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1996 BMW 850CSi with 16,500 miles

This post is in our archives. Links in this post may have been updated to point to similar cars available to bid on eBay.

Almost exactly one month ago I took a look at a pristine midnight blue 850CSi with a seemingly low 70,000 miles on the clock. I was reminded of how great the 850 looked in its ultimate form, a super cruiser in the grandest sense. Today there is another of these super GTs for sale on Ebay, and this one might take the cake for lowest mile example I’ve seen in a long, long time – this particular example has only covered a claimed 16,450 miles. I’m not sure why or how you buy such a car and drive it so little, but let’s take a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 BMW 850CSi on eBay

Year: 1996
Model: 850CSi
Engine: 5.6 liter V12
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 16,493 mi
Price: Reserve Auction


With a thorough description like that, all of my questions are answered and I’m ready to bid. I find it pretty strange that you’d go through the effort to list such an impressive car with little to no information. There’s clearly a story behind this car, and frankly I’d like to know what it is. Without it, I’ve been forced to make up the following:

The car was originally imported by a Mexican tortilla tycoon. One of 146 BMWs he owned, he didn’t drive it much. He also had an odd pension for symmetry, so he sold the original M-System wheels in favor of these AC Schnitzer wheels. The car has been garaged its whole life on a floor made of liquid metal. Little signs of use other than broken front lens incurred during escape angry proletariat riot which has forced liquidation of entire fleet.

Bidding is open at a starting bid of $30,000 – about half the asking price of the last 850CSi I wrote up. That car had the M-System wheels but also much higher mileage at 70,000. As that car is still for sale at $59,000 a month later, it’s obviously a slightly high asking price – though for a much lower mileage car like this perhaps it is closer to reality. Despite this, a careful PPI would be in order before seriously bidding on this totally unknown and very complicated GT.



  1. Ry
    Ry December 23, 2013

    A 4 word description, zero feedback seller, and it’s in Mexico. And it’s part of a fleet funded by tortillas. This sounds like a Mexican reboot of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

    Besides the driving it through a drug running tunnel I wonder what is entailed in taking a car sold in Mexico in 1996 and making it legal to register, own, and drive in the US.

    I like it though, those AC Schnitzer rims are wicked looking, and I can’t recall an 8er that I’ve ever seen w/ a two tone leather scheme. But personally, I would more quickly hide in a gas tank to be smuggled over the border than buy a non-US spec BMW from a guy in another country with no feedback and a 4 word description.

    And good call @Carter on the magnificently glossy sheen on that guy’s floors! It looks like a frozen lake.

  2. Ry
    Ry December 23, 2013

    Weird stuff, it was listed for sale on Bimmer Forums 11 months ago, claimed it was in Texas, and it’s put on about 10k km since then. Interestingly it didn’t have the 850csi engine w/ the M logo then, but it magically has that engine dress on this go around. Looks like the seller/owner faced some tough questions then was quiet.

    I’m not a 8er production run expert, but I’d like to see pics of the VIN on the car itself and maybe double confirm it’s authenticity in writing w/ BMW. The suddenly appearing M logo makes me nervous.!-1997-BMW-850CSI-Black-on-Gray-Only-15k-Miles

  3. Carter
    Carter December 23, 2013

    Ry, the car in that link has M-Parallels, a non-CSi front bumper and obviously not the right engine. I’m guessing not the same car? Also, we may not have written it up but there was a wild Techno-violet with Techno-violet two-tone interior for sale earlier this year. It was immense.

  4. Ry
    Ry December 23, 2013

    Carter – it’s just plain whacky…the Bimmerforums post of 1/9/13 and the eBay auction of today both cite the same VIN which is (according to other Bimmerforums users) a ’97 not made for US export but probably (?) an 850csi, and both mention the car originally going to Mexico.

    The ad from 1/9/13 shows an exterior shot of an 8er in silver in front of a sign that says “Prestige BMW,” though the ad is placed by “Alberto of Global Autosport in Mission, TX.” The car pictured has M-parallel wheels in that pic as you pointed out.

    The pic in front of Prestige BMW I did a tineye reverse search w/ no hits. The engine bay pic from 1/9/13 I did a tineye reverse search and found hits in a foreign language forum from 2007 used as an avatar. It looks like one or both of the pics that Alberto used in 1/9/13 were not of the actual car for sale. Either that or there is some VIN sharing going on. The document in the eBay auction (in the upside down iPhone screenshot) purporting to show the vehicle’s import into Mexico looks like it was printed in the 1940s.

    The boilerplate “no warranties, blah blah blah” in the eBay auction is slightly frightening because it’s not even referring to a specific dealer, person, etc.

    Especially with unknown DOT/NHTSA/EPA/US customs stuff that would need to be figured out, the level of intrigue on this particular auction is a little high for me. If it was a legit situation, I’d be shocked that someone from Bimmerforums didn’t pull the lever on this in January.

    Mysterious stuff. 😉

  5. Carter
    Carter December 23, 2013

    It wouldn’t be the first time a dealer used “stock” photos of the car, or even images found on the net, but you’re right – there is a lot to wonder about with this auction!

  6. Ry
    Ry December 23, 2013

    It looks like “Global Autosports” is basically a place that will take individual owners looking to sell their cars and charge them money to be inserted into classifieds sections on car forums. So I’m not sure if current eBay seller is the same seller as the 1/9/13 listing or if either of them are truly the owner. I also am not clear on where the car is located.

    But I looked up Prestige BMW and it’s in New Jersey, so 1/9/13 ad just took borrowed pics of a similar car probably. Ha…deception, carelessness, and laziness have such a similar outward appearance.

    Also, Global Autosports has been suspended from the Bimmerforums. I was unable to find out why.

  7. audemars
    audemars December 23, 2013

    If anyone is truly interested in this car, I can go look at in Mexico City, in January.

  8. Rene
    Rene December 24, 2013

    The eBay ad says it is located in Mission, Texas.
    Beautiful car, low mileage, and very desirable having the 3rd pedal.
    It could be all legit and can be safely inspected in the good ole USA.

    Any potential owner will need to do their homework on the title.
    The car has not met the 25 year exemption for import. However coming from Mexico there may be some loop holes. Keeping it in storage until 2021 might drive you crazy!

  9. Ry
    Ry December 24, 2013

    If the car is physically in the US it hasn’t been federalized yet (the plates and speedo & odometer in km/h are a big heads up). The Canadian & US vehicle standards keep getting closer and closer to “harmonization” over the years, but no such luck for Mexico (and that is a euro spec car anyway). I emailed the seller just out of curiosity with several questions, I’ll post if he responds.

    Whomever has been trying to sell it for the last year has a track record of not knowing what he’s talking about and chronically being un/mis-informed.

  10. scott
    scott December 24, 2013

    “Mexican tortilla tycoon”? Yeah, right. The guy probably lost his shorts in Puerto Peñasco last week!

  11. audemars
    audemars December 25, 2013

    The car is legally registered in Mexico City (hence the DF license plate), but can cross the border into the US without a problem.
    Many Mexicans keep their toys in TX, AZ, or CA at their second or third homes. As long as the car enters back into MX during the allowed time, it can go back out right after.
    In this case, the seller is probably checking if there are any interested buyers outside of MX. European buyers are more likely to find out about this car in the US, than being parked in MX.
    It can be shipped to Europe without a problem.

  12. Ry
    Ry January 5, 2014

    FWIW seller didn’t ever respond to my 12/23/13 ebay email to him asking him to clarifying some things and wanting some more info (like a pic of the VIN, etc).

  13. Luis
    Luis January 19, 2014

    Car as been widely discussed in bimmerforums. Some members have personally seen the car and it leaves a lot to be desired. It apparently at for 10 yrs outside at a shop in TX.

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