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Tag: Rare BMW

1991 Hartge H26SP

Although it’s typically Alpina and Dinan that enthusiasts think of when it comes to high-level BMW modifiers, Hartge also offered plenty to consider. Today’s car is a Japanese-specific model called the H26SP, which was offered first in E30 and later E36 models. Like Alpina, they had special body kits, suspension, wheels, trim, and engine upgrades. Two things are interesting about today’s car – first, it’s a very early E36, and second, that it’s already in the US. Unfortunately things start to unwind a bit after that, as it’s been changed substantially from its original configuration. Still, this is a rare BMW, so let’s take a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Hartge H26SP on eBay

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1990 Alpina B10 BiTurbo

After looking at nearly every other generation of 5-Series over the past few weeks, let’s take a look at one of the best – the E34. And if we’re going there, why not look at one of the best E34s made?

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 – impressive considering they were one of the most expensive sedans in the world at the time. Today? Well, they’re still one of the most expensive used BMWs you can buy:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Alpina B10 BiTurbo on eBay

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1977 BMW 530i

Update 8.26.2022: eBay shows buy-it-now sold for $9,475.00. Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

Being an Audi fan, I’m aware of what a bad reputation can do to cars. In the 1970s, Audi gained a reputation for unreliability and poor electronics; perhaps justified, considering the many stories that people have about early Audi 100 ownership. However, it’s a haunting reputation that nearly 40 years on they’re still trying to shake. It looked as if by the early 2000s they had done so, but now a generation on, the cars from the Y2K generation have their own problems and have bred more discontent generally from enthusiasts on the outside looking in. The result is that it’s damn near impossible to find a nice condition Audi from the 1970s, and in just a few years we’ll see the same thing with 2000s Audis, too.

Where am I going with this, considering this is a listing for a BMW? Well, the early E12s had their own problems, but notably that was an issue in the US. That’s because to meet US market regulations, the E12 was made slower and more ugly. Large 5 m.p.h. bumpers were fitted, and compression on the M30 was dropped to meet lower fuel standards. Additionally, to burn off hydrocarbons to meet emissions regulations, the 530i was fitted with thermal reactor manifolds. They did as their name suggested, though the reaction unfortunately many times was with the internals of the engine – warping heads and frying valves. It was a debacle that spelled the death of the 530i, reborn as the 528i in 1979. Coupled with rust issues that this generation BMW had, it’s now quite hard to find an original U.S. spec 530i. Yet here’s a lovely one for sale:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 BMW 530i on eBay

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Euro 1983 BMW 745i 5-Speed

The E23 has always been a design which to me has been quite polarizing. As with the E12 and E24, Paul Bracq was heavily involved in the final design and it shows – in many ways, the E23 looks like a cross between the two that was scaled up 10%. The results of that in my mind weren’t always good. Growing up, my father had both E24s and E28s, clean looking, well proportioned designs, and when I first saw an E23 I remember thinking it looked a bit ungainly. In U.S. specification, the bumpers were too big and the wheels were too small, resulting in a car which appeared heavy, sagging and sad. When he’s really upset, my son manages to invert his lip and stick it out, tears streaming down his cheeks. It’s a look which nearly mimics the U.S. spec front end of the E23 I now recognize. However, in European trim the E23 made more sense – it looked lighter, smaller and better proportioned. While not as stately as the W116, it certainly looked a fair bit sportier outside and more modern. Couple those European-market looks with the potent performance of the M106 and sprinkle in some sport seats and a 5-speed manual from an E28, and there’s a lot to like here – though today’s car is pretty firmly in “project” status:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Euro 1983 BMW 745i 5-Speed on eBay

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1990 BMW M3

That the E30 M3 has been on a stratospheric price rise is old news. So are the stories of “I could have bought one for $400 20 years ago”. You know what? I could have bought a really nice piece of land near the coast in Rhode Island for 10% its current value 30 years ago, but I didn’t. Old, too, are the stories of what floor some ex-M3 owners got off at; for unlucky examples, it was $15,000 a decade ago, but smarter sellers have cashed in on E30 mania. How high it will go? At what point will people say “You know what? This is a 4-cylinder near-luxury economy car that I’m paying $100,000 plus for”? It would seem that every time someone raises the flag of THE END IS NEAR another shockingly priced example clears what appeared previously to be an insurmountable hurdle and Mr. Toad’s wild ride continues. While there’s been a slight cooling in the acceleration curve, it’s still pretty insane – with top-condition cars priced at and selling well over $100,000. But the market has realized that many of the examples coming to market weren’t condition 1, or frankly even condition 2. Lesser than top-tier example’s value has gone almost completely flat, and now it’s the really exceptional models that are rising to the top rather than the entire crop. Today’s car is priced towards the top and claimed to have been restored – let’s take a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 BMW M3 on eBay

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