1988 BMW M5

It’s been awhile since I’ve given any consideration to the E28 BMW M5. Not because they’re aren’t super cool either, they most definitely are, and will be fore the foreseeable future. For that reason I’ve been passing over M5 listings frequently, they’re too in style at the moment. The bubble in which they currently sit isn’t as bad as the 911 or the M3, but I think it’s fair to say that the M5 is over valued. People are snatching these things up left and right, adding them to their collections, and waiting for them reach retirement fund status. That’s a shame because not only does it screw with the market, it means these cars likely aren’t being driven as intended. That was most likely not the case with this example given that it has 190k on the clock. Whereas a potential buyer would hope that the majority of those miles were from easy highway driving, I hope they were were accrued on winding back roads.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay

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

1985 Bitter SC 3.9

If you drew an imaginary line between the family trees of the C107 Mercedes-Benz SLC and the E31 BMW 8 Series, therein would lie the somewhat odd but quite interesting Bitter SC. Open the door, and it’s obvious that the Bitter was also the envy of the 1980s Maserati interiors which resulted in the perhaps even more ill-conceived TC by Maserati. But the level of luxury found in the Bitter speaks to a period when personal luxury coupes were all the rage, and most of them were equipped like the SC – full of wood trim, luxurious leather and electronic features, motivated just enough to pass the plebeian Golfs and Mercedes diesels that litter the Autobahn. Of course, in such a luxurious coupe you wouldn’t want to do anything as pedestrian as change your own gear – you’d have people who would do that for you, and Bitter was happy to oblige with it’s Opel (nee GM) derived drivetrain. History has treated these personal luxury coupes fairly poorly; the L6, the SLC and the Bitter SC all have languished in value while their higher-performance or topless cousins have accelerated away into the auction blocks. Perhaps that’s an unfitting tribute for what was a top-flight luxury coupe from the 1980s, one man’s attempt to match the mystique of legendary brands like Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz. It was a noble attempt, but as they say, it’s often lonely at the top:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Bitter SC 3.9 on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1993 Alpina B10 BiTurbo

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:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Alpina B10 BiTurbo on eBay

Wagon Week: 1994 BMW 525i Touring

 

When I come across clean E34 wagons like this one I always wonder what kind of life it has lived, what allowed it go all these years unscathed when so many of its siblings get destroyed by time. At 21 years old this 525iT has fewer miles on it than the majority of used cars from the past decade that we regularly feature. Don’t get me wrong, it’s no garage queen. 72,600 on the clock is a fair amount but compared to the majority of examples out there with more than double that figure under their belt, this is a very low mile car indeed. Aside from the attractive odometer reading the car appears to be in fantastic cosmetic condition inside and out. The Iceland Green Metallic paint over Parchment Leather is as classy as can be and quickly becoming my favorite combo for old Bimmers. Whomever this thing belonged to, they certainly babied it because the front seats show no sign of stress or wear. The rear seats and cargo area look like they’ve barely been used which is particularly unusual for these cars. I keep going back and clicking through all the pictures over and over again thinking I’m going to find something I missed. A tear in the carpet, a stain, a rip in the headliner, something that indicates that this car was used as intended over the past two decades. However there’s nothing there, no red flags, no catch. Just a damn fine example of a wonderfully designed wagon that is ready to serve for many years to come.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW 525iT on AutoTrader

Wagon Week: 2012 BMW 328i xDrive Touring

I’ll be the first to admit that I was very late to the E91 touring party. When it debuted, I was still far more interested in the Audi S4 and Subaru Legacy Turbo. In fact, up until I began to take a healthier interest in the world of BMWs, I didn’t associate the brand with AWD long roofs at all even though they have a storied history within the segment. When I thought of BMW wagons I thought of a ’91 525i that belonged to some friends of my parents. At the time that car seemed like nothing special but oh if I could turn back the clock and get my hands on it now I’d be a happy man. Dark green with a brown leather interior, M Parallel wheels, let me tell you, that thing was gorgeous. The idea that BMW made a nice wagon began to percolate and it wasn’t long before I found myself adding the E91 to my regular internet searches.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2012 BMW 328i xDrive Estate On AutoTrader

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

Not Quite As Good As the Renault 5: 1998 BMW 318ti M52

Okay, so maybe the Renault 5 isn’t your thing. I get it, it’s not mine either. I like the ideal and audacity of the Turbo models with their mid-engined lunacy, but pricing on good examples is pretty outrageous and if the videos of them driving are to be believed, they’re not the best hatch dynamically. No, I’ve pretty much always been a Golf fan, having owned a few of them now. But I must admit I had a soft spot when the E35/5 hatch popped up for sale. To me, it combined some luxury looks with practical performance. And when I say performance, honestly there wasn’t much available. The M44 engine that was fit to the 318ti was a decent performer, but it had only 138 horsepower, and at the price point you were much better off getting a GTi VR6, which oddly was more luxury oriented than most of the 318tis and offered more performance. However, the base of the 318ti was a good idea; a smart looking, light and nimble hatchback with a manual transmission and rear drive. And, of course, being an E36 platform, it was ripe for engine transplants. Today’s example is one of the more rare M-Sport equipped models, but this one has yanked the M44 in favor of an odd choice – the M52B25:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 BMW 318ti M52 on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1990 Alpina B11 3.5

While many celebrate the E38 as the highpoint of 7-series design, I prefer the look of the E32. Perhaps that, in part, is because I was lucky enough to live with one for some time – one of the rare ’88 5-speeds, it was a car that I always enjoyed driving and especially enjoyed looking at. Granted, you could rightly claim that the E32 was stylistically not much more than a stretched E34. Is that such a bad thing, though? To me, the design language transferred really well and the E32 was well proportioned, modern looking and yet immediately identifiable as a large BMW,and yet muscular flares and a slight tick up in the body line towards the trunk was a built-in spoiler. The E38 took this design and refined it even more, with sleeker lines and a more dramatic drop in front – probably one of the main reasons, along with some killer wheels, that people prefer the later design. But outfit an E32 with lower suspension, a deeper air dam and some killer wheels, and the design is pretty awesome. The stripes don’t hurt, either – nor does the top-tier name Alpina painted all over:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Alpina B11 3.5 on eBay

Feature Listing – 1991 BMW 535i Dinan Turbo

In the 1980s and early 1990s, Dinan was still on the cutting edge of performance tuning. As with Reeves Callaway, Steve Dinan had started turbocharging BMWs to create supercar-slaying sedans and coupes. At that point, Dinan was a lesser-known tuner than the likes of Alpina and Hartge, but the results of their turbocharging the S38 in the BMW M6 notably gained the car the nickname “The Annihilator”. That should tell you something of the level to which Dinan Cars brings their creations to whilst retaining the original attributes of the base car. It’s a special combination that resulted in Dinan being incorporated into the BMW dealer network; today, cruise down to your dealership and you can buy Dinan products and software upgrades for just about any model and retain your warranty. Because of that connection, an appreciation for early Dinan cars continues to grow though in general they remain more affordable than their German tuner counterparts. They are, however, just as rare to come across – especially when they come in the condition of today’s 1991 535i, one of the last of Dinan’s inline-6 turbo creations:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW 535i Dinan Turbo on GCFSB