Alpina has always struck me as one of the most thorough tuners in the world. Their research and development of engines, suspension and exhaust is second only to perhaps Ruf and AMG, thanks largely to their close associations with the factory. Inside the fit and finish of the cars is perhaps even better than they came originally; beautiful details that make the cars stand apart. And visually Alpinas have always been the best looking BMWs out there in my opinion; subtle aerodynamic tweaks, beautiful wheels and striking but tasteful “go faster” stripes that distinguish Munich’s best. But even amongst Alpinas there are special models, and the E34 B10 BiTurbo is one of them. Alpina took a normal 535i and made it’s own interpretation of what the M5 could be; instead of a high-revving twin cam S38, you got two turbochargers with enough torque to embarrass those boys from Affalterbach. Alpina achieved this through a full custom build; Mahle pistons, custom oil sprayers to cool the them, stronger connecting rods, sodium-filled valves and bespoke intake and exhaust systems – but then, Alpina’s never been shy about producing it’s own items. While all Alpinas are rare, the B10 BiTurbo was fairly popular; of the 1600-odd E34s Alpina built, a full 507 of them were B10s. There are quite a few kicking around Canada, but not many are in the U.S., making this 1993 example quite rare:
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The Great Schism was a time of religious crisis for Europe; between 1378 and 1417, there were two Popes. In the early 1300s, a French-born Pope moved the head of the church from Rome to Avignon in France. This was significant for many reasons; Rome had been the spiritual home of the aptly named Roman Catholic Church since the establishment of the 5 main churches by the first Council of Nicea under Roman Emperor Constantine; the first Christian Roman Emperor and the one mostly responsible for converting Europe to Christianity. There are many more stories wrapped up in the ensuing 1,000 years of religious history, but ultimately let’s just say it was a pretty big deal to move the Chair of St. Peter. Ultimately this period, sometimes known as the period of Babylonian Captivity (itself a reference to the actual Babylonians capturing and enslaving the Jewish population about 500 years before Christ was born, if you’re into that sort of thing), resulted in a poor reputation for the Papacy and the Church, as corruption ran rampant through the higher positions in religion. So, in an attempt to correct things, in 1378 the new Pope tried to undo this by returning to Rome. This, of course, pissed the French off. So, they simply claimed they had their own Pope. And since this was during the Hundred Years War, this ultimately split Europe into religious waring factions, each aligned with a different Pope. Not to be outdone, the trading city of Pisa (yes, that leaning tower one…) also briefly claimed they also had their own Pope. Though it ultimately was resolved in 1417 by Church-wide decree that the true Pope was indeed back in Rome, it was the beginning of the end of the omnipotence of the Catholic Church in Christianity, which 100 years later would experience the Protestant Reformation, completing the religious divide of Europe.
Where am I going with this? I think the same divide exists between automobile enthusiasts; two camps, both of whom see their way of expressing enthusiasm as the right way. And, in general, at least one camp doesn’t like how the other camp does things. Ten years ago no one would probably have blinked an eye at someone modifying an E30 M3; however, ten years ago E30 M3s were still effectively throw-away performance economy cars to most people. So that someone hacked one up and threw a Dinan-stroked 5.7 liter V10 and 6-speed into one wouldn’t have raised eyebrows until they were the darling in the marketplace:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 BMW M3 on eBay
Akin to the modern day M3, the BMW 2002 has become a bit of a blank canvas for enthusiasts looking to try their hand at improving what already is an impressive package. BMW made their sport sedan bones with the 2002, helping the company emerge from financial crisis post World War II. The 2002 would also break new ground, becoming the first European turbocharged production car with the 2002 Turbo. With 170 horsepower and flared fenders, this car was all business and proved to be a popular template for tuners. This 2002 for sale in California is built in such a way for the new owner to enjoy it on the street or track, with turbo look flares, Momo seats and a worked over engine linked up to a 5-speed gearbox.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1972 BMW 2002 on eBay
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: