1980 BMW 735i Touring Prototype

I’ve admitted it before, I’m not a big fan of sport utility vehicles. Coming across this rare BMW prototype reminds me why I like wagons so much. I remember seeing this 735i Touring on eBay about a decade ago, and now it’s current owner in Newton, Massachusetts has it up for sale again on eBay, with no reserve.

The seller states:

1980 BMW 735i Touring with 9,042 miles today. This is a Euro model and eBay does not like the VIN which is WBA68410007432544 It was built in June 1980 and is titled as a 1981.

Per the site stationwagon.com http://www.stationwagon.com/gallery/198x_BMW_735i.html

“This car was built on the BMW production line for display at the Frankfurt Auto Show. There were only two cars made like this. It was built on the 735i chassis – and is a European model. This was never a production car. Details include – – 8,179 original miles, tan cloth interior, a manual sunroof and windows, roof rack, alloy wheels & automatic transmission. The car was imported to the US and brought up to DOT and EPA standards in Ohio.”

This car was purchased on eBay in 2000 with 8,179 miles and was amongst a collection of approximately 100 cars owned by a noted collector in New Hampshire. It was then purchased in 8/2003 with 8,300 miles from the collector’s estate sale until it was purchased by me in November 2010 with 9,002 miles. I had service performed on the car, tuned it up, replaced mechanical and safety items and brought the car back onto the road. It runs and drives fine. It is currently inspected and on the road with a Massachusetts December 2010 inspection sticker. I would have no hesitation using this car as an everyday vehicle.

Unfortunately I do not have the space to keep it unless I give it to my 16 year old as his every day car and sell his. This rare beautiful vehicle deserves better than that. The negatives to the car are: 6 spots where the paint has lifted and there is surface rust underneath. Also the straight pipe in the exhaust is rusty. It was able to pass inspection but I don’t know how many more years it has left. There is a small rip in the center armrest in the rear seat. I have tried to clean up the interior but it hasn’t been warm enough since I purchased the car to do an outstanding job.

The starting price of this auction is $7,000 with no reserve. Given the history of this vehicle, and based on recent sales of clean E23 7 series, I’d take a stab and say anything in the $10 to $15k range would be realistic. Unlike an M1 or Z8, the desirability and value won’t ever be as high, but there’s no denying the historical significance of this vehicle. Given that it was built on the BMW assembly line and foreshadowed BMW Touring models to come, it deserves to be preserved for future generations. Having visited the BMW Museum in Munich two years ago, and after seeing the exhibits, it would be great to see this prototype in such a collection.

-Paul

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3 Comments

  1. The rear door assembly, rails, wipe/ wash switch and rear fog light all seem to be sourced from a W123 while the taillights are from an E10 BMW. The VIN represents a sedan. I suspect this was not a prototype and was most likely a conversion. That said, one of the nicest executions I’ve seen.

  2. Wow, it sure sits at a reasonable price one day before the auction closes.

  3. AFter reading Paul’s comment I am perplexed that this is part Mercedes. BMW would not have done that.

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