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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1995 BMW 850CSi

If you asked me to rattle off a list of BMW’s greats over the years, you’ll find the 850CSi at the very top. This was a bit of a flash in the pan model for BMW, with few built over a handful of years, but it was a bright flash indeed. This car sported BMW’s brawny M70 V12 engine, tuned to produce 375 horsepower. Offered solely with a 6-speed manual gearbox, this was a car that could cover ground at a serious clip, a worth match for its contemporaries, the Porsche 928GTS and Mercedes-Benz SL73 AMG. This 850CSi for sale in Missouri has just over 50,000 miles on it and allows the new owner to enter into an exclusive club of just 1,510.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 850CSi on eBay

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1995 BMW 850CSi

The mid 1990s would see two grand touring heavyweights duke it out for a few short years for the title of best long distance cruise missile. The Porsche 928GTS and this car, the BMW 850CSi. The Porsche 928 was no stranger to the scene, having been around since the late 1970s. But the 928GTS was a vastly improved machine, with a powerful 5.4 liter V8 and wide haunches that accentuated its timeless look. The BMW 8 series was relatively new, taking over from the E24 6 series which ceased production in 1989. An M version of the 8 series would never make series production, but the 850CSi was a worthy substitute. With a 5.4 liter V12 engine pumping out 375 bhp, routed through a 6-speed manual gearbox, this was a serious performance machine. It was also rare, with just over 1,500 produced over a four year production run. Like the 928GTS, the 850CSi has dramatically increased in value over the last couple years, and this low mileage example for sale in Long Island is reflective of that.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 850CSi on Classic Driver

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1991 BMW 850i Euro-Spec

Euro cars always hold a special appreciation for me, especially from the 1970s and 1980s. First off, they were much better looking, generally with slimmer bumpers and larger, more clear class lights. There were colors and interiors that we didn’t get in the U.S. as well, helping to set yourself apart. Sometimes there were low-spec engines not imported, but usually the output of the motors that were similar to U.S. cars was higher, giving more performance to enthusiasts. Sometimes that gulf was huge; while usually around 10% higher, a great example is the Quattro which was a full 25% more powerful in Europe than the U.S. restricted version. But as we got towards the late ’80s, the gap inbetween both the looks and performance of the Euro models versus the U.S. models closed steadily. True, in some cases we still didn’t get the full-fat versions of cars like the M3 until the E46 chassis. But for most models, there was a negligible difference. When it came to the BMW E31, in fact, there were almost no differences between the U.S. models and European models; styling was exactly the same, as were the wheels, most of the colors and interiors, and the basic suspension and engine. So, it’s just not nearly as exciting to see a European-spec newer model like this ’91 850i pop up for sale, though it is a bit odd:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW 850i Euro on eBay

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Coupe Week 10K Friday: CL600 v. 840Ci v. Corrado SLC v. TT quattro

Time for another 10K Friday roundup, and this time I’m focusing on Coupe Week for the theme. That results in a diverse selection to choose from; from a turbocharged 1.8 inline four right through a twin-turbo V12, we have front drive, all-wheel drive and two rear-drivers. Three are automatics with one manual and ten years separate the oldest to newest; yet these are all two-door cars that fit into the $10,000 budget price range. I wanted also to include a Porsche, but wanted to cover models that we hadn’t seen in other posts and the closest I could get in a 911 was in the mid-teens, so we’re down to four choices. Who wins this crazy competition?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Mercedes-Benz CL600 on eBay

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Coupe Week: 1993 BMW 850i

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Though they’ve spent the last decade or so sitting unused in the back of the enthusiast dream garage, BMW’s E31 8-series has seen a resurgence in interest and appreciation recently. As the most range-topping coupe BMW’s produced, it took the shark-nose look into the techno era and stands out as an impressively clean design in the face of today’s luxury rhinoceri. This example spent its first 22 years with a single owner in California and has just crossed the 100k mark. It’s no show-stopping 850CSi, but that very fact helps it become one of the cheapest ways to get behind a V12 in the world. Well cared for and showing normal signs of age, it’s sweet example of BMW’s megacoupe that is quickly becoming collectible.

Click for details: 1993 BMW 850i on eBay

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1995 BMW 840Ci

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I had to do a double take when I saw this 1995 BMW 840Ci for sale in California, as Carter had featured a strikingly similar example at the end of last month. Sure enough, this Oxford Green Metallic 840Ci is a different car altogether, but one which has almost 80,000 less miles. With the lower running costs of the V8 engine over the V12 and such low mileage, this could be one of the ultimate 8 series opportunities that we’ve come across here at GCFSB.

Click for details: 1995 BMW 840Ci on eBay

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1995 BMW 840Ci

While the BMW E31 isn’t a model that we feature constantly here on GCFSB, it’s certainly one that graces the pages on a regular basis. However, nearly all of the time we’re looking at the car that grabbed the headlines – the V12 engined derivatives that really brought BMW’s Grand Touring coupe more towards the jet set. However, quietly in 1993 BMW launched a more affordable and economic version of the 8-series when it planted the all-aluminum M60 V8 in the slanting nose. Perhaps enthusiasts overlooked it a bit because it wasn’t as powerful as the M70/73 or the S70, but to me the 840 was closer to the 635CSi that it replaced than the V12 model was. Like most of the end-of-the-run E24s, the 840 only came to the U.S. in automatic though, meaning less enthusiasts saw it as an exciting development. The 840Ci thereby became the red-headed stepchild of the E31 lineup – not exotic enough to grab the same headlines as the V12, but too expensive and not manual or powerful enough for the M crowd. Two decades on, though, the more rare to find 840Cis might just be a smart alternative for those interested in the awesome BMW GT:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 840Ci on eBay

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How ///Mportant is the badge? 1995 850CSi v. 1991 850i 6-speed

The question of badges, badge engineering and car’s values are always interesting to me. Obvious car values vary considerably, but some times enthusiasts really gravitate towards one particular year or sub-model within a lineup and choose that model for value. Yesterday’s 1995 M3 raised that point; while it was a neat color and lower mileage with good overall condition, it was the OBD1 status that had some claiming that it should be worth more than later models. In the case of the E31, it’s obviously the big-dog 850CSi that stands out with its BMW Motorsport heritage and build. But let’s say, for argument’s sake, that there was arguably a nicer example of the lesser 850i 6-speed with some light modifications available at the same time – is the M badge that important?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 850CSI on eBay

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1992 BMW 850i 6-speed

The numbers would suggest that there are many better performance options than the BMW E31. Even in top-spec CSi trim, there are faster, flashier cars that are available for less – sometimes much less. For example, you could have a much quicker 996 Turbo today for less money than the asking price of most CSis. Indeed, if you’d like to save a lot of money, there are other options too; countless AMG Mercedes, 928s – even a stray E24 M6 will give the CSi a run for its money. But the combination of style, presence and the promise of exclusivity have their own draw much as they do with other notorious under-performers, such as the Grand Touring Ferraris. Can you buy a Corvette that’s faster? Yes, but that’s not the point. However, the CSi is still a lot of money for most people to consider, especially for an occasional car. Back down your expectations a notch, though, and you can get 85% of the CSi if you look in the early 850i 6-speeds:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 BMW 850i on eBay

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