Feature Listing: 1997 BMW L7

BMW has traditionally taken large measures to set its biggest sedan platform apart. In the case of the first 7, the E23, BMW offered an ultra-luxury oriented version replete with full leather accoutrements inside. Dubbed the “L7″, it was an expensive and very exclusive model. When BMW moved on to the E32, it distinguished the large lineup with an extended wheelbase model which added 5” of legroom. This matched the long standard extended wheelbase S-Class models, but Audi had outdone BMW and Mercedes-Benz with their D11 chassis Lang V8 quattro, which added a full foot (30 cm) to the wheelbase of the normal V8 quattro. Having also stepped up the motor in the E32 to the double-six 5 liter M70 V12, BMW was left with a few options when it came to the next 7; they took all of these items and combined them into one ultra-luxurious, ultra-long wheelbase 750iL:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 BMW L7 on Kijiji

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1986 BMW L7

With two exceptions, to me the 7-series has always been a bit of an awkward sell. The E32 and E38 being the outsiders, for the most part the translation of BMW’s sporting tradition to a large sedan format hasn’t always been a beautiful marriage. Newer models seem large and ungainly, ponderous rolling technological showrooms. I’m sure they’re impressive in their own ways, but since the introduction of the S8, Audi has always done the large sports sedan better and the AMG models have been nuttier than anything BMW offered. But back in the 1980s, the E23 was the large sedan out of place. Looking like a stretched E12 after one too many trips to the buffet, the E23 competed against the technologically advanced Audi 5000 Turbo quattro and the more luxury oriented standby W126 Mercedes-Benz lineup. And while it wasn’t about to get all nerdy to compete with the C3 Audis, BMW did attempt to sway the Mercedes-Benz faithful with upscale versions of the E23 and E24 – the L7 and L6 – to compete against the SEL and SEC. They sported mostly cosmetic upgrades and one heck of a leather-wrap job inside:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 BMW L7 on eBay

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1997 BMW L7

Shortly after the E38 BMW 7 series was introduced, the company resurrected a name from the 1980s to grace one very special 7 series. The L7. The first L7 was based on the E23 7 series and appeared for but one model year in 1986. This 7 series featured leather upholstery throughout with a leather dashboard and door padding, a power glass moonroof and a driver’s side airbag.

For the E38 though, the L7 badge would mean something a little more special. First, one notices the extra length. Ten inches longer aft of the B-pillar, this car was designed with rear passenger comfort in mind. Leather upholstery throughout was standard, of course, as was the V12 engine. A full length console ran down the center of the rear seats, with electric adjustments for both rear seats and a refrigerator behind tucked away behind the folding armrest. Tray tables like what you would see in a Jaguar XJ Vanden Plas were on hand, as well. Just 899 of these long-wheelbase 7 series were produced, with the bulk being produced in 1997 – 265 examples. This particular L7 is on offer south of Stuttgart in the direction of the Swiss border.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 BMW 750iL L7 on eBay

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1986 BMW L7

And now for a 7 series that is a bit more serious. Not an “M7” but the uncommon L7, which was an official, one-year only, North American model offered at the end of the E23 production run. Having arrived on the scene in 1977, the E23 7 series was a success for BMW. In nine years, a little over 285,000 of these cars were produced. The L7 was essentially a 735i, with the 3.5 liter, 182 horsepower inline six. But where the L7 differed was inside. Much like the L6 coupe that came a year later, this 7 series was swathed in leather throughout the interior. Almost everything you could touch, from seats to dashboard to door panels was covered in hides. Available only with a 4-speed automatic, this was one of the first BMWs to come with a driver’s side airbag as standard and had a slew of other options included in the package.

This L7 for sale in Massachusetts is a really mint example of model fast becoming extinct. I wonder how much saddle soap the respective owners have gone through in keeping this white leather interior in good shape?

Year: 1986
Model: L7
Engine: 3.5 liter inline six
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 103,894
Price: No reserve auction

1986 BMW L7 on eBay

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1986 BMW L7. This is an extremely well-kept low mileage (103,894) original example of BMW’s top of the line offering for 86. I have put thousands into this car while I have owned it (I have receipts) to bring it up to excellent driving condition. It runs and drives beautifully. All HVAC works, A/C blows cold, Heat works beautifully. The L7s featured a full leather interior including door panels, dash board, seats and trim which is all in immaculate excellent original condition on this car.

I believe the car still has the original Black Diamond Metallic paint it left the factory with and there are no signs of clear coat failure. From what I can tell car is rust and rot free except for one area of bubbling approximately 1 square inch at the bottom of the front passenger side fender. Engine runs excellently and transmission shifts smoothly with all modes working. Every electrical feature I’ve used works the way it should which is amazing for any 27 year old car, especially a BMW. Since I’ve owned the car I have not seen a comparable L7 come up for sale.

The following work has been done while I have had it (since 7/2011):

-New Fuel Lines/Fuel Tank/Fuel Pump
-New Tires/Refinished Style 5 wheels (Less than 2000 miles on both)
-Completely rebuilt cylinder head/new valves (Less than 1000 miles ago)
-Complete Tune-up
-New Battery
-New Alternator
-New Water Pump

Although the car needs nothing to be driven and enjoyed as is it will need an exhaust section in the near future. I had a shop check it out, the issue is not in the catalytic convertor and the part is still available (I was planning on replacing it first thing in the spring). Otherwise I’ve spent a ton of money and invested a lot of my own time/effort to get this car right and everything is as it should be. As I mentioned I have receipts for almost all of the work completed.

I encourage all potential buyers to inspect the car themselves in person or get a PPI done. I have loved and enjoyed this car while I have owned it and want to make sure the next buyer is happy with the car so they can do the same. Having said that this is a 27 year old car. Accordingly, it is your responsibility to know what you are buying! Please ask any and all questions before you bid/buy the car and I will do my best to answer them. Car is sold AS-IS with no warranties expressed or implied.

120+ high quality photos can be found below or at the following link:

http://s158.photobucket.com/albums/t119/mrpinkeyes34/L7/

The E23 7 series is one of those BMWs that is thankfully affordable since they are relatively obscure to most collectors. We’ve featured a few earlier E23s here at GCFSB, and typically a 733i or 735i will range somewhere between $4,000 and $7,500, with the most exception cars maybe reaching a bit beyond that. I’d guess that somewhere around $6,000 is probably a good guess as to where the auction will end, as there’s been a good bit of bidding interest. Also, I tend to doubt the L7 package will bring that much of a premium over the 735i upon which it is based.

-Paul