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Gray Market 1985 BMW 745i

I have long been a fan of the 1980’s era BMW’s. Having owned many E21, E24, E30, E28 and the like I have always admired the traditional styling, smooth inline 6-cylinder motors and the Germanic precision. One car I have never owned is an E23 7-series. Historically I have viewed the E23 as slightly ungainly compared to the more elegant E28 sedan and gorgeous E24 coupe, however time has changed my perception and I find myself drawn to the big 7. Maybe the problem was that my sole exposure was US model cars with their battering ram bumpers and US spec lighting. This grey market 745i features the smooth, countour hugging European bumpers and escaped the wrath of US Spec lighting. I also have a soft spot for 1980’s German cloth interior, very period and seems much more durable than the Buffalo hides common in most 745i. Now of course we haven’t even touched on the turbocharged motor, awakening the big bore six and providing it thrust equal to its standing at the top of the mid 80’s BMW sedan food chain.

Gray Market 1985 BMW 745i

$5000.00 or BEST OFFER!!! I want to get this charmer out of my garage. 1985 BMW 745i is in great condition with original paint! This car has only 94,500 original miles. I am the third owner of this BMW 745i. Just inherited this car and I have hardly driven it! Racing suspension and steering. Original cloth interior in great shape (previously covered with sheepskin seat covers).

This car has been listed off and on for the past 2 years, so I would expect it needs some TLC. Based on the description the owner is not very familiar with what he has. I love the cloth interior and marvel at the fact that BMW would offer their top of the line car in 1985 to even be made available with crank windows, I love it! The chrome fender trim made so popular on the W126 series S-Class Mercedes-Benz of the era has to go and I am a little nervous about the “racing suspension and obviously lowered ride height… You never know one might find period Alpina bits hiding underneath, but more likely I would wager cut US market 735i springs. It is hard to establish a pricing trend on these cars, but based upon the length of time the seller has been trying to sell this car I would think a person could pick up a great piece of 80’s BMW history for well under $5k!


This is the first post from another new contributor. Please join me in a warm welcome to the GCFSB team! -dc


  1. Larry
    Larry June 4, 2012

    So much doesn’t really fit here…the stance and the questionably modified suspension mostly. The added chrome work that doesn’t fit the European-optioned theme of the clean interior is another inconsistency.

    Really though, there are far bigger concerns: the lack of information provided about the mechanical condition and history, and the fact that it’s been on sale forever.

    If this was a similarly-equipped Euro-market 735i manual – and if it was 3000 miles closer – my curiosity might be piqued.

    I’d love to hear from someone who had actually checked this out in person…

  2. Kevin
    Kevin June 5, 2012

    I’ve seen a lot of 745s over the years, and none of them had a cloth interior or hand cranked windows. I’m not saying they don’t exist, but I’ve never seen one.

    There are no pictures of the motor, so I’m left to wonder is this car really a 745 or is it a 728i with a “badge upgrade?”

    The usual cautions about Gray market cars here: how can you verify the seller’s mileage claim? Who did the federalization work and what is the quality of their work?
    What work was done to federalize the car and when was it done?

  3. Roman
    Roman June 6, 2012

    Is this still for sale? How can I contact the seller…can I get the phone#/email?

  4. Dan Crouch
    Dan Crouch June 8, 2012

    I think you need to reach the seller via Google+


  5. Riley
    Riley June 12, 2012

    745i’s with Cloth interior Definitely Exist, though most came with buffalo leather. I have a cloth one in the driveway. I’m pretty sure this is a 745i, as it lacks the shark nose, and the suspension modifications were likely to replace a failing self leveling Unit that came on all 745is. A picture of the diff or trans would give it away as they are larger than the 735i units. Pretty unlikely anyone would rebadge a non 745i as 99% of BMW enthusiasts don’t even realize this car exists, so what would that really accomplish?

    For 5k if this car is authentic and really only has 97k and in decent shape you can have a reliable, Fast, easily tunable car with an engine built by the M division that shares most of its parts with the cheap to maintain 735i. These cars run incredibly low boost (around 6 PSI) and there are several of them running around with an easily attained 350+ HP, and several running around with 250K+ miles. Swapping in a better diff alone will have you eating 90% of cars that have V8s. I Fondly remember a freeway pull in my dads with a newer vette around 2002 that followed us into a gas station. He didn’t believe it only had a 6 Cylinder in it. At the Same boost level as the 335i, These motors make MORE power despite being much older and only .4l larger and with only a 8:1 compression ratio. Plus the E23 weighs much less than the new 3 series. So do the math… This car has a better $ to 🙂 than the E12 Alpina B7, Most of the M cars, and was well ahead of its time (Jets to cool off pistons, heat treated exhaust valves, etc.

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