When it was introduced, the E32 7 series would finally be the car that would allow BMW to take the executive car fight right to Stuttgart’s doorstep. It’s predecessor was long an afterthought amongst luxury car buyers, rather, it was more for the extrovert that wanted a bit of sport in his big sedan package. The E32 changed that in 1988, offering short and long wheelbase models and choice of engine options, which included a series of six cylinder engines, a diesel variant and the ultimate 5.0 liter V12 750iL. This was an era where you could still order a manual transmission in most BMW models, and you could certainly have one if you wanted in the 735 model. It was a rare option indeed, and one rarely seen in the US. However, this 735i for sale in California has the 5-speed manual gearbox and looks to be in pretty decent shape after covering almost 200,000 miles.
Engine: 3.5 liter inline six
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 192,900 miles
1988 735i BMW rare 5-speed. Very clean all original black paint and leather interior. BBS wheels. Hofco III alarm. Power locks, seats, windows and mirrors. A great car to add to someones collection. Purchased from Newport Auto Center dealer with 6,061 miles in June 1988. All maintenance records available.
Normally, most people would run like the wind at the mere mention of a 7 series with high mileage, but this has worn its age and mileage well. According to the seller, the paint is original and all service records are available. One good thing about this 735i is you won’t have to worry about the headaches and cost of maintaining a 12 cylinder engine, so running it on somewhat of a budget should be within reason, save for errant electrical gremlins. If this 7 is as clean as it looks, it’s a lot of car for the money, with the added twist of the uncommon third pedal. Thanks to our reader Jason for bringing this car to our attention!
Update 5.20.2012: First posted in January, the buy-it-now has dropped from nearly $50k to just under $20k. Links updated. -dc
The E32 7 series was BMW’s major push to compete head to head with Mercedes-Benz. Not only did this car debut BMWs updated design language that would carry it into the 1990s, but it was a full six years ahead of the Mercedes-Benz S class in offering a V12 engine. The 5.0 liter V12 offered up 300 horsepower and was enough to catapult this über sedan to 60 miles an hour in 7.4 seconds. These V12 models are less common than their six and eight cylinder siblings, mainly due to their initial purchase price, fuel economy and running costs. Clean, low mileage E32s of any sort are not very common, and I was stunned to stumble across this one with an almost unbelievable 3,000 miles on the clock.
Garage Kept, Still Smells Like New!
This is yet another example of a seller that couldn’t be bothered to write up a proper description, let alone get the cylinder count on the vehicle right. I’m pretty certain from looking over the vehicle history report and pictures that this is the real deal and we have a 3,000 mile, one owner E32 on our hands. Given this car is residing in Boca Raton, it was more than likely owned by an elderly person who either had a vacation home in Florida or became ill and ceased driving. Even though it looks nice, this could potentially be a ticking time bomb in terms of maintenance, with hoses, belts and tires to be the least of the new owners worries. This is a gorgeous sedan and a milestone car in BMW’s history, but it would almost certainly be better if it had higher mileage and evidence of regular exercise. This is a car for someone with deep pockets or the most dedicated BMW enthusiast. If you are in the market for an E32, the later 740i/740iL with its V8 engine is the better buy and more economical choice.
Clean, low mileage E32 7 series aren’t very common these days. Those with a manual transmission are even less common, no matter the condition. Here’s a clean 735i 5 speed with just over 37,000 miles out on Long Island.
The seller states:
This beautiful, never abused, and always maintained driving machine has had two local (Hamptons) owners since new. It’s been diligently serviced right here at Joe’s Garage for many years and is no exception to our 27 year commitment to quality of offering ready to safely drive and own vehicles.
All original paint, with one small ding on left side door(no paint abrasion- see photos), all mechanics and accesories properly working, and ready to drive anywhere. Tires have most of ther original and evenly worn tread, but prudence would suggest replacement, purely because of their age(we can easily do that if you call us to arrange).
NADA is listing high retail at $5,000 for a 1988 735i. There’s a few bids and a couple days left in the auction, so I’d wager to say this number will be met and most likely exceeded, as examples like these are rare. This car also has a good, neutral color for resale, the manual transmission makes it attractive to enthusiasts and there is the advantage of this car not having the complex V12 and expensive repair bills.