I know what you're thinking and probably feeling. You're probably thinking why does it have clear front indicator lenses, a rude-boy exhaust tip and a set of fake Alpina alloys?
You're probably feeling like I did as I walked towards the car the morning after buying it - which was precisely the moment I realised it had yellow brake calipers. My excuse? I may have, er, bought it in the dark…
In fact, I'd pretty much broken every rule of used car buying when looking at this one. It was pitch black, cold, raining and I was in a rush. The seller even very kindly rigged up a series of extension cables running from his lounge with a table lamp on the end.
The price was £1000 to begin with, but after some good ol' fashioned "How about this? No? Okay, how about that?" bargaining, I handed over £850. Okay, not quite the £800 in the headline, I grant you. But close enough.
So what have I bought? It's a 1994 E34 six-cylinder 520i with a four-speed ZF auto 'box - which means it isn't necessarily the E34 5 Series to go for. The 525i has better power for similar running costs, while the 540i was actually pretty quick. My budget demanded the sensible approach, though, and at least mine is one of the later 24-valve models.
However, what helped me look past the various aesthetic adornments were the cars other figures. Namely, it came with a 12-month MOT with no advisories, just 84,000 miles and lots of service history. Thankfully, the paintwork looks as good in daylight as it did at night, while, save for a small mark on the rear seats, its interior is superb.
No air-con, no leather, no electric seats, no CD changer. Just an electric sunroof and electric front and rear windows (which all work) and a properly non-standard JVC stereo. You know, the sort that says 'hello' upon firing up, 'goodbye' when powering down and produces a fantastically distracting light pattern. Constantly.
It might be £350 more expensive than my Jag, but it feels every penny of it to drive, like it has genuinely been cared for - something from which the Jag never really benefitted. The BMW steers nicely and rides okay despite the 18in alloys and there isn't a single rattle or squeak from the cabin.
I'm extremely happy. Those Halfords indicators can be swapped for £20 and the wheels (clad in nearly-new Pirellis, no less) can be sold and replaced with an of-the-time BBS set if necessary. The exhaust will take a little more effort to set right.