it is actually appealed to me as well. I didn’t need something that was flashy – understated is fine by me. At the end of the day the newest vehicle I was seriously considering when I purchased the M was a 2003. It’s also worth mentioning my wife’s car is somewhat more modern, being a 2001 Audi A6 4.2, though, it too is an older, out-of-warranty German car.
To be continued…
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