1981 BMW M1

I give Audi a lot of credit for bringing the R8 to market. It took a fair amount of gall for a company best known for mid-range all-wheel drive luxury sedans to up and produce a supercar-beating mid-engine road car capable of being used year-round and every day. It’s a feat nearly without precedent. Of course, I said “nearly”.

That’s because BMW pulled off a similar trick the best part of thirty years before Audi did it. And arguably the development of what would become BMW’s fledgling Motorsports division was even more impressive than what Ingolstadt pulled off. The M1 burst onto the scene at a time of economic austerity, global oil crises and came from a company who not only didn’t have a history of producing such cars, but didn’t have connections to others who did (unlike Audi’s corporate Lamborghini partnership).

Speaking of Lamborghini, because of BMW’s lack of expertise in supercar design it was the Sant’Agata firm that was employed to produce the M1. But because of Lamborghini’s lack of expertise at being…well, a company capable of producing something on a schedule, BMW engineers had to first liberate the early molds from Italy and then find someone who could produce the car. Ultimately, it was a combination of ItalDesign in Turin, Marchesi metal working in Modena to build the frames and Karosserie Baur in Stuttgart that stuck the M1 together. Though it doesn’t exactly sound like a match made in heaven, and indeed the M1 was a relative sales flop, it has nonetheless grown to cult status as one of the most user-friendly supercars of the late 1970s:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 BMW M1 on eBay

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1978 Mercedes-Benz 240D

Here is a real odd ball. This is a European-spec 1978 Mercedes-Benz 240 for with some really interesting modifications. The early W123 looks to be fitted with some kind of aftermarket bumpers and side skirts, European hubcaps from a W126 S-Class, a bunch of painted black trim, and probably the worst placement for a third brake light I’ve ever seen. It supposedly has just 51,000 miles and is even fitted with Michelin XWX, a tire that if fitted to a W123 can often double the value of the entire car. I have a whole lot of questions, and it looks not like many answers.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Mercedes-Benz 240D on eBay

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1979 BMW M1

In an article I penned for The Truth About Cars back in 2016, I covered some of the development of the Wedge Era and how those spectacular show car designs channeled their design language down to more pedestrian models. One of the stars of that article were the cutting-edge looks from Giugiaros ItalDesign the firm, and man, responsible for some of your favorites such as the basic shape for the Audi Quattro. But while the Quattro launched its brand into the luxury realm and redefined the 80s, the undisputed German star of the wedgey wonders was the BMW M1.

Like the Quattro, the M1 redefined and refined BMWs core mission, helping to launch the Motorsport division along with the 3.0 CSL and 2002 Turbo. While Giugiaro had also had his hand in the M1s design, the genesis of the shape lay in the much earlier Paul Bracq designed Turbo concept. Bracq, in turn, had undoubtedly been influenced by the late 1960s creations of both Giorgetto Giugiaro (at Ghia and ItalDesign) and Marcello Gandini (Bertone), as well as the efforts and splash rival Mercedes-Benz had made in 1969 with the C111 concept and record setter.

But while Daimler was hesitant to enter serial production with such a departure from their tried and true sedan designs, the M1 proved to be just the spark BMW was looking for to ignite the fire in driving enthusiasts minds. It was, at the time, the Ultimate Driving Machine:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 BMW M1 on eBay

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GCFSB Alumni: 2001 BMW 325i Touring

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Edit 10/01/2017: After fixing a few more things and covering about 10,000 more miles, the buyer of this unique 325iT has it back on the block again in a no reserve auction. – Ed

The E46 wagon has emerged as perhaps the last bastion of good, clean, simple German longroofing. Modern wagons are bulbous, overstuffed with features, and crazy expensive. The biggest options on today’s 325i Touring are color choices, while the mechanicals and general usability remain refreshingly simple: no sunroof, inline-6, 5-speed manual, manual seats. Manual, but in Tanin red leather, just the kind of curveball reader/seller Rob clearly likes. A nice, plain white exterior? Why not add discreet M-pinstriping and anything-but-discreet Creamsicle Orange lower valences? The 7-spoke Style 4s are nice but plain – leave them for the all-season tires and you get summer-rubber on blackened Style 68s! The colors may jump all over the place, but if anything they draw attention to a sweet car that represents a simplicity we have all but lost.

Click for details: 2001 BMW 325i Touring on eBay

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1982 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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This drop-dead gorgeous Westy looks like a brand-new late-model example but is really a completely restored and OEM+ upgraded 1982 model completed just last year. Reading through the long description inspires empathy for the restorer as you hear about taking everything all the way down – interior, exterior, pop-top, running gear, camping equipment – and building it back up with new or redone parts beyond factory spec. The new bumpers, mirrors, and later sunroof pop-top were all done in the same factory Pastel White to perfection. As it only has 53k total miles on it, the interior fabric was all perfect, but they decided to go in and redo the foam and bolsters. Dynamat was installed throughout the van, ensuring a quiet and solid ride. You’ll be able to hustle up big hills thanks to a rebuilt AAZ 1.9 liter turbodiesel, manage corners on new shocks, and bring it all to a halt with new brakes. As you’d imagine, this is no bargain Westy, but it’s damn near the nicest you’ll find.

Click for details: 1982 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia on eBay

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1985 Volkswagen Vanagon Adventurewagen

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This Vanagon does my favorite kind of bait-and-switch. At first glance, the unwavering white paint/black trim looks at best plain. White wall tires on steel wheels exaggerate its age, giving the overall impression of yet another old beater camper van. This impression matched with the $26,750 asking price furrowed my brow immediately, but elicited a rewarding closer look. Checking out the details on this High Top, you see that the plain white paint is actually a recent and well-done respray. Inside, we find a nearly perfect interior with a new wood-laminate floor to match the cabinets. All camping items work including the propane stove and heater, water pump with filter, refrigerator, and external ports. It has 184k miles but still returns 20+ mpg and appears to have received the maintenance and care to keep it going for another couple hundred thousand. The 6’7″ standing height means even my 6’5″ brother could be comfortable, though the fold out bed might not either of us very well. It’s an under-the-radar Adventurewagen that is perfectly eccentric as is.

Click for details: 1985 Volkswagen Vanagon Adventurewagen on eBay

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Friday Fail: 1995 BMW M3

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Happy Friday everyone! It’s time to take another trip down Fail Lane, this time focusing on a first-year E36 M3 that has covered just 57k miles. It’s pretty much perfect in white on DS1s, some of my all-time favorite wheels. Inside, black Vader sport seats flash the M colors and everything looks as good as could be hoped in an E36. So, sounds like a really nice lower-mileage future classic, albeit one of about a million right?

Well, folks, we’ve discussed at length the crazy rise of ///M values, with the early M cars leading the way and just about all the others benefiting from the rising tide. As E30 M3s head to the strong side of $50k, a newer model must be better, right?! We all know that’s not the case, as the E36 M3 has in fact remained amazingly reasonable and is one of the best performance values on the market. The Lightweight models have reached into the $30ks and $40ks, but you can get really nice, standard M3s for low-to-mid teens. One with 20k miles might crack $20k, but this seller is asking almost $37k for a car that is, at best, worth half that. “The prices of these cars are rising everyday,” he says. He also thinks he can throw a football over them there mountains, go invisible whenever he wants, and play guitar better than Prince.

You’re wrong, dude. So incredibly, failingly wrong on this Friday.

Click for details: 1995 BMW M3 on eBay

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1990 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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Here’s a nice Weekender for your weekend with just 71.5k miles and a lot of potential. Actually, to be pedantic, the Weekender option was just a third-row bed on tin tops, but it’s come to be a colloquial name for any Vanagon with a folding bed but no kitchen. So, technically, the Multivan is a tidy little package that offers the comfort and sleepability of the full Vanagon camper without the stove, fridge, or sink. With a camp stove and some Platypus bags, however, you could whip up a fresh batch of great time camping with some friends in this thing. Bidding has been extremely hot for this kitchenless Westy despite some paint and minor electrical defects.

Click for details: 1990 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia on eBay

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1991 BMW 325i S52 Supercharged

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As the supply dwindles, I’ve been spending time looking at various clean, mostly original E30s. Today, however, we have a 1991 325i that has received the business under the hood, namely an S52 swap from an E36 M3 plus an Active Autowerk supercharger. That heady combination puts out 357 horsepower at the wheels and 411bhp at the crank, plenty to make this 2800-pound coupe punch well above its weight class. The mechanical build is too plentiful and thorough to fully recount here, but it has Raceland coilovers, Stoptech brakes, and just about all the bushings, mounts, and miscellaneous performance parts you can stuff under an E30 to help handle 250% of its original power. The interior looks ready to rumble too with black suede Recaros and NRG wheel and some other subtle racy bits, but this car is about go, not show. The exterior has a little clear coat peel and dents but the deeper front lip and M3-esque Zender spoiler should distract any passerby. It all adds up to a package that looks pretty standard-modded-E30 good but will smoke just about any non-exotic on the road.

Click for details: 1991 BMW 325i on eBay

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1988 BMW 535i Alpina Tribute – Revisit


“This is not the greatest E28 in the world, no –
This is just a tribute.”

Yet again, the “Manofied Racing” Alpina tribute – a well thought-out and thorough interpretation – is back on eBay. It popped up twice a couple of years ago, a few months apart, but obviously had no bites at $32,500. Two years on it has received a respray but lost its Alpina stripes on everything but the front and rear flight decks. Despite the impressive boom in the ’80s BMW market, this one apparently didn’t get to set whatever price the seller deemed more than generous. It’s down to $25k now, but I’m guessing a low-$20ks offer might get a serious discussion started.

-NR

The below post originally appeared on our site April 15, 2014:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 535i Alpina Tribute on eBay

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