Lurid pink-and-blue paint jobs and personalized car names monogrammed on the fenders were everywhere during the Rad Era, particularly among drag racers and minitruck aficionados, but these days it seems that it’s mostly the drifters keeping those traditions alive. Today’s Junkyard Gem is a once-resplendent BMW E39 that once made its owner very proud but must have gotten a little too sideways in Colorado Springs. Now it resides in a self-service yard located in the shadow of Pikes Peak.
It used to be standard procedure to give your customized car a name and then proudly emblazon that name in calligraphic lettering on the car’s exterior (for example, Cheech’s “Love Machine” 1964 Impala in the seminal 1978 car movie, “Up In Smoke”). Sadly, this practice has receded from the mainstream, but the owner of this 528i kept the tradition alive with this name: Outrageously Obnoxious!
You need to expect some disapproval from those who keep their E39 commuters tediously stock, but this car’s owner turned the other cheek.
When you have a customized car with its own name, it goes without saying that you need to belong to a car club. The Rado Boyz appear to be a Colorado Springs-based drifting outfit. We can only hope that this car once had a 1950s-style club plaque in the rear window while it was on the road.
The RPM R-505 alloy wheels appear to have been a bit too banged up to have been worth buying by junkyard customers, but they once looked very racy.
Mishaps can happen when you’re looking through the side glass while driving, and this car looks to have scraped something hard with its right rear corner. You can get decent E39s for good prices nowadays, so it wouldn’t have been worth straightening this one out.
In 2000, the E39 sedan could be purchased with a 2.8-liter M52 straight-six rated at 193 horsepower or a 4.4-liter V8 good for 282 horses. This car, being a 528, has the six.
A five-speed manual transmission came as standard equipment on the 528i (the 540i was automatic-only), but this car has the optional Steptronic five-speed automatic. That transmission added $1,275 to the ’00 528i’s $38,900 MSRP (that’s about $2,090 and $63,740 in 2021 dollars) and made this 3,495-pound car much more difficult to drift properly.
You’ll find one in every car. You’ll see.
Owner’s manuals on videocassette were all the rage around the turn of the century.
Welcome to the new century!