It’s always a bit strange when highly sought cars come to market with few details. Today’s 2002Ti is a great example; the 2002Ti is already sought after model thanks to the dual-carb, high compression motor, and of course being a “Roundie” an early model 2002 like this is automatically more desirable. But start to throw in some of the other details, such as “Alpina”, “Race Car” and “Original” and the dollar figures start climbing. If, that is, it’s all to be believed:
All posts in Alpina
As even 3-series models of real, full-blooded Alpinas go for big money, they pull up the wide range of tributes as well. Today’s E12 533i is more than just a sticker job, as it brings with it one of those cool, “back in the day this guy was the MAN!” stories. Here, BMW importer Mike Dietel is the hero with a magical line on Alpina parts who built up this 533i with Euro and Alpina parts when it was fresh from the dealership. On top of the unique provenance, a respected enthusiast spent a good amount of time and energy restoring it, yielding a gorgeous and unique 80s tuner car. It may not be straight from the Alpina shop, but that won’t stop the seller from asking for very serious money.
Click for details: 1981 BMW 533i Alpina Conversion on eBay
While many celebrate the E38 as the highpoint of 7-series design, I prefer the look of the E32. Perhaps that, in part, is because I was lucky enough to live with one for some time – one of the rare ’88 5-speeds, it was a car that I always enjoyed driving and especially enjoyed looking at. Granted, you could rightly claim that the E32 was stylistically not much more than a stretched E34. Is that such a bad thing, though? To me, the design language transferred really well and the E32 was well proportioned, modern looking and yet immediately identifiable as a large BMW,and yet muscular flares and a slight tick up in the body line towards the trunk was a built-in spoiler. The E38 took this design and refined it even more, with sleeker lines and a more dramatic drop in front – probably one of the main reasons, along with some killer wheels, that people prefer the later design. But outfit an E32 with lower suspension, a deeper air dam and some killer wheels, and the design is pretty awesome. The stripes don’t hurt, either – nor does the top-tier name Alpina painted all over:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Alpina B11 3.5 on eBay
Euro cars always hold a special appreciation for me, especially from the 1970s and 1980s. First off, they were much better looking, generally with slimmer bumpers and larger, more clear class lights. There were colors and interiors that we didn’t get in the U.S. as well, helping to set yourself apart. Sometimes there were low-spec engines not imported, but usually the output of the motors that were similar to U.S. cars was higher, giving more performance to enthusiasts. Sometimes that gulf was huge; while usually around 10% higher, a great example is the Quattro which was a full 25% more powerful in Europe than the U.S. restricted version. But as we got towards the late ’80s, the gap inbetween both the looks and performance of the Euro models versus the U.S. models closed steadily. True, in some cases we still didn’t get the full-fat versions of cars like the M3 until the E46 chassis. But for most models, there was a negligible difference. When it came to the BMW E31, in fact, there were almost no differences between the U.S. models and European models; styling was exactly the same, as were the wheels, most of the colors and interiors, and the basic suspension and engine. So, it’s just not nearly as exciting to see a European-spec newer model like this ’91 850i pop up for sale, though it is a bit odd:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW 850i Euro on eBay
Provenance is something very important to many consumer goods; slap a brand name on any good and it increases the value of an otherwise ordinary product exponentially even if it’s the same formula as the budget no-name product. People are attracted to names that they recognize, and of course therefore more likely to buy those products even if they are more expensive. And in the BMW world, if 1980s BMWs were increasing in value that takes a backseat to the microscope on Alpina models. Yet, as with many tuners of the 1980s, not only is it possible to buy replica parts today, but even in period you could buy all of the pieces and slap them on just about any car. In those cases, though outwardly they look identical at times to the “real” cars that were assembled at the factories, they don’t tend to hold the same value. That’s why today’s European-spec 1982 320i is an interesting case – is it an Alpina?