"When I sold it back in 2013, all my family said I was mad. So when it came back on the market, it was fate."


It’s not uncommon to spot wishful ‘Has anyone seen this car?’ messages in various classic car magazines, where previous owners hope to hunt down a cherished vehicle. Such investigations are sadly rarely fruitful, and in the worst case scenario the car might even have been scrapped.

With all that in mind, being reunited with an iconic performance car after nearly a decade, and one which your family thought you were mad to sell, has to be among the most serendipitous of occurrences – and that’s exactly what happened with this BMW E28 M5

In 1989, a gentleman called Graham was browsing the classifieds in The Sunday Times, when he happened upon a listing for an M5 with around 20,000 miles on the clock. An existing BMW owner; he had an E30 325i in the garage alongside his partner’s M535i – but he knew the M5 was “the one to have”.

Having moved quickly to snap up the car at a cost of around £20,000, Graham spent the following years using the M5 as his daily driver; racking up the miles up and down the country for business, and using it for all manner of weekend transport. “We used it as a normal family car,” says Graham, “But I knew how special it was.”

By the mid-1990s, the car had covered around 120,000 miles, and it was deemed time for a full overhaul. Graham handed the keys to the well-known BMW specialist Munich Legends. “I gave the car to them and I said ‘Make it like a new one’, which they did. In total, I spent around £25,000 on the rebuild – which was far more than the car was worth at the time!”

The car continued in faithful, regular service through the 1990s and millennium, though by the mid-noughties it was only covering around 2,000 miles per year. In around 2013, Graham was working overseas and the car was being barely used, so he decided it was time to move it on. With some 231,000 miles on the odometer, the distance covered during his 24-year ownership was nearly the distance to the moon, so this was truly a well-used and cherished car.

A decade later, Graham was suffering from seller’s remorse: “I went through nine cars after selling this, and I’ve never found one that equals it”. As fate would have it, when the car appeared in Collecting Cars’ Coming Soon section, a fellow enthusiast managed to identify Graham as a previous owner, and track him down via online forums. A subsequent email asking questions about the car brought Graham to the platform to see the car for himself.

“I looked at it, and I knew I should never have sold that car. So I thought, ‘I’m going to have to bid on it’. When I sold it back in 2013, all my family said I was mad. So when it came back on the market, it was fate – I had to have it back.”

Watch the full video below, where James Little catches up with Graham after the auction to find out what happened, and how he feels about being reunited with his cherished E28 M5.