Tuner Tuesday: 1938 BMW 327 Sport Cabriolet

Pre-War cars aren’t often featured on these pages; for Germany, the number of available machines manufactured before 1939 just isn’t huge compared to some other countries. That’s because in part the image of the modern nation of Germany rising like a Phoenix from the ashes of World War 1 to become a nation of drivers was entirely a construct of the Nazi party. If anything, pre-World War 2 Germany was a nation of riders, as motorcycle ridership far outstripped automobile ownership. Hitler spent considerable resources not only building the Autobahn, but in advertising its success by having cars do loops up and down the road while cameras filmed. By the time the German economy had rebounded to the point where people could actually buy cars and companies had the productive capacity to provide them, material shortages due to rearmament meant established companies like Daimler-Benz and Auto Union – fresh from their victories in international Grand Prix races – could not deliver cars to meet the demand. Imagine how it was for an upstart company like BMW, then, who struggled to put together a race program based upon its sporting 328. Yet achieve success it did; while BMW failed to get the headline attention of the Silver Arrows, the 328’s success drove sales of the more pedestrian 326 sedan, and the 327 cabriolet model which was derived from it. Light, nimble and quick, they were driver’s cars in the great tradition BMW has come to be known for since. But since only around 1,400 were manufactured in Germany before the War and how many survive today is far short of that number, they’re pretty rare to see today. And, generally speaking, if you want to get into a nice one your bank account better have a quarter million dollars that you’re ready and willing to part with.

Now, all that said, what’s this 327 doing in a Tuner Tuesday feature? Well, it turns out that the 327 wasn’t always so highly valued in the used market. So, around 25 years ago when this car was restored, the decision was made that the 55 horsepower 1.9 liter inline-6 just wasn’t enough to motivate it. Instead, it now sports a 5.7 liter V8 motor from the General. Is this an allied victory?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1938 BMW 327 Sport Cabriolet on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1994 Alpina B12 5.7 Coupe

Almost exactly a month ago, I took a look at “The One” – the single yellow Alpina B12 5.7 produced. With little information and a staggering price, it was hard to conceptualize how it would reasonably trade hands. But if that was the package you exactly desired, that was about as good as it got. Alpina produced only 57 of the 5.7 Coupes, after all. About half of those produced were opted with an early form of semi-automatic transmission. Dubbed the “Shift-Tronic”, Alpina offered this electronically controlled clutch as an option only of the 5.7 models, and a reported 32 were so equipped. Though not so wildly optioned with color, today’s 5.7 is claimed to be number 30 of the run:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Alpina B12 5.7 Coupe on Classic Driver

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Tuner Tuesday: 1995 Alpina B12 5.7 Coupe

Bold. It’s a word not often associated with Alpina. In fact, if anything traditionally Alpinas have been anything but bold. Tasteful, certainly, but they seem to almost blend into the BMW lineup as if they were originally part of it. Indeed, today they are – offered through your local BMW dealership almost as a factory option like floor mats, you can get a monster Alpina tuned version of your car. But if bold is loosely defined as being striking or vivid, few Alpinas would really capture the attention of the general public as anything more than a normal production BMW. But the design of the E31 was bold with the wedge shape redefining production series BMWs. And this particular version of the E31 – the Alpina B12 5.7 – is pretty striking too, with giant wheels filling out the design nicely. The drivetrain of the B12 5.7 was pretty bold too, with a over 400 horsepower from a naturally aspirated V12. But it’s this singular example of the B12 that is perhaps the most bold. Painted Giallo, it’s arguably the most eye catching color to coat a E31, yet somehow suits it well with the black striping. Bold also is the strategy of trying to sell the car with only one photo and no description outside of a telephone number and some very basic details of the car. But perhaps the most bold thing about this E31 is the asking price, which despite the 90,000 miles on the clock is advertised at a stunning $221,000:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Alpina B12 5.7 Coupe on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1989 BMW M3 Dinan 5.7 V10

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

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Tuner Tuesday Alpina-off – 1994 B10 Allrad Touring 6-speed and 1998 B12 5.7

Following up on last week’s Alpina B6 2.8 Touring, I have another post of the boutique manufacturer’s cars. It goes without saying that Alpinas are pretty special cars and quite limited production; however, a few sub-models are notable as being especially rare. Going above and beyond, these cars will really set you apart from the typical crowd – get specific about the configuration, and you can usually count on one hand the number of models that are the same as the one you’re looking at. That’s especially true when you see today’s Alpina twofer – two lesser seen models from a lesser seen manufacturer. Today I have, thanks to a great spot from our reader John, the #2 produced B10 Allrad Touring and the #123 B12 5.7. Which would be your flavor? Let’s start with the Touring first:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Alpina B10 Allrad on mobile.de

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1982 Mercedes-Benz Unimog 416 Doka

My wife and I have recently had discussions about what is the perfect Providence commuter vehicle once again, with mixed results. You see, we’d like to own something nice and high performance such as a E46 BMW M3. But there are several things counting against that; first, driving a low slung, high performance car around the “streets” of Providence is akin to entering a Group C prototype into the Dakar Rally. Second, you gain attention of the wrong characters in the city. Third, you can never realize the performance of the car in a city setting. Sure, it looks great parked, but why go through the bother? My wife’s solution is something like the 250GD Nate wrote up yesterday. Indeed, it’s the first car she’s commented on in a long time in a positive manner. She likes the rugged simplicity of the G-Wagen, the understated aggression, and the upright, go anywhere, in your face attitude. “Just wait until tomorrow”, I said, “I have something even better”:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Mercedes-Benz Unimog 416 DOKA on eBay

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