1979 Alpina B6 2.8

Launched in 1978, Alpina’s B6 model took the 2.8L inline-six out of the big brother E12 528i and stuck it into the chassis of the E21 323i. Revisions from Alpina yielded 200 horsepower; pretty impressive for the period – but more was to come, as a new induction system in 1981 cranked it up to nearly 220 horsepower. For some perspective, the ‘high-performance’ L82 Corvette cranked out 220 horsepower at the same time. Coupled with Alpina’s aerodynamic revisions, improved suspension, and awesome turbine wheels – not to mention some fantastic interiors – it’s no surprise that these were popular; at least, by Alpina standards. The company sold over 500 of the model, though they’re relatively hard to find today. Today’s beautiful ’79 is number 66 of the run, and for good measure it’s been turned up more than a few notches.

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1994 Alpina B6 2.8/2

The Alpina B6 continued from the E30 generation in the new E36 chassis in 1991, while the last of the prior generation cars were still in US showrooms. Alpina took the basic M50 and shape of then-top-of-range 325i and upped the ante; they bored the displacement to 2.8 liters, stuck Mahle pistons, a special exhaust, Bilstein shocks, 17″ wheels, and the normal assortment of aerodynamic tweaks and interior details to create the B6 2.8/2, which could be had in coupe or sedan form. With 240 horsepower on tap, it offered M3-level performance two years before the E36 M3 debuted.

While these are the least potent of the E36 Alpina variants, they’re still quite special and very rare – just 40 coupes and around 180 sedans were produced before the B6 3.0 replaced it in mid 1993. This particular example, though, comes via Japan and is already imported to the US – if you’re willing to pay:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Alpina B6 2.8/2 on eBay

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1992 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.

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1984 Alpina B6 2.8/1

Alpina E30s have exploded in popularity over the past year; I never remember seeing quite so many of these small tuned 3s for sale on a regular basis. In part I’m so incredulous because so few were produced; with this B6 model for example, a scant 259 were made between late 1983 and mid-1986, with just over 1,100 total E30s modified in all forms by the legendary company. The B6 2.8/1 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.

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1997 Alpina B6 2.8 Touring

While some other aftermarket tuners such as Ruf and Renntech offer turned up versions of the already potent cars, Alpina operates slightly differently – filling in the voids of models not offered by the manufacturer. There are plenty of examples of this, and if often seems to be misunderstood; Jeremy Clarkson’s review of the Alpina Roadster is probably the most notable case. A slower, softer, automatic version of the hardcore roadster certainly doesn’t make a lot of sense at first glance. But what Alpina does is give enthusiasts the opportunity to enjoy the performance that BMW offered in a slightly different package that sometimes outperforms the original platform car. One of the notable missing gaps in the BMW lineup in the mid 90s was a faster version of the E36 Touring; building off the earlier B6 – effectively, Alpina’s 4-door M3 challenger built between 1992 and 1993 with a bespoke engine and typical Alpina upgrades, the company later launched the Japanese-only market B6 2.8 Touring. Produced between 1996 and 1998, only 136 of these small wagons were produced, again utilizing the 240 horsepower bespoke Alpina motor, special wheels and interiors, Alpina’s own body kit, exhaust and suspension. They were available in 3 colors only; red, green, and silver:

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Easter Egg: 1988 Alpina B6 3.5S

While I’m certainly not a particularly religious person, it’s hard not to accept the joy of an Easter egg hunt witnessed through the eyes of a child. Even in these trying times, its some semblance of normality lacking in the rest of our existence. But limiting such an egg hunt to children only seems unfair. And our reader John supplied us with quite the egg find today!

This purple Porsche eater comes from the hallowed halls of Buchloe and the storied company of Alpina. Normally Alpina takes ‘ordinary’ BMWs and transforms them in extraordinary performance machines. But in one case, they took a very special BMW and made it very….specialerer. Such is the case with the B6 3.5S. The 3.5S took all of the important bits of that made the 3.5 very unique and stuck them into an M3 chassis. That meant upgraded brakes, heavy-duty front springs, and the signature Alpina wheels coupled with the 3.5-liter M30 with high compression pistons, a special head and cam, and Alpina exhaust resulting in 254 horsepower. While just 219 B6s were produced, only 62 B6Ss were made. And this one is Daytona Violet!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Alpina B6 3.5S on Classic Auto Restor

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1979 BMW 320i Baur TC1

When enthusiasts think of custom coachwork and Germany, one name usually springs to mind: Karmann. Most identifiable for their combination with Ghia’s designs for Volkswagen, Karmann produced not only their eponymous creation Karmann-Ghia in both Type 14 and Type 34 configuration, but also the Beetle convertible. Volkswagen’s association didn’t end there, though, as the first Rabbit Cabriolets, both versions of the original Scirocco and the later Corrado were all built by the firm. So, too, were some of the first Porsche 356, 911 and 912 models, along with the 914. BMW, too, turned to the firm for ‘Big Coupe’ production, from the 2000CS to the E24 6-series. But when it came time to take the top off of their small cars, BMW looked elsewhere.

From Osnabrück, BMW headed into the heart of the enemy’s home in Stuttgart, where Karosserie Baur was located. Baur was the company that BMW turned to when plans with Lamborghini to produce the supercar M1 fell through. Baur would later be the home that the infamous Group B Sport Quattro and Porsche 959 were produced in. In short, Baur was responsible for some of the most significant designs in German motoring and has plenty of expertise in factory-quality experience. It should come as no surprise, then, that they were the company that BMW selected to produce the first 3-series convertibles.

Taking the roof off the car seems simple enough; just grab a saw and say ‘How hard could it be?’ Well, not so fast, as structural rigidity rears its ugly head. Beyond that, in the 1970s government nannies were indicating that the idea of a topless car was going to be outlawed, leading many manufacturers – including all of the major U.S. brands – to abandon the idea. Baur’s solution to the problem was to create a roll hoop ‘Targa’ model, which as we know from Porsche models offered multiple roof positions while simultaneously solving the issue of structural rigidity and occupant safety. But Baur wasn’t able to utilize the ‘Targa’ nameplate, as Porsche owned the copywrite of the title. Baur instead called the new partially topless 3-series the Top Cabriolet, shortened to TC. BMW offered these as a full-factory option and maintained the warranty, as these cars were expensive in period – a 320i like this one hit the market at the equivalent of $14,000 in 1979 (about $50,000 today) and selecting the Baur TC1 option added some $6,000 (about $21,000 today) to the price. Just for reference, that’ll buy you TWO brand new 230is today.

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1988 Alpina B10 3.5/1

It’s hard to imagine being the bottom of the totem pole at Alpina, but the 3.5/1 might just be that car. In part that’s because the E34 lineup was so robust, featuring the cool 3.0 Allrad and the Learjet-channeling BiTurbo. When BMW ceased the production of the M30, V8 powered 310 and 340 horsepower 4.0 and 4.6 models replaced the inline-6. In comparison to those headliners, the 254 horsepower B10 3.5/1 seemed like an article more suited for the corner of page 2. However, consider for a moment that the B10 3.5/1’s power numbers weren’t too far off the contemporary super-saloon S38-powered M5 and it helps to restore some clarity to the impressiveness of the products rolling out of Buchloe. Today one of the 572 3.5/1s produced is up for sale in Massachusetts:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Alpina B10 3.5/1 on eBay

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1994 Alpina B3 3.0

When BMW upped its game in the E36 chassis with the introduction of the M3, specialty tuner Alpina answered with the B3 3.0 and later 3.2 in step with BMW. The successor of the slightly less powerful B6 model, the B3 kept many of the same improvements to the E36 chassis unique stabilizers, springs and shocks, and larger brakes. Inside the B3 received the normal Alpina-style shift knob, steering wheel and seats, and in their typical style Alpina provided unique front and rear spoilers along with their own badging. Of course, the package was rounded out by some of the best looking wheels ever fit to a BMW. While the B3 was down on power to the European M3 3.2, it wasnt really much slower again in typical Alpina fashion, the car was tuned to make the most of the power that was available rather than just provide a shockingly high output number. A reported 1,000 of these ultra-exclusive B3s were produced, with about 2/3rds of those being the earlier 3.0 model, and in four different configurations – Coupe, Cabriolet, Touring and Sedan. This is one of the 741 3.0s made of which 339 were sedans, and it poses the interesting question – would you rather have this or the European-spec M3 I just looked at?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Alpina B3 3.0 on eBay

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2003 Alpina Roadster V8 with 7 Miles

I still remember hearing the news that Alpina was going to be tuning a Z8 around 2002. Awesome, I thought, this thing is going to eat Porsches for breakfast! Imagine my shock when I found out it was going to be an automatic; I was confused and felt lost. Then, I found out they yanked the 4.9 S62 M5 powerplant out in exchange for something less powerful. It was as if Alpina had broken into my mind and destroyed my dreams I didnt get it. Then I saw one, and I thought Wow, they actually made it look a little bit better. Yes, externally it was only wheels, but somehow those wheels and Alpina badges were still magical and understated but hinted there was more to this car than just less horsepower and more money. Fast forward a few years and the Alpina Roadster V8s are commanding more money than the original Z8 they were based upon. What had I missed?

Well, I missed that Alpina hadnt just slapped some wheels onto a Z8; Alpina had completely reworked the E52 to be their own car. Yes, the tuned M62B48 V8 borrowed from the B10 had a few less horsepower than the S62, but critically it had more torque, and that torque was available lower in the rev range. Alpina had also softened the suspension, which apparently improved ride quality despite the massive 20″ wheels. Indeed, by softening the character of the Z8 slightly, Alpina had made the V8 Roadster a more enjoyable and more relaxing car. One thing they didnt change was that bite-the-back-of-your-hand good looks. Todays example looks stunning in black, a nice change from the very popular silver that most seemed to be painted. Oh, and it’s got 7 miles. SEVEN. If that doesn’t blow your mind, the price will.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Alpina Roadster V8 on eBay

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