I really love how these cars sometimes send you down the rabbit hole. What attracted me initially to this E24 was that it was a European-spec car and it had a pretty high asking price at nearly $23,000. Alone that wouldn’t be enough to warrant a post, especially given that from the first photo I glanced at, it doesn’t look spectacular.
But there’s a lot more than meets the eye when considering this car, and it has a lot more to do with the personality behind it than the current condition.
The name Albert Mardikian probably doesn’t mean much to you. Mr. Mardikian is a partner and the Chief Technology Officer behind ReGreen Organics, a company which deals with a lot of shit, for lack of a better term. I’m not being flippant. They’re an organic solid waste management company.
And it is in this capacity that Mr. Mardikian’s philosophy is particularly interesting when considering this car. He proclaims that he has a “passion for bettering our world”, yet his past would seem to have little to do with environmental improvement. That’s because in a past life Mr. Mardikian was also the proprietor of Trend Imports. Ring a bell? If not, perhaps a perusing of the Tom Cruise movie Rain Man would help you out. Mr. Cruise’s character’s subplot – an importer of exotic cars held up by the EPA – is based upon Mr. Mardikian. Because if you were in L.A. in the early 1980s and you wanted a gray market car, Trend Imports was where you went. And just like the main character in the movie, Mardikian got in quite a bit of trouble for the Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Rolls Royce and other models he imported by skirting EPA emissions laws.
Though his troubles with emissions laws dated back to 1981, Mardikian continued to be the turn-to source for ultra-exotics in the early days of importation.…
To go up against the established Alpha executive from Germany – the S-Class Mercedes-Benz – BMW’s engineers had to think outside of the box. It wasn’t simply good enough to mimic the go-to large luxury sedan. They’d have to outperform it, to be better than Stuttgart’s best. That was a tall order for the Munich firm, since its last truly large sedans were the 501/2 series cars; the Baroque Angels of the early 1950s. Though they launched at roughly the same time as BMW’s microcar craze, they were really holdovers from another era. The same wouldn’t work in the late 1970s, but primed with the success of their 5- and 6-series models, BMW was ready to face the challenge.
Though the E3 had offered a sizeable sedan, the new E23 really stretched BMW’s platforms. The new 7-seres was 6 inches longer overall, most of which fell in a longer wheelbase versus the E3. It was also wider by a few inches and lower, too. Paul Bracq again provided the styling and it was nothing surprising; it carried the torch of many of the design elements of the 3-, 5- and 6-series cars, and that certainly wasn’t a bad thing. But what BMW hoped would help to set it apart from the competition was technology and performance, along with a high-level of material quality in the cabin. Options included Buffalo leather, an on-board computer system, anti-lock brakes, heated and reclining power seats front and rear, and even an airbag late in the run; standard fare today, but way ahead of the curve in the late 1970s and early 1980s. BMW matched this technology with a thoroughly modern driver-oriented cockpit which made the W116 Mercedes-Benz competition feel immediately antiquated.
Where the E23 really established itself, though, was in keeping with the “driving machine” motto of the company.…
The 745i was the high performance version of the E23 7-series. Produced between 1979-1986, these autobahn stormers were never officially offered in the US. But committed, well-resourced buyers were able to bring them over via the gray market, which is presumably how this one ended up here. Powered by a turbocharged version of the 3.2 or (later) the 3.4 liter M30 inline six – at a time when BMW’s competitors were using V8s and V12s – these cars came from the factory with a 3-speed automatic gearbox. But this particular example has received a 5-speed manual swap, along with a whole host of other goodies. I don’t normally post heavily modified cars, but this one seemed too interesting to ignore.
The E23 7-series is already a bit special, for two main reasons. First, as I mentioned when I wrote up a 733i a couple of weeks ago, you don’t tend to see them on the roads anymore. Second, the beautiful design, which shares a number of features with the shark-nosed E24 6-series coupe, matches anything put out by Mercedes-Benz in the same era in terms of elegance and style. That is not something that could always be said about BMW products, even if they were more fun to drive than their counterparts from Stuttgart. But this E23 is even more special, since it’s a gray market 745i. Not available in the US, this high-performance model represented the top of the E23 lineup in Europe and came with a turbocharged version of the 3.4 liter inline six cylinder M30 engine (here called the M106) and a host of luxurious and high-tech (for the time) accessories. Very few of these come onto the market, and rarely do they do so in the kind of condition shown here.
It’s been a good week for early 7 lovers here, but as Paul’s 1983 733i listing pointed out yesterday, some of them are neat to see but aren’t priced accurately. One such example of this is today’s 1982 745i. Now, off the bat it’s got several advantages over the 733i. It’s a much more attractive European specification model with slim bumpers, but those more interested in performance would rather see what the M102 produced sans catalyst – 252 horsepower, an otherworldly amount in 1983 in a sedan. Heck, that’s just shy of what the E28 M5 and M6 came to the U.S. with! So, what’s holding this one back?
E23s are pretty sweet luxury cruisers, starting the long line of BMW’s 7-series that have provided a sportyish option for businessfolk. While the E38 was the pinnacle and rumors of an M7 seem to have a little more traction than ever before, the original badass was the turbocharged 745i. With the exception of South Africa’s 745i which featured the M5’s M88 engine, the M106 turbocharged the venerable M30 3.4-liter inline-6, giving a healthy power and torque boost for the big poppa. This example doesn’t have the incredible water buffalo leather interior, but it does have lots of chrome – all the way to the wheel arches. The M106 can’t be the easiest engine to maintain, but 136k miles and no reserve, this could be a nice shot at an old-school Euro megasedan.
The E23 has always been a design which to me has been quite polarizing. As with the E12 and E24, Paul Bracq was heavily involved in the final design and it shows – in many ways, the E23 looks like a cross between the two that was scaled up 10%. The results of that in my mind weren’t always good. Growing up, my father had both E24s and E28s, clean looking, well proportioned designs, and when I first saw an E23 I remember thinking it looked a bit ungainly. In U.S. specification, the bumpers were too big and the wheels were too small, resulting in a car which appeared heavy, sagging and sad. When he’s really upset, my son manages to invert his lip and stick it out, tears streaming down his cheeks. It’s a look which nearly mimics the U.S. spec front end of the E23 I now recognize. However, in European trim the E23 made more sense – it looked lighter, smaller and better proportioned. While not as stately as the W116, it certainly looked a fair bit sportier outside and more modern. Couple those European-market looks with some great period BBS RS wheels and the look is just about perfect; throw in the turbocharged M106 motor and you’ve peeked much interest. Of course, unfortunately the M106 was only pared with an automatic transmission – but then, what would happen if you swapped that for a 5-speed?
German cars are know as being exact in their engineering, and even the model designation of the turbocharged E23 7 series takes this mantra to heart. This particular 745i does not, in fact, have a 4.5 liter inline-6 as suggested by the badge on the trunk. Rather, it designates that the turbocharged powerplant under the hood has 1.4 times the power output of the normally aspirated unit it is based on. These E23 7 series sedans had the same aggressive front snout as the beloved E24 6 series and moved the BMW game forward in terms of technology, with service interval indicators, anti-lock brakes and climate control systems appearing during the production run. The 745i Turbo was offered in North America between 1979 and 1986, first with a 3.2 liter inline six and then upgraded to the 3.4 unit that we see here. This example for sale in Georgia is a Euro market model that has the optional water buffalo leather, lending quite a unique air to the interior.
In my older years, when the car barn comes to fruition, I would like at least two 7-series in the collection: an E38 740i sport, and an E23. (I might make room for an Alpina B7). The E23 has completely grown on me over the past few years, with classic lines that show a graceful growth above the near-and-dear E28 5-series. The rare 745i was a grey-market import that brings a turbocharged 3.2l inline-6 to the party, cementing the E23’s viability as a highway destroyer.
Engine: 3.2 liter turbocharged inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 75,292 mi
Price: Reserve auction
This is an amazing imported1982 BMW 745i sedan. The VIN number is WBAFJ4109C7534409. This is a very sought after vehicle. It has the famous 3205cc turbocharged motor. This vehicle has 252 horse power VS. the US. version of 174 horse power. The 745I was offered only in Europe. It was imported in 1982. It was manufactered in late 1981. It is in spectacular condition. The car is a performance machine. A definite collector car for the BMW aficionado.
For the days when the M5 might be just a little too quick or loud, I want to roll deep in this 80s delight – one arm on the wheel, on lounging on the leather armest. The OEM 15″ bottle caps are classic, but these 7ers look amazing with slightly upsized BBS or OEM+ rims. Beautifully cared for and barely used, this car will likely head a little over $10k and be worth every penny.
Today on 10K Friday we’re going to look at how much luxury you can buy for around $10,000. Unlike last week’s look at two sport sedans, today’s cars are more focused at isolating their drivers from the proletariat. It’s hard for some people to believe that on a Kia hatchback budget you can pick up a top-of-the-line German luxury car. But if you’re a fan of the bigger German cars, it should be no surprise that at around 10 years old, the value on them falls; but it’s a delicate balance between buying one that’s new enough that it won’t be a heap and buying one old enough that you can afford on a budget. Today we’re going to look at one from each marque; a 2004 Audi A8L, a 2004 BMW 745i, and a 2004 Mercedes-Benz S500 4Matic. We’ll start with the Audi EDIT: it appears the original A8 sold; I have updated the links to a similar 2005 with slightly more miles:
Engine: 4.2 liter V8
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Mileage: 101,551 mi
Price: $9,990 Buy It Now
2004 AUDI A8L AWD Quattro. Beautiful Sparkling green color with tan leather interior. Nice and Sharp Looking loaded with most of the options. Texas Owner. Even with slightly high miles, it runs and drives awesome. Non Smoker. Equipped with Navigation, Heated Seats, Xenon Lights. Engine sounds great and transmission shift swiftly. I personally drove it for over 50 miles and checked the A/C, alignment, and Suspension. NO flood, water. Clean Texas Title with no lien.
I have to say, I really like the light mint green, and that you can get into a D3 for under 10K. The interior on these cars is beautiful and well laid out; on the outside, while the D3 isn’t as pretty to me as the D2 was, it’s still quite a handsome car.…