This Belgian BMW Is a Wiz
Owner: Vincent Vandemeulebroucke
Year, Make, and Model: 1987 BMW M535i
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Photographers: The moon photo is by Philippe Collinet, the hangar picture in the dark is from Teun Verwijmeren aka Santapanter, and the golden sunset pics are from my friend Stefan Mertens. And then finally there’s the driving picture, showing me in the usual smile, taken by my lovely wife 🙂
I’ve been interested in cars since I was a kid, and it’s only gotten “worse” over the years. I’ve been inspired by my grandfather and his Jags, watching races, playing Gran Turismo and lately simracing. But since I got my license I’ve owned three other BMWs, none of which comes close to Gandalf [editor’s note: Vincent’s nickname for the car] on the driving fun and coolness scale. I also love the way it looks in its BMW Motorsport livery, the way it sounds and vibrates, the way it grips, and how it makes me feel like no other car has ever done. It makes me want to talk to it the way it talks to me, want to thank it for being so awesome, to drive it more and more and further and further. I want to own and drive it forever.
The BMW does have some modifications for track-day use, performed by the previous owner, and I intend to complete the mods although not much remains. It’s got a BMW Motorsport livery wrap (hence the nickname, because originally the car is Titan Silver), semi-stripped interior (rear seats, console, trunk, small bits), four-point Sparco harnesses, Eltec racing steering wheel with modified column, a custom-welded stainless steel exhaust, Bilstein B6 shocks with H&R springs, along with a few other choice mods.
I found it on Belgium’s biggest BMW forum, Bimmerboard.be, after spending weeks looking for an E36 M3 again, as I’ve owned one before. I haven’t regretted getting my M535 instead for even a split second. I saw it, fell in love, bought it, all in a time span of less than a week. I HAD to have it. I still clearly remember seeing it listed online, the first time the owner opened the garage door and I spotted it, my first ride as a passenger. But the thing that sold me was getting in, all snug in the Recaro BMW seat, putting on the four points, grabbing the wheel, and feeling that everything was exactly where it should be. It was built for me, this car was meant to be mine.
My job allows me to have a company car, so I don’t really need to drive the BMW other than on weekends and fun rides. But I take it out to pick up my wife from the train station because any excuse is good enough. It cruises well through town, even though it’s spartan, loud, and has no radio. Driving around at the speed limit with my arm on the window sill is the best relaxation drug you can imagine. But then when you go into attack mode, shift down, put the pedal down, and throw it around a corner it shows its true face. It’s brutal, grippy, loud, and most of all, immersive as hell. I’m racking up miles pretty quickly!
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