Tuner Tuesday: 2008 BMW 135i Hartge

In my ongoing quest to get into a newer BMW, one car that keeps popping up is the 1 series E82 Coupe. The reason why is pretty simple; value. I love cars with the M badge, but it’s sometimes hard to justify the premium, and looking through the E46 market is a bit like one of those Sarah McLachlin-soundtracked mistreated animal commercials. Too many have suffered heavy modifications, mistreatment, and the number of salvage titles must exceed any other specific model – it’s simply amazing. In contrast, many of the 135is are just leaving their first owners as they begin to head into the used car market, meaning there are plenty of examples in good shape, with good owner history and with lower miles. Still, the E82 doesn’t really get me warm and fuzzy; I once described it as a E46 M3 that was in the middle of a 3-car pileup and then repaired by a high-school autobody shop as a project. It just doesn’t look quite right to my eyes, with the bending rocker accentuating the short wheelbase, while the “I’m somewhat surprised” look of the too-large and too-upright headlights begs for some internet meme action. However, once in a while one catches my eye and strikes me as a compelling alternative to a M3. With the twin-turbocharged N54 under the hood coupled to a manual transmission, you got the same feel as the E46 M. Couple that with some attractive visual changes from BMW specialist Hartge along with a bump in power, and suddenly you have a much neater package:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 BMW 135i Hartge on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 2006 Hartge H50 – REVISIT

Two S85 V10 swapped 3 series in a week? Sure, we can do that! The crazy Hartge-modified H50 built on a base 325 is back and now for sale on eBay. The “Buy It Now” is the same $105,000 asking price as last winter, and with no new photos still this one is still a bit of a head scratcher in a few ways – especially since you can grab a S85 V10 M5 in the $20K range now. But it’s rare, it’s fast, and I’m sure there are still a host of people who’d like it – I’m just not sure at this price, though.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Hartge H50 on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site December 14, 2014:

Tuner Tuesday: 1990 Hartge H5SP

Hartge has never really enjoyed the popularity of Alpina, just as the E34 doesn’t enjoy the popularity of the bookends to its production run – the E28 and E39. There are a myriad of reasons for both occurrences, but the result is that for the discerning individual who would like a potential future classic on an affordable budget, the E34 is a great chassis to consider. Solid build quality, good looks and plenty of luxury combined for a genuinely lovely experience. Even in the small motored 525i, the E34 was an entertaining drive when coupled with a manual transmission – I spent many hours at the wheel of the 1995 example my family owned for several years, and while a few times I wished it was an M5, I never was really left disappointed. Move to the bigger brother 535i and you’ve got more go under your right foot – and if you introduce a host of Hartge bits coupled with a Japanese build from famed tuner Tommykaira, you’ve got one interesting and future collectable driver’s car:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Hartge H5SP on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: Unusual E30-off

Okay, if the Brabus-off from earlier was a bit…well, odd, I have another pairing that’s a bit unusual too; though, to be fair, only 50% of this duo is really unusual. I’m guessing it won’t take much much imagination to guess which of these cars is the odd man out. Today we have a Hartge modified 323icamino, and to compare in the unusual tuner world, a Japan-only model of the E30 built by Alpina – the B6 2.7. Let’s start with the RanchE30o:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 BMW 323i Pickup on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1978 BMW 635CS Hartge

From the same collector as last week’s 2002Ti Alpina comes an equal rarity this week. As with early Alpina and AMG information, details on early Hartge cars are sparse at best. Though Hartge was around as early as 1971, there just isn’t much information on how many cars they built or the exact details. That makes today’s E24 pretty interesting; what should likely be labeled a “H6” isn’t, instead being referred to as a “635CS”. It appears to originally be a 1978 635CSi which had the injection undone. Instead triple Webers adorn the M30, a setup reportedly good for 290 horsepower. But while Hartge badges adorn the car, there are odd details that seem to question the authenticity:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 BMW 635CS Hartge on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1986 Hartge H26 SP

Well, GCFSB faithful, “ExoticCarsJapan” has provided us with a bit of a headscratcher today. I’m continually mystified by the seemingly endless amount of original and perfect condition Alpina, Hartge, AMG and Ruf cars that come out of Japan. It’s as if they were all bought and stuck in a storage container, awaiting their certain increase in value. And right now, it doesn’t get much hotter than the E30 market is in terms of number of people interested and number of cars coming to the market. Like some of the rare Alpina models we’ve previously covered, here’s a real-deal Hartge. The strange part, from what I can tell however, is the badge which matches the VIN plate – it reads H26 SP. What’s strange about that is that this car appears to be slightly different than most of the H26s – and I can’t find any actual information on the H26 SP:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Hartge H26 on eBay

Tuner Tuesday E30s: 1986 Alpina B6 3.5 and 1990 325i Hartge

These days, I think you could slap an E30 badge on just about anything and the cult of the small sedan would perk up and pay attention. If the E30 was the natural choice for a sporting executive in the 1980s, it’s become the defacto way to instant street credentials in the European scene. “Sure bro, you might have a 2JZ-GTE Supra, but I got an E30 dawg!” you might overhear being conversed with a heavy beat from Ludacris pumping in the background and scantily clad women draping themselves over your Claus Luthe designed hood, for example. Is that not what happens? Well, the appeal of the E30 is such that you could easily believe that might be the outcome of turning the key in one. As an Audi fan from the same period, I have to admit a certain amount of jealousy; not so much in the design, but in the plethora of choices of what’s available in the market and the amount of manufacturer and aftermarket support. It’s something you just don’t really see in the Audi camp, for example. That means that you can have some mild to wild examples of E30s to choose from each and every day of the week. They’ve also hit importation status on some later models, so the flood gates have quite literally opened and a steady stream of Euro market cars is popping up for sale, trying hard to capitalize on the car made popular by the success of capitalism. As such, today for Tuner Tuesday I have two E30s to consider; a wild Alpina B6 3.5 from 1986, and a 1990 325i right hooker with a host of Hartge upgrades. Who wins the tune-off?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Alpina B6 3.5 on eBay

1979 BMW 323i 2.9 Euro-Spec

Just the other day, Nate wrote up a resto-modded BMW 325ix. There were some nice touches and a considerable amount of work done, but also a few pretty polarizing items – the gold BBS turbofan-look replica wheels, the gold custom decals and the factory BMW sport seats that were recovered with Recaro fabric. As if to answer some of the issues with those items, a rare European-spec 1979 323i with some period modifications turned up for sale:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 BMW 323i on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 2006 Hartge H50

While engine swaps on BMWs seem downright commonplace, there are the normal engine swaps (the well played out S50/52 comes to mind) and then there’s Hartge. The history between the two premier BMW tuning firms in Germany – Alpina and Hartge – is interesting. They’ve vied for the top spot for several decades with slightly different design philosophies. During that time, they’ve also seemingly flip-flopped; originally, Hartge took a more conservative route than Alpina, whose wild turbocharged creations challenged BMW’s own offerings. But after they were granted full manufacturer status in Germany in 1985, Hartge really came into its own and hasn’t looked back since. While like many firms they offer a line of aerodynamic tweats, wheels, exhausts and engine management chips, their party-piece is taking motors from the larger BMWs and popping them into the 3-series models. None of these conversions is more notable than the E90 H50 though. While the E46 H50 took the V8 out of the 5 series, the E90 had a V8 available in the lineup in the M3. Hartge therefore moved up the food chain to the E60 M5’s S85 V10. With a staggering 500 horspower out of the box and even 50 more with Hartge’s tuning, they transformed the rather mundane small executive sedan into a supercar:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Hartge H50 at Turner Motorsports

1981 BMW 323i

We always want what we can’t have and so it goes in the automotive realm. So many great foreign cars have been forbidden to US customers over the years that you could write a book. Last week we featured a tastefully modified 1981 BMW 323i and now hot on its heels comes another 1981 323i, one which was treated to an impressive restoration. For sale in Wisconsin, I could spend all day pouring over the details on this one, from the headlamp wipers to the houndstooth fabric. This is one well executed refurbishment.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 BMW 323i on eBay