Your E39 is a ‘Classic’! Now What?

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We all recognize the E39 as a classic BMW. Its looks, its performance, the way it drives…it has all of the hallmarks of a modern classic. Recently, BMW made the E39’s status official by relocating the E39 chassis from the ‘Current’ parts catalog to the ‘Classic’ or ‘Heritage’ catalog. While this does allow for bragging rights and an inordinate use of “Respect Your Elders” stickers, what does it actually mean for the enthusiasts and owners of these cars?The short answer is not much.


As has been the case with other BMW models, once the final cars of a specific chassis roll off the assembly line, the clock starts ticking on their support window. Once ten years pass, BMW no longer actively makes parts for the cars, they simply rely on their past suppliers to continue making parts. These parts fluctuate in price from month to month with demand, as is the case with all BMW parts; the worst fluctuations occurring in the December/January timeframe.


Once a model becomes archived in the ‘Classic’ catalog after 15 years or so, BMW decides to no longer seek suppliers for parts that have no demand. For instance, it is rare that someone would order a full set of Titanline trim brand new from BMW. Since there is no demand for that part, it will no longer be produced. This does not mean that getting one is impossible though. There are warehouses that have these parts in their inventory deep in the Fatherland, but getting them will take longer than it has in the past when they came from domestic inventories in the US. If you live in Europe, this will take probably about the same amount of time it always has.


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However, let’s say that all of a sudden, there is a huge spike in Titanline trim demand because Ryan does a video on replacing his, thus increasing the awareness and demand, because his was dusty or something. According to Mike Kent from Enthusiast Auto Group in Cincinnati, Ohio, “If enough demand arises they will source [a supplier] and do a one-off run with the price tag normally going up.” What is ample demand for a part? That is not known to anyone outside of BMW, but it is safe to assume that the demand would have to be strong to achieve this status and justify the production of another part’s run.


This is both good and bad news for preservers of the E39. While it means that obscure parts for restoration projects may take longer to get and cost more, standardly demanded parts such as suspension components, wheel bearings, thermostats, and other normal wearing items will be available just as they always have been.