I had always been a naysayer when it comes to American V8 swaps in foreign cars. But mainly b/c I had never experienced one. It’s easy to hate on and be a naysayer about things you have no experience with. My good friend swapped a S/C’d LS1 in his BMW E36 and took me for a ride. Holy $hit. Then he let me drive it. I loved everything about it. The sound, the torque, the feel of the shifter etc. I was instantly a convert and immediately knew that my 375hp turbo 2.8L motor wasn’t going to cut it anymore.
I have had the desire to build a BMW E39 touring for a long time. I personally think it’s the best looking wagon BMW ever made. And I also think the E39’s had the best interior of any BMW thus far. I had owned a mint white BMW e34 525/5 speed for 7 years and 2 years ago, I decided to install a turbo. The car made 375 RWHP at about 17 lbs of boost and was really fun to drive but it wasn’t enough for me. And I always prefer a wagon over a sedan if I can help it.
I finally decided to sell my turbo E34 and contacted Bringatrailer.com. They chose to feature it and within 2 days of listing, it sold for my $19k asking price. The day I received funds from the sale, a 99 E39 528it popped up in the classifieds on bimmerforums. It was a one of a kind “individual” car that was custom ordered from the factory in Mojave metallic brown. I only wanted a white car with black interior and this car had tan. But the color was too cool to pass up. I have always loved metallic brown.
My good friend owns a company that builds a lot of great performance products. He also does a lot of business with all kinds of big names in the automotive industry. I originally was planning on an LS3 with a T56 but he asked me if I would be interested in a Thomson built GMPP LSX 427 which is essentially an LS7 with an iron block. Heat treated crank, titanium rods, titanium intake valves, sodium filled exhaust valves, LS7 heads, intake manifold etc. I also got a CTSV acc kit and an E67 GMPP standalone ECU kit. I also ordered a wild Comp cam, rockers and valve springs. The goal is 600 RWHP which shouldn’t be a problem as the motor made 550hp on the dyno with the stock cam and stock tune. Since I plan on making so much, my friend got me a Tremec Magnum transmission with a ZR1/LS9 clutch and flywheel.
To get the power to the tires, I found a used M5 210mm 3.15 diff, axles and driveshaft. I also sourced a 3.62 ring and pinion gearset from a 210mm E46 M3 diff. Lastly, I decided to upgrade from a 25% lock with the factory 2 clutches to a 40% lock with 3 clutches.
Other mods include, Fortune Auto custom build one off coilovers for the wagon, M5 front and rear bumpers, Facelift headlights that I retrofitted Nissan Murano bi-xenon projectors and Orion V2 120 LED angel eyes. I picked up a set of Euro Celis LED taillights from the UK as well. For the motor to fit, I got an Autokraft oil pan and a Shroeder stock car 1.5” sway bar. The wheels are Volk TE37 reps in 19x9/10.5 with 245/35/19 and 275/30/19. I also tinted the windows, removed and sprayed the chrome window trim piano black, removed the license plate filler and sourced an entire black interior, technical graphite trim and E38 7 series sport seats. I also had the headliner and all the pillars done in black alcantara
Here are some progress pix so far. I just fired it up for the first time 2 nights ago and next week it gets towed to a friend for exhuast. Then tuning.