All posts in Tuner Tuesday

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

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Tuner Tuesday: 2009 Maybach 57S RENNtech

Sometimes, enough just isn’t enough. The Maybach perhaps personifies that statement better than any other single car produced by Mercedes-Benz. The W221 S-Class certainly is no slouch, even with the smallest motor fitted. But, someone at Mercedes-Benz said it wasn’t enough, so they fit it with a 5.5 liter V12 twin-turbo motor producing 500 horsepower. But then, that wasn’t enough, so they made an AMG version with a M275 6.0 liter twin-turbo V12 which produced 604 horsepower and a mind-bending 738 lb-ft of torque. Insane, right? Well, then someone at Mercedes-Benz said that wasn’t enough, either, and they fit those W221 internals into the even less pedestrian Maybach 57S. In the past few years, Mercedes-Benz has been known for their nutty excess, but even this was really over the top. So over the top, in fact, that very few people bought them – in 2010, despite a budding luxury car market world-wide, Maybach only sold a reported 157 examples of their version of ultimate luxury worldwide, and in 2012 closed down all-together. But some people did buy them, and for them, of course, the standard Maybach wasn’t enough. So off to RENNtech this particular example went for their “package 1″ which involves a reflashed computer and new intercooler pump. Sound mild? The result is 670 horsepower and 840 lb-ft of torque:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2009 Maybach 57S RENNtech on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1977 BMW 633CSi ABC Exclusive Widebody

It’s a day for storied 1970s modified BMWs apparently, and from one very expensive but tastefully modified BMW we travel on to one very expensive but…well, let’s just call it period piece and be done with it. Widebody cars were the rage of the 1980s, especially amongst top-flight German cars. Built to mimic their racing counterparts, everything from 560SELs to Porsche 928s got the treatment. There were several manufacturers who were notable for widebody conversions; Strosek and Konig are probably two of the most famous, but not to be outdone a small tuning firm from Bonn – ABC Exclusive – also got into the 1980s cliches. Did you want a glitzy, over the top 6-series? ABC could deliver, replete with color coordinated dashboards ripped straight from the Space Shuttle and champagne flutes hidden in the refrigerated seat section in the rear. Have you ever ridden the rear of an E24? I have, many times. Let me tell you, not many people capable of drinking champagne are capable of sitting back there comfortably. Perhaps that explains the champagne, then. But ABC wouldn’t just end there, because if you wanted a different sort of over the top 6-series, they had two more options; you could chop the top off and get a flexible-flier CSi for your trips to the Riviera, or you could opt for the outrageously flared widebody conversion:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 BMW 633CSi ABC on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1979 BMW M1 AHG Studie

While it’s safe to say that all of the legendary BMW M1s have an interesting history, some are a bit more traveled than others. It would be simple to suggest that modifying one of the few M1s produced would be sacrilegious, but in the 1980s anything was fair game in the tuning scene, and let’s not forget that the M1 was a bit of a flop originally. In fact, until very recently the M1 was generally overlooked as a future collectable; prices were higher considering the rarity and provenance of the original M car, but like the Audi Sport Quattro they enjoyed relative obscurity in the general public. So, it’s not much of a surprise that some were modified in period, and AHG was the most famous of the tuners of the M1. Taking the base car to the next level, they customized the interiors and upped the power nearly 30%, along with fitting aero tweaks that were a reminder that the M1 was intended for the track. Looking much like a street worthy Procar, the only thing that was missing were the celebrity race drivers and crashes. Not missing was the high price tag, something that’s back today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 BMW M1 AHG Studie on Hemmings

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Tuner Tuesday: 1986 Alpina C2 2.5

It’s somewhat amazing that a small tuner like Alpina managed to turn out nearly as many variants of the venerable E30 chassis as the factory did. Alpina developed a total of 11 variants of the 3 series that I can figure out, and with the Japanese specials there may have been even more. The C2 was the top-tier model of the small Alpinas until the introduction of the M3, which effectively negated the entire point of the C2. It was a bit quicker and cost less than the Alpina, and consequently the small tuner upped the ante by slotting in the larger M30 motors to really take performance to the next level. But the early cars are still quite potent; in 2.3, 2.5 or 2.7 form, the C1 and C2 had between 170 and 190 horsepower, and with only a reported 160 built between all the “C” models, they’re certainly much more exclusive than the M3. The same seller as earlier’s AMG has turned up with a late C2 2.5 from Japan; wearing gold Alpina decor over the Alpine White exterior, this is one shining gem of an E30:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Alpina C2 2.5 on eBay

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