Tuner Tuesday: 1986 Alpina C2 2.7

From earlier’s obscure E21 B6 2.8 we move on to the much more popular (then and especially now) E30 model. Alpina once again worked their magic in many ways over the production of the E30, steadily increasing output to try to stay one step ahead of the factory. Up until 1986, that was a bit easier, but the introduction of the M3 model that year put some serious pressure on Alpina and would result in the M30 based B6 2.8 and 3.5 models, but the earlier Alpina models were based upon the M20 323i powerplant. Punching that out to 2.5 and later 2.7 liters as BMW released its own updates, the ultimate result was 210 horsepower from the larger unit. These were expensive cars in their day and consequently few were sold, but performance was top-notch and it was a premium product from the unique manufacturer:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Alpina C2 2.7 on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1990 Alpina B10 BiTurbo

When it comes of tuned BMWs, there’s no shortage of examples. Indeed, there are far more tuners of the popular Munich brand than all the others combined. From ABC Exclusive to Zender, everyone had their hand at modifying some series car into something a bit more. Sometimes more was tasteful, and othertimes it was garish – but all the way along, no firm has been consistently more effective at producing a quality product than Alpina. From their roots as a semi-factory race effort in the 1970s right through the dealer-offered cars of today, Alpina’s results have always been top-notch redefinition of the basic car. And while they have subsequently built faster cars, for me the best examples of the ethos of Alpina and its relation to BMW has always been the B10 BiTurbo. BMW built the screaming S38 powered M5, but Alpina provided its clients a private jet for the road:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Alpina B10 BiTurbo on eBay

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1984 Alpina B10 3.5

We’ve covered a lot of Alpina models on these pages, but today’s example was a new one to me. In fact, it may be a new one to you, too – because this might be the most rare Alpina model produced. Alpina didn’t have a lot to do with the early 7 series for a few reasons; one, they didn’t sell in big numbers and most of Alpina’s work was concentrated on the smaller and sportier 3,5 and 6 series. But BMW offered a factory hotrod itself in the turbocharged 745i in 1981, and at that point Alpina seemed to give up the ghost on development of the E23 – or did it? The problem was that in Great Britain, the 745i wasn’t available, so Alpina dealer Sytner had the company develop a specific U.K market model. Based upon the 735i, the B10 3.5 featured a 261 horsepower Alpina 3.5 liter motor, normal Alpina suspension upgrades and wheels and some subtle exterior and interior changes. Although these cars were not built in Germany, they are nonetheless considered real Alpinas. Only a scant 22 were built, and one is for sale today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Alpina B10 3.5 on eBay

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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: 1979 Alpina B6 2.8

Edit 7/11/2017 – This car is back on the market from the same seller with a reserve auction

Vuarnet shirt, stone-washed high-wasted jeans, neon Wayfarers, legwarmers, Wham!‘s “Make It Big” album playing on your Walkman, a tennis lesson scheduled for later in the day with someone named Chad, Tad or Chaz, and a BMW 3-series; they’re immediately identifiable as a product of the 1980s, even if in this case they were made in the late 1970s. Take a moment to consider the seats in this Alpina; made by Recaro, they’d look as at home on Bill Cosby’s back as he lectured Theo as they would on the race track. But just as those trends from the 80s have been revisited by the “Hipsters” of today, there’s another class I’ve dubbed “Yupsters”, wishing to relive the glory of Wall Street and every club from the Breakfast to the Country. They’re interested in the BMW 3 series, and the major resurgence of the small executive sedan has become ironic in its own right, from the “Respect Your Elders” stickers plastered on cars not much older than the creatures driving them (who, even more ironically, typically don’t know much about history), to the hypocrisy of everyone being different by all owning E30s. The only things missing from the entirely predictable plotline are a Harold Faltermeyer soundtrack and a cameo at the local show by Steve Guttenberg. To me, the 3 series that comes out of all of this smelling like roses is the E21; relatively forgotten and overlooked due to less availability, sport and cliche, a turned up E21 is nonetheless a beautiful thing when properly done:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Alpina B6 2.8 on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1989 Alpina B10 3.5/1

Alpina is a name which holds as much weight in enthusiast’s minds as names like AMG and Ruf, and for good reason. Since the infancy of BMW’s mainstream involvement in both motorsports and road cars, Alpina has been intrinsically linked to the marque and has developed some of the more memorable fast alternatives to BMW’s own M series. They have a different character; you could say they were less aggressive, but the signature Alpina Blue with large turbine wheels, character stripes and spoilers paired often with the combination of specially upholstered interiors replete with rich woods results in a package that many view is more special than the standard production cars. Their complete reworking of models right down to special engines and suspensions has resulted in a bespoke BMW made in limited quantities and with its own unique character:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Alpina B10 3.5/1 on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1984 Alpina B6 2.8

Alpina E30s have exploded onto eBay over the past year; I never remember seeing quite so many of these small tuned 3s for sale on a regular basis. In part that’s because so few were produced; with this B6 model for example, a scant 259 were produced, with just over 1,000 total E30s modified in all forms by the legendary company. The B6 wasn’t as wild as the later big-motored 3.5, but it was still much more than adequate with 210 horsepower from the M30 coupled with lower suspension, bigger wheels and brakes. Alpina, of course, added their personal flare of colors, stripes and awesome interiors, and the B6 is one attractive small sedan in such form. It’s easy to forget that there was a time before the M3, and in early 1984 this was the fastest small German 4-seater you could buy. That would change in mid ’84 with the introduction of the B6 3.5, but today it’s still a very desirable and rare to find package. That’s especially true when it’s presented in signature Alpina Blue with low miles and in pristine condition:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: “1984 Alpina B6 2.8 on eBay

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Alpina Double Take: 1976 520i and 1983 B9 3.5

We’ve had the pleasure of looking at some pretty cool European and Japanese market Alpinas lately, and another two popped up that were worth considering. One is a B9 3.5; we’ve seen a few of these from the same seller, and this one looks as exceptional as the seller’s previous offerings. Interestingly, where the seller previously had listed the cars on reserve, this time they give us an entry price. The second example is a bit more of a mystery; an Alpina liveried E12, it looks more like an assemblage of parts than an actual original Alpina car. Let’s start there:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1976 BMW 520i on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1988 Alpina B10 3.5/1

I have a business plan to suggest to the audience; go to Japan, find all of the low mileage AMGs, Rufs and Alpinas that businessmen snapped up in the late 80s and early 90s, buy them and a large number of containers, and bring them over here to eager fans who snap up anything late 80s-spectacular quicker than a cocaine line at a Charlie Sheen party. What’s that? Someone’s already thought of it? We’ve seen a few repeat sellers pop up with surprisingly mint, lower mile examples of some rare German metal – all of which spent time in the land of the rising sun. Again today, it’s another Japanese-import Alpina – this time, an E34 based B10 3.5/1 model:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Alpina B10 on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1986 Alpina C2 2.5

It’s somewhat amazing that a small tuner like Alpina managed to turn out nearly as many variants of the venerable E30 chassis as the factory did. Alpina developed a total of 11 variants of the 3 series that I can figure out, and with the Japanese specials there may have been even more. The C2 was the top-tier model of the small Alpinas until the introduction of the M3, which effectively negated the entire point of the C2. It was a bit quicker and cost less than the Alpina, and consequently the small tuner upped the ante by slotting in the larger M30 motors to really take performance to the next level. But the early cars are still quite potent; in 2.3, 2.5 or 2.7 form, the C1 and C2 had between 170 and 190 horsepower, and with only a reported 160 built between all the “C” models, they’re certainly much more exclusive than the M3. The same seller as earlier’s AMG has turned up with a late C2 2.5 from Japan; wearing gold Alpina decor over the Alpine White exterior, this is one shining gem of an E30:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Alpina C2 2.5 on eBay

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