Tuner Tuesday: 1989 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 were nearly identical to 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 Illinois:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Alpina B10 3.5/1 on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1985 Alpina C2 2.5

It’s a strange world we live in when I first looked at the $39,500 asking price of this 1985 Alpina C2 2.5 and thought, “Well, that’s pretty reasonable”. But at what may be the height of the Zeitgeist of E30, when asks on 318is models are in the 20s, 320is are in the 30s and you’ve heard enough about the M3’s race winning streak to nauseate Jochen Neerpasch (no, no, I’m sure you know who he is without looking it up, “lifetime” M3 fan!), is it really all that outrageous to ask $40,000 for an excellent condition, ultra limited Alpina model? This particular one was a stranger even in Europe; the C2 2.5 was a Japan-only model with 74 reported produced. It was also the second least powerful on offer from Alpina, with only the C1 2.3/1 below. Although that meant it was more a sheep in wolf’s clothes than the typical other way around, the C2 2.5 still packed 185 horsepower and matched it with upgraded suspension, wheels, brakes, exhaust, and of course the typical Alpina d├ęcor. This particular example, looking splendid in Lapis Blue, comes to the market with only 46,000 miles:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Alpina C2 2.5 on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1998 Alpina B10 V8

By the late 1990s, it was becoming increasingly difficult for tuners to compete with the stock offerings. Tightening emissions and safety regulations made getting turned up models harder to sneak past inspection, while simultaneously manufacturers were producing hotter models. The 540i is a great example, and you don’t need to look much further than the conundrum of the E34 M5 versus the various 540i Sport and especially M-Sport models. While the aluminum V8 may not have had the horsepower of the M5 model but only just, it had more usable torque and was (theoretically, at least) cheaper to run. It was so good, in fact, that supposedly when it came to the E39 model BMW was unsure if a M5 would be necessary in our market. So, it would seem to be the natural and easy choice to modify, right? Well, not so fast – because signature tuner Alpina had a problem. Its tried and true method of increasing displacement wouldn’t work on the M62 because you couldn’t bore out the special Nic/Alusil coated blocks. Game over, right? No. If you’re Alpina, you call up BMW and get them to make you a bigger motor:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Alpina B10 V8 on Vancouver Craigslist

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Tuner Tuesday: 1984 Alpina C1 2.3/1

The other day I read an article on Petrolicious entitled “Which classic car gets on your nerves?” The photo was of an E30 M3, and it wasn’t far into the article that it became clear that this was a decidedly anti-E30 stance. In many ways, I agree with the author – having a conversation with an E30 enthusiast and trying to convince them that there are other cars (even within the marque) that are much better values or offer more performance per a dollar is akin to attempting to blame mass shootings on assault rifles in the middle of an NRA meeting. Now, to be fair, there are quite a few very reasonable E30 enthusiasts out there and just like it’s not fair to generalize about any group, they’re not all the same and most haven’t been recent bandwagon jumpers. But the rocketing to fame of the E30 and the ascending prices of the lineup have become somewhat laughable; take Paul’s mint, low mileage 318is for $30,000 the other day. Is it a lovely car? Sure, and if I’m honest I agree with Paul that it’s one of the neatest options in the E30 lineup to me – but is it worth the same as a brand new, replete with warranty 228i coupe in your choice of colors? That’s where the wheels start to fall off the bandwagon, because while I can rationalize a lot of automotive things that are pretty ridiculous I find that one hard to stomach. But, if the market has spoken and a 318is is “worth” $30,000, surely a super limited production Alpina C1 2.3/1 is more highly valued?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Alpina C1 2.3/1 on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1991 Alpina RLE

From an extremely rare set of custom Corrados this morning, our journey on this Tuner Tuesday ends with a lovely Alpina RLE. Compared to the Magnums, the Roadster Limited Edition is positively plentiful with 66 official examples produced. However, compare that number to the 555 V8 Roadsters the company later produced, and the exclusivity of the RLE starts to come into clearer focus. As Alpinas go, the transformation of the Z1 was not as radical as some. Light revisions to the suspension were met with an uncharacteristically small but notable increase in displacement, giving the RLE some more sport to match its looks. But looks were what it was all about, as even in 1991 a 7.1 second 0-60 run wasn’t much of a headline. Those looks were blockbuster, though – the 17″ wheels filling out the diminutive wedge design perfectly and matched well by the classic Alpina stripes. Special interior details also dressed up the plastic-heavy Z1, and the result was impressive even if the performance wasn’t. So special and limited were these roadsters, Alpina even took the time to individually number the crests on the centercaps of the wheels!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Alpina RLE at Coy’s

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Tuner Tuesday: 1986 Alpina C2 2.7

From earlier’s obscure E21 B6 2.8 we move on to the much more popular (then and especially now) E30 model. Alpina once again worked their magic in many ways over the production of the E30, steadily increasing output to try to stay one step ahead of the factory. Up until 1986, that was a bit easier, but the introduction of the M3 model that year put some serious pressure on Alpina and would result in the M30 based B6 2.8 and 3.5 models, but the earlier Alpina models were based upon the M20 323i powerplant. Punching that out to 2.5 and later 2.7 liters as BMW released its own updates, the ultimate result was 210 horsepower from the larger unit. These were expensive cars in their day and consequently few were sold, but performance was top-notch and it was a premium product from the unique manufacturer:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Alpina C2 2.7 on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1990 Alpina B10 BiTurbo

When it comes of tuned BMWs, there’s no shortage of examples. Indeed, there are far more tuners of the popular Munich brand than all the others combined. From ABC Exclusive to Zender, everyone had their hand at modifying some series car into something a bit more. Sometimes more was tasteful, and othertimes it was garish – but all the way along, no firm has been consistently more effective at producing a quality product than Alpina. From their roots as a semi-factory race effort in the 1970s right through the dealer-offered cars of today, Alpina’s results have always been top-notch redefinition of the basic car. And while they have subsequently built faster cars, for me the best examples of the ethos of Alpina and its relation to BMW has always been the B10 BiTurbo. BMW built the screaming S38 powered M5, but Alpina provided its clients a private jet for the road:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Alpina B10 BiTurbo on eBay

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1984 Alpina B10 3.5

We’ve covered a lot of Alpina models on these pages, but today’s example was a new one to me. In fact, it may be a new one to you, too – because this might be the most rare Alpina model produced. Alpina didn’t have a lot to do with the early 7 series for a few reasons; one, they didn’t sell in big numbers and most of Alpina’s work was concentrated on the smaller and sportier 3,5 and 6 series. But BMW offered a factory hotrod itself in the turbocharged 745i in 1981, and at that point Alpina seemed to give up the ghost on development of the E23 – or did it? The problem was that in Great Britain, the 745i wasn’t available, so Alpina dealer Sytner had the company develop a specific U.K market model. Based upon the 735i, the B10 3.5 featured a 261 horsepower Alpina 3.5 liter motor, normal Alpina suspension upgrades and wheels and some subtle exterior and interior changes. Although these cars were not built in Germany, they are nonetheless considered real Alpinas. Only a scant 22 were built, and one is for sale today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Alpina B10 3.5 on eBay

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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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Tuner Tuesday: 1979 Alpina B6 2.8

Edit 7/11/2017 – This car is back on the market from the same seller with a reserve auction

Vuarnet shirt, stone-washed high-wasted jeans, neon Wayfarers, legwarmers, Wham!‘s “Make It Big” album playing on your Walkman, a tennis lesson scheduled for later in the day with someone named Chad, Tad or Chaz, and a BMW 3-series; they’re immediately identifiable as a product of the 1980s, even if in this case they were made in the late 1970s. Take a moment to consider the seats in this Alpina; made by Recaro, they’d look as at home on Bill Cosby’s back as he lectured Theo as they would on the race track. But just as those trends from the 80s have been revisited by the “Hipsters” of today, there’s another class I’ve dubbed “Yupsters”, wishing to relive the glory of Wall Street and every club from the Breakfast to the Country. They’re interested in the BMW 3 series, and the major resurgence of the small executive sedan has become ironic in its own right, from the “Respect Your Elders” stickers plastered on cars not much older than the creatures driving them (who, even more ironically, typically don’t know much about history), to the hypocrisy of everyone being different by all owning E30s. The only things missing from the entirely predictable plotline are a Harold Faltermeyer soundtrack and a cameo at the local show by Steve Guttenberg. To me, the 3 series that comes out of all of this smelling like roses is the E21; relatively forgotten and overlooked due to less availability, sport and cliche, a turned up E21 is nonetheless a beautiful thing when properly done:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Alpina B6 2.8 on eBay

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