For BMW aficionado Robert Kalisch, it all started with a BMW 325i Convertible (E30). A more recent addition to the 34-year-old’s collection is this rare 1985 BMW M535i, which he found almost casually online – as is the way nowadays – four years ago. The flagship model of the E28 series still had its original engine, but was showing north of 200,000 kilometres (124,000 miles). There were plentiful and varied signs of a life well lived, but it hadn’t forgotten how to handle a good road.
Trained vehicle painter Kalisch, who now lives near Frankfurt and works freelance in the smart repair business, went all-in – only a full restoration would do. That meant ripping out everything, instrument panel included, and Kalisch even found an original steering wheel to replace the old one. The engine overhaul was a big job, but the gifted amateur mechanic did it all himself, as well as refreshing the paintwork – which, as his day job, was less of a stretch. The car that has emerged the other end is as immaculate as it would have been in 1985, when the original owner took delivery of this sports car dressed as a compact executive sedan.
Robert’s 218 hp M535i, meanwhile, could be used every day without reservation, but is generally only driven in good weather. However, he made an exception for our photo shoot in December. With his trailer available, Robert strapped on the winter tyres and drove the almost 400 kilometres (250 miles) to Munich through heavy snow. Great car, great guy!