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    1989 BMW Z1 £38,000

    This looks like a well-preserved Z1 – just replace the original tyres and your summer will be full of fun, reckons Paul Hardiman.

    This German-market Z1, in a slightly unusual Traumschwarz (Dream Black) came to the UK in 1998 with just three home-market stamps in its service book, all from BMW main dealers, and after two owners. There are now 11 more stamps from UK dealers and specialists and the latest of its four UK owners has compiled a detailed history summary. Last cambelt change was in 2016 at 83,737km (52,031 miles), new rear springs were fitted in 2014. The odometer now reads 84,680km (52,617 miles).

    The composite body is free from cracks – these cars tend to go first around the door locks as everything stiffens up with age, but this one is fine. It’s had some areas repainted – the last bill is dated 2012, but it doesn’t look like a full respray.

    The wheels have been refinished in BMW Sparkle Silver and are shod in original-specification Goodyear Eagles. They all have good tread, but at least two are so ancient they’re not even datestamped and the newest is 12 years old.

    If you intend to enjoy the car, they need putting on a shelf and using for show only. It’s not scraped under the floorpan or chin and the exhaust looks to be in fair shape, although the outer layer of the transverse rear silencer – which doubles as an aerofoil – is flaking.

    Z1 interiors, especially the seats, are not very robust and show their age quickly, but these have done quite well, being a little baggy on the bases as is normal but not too worn or discoloured, and the front bolsters are good. Carpets and dash plastics are all good apart from one tiny nick in front of the passenger. There’s a genuine BMW Bavaria stereo too – some came with aftermarket Sony units.

    The hood is original and good, apart from one tiny wear hole on the right-hand side. Most important, the electric doors open and close perfectly, as do the windows, and there’s no scuffing on their inner trims which happens if they wear or get badly out of adjustment. There’s slight wear to the sill side trims, caused by the driver and passenger sliding across to get in and out, but that’s normal.

    In the boot, the original toolkit remains clipped under the lid next to the warning triangle and the first-aid kit has never been opened. There’s a car cover too.

    The straight-six is clean and workmanlike rather than concours. Fluids are to maximum levels and it fires instantly. There’s a little balljoint-like rattle over potholes in Project Shop’s driveway, but it doesn’t feel worn out and drives nicely, with everything working as it should and the temperature steady a third of the way up the gauge. These cars aren’t blindingly fast, being slightly heavier than the E30 325i from which they borrow most of their mechanicals, but performance is adequate and handling excellent.

    As well as the detailed history file, there’s a photocopy of the Z1 repair manual, two sets of keys and an MoT until January. You can have a regular British numberplate if you want, too.


    In production from March 1989 to June 1991, demand for Z1s is so high that 8000 are built, all LHD, against an original plan for 5000.

    The car is based on E30 and E36 mechanicals in a steel ‘punt’ chassis, clad in removable thermoplastic and glassfibre panels.

    The Z1 sees the first use of BMW’s multi-link rear ‘Z axle’, but its big novelty is electrically operated doors that slide down into the sills. 66 Alpina RLE conversions are built, all with 2.7-litre 204bhp engines.

    Just 50-150 cars (depending on who you believe) are officially imported into the UK, all with mph speedos and priced at £36,925. Expect to pay a small premium over mainland European examples if you can find one.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #1989 / #BMW-Z1 / #BMW / #BMW-Z-Series / #BMW-Z1-E30 / #BMW-Z-Series-E30 /

    Price £38,000
    Contact Project Shop, Bicester, Oxfordshire (, 01869 351883)
    Engine 2494cc, sohc, inline six-cylinder, #Bosch-Motronic fuel injection / #BMW-M20 / #M20 / #M20B25
    Power 171bhp @ 5800rpm DIN
    Torque 164lb ft @ 4300rpm DIN
    Performance Top speed: 140mph; 0-60mph: 7.8sec
    Fuel consumption 30mpg
    Length 3925mm
    Width 1690mm

    Seats have aged well for a Z1 and the rest of the cabin’s in good nick.
    2494cc straight-six won’t win a concours prize but it works well.
    Bodywork and wheels look good and the sliding electric doors work as they should.
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    Super Seven. The ultimate original #BMW-7-Series was this stunning M-powered 745i. / #BMW / #BMW-M7-E23 /

    Fairy Tale. The ultimate E23 Seven was the M-power 745i and we discover one man’s dream of owning one.

    An epic journey over four continents! From riches to rags and back again! Sounds like some kind of Hollywood blockbuster, right? Nope, this is the tale of Josh Barlowe’s 745i – a model with a unique story before it even left the factory! Words and photography: Chris Nicholls.

    The E23 745i was the only version of the 7 Series that sported a genuine M engine, in this case the 24-valve M88 ’six as used in the contemporary E28 M5 and E24 M635CSi.

    South African 745is generally had very high-spec interiors with every surface seemingly swathed in leather.

    “I said I’d take it off his hands for $13,000, to which he said yes!”

    Built in South Africa from 1984 to 1987, the M-powered 745i was a response to Johannesburg’s complaints that the German-built 745i that was available in Europe was not available in right-hand drive due to the turbo’s location. Munich’s solution? Swap in the M1’s M88/3 ‘six and send complete knock down (CKD) kits to Rosslyn, South Africa for assembly. The result was a luxury saloon, complete with memory seats, trip computer, climate control and, amazingly, pop-up cassette tape holders in the driver’s door, but with a supercar heart…

    …And a supercar price. Costing more than a Ferrari 308 GTB, the sticker may have been one reason why only 192 were built in automatic, with a further 17 in manual. One of those manuals actually raced in the South African Modified Saloon Car Championship, becoming the only 7 Series ever officially used in motorsport, while one of those 192 autos – the car you can see here – ended up in Josh Barlowe’s hands in Melbourne, Australia, albeit via a trip to Nottingham and Hong Kong.

    Barlowe says that after starting life in South Africa, the car apparently made its way to the UK; a sticker suggested someone bought it from Siddons of Nottingham. Then, as 745i owners tended to be quite wealthy, it was presumably shipped with the owners to Hong Kong. Sadly, at some point the love affair soured, as it was discovered decades later in a junkyard. Barlowe says the merchants who found both his and another 745i in the same yard purchased them for HK$400 a pop (£35 in today’s money!) and sent Barlowe’s to Australia, where it found its way into the hands of its previous owner: a mechanical engineer from Cooma, New South Wales who coaxed it back to life.

    It’s here that Barlowe’s role in the story begins. In late 1999, he was flicking through his E23 735i owner’s manual when he saw references to the turbocharged 745i. Sadly, after consulting his friends at Brighton BMW, he learned its left-hand drive spec meant almost zero chance of getting one in Australia. However, one of the parts managers then mentioned the M-Power 745i and directed Barlowe to Peninsula BM, the owner of which was into 7 Series.

    “The conversation I had with the owner there revealed he knew someone with an M745i in the LaTrobe Valley,” says Barlowe. Having introduced himself to the elderly owners, Norm and Faye, and spoken of his interest in it, the pair kindly invited Barlowe to lunch and, later, Barlowe got to experience the car’s prowess. “Norm took me for a spin on the back roads and let it open,” he continues. “We got in excess of 240km/h. I said, ‘where do you get one of these things?!’ Luckily, Norm happened to know of one in Cooma and said he and his wife could go and check it out, seeing as they were headed up that way anyway.” They reported it wasn’t in great condition but given its rarity and desirability, Barlowe decided to press on anyway. Initially, though, things didn’t go well. The owner wasn’t sure about Barlowe and wanted $30,000. Then the promised photos didn’t turn up.

    However, a few months later, Barlowe’s luck changed. “I remember it quite clearly, he says. “On March 24, 2000, I had an accident in my existing E23 735i and the car got written off. Strangely enough, the following Monday, I got a call from the 745i’s owner asking if I was still interested in his car!”

    With serendipity having smiled upon him once, Barlowe received another pleasant surprise when he found out the owner was selling it cheap due to a divorce: “We talked figures around $22,000 which I thought quite reasonable.” However, Barlowe could only afford $18,000 and after a couple of months of negotiations he eventually got his way, flying up to nearby Canberra after settling on $18,000 and encouraged by the pictures (which finally arrived) that suggested everything was actually okay.

    Of course, reality is often different to photos, and upon arrival, Barlowe found the car had been seriously neglected: “There were little dents in the back, the materials looked quite tired and there was some paint peeling off it so I said I’d take it off his hands for $13,000, to which he said yes!”

    After his purchase, Barlowe drove the car back to Melbourne and straight into the Brighton BMW garages, whereupon the manager, Rob Chester, took one look, shook his head and said, “what have you done?”. Barlowe had been talking to Chester in the lead-up to the purchase, and Chester kept advising him not to do it. However, Barlowe claims he “had to have it” and the timing did rather suggest “it was almost meant to be”.

    Sadly, though, even when fate is seemingly on your side, things can sometimes come back to bite you, and Chester ended up being proved right: “They had the car for a day to look over it and Chester called me back in the afternoon, sat me down at his desk and said, ‘would you like a whisky? I think you’re going to need one’.” Barlowe was then handed a five-page report of things that needed fixing. The estimate? $13,000 – the cost of the car.

    Not having the money back then, Barlowe and Chester agreed that doing the minimum to get it roadworthy and registered would be enough initially, with the rest best handled as a project. To keep himself on the road in the meantime, Barlowe purchased an E32 735i daily as well.

    As with many projects, things progressed slowly after that. It took two years before Barlowe could rebuild the suspension, for example, including the self-levelling mechanism on the rear, and fix up all the running gear. Next came the body, which was given a bare metal respray in its original Bronzit Metallic. Here Barlowe discovered some rust in the doors but, thankfully, apart from the tin worm and a little accident damage around the right-hand B-pillar, the rest of the body was pretty straight. At the same time as the respray, Barlowe sent the chrome trims to be refinished as well.

    At this stage, a few hiccups aside, things seemed to be progressing smoothly, but things soon changed. “I took it to a paintshop in Warragul on the recommendation of Norm and Faye,” Barlowe explains. “It committed to the job but then the owner decided to sell the business to her ex-husband so she then didn’t want to commit to the job. The paintshop, though, had already started stripping the car, so it ended up with me running around trying to find someone else to pick up the work.”

    Eventually, Barlowe found a shop called D-Line Smash Repairs in the same town who did “a beautiful job fixing it”, but even then the gods weren’t done playing with Barlowe. “As I was pulling out of Victoria Gardens shopping centre in Richmond, the boom gate came down on the car,” he relates. This, and another minor incident meant more touch-up work, this time at Superfinish in Moorabbin. Thankfully, insurance payouts covered everything and thanks to Superfinish’s skills, the paint on the roof and front end actually came out even better than the respray from D-Line. “It’s all ended up working in my favour, to be honest,” Barlowe laughs.

    A year later, Barlowe moved onto the interior, calling upon Unique Leather Restorations to refresh the car’s once-sumptuous Oyster Nappa leather interior. No small job, considering almost every surface inside the car, apart from the suede roof lining, is covered with dead cow. “We kept the original leather, bar one or two panels on the driver’s seat, and that was all stripped back and recoloured and reconditioned,” Barlowe says. Any mechanical and electrical work was handed to SouthernBM, a specialist shop whose M235i we also featured in the January 2016 issue. The car was actually back with them at time of writing getting an oil leak fixed, and was also awaiting its new bucket shims and final tune.

    Barlowe says the eventual goal with the car is a close to factory-fresh restoration, although he’s veered away from this slightly when it comes to the wheels and ECU. The late-model E24 M635CSi TRX alloys still look factory but a trained eye will spot they’re not. Just for a little extra impact, Barlowe is also going to get them polished like the ones on his E32. As for the ECU, it’s been upgraded with a Powerchip custom tune for a bit more grunt.

    That the car isn’t complete yet doesn’t stop Barlowe driving it as often as he can. Indeed, he even took it over to New Zealand in 2012 (hence the NZ ‘Warrant of Fitness’ sticker) for the New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing, which celebrated 40 years of M. Admittedly he didn’t race it, but he did put in some hard driving during the parade sessions and pushed the car closer to its (very high) limits than he could on the road. “It was a fantastic experience,” he says.

    Even on public roads, though, it clearly drives brilliantly. On a post-shoot ride, while its 2.2-ton wet weight meant it wasn’t swift off the line, the M88 punched hard in roll-on acceleration, and though the car exhibited typical 1980s-style body roll, grip levels were impressive. Yes, modern iterations of the unique Michelin TRXs help, but it clung on admirably. Even the brakes, thanks to the four piston front and two piston rear callipers, were solid, although you definitely felt the inertia during hard stops.

    It’s the gearbox, though, that’s perhaps now the most amazing aspect of the car – at least in Sport mode. Left in auto, it’s just a regular slushbox but bespoke maps for this model mean that in Sport it locks up the torque converter in third and locks out fourth entirely. This results in manual-like downshifts and seamless upshifts. This isn’t hyperbole, either. There is literally no perceptible movement or loss of momentum when you upshift manually in Sport. It’s a miracle, and makes you wonder what we’ve lost in the last 30 years, because few gearboxes we’ve experienced since come close.

    It’s easy to see why, then, Barlowe has no interest in selling it. “I love it too much. You go and drive it and it’s so rewarding to drive,” he enthuses. “It gives you that true BMW experience.” A Hollywood-style happy ending, then. It really was meant to be.

    “It’s all ended up working in my favour, to be honest”

    The 1980s centre console was a riot of buttons – those heating and air con controls look complicated!

    TECHNICAL DATA #BMW-E23 / #BMW-745i / #BMW-745i-E23 / #BMW-745i-SA /

    ENGINE: #M88/3 / #BMW-M88 / #M88 / 3453cc six-cylinder (93.4mm bore, 84mm stroke), 24-valve crossflow head, 264-degree camshafts, 10.5:1 compression ratio, #Bosch-ML-Jetronic fuel injection, #Bosch-Motronic engine management with custom #Powerchip tune

    GEARBOX: #ZF four-speed automatic transmission #ZF4HP / #ZF4HP22 , 3.73:1 final drive ratio, limited-slip differential

    MAX POWER: 290hp @ 6500rpm
    MAX TORQUE: 251lb ft @ 4400rpm
    CHASSIS: Pressed steel monocoque
    FRONT SUSPENSION: McPherson struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar
    REAR SUSPENSION: Semi-trailing arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar, self-levelling mechanism
    BRAKES: 300mm ventilated discs with four-piston calipers (front), 285mm solid discs with two-piston calipers (rear), ABS
    WHEELS: #Fuchs-TRX one-piece alloys from late model E24 M635CSi (415mm x 195mm ET20, 5x120 PCD)
    TYRES: 240/45 VR415
    • Seventh heaven. I’m planning to take the plunge and buy a first generation 7 Series in the next few weeks and just wanted to check if you have ever doSeventh heaven. I’m planning to take the plunge and buy a first generation 7 Series in the next few weeks and just wanted to check if you have ever done a Buying Guide for one of these fine cars?

      I plan to drive the E23 as a weekend car for a few years and then move onto an E32 Seven. The E32 is the car that got me into #BMW s, when I was about ten years old or so! I remember it vividly, seeing a black E32 with a wide grille and I’ve dreamed about the 7 Series ever since. I drove an E38 728i for eight years, an E65 750i for over a year, but have subsequently now downgraded to an E60 523i after my son was born. Funny, all my cars were bought second-hand in the UK (mainland or Northern Ireland) – UK cars are much better spec’d than those in Ireland due to nasty excise duty in the Republic (called Vehicle Registration Tax, ranging from 14 to 36 per cent – only Norwegians and Singaporeans have higher import taxes I’ve heard!).

      That’s why the E23 makes commercial sense as a backup car – motor tax is outrageously expensive in Ireland, unless you drive a modern diesel (CO² emissions-based since 2008, previously engine size). The 750i was €1800 per year, the 728i was €1300 and even the 523i is €1100 (by comparison a modern 520d can be as little as €200). For classic cars over 30 years old, motor tax is only €56, plus you get lower vintage insurance. Then there’s the unquantifiable joy of driving something unusual (there are very few E23s left, I plan to preserve one for posterity). I’m inspecting the E23 with my mechanic colleague in the UK in a few weeks time, quite excited about it.

      I’m reading every edition of BMW Car diligently. I enjoyed the feature about the South African #BMW-E23 / #BMW-745i-E23 – loved the leather-swathed interior. Thanks for bringing joy into lives of Blue Roundel enthusiasts!
        More ...
    • First off, our most recent Buying Guide to the E23 Seven was in the June 2011 issue, and it’s great to hear from someone who is actively searching forFirst off, our most recent Buying Guide to the E23 Seven was in the June 2011 issue, and it’s great to hear from someone who is actively searching for one of these brilliant cars. Those car tax figures are crazy, we can quite understand why you’re searching out an older model. Good luck with your search.   More ...
    • E23 745i M88 SA - is the best E23 7-series ever. I think it is the first M7 car, more cool than E32 750i V12 and many more bimmers made after. Rare, cE23 745i M88 SA - is the best E23 7-series ever. I think it is the first M7 car, more cool than E32 750i V12 and many more bimmers made after. Rare, clean and unique! Automatic ZF 4HP was never agregated before and after with M88 unit - and very cool for mid-80s BMW automatic gearbox selector with naturally skinned cover! Interior perfect. Look clean and stream.   More ...
    • Production Versions 6918: South African-spec (RHD) manual, 01/1984 through 01/1986 6928: South African-spec (RHD) automatic, 01/1984 through 04/1987 HProduction Versions
      6918: South African-spec (RHD) manual, 01/1984 through 01/1986
      6928: South African-spec (RHD) automatic, 01/1984 through 04/1987

      What makes the South African E23 745i unique?
      The South African E23 745i is unique in that it is the only 7 Series model that is powered by the BMW Motorsport-designed 24-valve M88 powerplant also used in the E24 M635CSi coupe and E28 M5 sedan. This effectively makes it an "M7" in all but name. E23 745i models sold in the rest of the world use a turbocharged version of the 12-valve M30 engine instead.

      Why was the M88-powered 7 Series not badged as an M7?
      It is not entirely clear why the M88-powered 7 Series was not badged as an M7. It may have been because of BMW AG's policy (which continues to this day) of not bestowing any 7 Series model with a proper M badge. It may also be because BMW AG did not wish to upstage the turbocharged 745i sold in Europe, which was ultimately less powerful than the 24-valve version.

      Why was the M88-powered E23 745i developed for South Africa?
      After experimenting with various new V8 and V12 engines, BMW AG decided to use a turbocharged version of the existing SOHC M30 inline-six in its flagship E23 7 Series model. However, because of packaging restrictions caused by the addition of the turbocharger, this engine could not be fitted to right-hand drive cars.

      Not content with selling a left-hand drive version of the 745i in a right-hand drive market, BMW of South Africa decided to instead to create a unique E23 variation powered by the 24-valve M88 engine already developed by BMW Motorsport for the E24 6 Series and E28 5 Series. Assembled in South Africa from Complete Knock-Down (CKD) kits, this special right-hand drive model was sold exclusively in the domestic market, though at least one example was subsequently exported to Europe.

      Why is the M88-powered 745i unique to South Africa?
      BMW has never officially stated why the German-built 745i models did not receive the M88 engine. The most likely explanation is that the M88 powerplant, developed originally for the M1 sports car, is a fairly noisy unit that develops its peak power at a relatively high engine speed. This was perhaps at odds with the role of the 7 Series as a refined luxury sedan, thus the smoother turbocharged unit was deemed more appropriate for use in 745i models sold in all other markets. In addition, it is unlikely that BMW could have produced enough M88 engines to satisfy demand, had the M motor been used in the German-built 745i.

      Where was the South African E23 745i built?
      Like all E23 7 Series sold in South Africa, the 745i was assembled in small numbers at BMW's Rosslyn, South Africa factory from Complete Knock-Down (CKD) kits supplied from Germany.

      Production Data

      How many versions of the M88-powered E23 745i were developed?
      Just one version of the M88-powered 745i was developed, exclusively in right-hand drive for the South African market.

      How many examples of the M88-powered E23 745i were prodcued?
      209 examples of the M88-powered 745i sedan were produced by BMW South Africa from January 1984 through April 1987. Of these, approximately 17 were equipped with a Getrag 5-speed manual transmission (model 6918) and the remainder were fitted with a ZF four-speed automatic (model 6928).

      What changes were made to the South African E23 745i during its producton?
      With the exception of minor equipment alterations common to the entire E23 7 Series range such as an updated steering wheel design and improved on-board computer, there were no major changes to the South African 745i during the two and a half years that it was produced.


      What makes the M88 powerplant unique?
      The M88 engine in the South African 745i is an evolution of the 24-valve inline-six developed for the mid-engine M1 supercar and is identical to the unit used in the non-catalyst versions of the E24 M635CSi and E28 M5. Like the 12-valve M30 engine upon which it is based, the M88 has a displacement of 3,453cc via a bore of 93.4mm and a stroke of 84mm. Unique to the M88 is the four-valve crossflow cylinder head (with 37mm inlet valves and 32mm exhaust valves) designed for better breathing at high rpm and a pair of 264-degree camshafts. With Bosch Motronic engine management and a lack of smog controls, the M88 produces 286 hp (DIN) at 6,500 rpm and 251 lb/ft of torque at 4,500 rpm.

      It is worth noting that the M88 engines fitted to early examples of the South African 745i are simply inscribed "BMW" on their cam cover in place of the later "M Power" designation shared with the E24 M635CSi and E28 M5.

      What kind of gearboxes were offered on the South African-spec 745i?
      Most examples of the South African-spec 745i were equipped with a computer-controlled ZF four-speed automatic transmission with Sport, Economy and Manual shift point modes mated to a 3.73:1 rear axle ratio and limited slip differential. Unlike the German-built 745i, the South African version was also offered with a Getrag five-speed manual gearbox with a "dogleg" shift pattern and the following ratios: 3.72 (1), 2.40 (2), 1.77 (3), 1.24 (4), 1.00 (5). These were equipped with a 3.45:1 rear end with limited slip.


      How is the South African-spec 745i's suspension different from that of the German-built version?
      The suspension of the South African-spec 745i is slightly firmer than that of the European-spec model and a load-leveling rear axle is standard.

      What size brakes does the South African-spec 745i have?
      The South African-spec 745i is equipped with the same brakes as the E24 M635CSi and E28 M5: 11.8-inch (300mm) vented discs in front and 11.2-inch (285mm) solid discs in the rear with standard ABS.

      What size wheels and tires does the South African-spec 745i have?
      The South African-spec 745i is fitted with BBS Mahle cross-spoke alloy wheels featuring special center caps bearing the BMW Motorsport colors. These measure 7x16-inch in front and 8x16-inch in rear and are fitted with staggered 205/55VR16 (front) and 225/50VR16 (rear) tires.


      How does the exterior of the South African-spec 745i differ from that of the German-built model?
      The exterior of the M88-powered 745i is distinguished from other 7 Series models only by its 16-inch BBS Mahle alloy wheels. There are no M badges or any other special trim items on the exterior of the car.

      How is the interior of the South African-spec 745i different from that of the German-built model?
      Unlike the exterior, the interior of the M88-powered 745i contains many special features. The entire cabin including the dashboard, center console, door panels and headliner is covered in ultra-soft Nappa leather (later known as the "Highline" interior, this extensive leather option was not offered on German-built E23s until the final 1986 model year). The center console itself is shaped slightly differently than in other E23 models, with the power window switches located around the shifter instead of around the parking brake handle and the ashtray located behind the shifter instead of below the radio. On cars with an automatic transmission, the shift lever lacks the usual "PRND321" markings and is surrounded by a leather boot. Also unique to the South African-spec 745i is a special instrument cluster with the M logo on both the speedometer and tachometer faces though it appears that the M logo was removed from the speedometer face early into production. The leather-wrapped steering wheel is a three-spoke (non-M) design.

      What features are included in the South African-spec 745i's interior?
      The interior of every South African-spec 745i is equipped with essentially all available E23 features including power windows, power mirrors, power front seats, power rear seats, power glass moonroof (deletable upon request), automatic climate control, cruise control, check control, on-board computer, radio/cassette audio system and rear window sunshade.

      Special Versions


      Color and Upholstery Selections

      The E23 745i M88 was offered in the same exterior paint colors that were available on all South African-built E23s produced during the same production period. However, its unique complete Nappa leather interior was offered only in Oyster and Indigo.
        More ...

    • Matt Petrie COOL INFO! Thanks!
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    Giant road test #BMW-635CSi-E24 vs. #Mercedes-Benz-380SLC-C107 / #Mercedes-Benz-380SLC / #Mercedes-Benz / #BMW-635CSi / #BMW-E24 / #BMW / #Mercedes-Benz-C107 / #Mercedes-C107 /

    The two luxury coupes from #BMW AG and #Mercedes-Benz are not only impressive with shapely elegance. As expensive top models they combine luxury with performance. On the Boulevard of longing drive them way ahead.

    What a nice car, I muse, while the BMW 635 CSi E24 slowly moving in its me. I sit in the Mercedes 380 SLC, its contemporary counterpart, both with exactly 218 hp. Both once with a price of just under 60 000 marks as expensive. The six is a six-cylinder, which follows the SLC Daimler privilege and provides an eight-cylinder, whose supple sovereignty is supported by a four-speed automatic.

    I look through the wide, but low Mercedes-windscreen on the shark-like face of BMW. The typical brand dual headlights act not aggressive, but determined the distinctive kidney is modeled perfectly in the center. It is stamped from the plate, and not merely a cheap panel as detailed in the later sevens.

    The beautiful BMW turns a wide circle arc in the courtyard of fairgrounds in order to place next to my Mercedes. Here I see clearly its elegant profile. I notice the low waistline with the large side windows as well as the bold wheel cutouts on.

    The slightly short wheelbase, otherwise like criticizes the six acts from my perspective hardly disturbing. True beauty, I think, always has something to do with sexy imperfection. Deep relaxed I sit in the Mercedes on a wide blue leather chair, have before me the large star-wheel with the strange cattle engraved around the rim.

    Even a mundane SL or SLC is here the common 200D is, there is not a privilege of athleticism - but the tachometer.

    Sound and form in harmony

    The frameless side window of the silver blue SLC is half open. So I hear the sonorous sound of the BMW unobtrusive, gently modulated by only one shift. His driver rotates, probably inspired as well, cocky a few circles too much. It is the perfect accompaniment to the attractive form, this unheard cultured shakes the whole force of its 304 Newton meters casually from the front pipe.

    The interior of the Mercedes animated indeed to such contemplative viewing of sound and style. Dignified burled walnut, blue, light patinated leather with intense odor and familiarity that radiates all, also just been criticized steering wheel calm. The SLC is as an Abraham-lap, which makes you forget a lot of kilometers, but also defeated an accelerated procedure. From the rugged beauty of the SLC I've always been convinced even with car connoisseurs with a strong sense of aesthetics I had to justify it often.

    When SLC running length compared to squat SL Roadster something of beautiful, and the proportions jubilant 36-centimeter longer wheelbase.

    Even the louver windows, derided by others as a styling gimmick, I find downright erotic and consistently. For lamellae, if you will, can also be found in the rear lights, the radiator grille and in the basement of the profile again. The almost dome-shaped rear window of the Mercedes also is one of the specific details of this extravagant form that created chief stylist Friedrich Geiger. Paul Bracq, in earlier years of Mercedes-services nor father of pagoda, Stroke Eight and tailfin Coupé, drew the six, who despite their beauty offers less formal extravagance, but polyphonic harmony as the SLC.

    The irrationality of the V8

    The photo tours on the open fairgrounds be completed with restrained dynamics, no tire squeal, no kickdown. The automatic wins just once in third gear, their shifts are barely noticeable, speeds above 2500rpm hardly be achieved on the smooth asphalt Fair. My SLC obeys precise, accelerating gently, but firmly, steers easily with a little game about the central position, also comes very familiar and Daimler-typical. Acoustically it pleased me even more than the BMW, the casual-cool flap-flap-flap of the rather low volume aluminum eight-cylinder makes a nice accompaniment to quite emotional feeling of the heavy car. Got serious about only later, on the highway.

    Only then I will give him the spores to use his time in proverbial tests revving to rapid acceleration. I want to hear when the soaked Flap-flap-flap a hoarse staccato, and sense when the shifts are tougher. No one believes that under the beautiful bodywork of the SLC, the Stroke Eight chassis infected. It has with its rugged wishbones front and semi-trailing arms rear reserves without end. Although he was raised to brave understeer, could beat him at long-distance rallies like the Bandama transverse drifting on gravel roads.

    Finally switch to the long-awaited BMW six that will catch me again, by neutralizing my SLC euphoria slowly. I even had an E24, a mild 628 CSi of the first series, of course, with ZF three-speed automatic (ZF3HP 22). Our 635 CSi comes the second series, uses a platform already more mature in quality and driving dynamics fives E28 instead of playful E12 with its pronounced tendency to oversteer. I sit much higher in BMW, the ambience is dominated despite leather of cool functionality. The steering wheel is exaggerating it so, it seems strange mannered.

    For sheer driving pleasure
    But I feel nevertheless probably already with its dominant driving position affects the 635 CSi gripping. The large bulbous, super-elastic six-cylinder, which you can also drive in third gear, pawing already just above the idling speed with the powerful hooves. He wants to show what it can do, and with him the whole six-ser.

    Sometimes I look instinctively to first gear left behind, but the Getrag five-speed gearbox a protected and no sports transmission. The handling of the nimble BMW is clearly better than that of almost ponderous Mercedes - he looks much more alive, the shorter wheelbase provides advantages in agility, the steering is direct and the car feels much total curve willing to.

    The switching cars irritates course much more for turning the gears, subjectively created when 635 CSi the impression significantly more overwhelming temperament. The running gear, MacPherson struts in front and oblique handlebar rear, bought streets not position by hardness. Again, the six remains exemplary harmony. He is a sports car, but not an ascetic, the feeling of space front came luxuriant, the build quality is solid.

    Nevertheless, it remains a typical BMW, as the SLC is a typical Mercedes, with more opulence in the cylinders and in space, rather than command Lounge Chair armchair. At the end of the SLC wins the duel just because he is the better GranTurismo, and because I'd rather go with him from Hamburg to Milan.

    I almost forgot what is for a racy car of sixes. The back - torrential form, the high driving dynamics, the exciting motor. At 635 CSi of Sport weighs - dare in Gran Turismo. When formally equally enchanting SLC is reversed. Despite the actual superiority of the BMW my heart beats for the V8.

    The 635 CSi is a luxurious sports car and the 380 SLC a sporty coupe. Motor Klassik editor Alf Cremers.

    Mercedes-Benz 380 SLC, C107 ( #1981 ) FACTS & FIGURES

    ENGINE Type #M116 / #Mercedes-Benz-M116 , water-cooled eight-cylinder V-engine (cylinder angle 90 degrees) Bore x stroke 92 x 71.8 mm, displacement 3818 cm3, output 218 hp at 5500rpm, max. Torque 299 Nm at 4000 rpm, compression 9.0: 1, five crankshaft bearings, cylinder heads and block made of light metal, Reynolds 390, cylinder surfaces with silicon grain, per cylinder bank an overhead camshaft, driven by duplex chain, arranged in parallel valves via cam followers operated mechanical injection Bosch K-Jetronic, transistorized ignition, oil content 7.5 liters engine

    TRANSMISSION DB-automatic, four-speed planetary gearbox with hydraulic torque converter, rear-wheel drive

    BODY AND CHASSIS Self-supporting steel body, front double wishbone, coil springs, stabilizer to crossmember, rear oblique beam axle, springs screws, stabilizer, front and rear auxiliary rubber springs, servo recirculating ball steering, disc brakes, a. W. ABS, wheels 6.5 J x 14, tires 205/70 VR 14

    WEIGHT Wheelbase 2820 mm, length x width x height 4750 x 1790 x 1330 mm, weight 1650 kg, fuel tank capacity 90 l

    PERFORMANCE AND CONSUMPTION Vmax 215 kmh, 0-100 km h 9.5 s, consumption 14.5 liters / 100 km

    CONSTRUCTION AND NUMBER All C107 1971-1981: 62,888 copies, 380 SLC 1980-1981: 3789 Pieces

    1 length runs, the slender silhouette of SLC also benefits from lush wheelbase. 2 Melodious 3.8-liter V8 from light metal in the early version with 218 instead of 204 hp. 3 The SLC is a true four seats, not scarcer 2 + 2, part in blue leather. 4 A beautiful face, chrome instead of aerodynamics, headlamp washers as a fine extra. 5 The 107er has pioneered the new star designs with. the typical profile luminaires. 6 air, leather, burr walnut, the SLC-feel-good interior.

    Mercedes-Benz 280-500 SLC
    The SLC is a relic of time before the rust prevention was improved when 107er. The complex technology is not to be underestimated.

    Before buying you should definitely pay attention to bubbles in the paint which are manifested mainly on the headlights, in the lateral games, in the rear wheel arches and the area of the rear side portions of the rear window. Here a duck to swan is often painted with a new selling paint - that goes for Roadster and Coupe. Rust problems manifest themselves when 107er also the boot floor, on the A-pillar, the side sills, at the jacking points and at the tips, where they flow into the wheel arches.

    Recommendable are the eight-cylinder with cast iron block, not only because they provide with good care extremely high performance, but also because of its wonderful bass-heavy sound. The problem child mimes the DOHC six-cylinder M110 whose elaborate cylinder head must be overhauled frequently at 200 000 kilometers. For such an overhaul one will go after all the 4000 Euro. A typical problem is the excessive play in the steering, it is a full-proposed steering gear fault. After long periods the fuel injection (D or K-Jetronic) can cause problems.

    When introducing 1980 (Mercedes-Benz 380 SLC) ..................... 57 700 Mark
    Classic Analytics Award 2016 (State 2/4) ..................... 19 500/3500 €

    From Mercedes-Benz is a healthy supply of spare parts. Although the prices are not low, but apart from equipment parts rare variants you get just about anything. Rare Spares there may be the 107er-Club (

    Mercedes-Benz R / C 107 SL Club Germany e. V., Krieger 40, 42115 Wuppertal, Tel. 02/695 02 44 66,
    SLS GmbH, spare parts for older Mercedes-Benz models, Industriestrasse 2-4, 22885 Barsbüttel, Tel. 040/656 93 90,
    Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, Stuttgarter Straße 90, 70736 Fellbach, Tel. 07 11/173 00 00,

    Fender bow and floor plates
    2 wheel arches and end points
    3 jacking
    4 A-pillar and sill
    5 boot floor
    6 windshield frame
    7 K-Jetronic
    8 timing chain (380, 500 SLC)
    9 Transmission Automatic
    10 Steering Gear

    Spare location
    Maintenance costs

    BMW 635 CSi, E24 ( #1984 ) FACTS & FIGURES
    ENGINE Type #M30 / #BMW-M30 / #M30B34 , water-cooled six-cylinder in-line engine, bore x stroke 92 x 86 mm, displacement 3430 cm3, output 218 hp at 5200 rpm, max. Torque 304 Nm at 4000rpm DIN, compression 10.0: Operated 1, cast iron block, cylinder head made of light metal, seven crankshaft bearings, a overhead camshaft, driven by duplex chain, two v-shaped arranged valves per cylinder, of rocker arms , Three ball whirlpools-combustion chamber, electronic fuel injection #Bosch-Motronic , map-controlled ignition, oil content engine 5.75 liters

    TRANSMISSION five-speed manual transmission, a. W. with sporting character, ZF four-speed automatic transmission #ZF4HP with torque converter, rear-wheel drive

    Self-supporting all-steel body, front MacPherson struts, lower wishbones, stabilizer, rear trailing arm, spring struts, coil springs, stabilizer, ZF recirculating ball power-power steering, disc brakes front and rear, wheels 6.5 J x 14 (aluminum), tires 205/70 VR 14 or 202/55 VR 390 TRX on specific TR-aluminum wheels

    WEIGHT Wheelbase 2626 mm, length x width x height 4755 x 1725 x 1365 mm, weight 1475 kg, fuel tank capacity 70 l

    PERFORMANCE AND CONSUMPTION Vmax 225 km / h, 0-100 km / h 8.0 s, consumption 15 l / 100 km

    CONSTRUCTION AND NUMBER E24 all models: 86 224 copies, 635 CSi: 45,213 copies

    1 Typical BMW: factual cockpit of clear, edged rigor, driver-oriented

    2 Leather in pearl beige blends well with lacquer in graphite metallic, no sport seats

    3 The great Bracq design has only one drawback: The wheelbase is 2.63 m too short

    4 Unfortunately something installed. Under throttle bodies and ECU lives the M30 six-cylinder

    5 The impressive front end with an evil eye the chocolate load side of the six

    6 Check Control in Italian: Is the oil level?

    BMW 630 CS and 635 CSi Early sixes are very susceptible to rust. The second series from 1982 are located not so much love for detail, but is much better in quality and rust prevention.

    Especially from the early models up to 8/1977, which were built entirely by Karmann, had only a few receive. Rust is found mainly on the fenders, the floor plates in the engine compartment and the front spring strut domes. To inspect the rear wheel arches and the spring dome, the trunk liner is removed. Besides - the help to look at the moldings and bumpers, because here replacement is expensive. From little things like fatigued gas pressure regulators of the bonnet, defective motors for window regulators and sunroofs or frayed leather seats and the six will not be spared.

    The six-cylinder M30 is practically just go on forever - if one starts with regular maintenance and the engine is not cold chasing what provokes cracks in the cylinder head. Pay attention to rattling noises, because that might indicate broken-camshaft, rocker defective or worn rocker arms. Bearing failures are very rare, since the crank mechanism is designed such that it without grumbling turbocharging or the high-performance four-valve head from the M1 and M 635 CSi endures. Are they well treated, then keep the Getrag manual transmission and the ZF automatic transmission as long as the motor.

    When introducing 1982 (BMW 635 CSi, 2nd series) ........................ 56 750 Mark
    Classic Analytics Award 2016 (State 2/4) ..................... 23 000/4000 Euro

    Technik replacement is easy to get on the E24. The second series from July 1982 shall be based on the widely used E28 fives, and there are equal parts with the first sevens. The early models with E12 technology prepare few problems except for equipment and trim.

    BMW 6 Club (E24) e. V., Wolfgang Krammel, to Weiden 11, 40764 Langenfeld, Tel. 021 73/752 50,
    Walloth & Nesch Spare parts for classic BMW, Im Ohl 69, 59757 Arnsberg, Tel. 029 32/90 04 50,
    BMW Group Classic, Petuelring 130, 80788 Munich, Tel. 089/38 22 70 21,

    Fenders and floor panels
    2 hidden accident damage
    3 sills and door bottoms
    4 strut towers front
    5 Headlight (refl)
    6 tie rod ends
    7 rear wheel, wheel arches
    8 Rear axle
    9 cylinder head
    10 Motronic control unit

    Spare location
    Maintenance costs
    Availability demand
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    EVERY CLOUD… #BMW-525e / #BMW-525e-E28 / #BMW-E28 / #BMW /

    This show-stopping E28 has gone from rags to riches. Words: Josh Wilson. Sometimes your dream purchase can turn out to be a bit of a nightmare. Fortunately, a bit of TLC can make all the difference, as this sexy E28 demonstrates. Photos: Courtney Cutchen.

    “Something about the lines and old-school styling grabbed my attention right away”

    Finding the right car for pouring our hard earned wages into can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to vintage chassis. Scouring for sale ads, dealing with sellers and getting all the details can be a bit of a chore but at some point we reach the rewarding conclusion and find ‘the one’. For some we get exactly what was expected in our newly purchased project car but others, like Rob Amason, find themselves desperately seeking a silver lining when a purchase tailspins into a downward spiral. In 2011, Rob began the search for his next project after migrating from the Volkswagen scene to the BMW community. Originally Rob was set on an elegant white five-speed E34 but during the search came across a well-maintained E28 and thoughts of owning an E34 became a distant memory.

    “Something about the lines and old-school styling grabbed my attention right away,” he explained. “I immediately started daydreaming about the possibilities of what the car could become.”

    Once Rob had made contact with the owner he quickly realised that he was speaking to a devoted BMW enthusiast who had decided to let go of his E28 as he had moved to newer models. Even though the owner was keen to sell the car he didn’t want to sell it to just anyone. He had found it sitting under a tree years ago and nursed it back to health and the thought of some young kid buying the car and just hacking it up made him cringe.

    So in the end, it took Rob two months of trading emails and calls trying to coax the owner to sell the E28. His persistence finally paid off, though, and he became the owner of what he thought would be the perfect base for his build. But after his E28 rolled off of the car hauler fresh from California, Rob found himself with a car that wasn’t in the condition that the previous owner had stated.

    He quickly noticed that the respray lacked quality, the interior had more wear than the pictures revealed and the Style 5s that came with the car were beyond saving due to being chipped and kerbed. The beginning of his build had begun with heartbreak but then came the silver lining: under the cheap paint was a body that was completely rust-free. Even the floor was intact.

    The exterior of this classic looking E28 has been kept clean, showcasing its timeless body lines. Rob carried out a full respray in the original Royal Blau that this car would have come off the production line with back in 1988. He also did us all a favour by tossing the original US-spec bumpers in the dumpster and replacing them with European-spec items, which we think help massively clean up the look of not just this but all older BMWs. Other accents like Euro headlamps, Euro grilles and Euro all-red tail lamps were added to complete the look.

    Next on Rob’s ‘to-do’ list was the interior as he wasn’t a fan of the original pearl beige and black interior. The car was completely gutted with the help of Will Villegas – a fellow enthusiast. Recaro Evo 8 front seats and a rear seat from an M5 now reside inside his E28 which have been completely reupholstered along with the doorcards, handles and gear gaiter. Custom upholstery seems to be hard to pull off in vintage BMWs but Rob has managed to give the interior a fresh look while still keeping the overall feel of the car the same, a seemingly simple task that is rarely accomplished as well as this.

    The biggest challenge for Rob to tackle was the air suspension. Today, finding an air setup for older BMWs is a pretty simple task but back in 2011 before the air suspension explosion it was not so easy. The only E28 on air at this time, in the States at least, was the infamous Rusty which was built by Mike Burroughs who has graced these very pages.

    Knowing that Mike’s setup was a one-off setup, Rob enlisted the expertise of Drew Dorbritz from Dorbritz Design in Texas. Rob and Drew sat down and brainstormed what they hoped to accomplish and also what options existed out there to use as a base. Once they had done the groundwork, they worked alongside performance air suspension specialist Air Lift to create a setup with a balance of form and function.

    This pioneering work would also serve as a roadmap for future E28 and E30 owners looking to do similar modifications. As you can imagine, in order to get an E28 with its control arms sitting on the pavement it was necessary to carry out some fabrication work, mainly due to the stock spindles and struts. However, despite the low ride height no modifications to the E28’s body was required, leaving the elegant lines unmolested. To manage the Air Lift suspension, Rob went with Accuair’s eLevel Air Management which is tucked away – adding to the car’s clean composition.

    Speaking of being tucked away, Rob has been through a multitude of wheels with this E28 but currently the BMW is sitting on a set of chrome Rotiform SJC Race wheels. These fill the arches nicely as they measure 9x17” in each corner. Peeking out behind those eye-grabbing Rotiforms is a custom Futura Design Big Brake Kit up front with E32 750iL brakes helping out in the rear.

    Even with all the upgrades to the suspension, interior, and drivetrain Rob still loves the fact that this E28 still has that oldschool feel. “I love all the quirky little things that come with being the caretaker of an antique class car,” he told us with a big smile. “The fact that sometimes I have to give the dash a gentle tap to get the lights to turn on or that in cold weather I have to allow the car to warm up a bit before getting on the road doesn’t matter at all.

    That’s what I like about it! It has real character. I even love the smell of the interior… it’s a scent that only a 26-year-old car can give you.” We agree, it’s an encompassing experience that carmakers can only dream to achieve with their modern offerings. It’s a shame that some will never experience it as they don’t see it as character, rather it’s an inconvenience. It’s been a three-year love affair for Rob and his beautiful #1988 E28, a journey that began with its troubles but has resulted in a resurrection of a beloved chassis with an elegant aura. For Rob, though, it has been more than just building and restoring this E28 as he’s made some good friends through his hobby. “Thankfully this build has helped introduce into my life a great number of relationships that I normally wouldn’t have had the opportunity to enjoy,” he said. “And while I built this car with a specific vision in mind, it was also with determination that I wanted to build something that was a true reflection of who I am as a person and something that everyone could appreciate. There is never an instance where everyone will be satisfied with what you’ve done but when I take account the relationships that have been forged over this build, the best trophy of all as been the friendships I’ve made.”


    ENGINE: 2.7-litre straight-six #M20B27 / #M20 / #BMW-M20 , upgraded head with 885 casting and dual-valve springs, upgraded camshaft, upgraded intake and exhaust valves, upgraded harness and ECU to 173 #Bosch-Motronic with performance chip, powdercoated intake manifold and valve cover, fully polished and upgraded throttle body.

    CHASSIS: 9x17” ET10 (front and rear) #Rotiform / #Rotiform-SJC Race wheels with 3” lips and Falken Ziex tyres. #Air-Lift-Universal-Double-Bellow bag with air strut (front), #Air-Lift Universal Sleeve Bag air strut (rear), #AccuAir #eLevel air management system with rocker control, Dual polished tanks with hardlines in custom trunk enclosure, Dual chrome #Viar silent compressors, custom #Futura-Design Big Brake Kit with two-piece discs with anodised blue hats, calipers powdercoated in #Alpine white with blue logos (front), drilled and grooved discs (front), stainless brake hoses (front), new master cylinder, rear brakes upgraded to E32 750iL brakes.

    EXTERIOR: Full European conversion comprising Euro front and rear bumpers, Euro headlamps, front Euro grill, rear Euro all-red tail lamps.

    INTERIOR: Custom Recaro Evo 8s (front), custom M5 rear seats, custom doorcards, handles and gear gaiter, NRG quick release steering wheel hub and adapter, NRG Wood grain steering wheel and matching gear knob.

    AUDIO: #Sony GS Series Audio with XS-GS1720 and XSGS1720S speakers, 12” XS-GS120LD DVC subwoofer, XM-GS400 4/3/2 channel amplifier, XM-GS100 Class D subwoofer amplifier, MEX-BT4100P Bluetooth receiver with Pandora, custom sub and amp enclosure built by German Audio Specialists.

    THANKS: First and foremost, I’d like to thank my sons who’ve spent their fair share of hours handing me wrenches, cleaning parts and pushing it in and out of the garage when it wasn’t running. Those friends that took time from their own busy schedules to turn a wrench here and there in exchange for beer and laughter: Will Villegas, Greg Strube, Drew Dorbritz and Team16NiSS. My supports: Meguiars, Futura Designs, German Audio Specialists, Sony Audio, #UndergroundGrfx , Accuair , Kustomz Unlimited and Dorbitz Designs Kustom Shoppe. Special thanks to Courtney Cutchen for the photography work, Josh Wilson for the literary work and CAtuned for the opportunity.

    Custom Futura Design BBK sits behind 9x17” Rotiform SJC Race wheels, which tuck perfectly when aired-out.

    Easily one of the shiniest air-ride boot builds we’ve seen, with polished hardpipes galore, and it’s immaculate.
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    EXTRA RARE CITROEN BX 297bhp, supercharged GTi

    This immaculate BX was saved from the scrappy and now makes a very healthy 297bhp... Words Midge. Photos: Matt Woods.

    “There are so few of these cars left now, it’s even more impressive”

    It could be argued that the #Citroen-BX-GTi-16V is one of the most underrated hot hatches of all time. It’s certainly one of the rarest. That’s not to say they didn’t make a few, between 1987 and 1993 they rolled-out around 3000 of ‘em, but the fact is nowadays there’s probably only about 30 left and, by anyone’s standards, that’s a pretty rapid demise. On the face of it this motor had all the performance credentials. Along with its ‘in-house’ brother, the Peugeot 405 Mi16, it was the first French car to be fitted with a 16V lump. It was slightly faster than the Pug too with a 0-60 time of 7.2-seconds and a top speed in excess of 140mph… and don’t forget that was way back in 1987. The special edition bits and pieces on the body, especially when it came to the 1990 Phase II model, were sweetly distinctive and the all-round disc brakes that had been fitted to the whole BX range since 1982 didn’t go unnoticed either. Some say it was ahead of its time. I’m pretty sure they’re right.

    So, what happened to them all? You would think that enthusiasts would be all over these right? Well, the trouble is they’re unbelievably complex and, being from #Citroen , when they went wrong it was generally something a tad more expensive than a thermostat. Fitted with Citroen’s hydropneumatic suspension system (albeit one of the coolest inventions ever) it wasn’t exactly a car that was easy to fix and that’s probably why over the years many have donated their Mi16 innards to keep a 405 or the odd converted 205 ticking along. It just goes to show that sometimes being totally different to the competition doesn’t always help with longevity. And that’s a massive shame.

    Of course the other reason may have a little to do with the styling. Like many of the older Citroens the BX has always been something of an acquired taste. Some, like myself, think the shape is extremely cool, in a retro kinda way. Others say these look like the bastard child of Robocop and your nan’s Zanussi washing machine. Either way there’s no denying they all have a face that only a mother could love.

    Ian Nixon, the creator of this particular supercharged beast agrees with me on that. He fully admits he’s never been a fan of Citroens but equally he couldn’t step away from the serious performance the BX GTi 16 offers. “I hated them until I realised the potential. I tried to blow one of these off in my Audi 80 when I was a kid and before I looked round it was gone. I couldn’t believe it.” Years later Ian had a Xantia run-around and was impressed by the handling the hydropneumatic system serves up so, with that in mind, an old school BX build was always on the cards – the only trouble was finding one.

    Locating a base car that’s rarer than a load of hen’s teeth nestling in a pile of rocking horse shite is one of those neighon impossible tasks. I guess Ian was lucky coming across a car collector that wasn’t exactly impressed with his. Then again ‘lucky’ is a relative term and a blown head gasket on the drive home kicked off an epic re-build quicker than he may have imagined.

    Still, like many of us, Ian isn’t the type of fella to pull off a head, chuck on another gasket and leave it at that. Being an engineer and a bloke who looks after all sorts of highend exotica, race cars and performance motors he asked himself the eternal question “why just repair when you can improve?” And I suppose the rest is history.

    If you read through the engine spec you’ll see it’s extensive to say the least. Even though Ian specifically states that on a car like this “everything’s a mission” he’s managed to squeeze 297bhp from the 1.9-litre lump with the help of everything from a fully re-worked head, forged internals and a custom Rotrex supercharger install. There’s even a 6-speed box conversion! What’s more, the real talent lies in how it’s all been put in – if you ignore the fact it’s not covered in oil like many an old Citroen out there, it almost looks factory. That’s not an easy task to pull off.

    The rest of the car is just as immaculate because it’s taken nearly as much work as under the bonnet. Then again, you don’t go throwing 8-grand’s worth of lump in a 400-quid motor with over 20 owners on the logbook without wanting to sort out a few bits along the way. Ian contracted the bodywork out to a local restoration shop and I’d like to say the rest was easy, but unfortunately it wasn’t. With the car stripped and not a whole load of work completed in 6-months he actually had to go and get it back before they destroyed the whole thing.

    Handily they managed to lose most of the special 16V parts too meaning Ian had to find another whole BX 16V, just to get the bits needed to compete the job. It was another seriously lucky find, even if the circumstances were a little infuriating. The second time around Ian enlisted the help of paint supremo Steve Bell, and after a serious amount of welding (yes, it’s a proper Citroen) and fettling it left the booth pretty much as you see it today. With the stunning Dolmen Grey respray and a few exterior touches it’s clear that he’s chosen to keep the styling true to the original. Even the 17-inch BBS wheels are somewhat reminiscent of the standard 14-inch Speedlines fitted at the factory. A subtle but undeniably nice touch.

    In all, it’s not been the simplest of jobs but you have to commend Ian for his never-failing persistence. Without bringing that quality to the table this could have so easily been yet another BX 16V relegated to the scrappy. Instead he’s not only built himself one of the sweetest retro motors in the UK but, perhaps most importantly, he’s kept another super-rare French legend on the streets.

    TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATIONS #1991 #Citroen-BX-GTi-16V-Phase-II / #Citroen-BX / #Citroen-BX-GTi

    Engine: 1.9 #XU9J4DFW engine ( Mi16 ), stage 5, high flow head, big valve #Siamese ported cylinder head, #Kent-PT81 inlet cam/ PT82 exhaust, #Kent VS34 double valve springs and titanium retainers, Kent vernier pulleys, #Richard-Longman 4-1 manifold, #Cosworth-57X exhaust manifold fixing kit D6C block with #DFW pistons (comp 9:5:1), PEC performance H section light weight conrods with #ARP bolts, #Peugeot-Motorsport GPA 1:1 oil pump, Constella Sump baffle, Mocal oil breather system, #Accusump 4 quarts oil accumulator system, #Rotrex SP30/74 centrifugal supercharger, Pace charge cooler from RS turbo, Range Rover P38 intercooler, #Samco intake and discharge pipe work, #Baker BM coolant hoses, #Baker-BM engine hung mounts and solid stabiliser mount, Standard #Bosch-Motronic 4.1 ECU live mapped by Wayne Scofield of Chipwizards, #Astra-VXR injectors, #Sytec high flow fuel filter, Sierra #Cosworth GPA fuel pump, #FSE fuel pressure regulator.

    Transmission: Peugeot 306 GTI-6 BE-6 gearbox, #Quaife-ATB differential, Royal Purple oil.

    Chassis: 17-inch #BBS-RX alloys, 205/45 R17 tyres.

    Interior: Standard 16v Le-Mans cloth trim, #VDO boost gauge, Quaife nylon gear knob.

    Exterior: Extended bumpers to accommodate intercooler, additional air intake on NSF wing, fog lights removed and turned into brake ducts, steel bonnet, Mk3 Golf gas bonnet struts, resprayed respray in original Citroen Dolmen Grey.

    Thanks Steve Bell for the paintwork, Peter Greenwood for the fibreglassing expertise, Wayne Schofield for the mapping and advice and Jackie for spanner passing, making tea and towing around the country on trailer.
    “I hated them until I realized the potential...”
    Period interior is also in decent nick. #BBS 17s look almost OEM.
    The fat pipe gives you a clue...
    Mi16 unit makes 297bhp.
    “There are so few of these cars left now, it’s even more impressive”
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    Ultra-coupe #BMW-850i-E31 vs. #Mercedes-Benz-500SL-R129 Kings of autobahn

    True showcases the best of what is made in Germany of the 90s, the BMW 850i and the Mercedes-Benz 500 SL can be distinguished on the body, but they share a world of technology.

    Beneficiaries with excellent infrastructure, the Germans always prized good (and fast) cars. But never like in the 90's builders were so intent on uniting the power of V8 and V12 engines with new technologies that fulfil comfort and safety the top of the range, if the fabulous BMW 850i E31 and Mercedes-Benz 500 SL R129 which decided By facing each other.

    Conceived as a GT capable of facing brands like Ferrari or Maserati, BMW 8 Series ( #BMW-E31 code name) made furore when it came to market in 1989. enviable technological package, in addition to the V8 and V12 engines, the "eight" premiered among other things accelerator "drive by wire". From the first moment the 850i, with its V12 engine with five-litres and 300 horsepower, took the top of the hierarchy. Descendant of a royal line of convertibles, the #Mercedes-Benz-SL (R129 codename) was designed to overcome the previous models of the star brand. And it had new engines and a lot of technology. Aware of the importance of the US market, the German technical safety elected as one of the most important parameters, with SL to be equipped with an automatic rollbar, triggered in the event of imminent rollover. The version 500 SL was equipped with a V8 engine with five litres and a power output of 326 horsepower.

    Apparently distinct, if only for their body, both German proposals represent the best of what they did in Germany in the 90s, keeping intact predicates as the ability to travel long distances in comfort (and speed) and excite your driver. Equipped with different architectures engines - the BMW with a V12 and #Mercedes-Benz with a V8 - the total weights and power equate themselves as well as the use of an automatic four relationships.

    Designed by Klaus Kapitza, the BMW 8 Series conquers us immediately by its slender and proportionate lines, noting the absence of B-pillar, making it even more airy and clean their profile. More classical in their approach, the duo of Mercedes Johann Tomforde and Bruno Sacco designers kept the inspiration in earlier generations of the SL, innovating in the proportions of the body, making the model even more fit the US market. In this parameter, the versatility of the body of the 500 SL convertible gives him victory by a wide margin.


    Given the traditional 500 SL chassis layout, equipped with independent suspension on both axes, with triangular arms forward and multi arms ago, the BMW 850i responds with an advanced electronic system of EDC damping with the body height adjustment. Inside the 850i back to gain advantage, with several electric drives to the chassis functions and facilities the cabin.

    Life on Board
    Consistent with the modern lines of the exterior, the interior of the BMW 850i blend perfectly new technologies with ergonomic advocated at the time. Sitting in armchair advantaged lined skin, I find myself wrapped in the assembly of the instrument panel and centre console, the driver-oriented as today happens. Initially confused, the multitude of buttons quickly becomes customary, which just goes to prove the excellent ergonomics of the BMW.

    In contrast, Mercedes-Benz has the cabin of simple lines and the ideal partner to its classic design. Timidly around in scanty centre console, round buttons contrast with the rectangular command of the electric windows and heated seats, they also lined skin. Undoubtedly two quality proposals with very different attributes.

    Taking advantage of a known piece of winding road near Bucelas, with the machine photographer at the ready, become familiar myself with the 850i. Smooth and progressive, little temperamental delivery and quiet to medium regimes, the V12 seems distant in the way you work. The speedometer indicates 300 km / h top speed, but it is the accounting-rotations that deserves attention, because only after exceeded the threshold of 4000 rpm (up to the limit set at 5500 rpm) is the 300 horsepower are revealed with a sharp, metallic roar.

    Full-bodied sound and serious tone, the V8 engine that equips the 500 SL deserves more attention from the first meters. Although it is rotating that its German counterpart (the redline is at 6000 rpm), the block seems to have more soul at low engine speeds, rewarding the persistence of the right foot with a baritone intoxicating sound that makes me immediately smitten.

    Geared towards the long (and smooth) German autobahn, both models are true street sofas. On Portuguese roads, where the broken asphalt prevails, analogue suspension of the 500 SL disguises most swells, but the electronic BMW system that takes the advantage in terms of comfort, although very short, with a work smooth and progressive.


    Some say that "BMW with five meters long (other than the 7 series) does not count." I'm not that radical, but the fact is that the kinetic structure of the 850i worth exploring in highway, as in tight corners reveals ill at ease. To my regret, as the hydraulically assisted steering of the BMW is one of the best I have ever experienced, providing perfect dose of accuracy, sensitivity and weight.

    In the case of Mercedes-Benz is the direction that makes the model fall short of expectations, too care centre and insensitivity. In contrast, the chassis is truly brilliant, casting to the type of driving quickly and accurately. In turn, the rear axle sets quietly, helping to describe the trajectory, which in turn allows me to further explore the limits without fear of exceeding them.


    Neoclassical by definition, both the BMW and Mercedes-Benz have an estimated price of EUR 18 000 for the coupe and EUR 20 000 for the convertible. The same can be said regarding the consumption announced at the time. According to BMW, the 850i E31 was spending 90 kmh (average speed) 8.6-litres / 100 km, 120 kmh 10.3-litres / 100 km, and urban environments spent 19.8-litres / 100 km. Mercedes already spent to 90 kmh 10.1-litres / 100 km, 120 kmh 12.0-litres / 100 km, and urban environments spent 16.6-litres / 100 km. Two types of savings to take into account when we talk about classics as recent, and give a technical draw the tested models.


    Geared towards the fabulous German roads, the BMW 850i E31 and the Mercedes-Benz 500 SL R129 are probably two of the best gender models of the 90s (the list could also include the Porsche 928), but they could not be more different from one from the other. The BMW is a true GT, gentle in character and available at delivery, with comfort to spare. But the Mercedes-Benz SL enhances heritage with a refined sporty character mixed with classic atmosphere and current benefits. The winner should be the V12 from BMW but the versatility of the V8 #Mercedes-Benz takes the lead. Close call.

    We appreciate the collaboration of David Correia, Orlando Ferreira, the stand and the Living Legends Classic Auctions place for conducting this test.

    In more meandering routes the BMW 850i tends to run away slightly from the front, being quite progressive and predictable.

    Blessed by an excellent multi arm rear axle, the 500 SL is quite agile in the description of the tightest curves.

    The automatic transmission of the BMW offers several methods of use, being smooth and progressive. The tachometer announces 300 kmh top speed.

    The automatic transmission of the Mercedes-Benz is one of his best predicates, being smooth and very discreet in the passage of relations.

    Of slim silhouette and generous glazed surface, the 850i is still an elegant model, positioned between the glorious past of BMW and corrugated future aesthetic of the German mark.

    Classic and robust ways: so should always be an SL Mercedes-Benz, or this were not known as "panzerwagen". The maximum speed advertised by the tachometer is 260 kmh.

    The rear seats could be specified, although offered a very limited use. The bag is smaller than the BMW.

    With the roof closed the 500 SL is a true GT, versatile and effective.

    The classic appearance of the 500 SL is continued throughout the interior.

    Four excellent leather seats and a luggage compartment make this remarkable GT. a real racing car family to enjoy during long trips.

    In tight corners the BMW-850i is shown thwarted, preferring the highway.

    Quite ergonomic and technologically advanced, the interior of the #BMW 850i still remains current.

    TECH DATA #BMW-850i #BMW-E31 #1989 - #1994
    Production 20,072
    Engine V12 cylinders #M70 , front longitudinal position
    Distribution 2 overhead camshafts head, 24 valves
    Bore x Stroke 84 X 75mm
    Displacement (cc) 4988
    Power injection #Bosch-Motronic-M 1.7 / #Bosch-Motronic / #Bosch
    Max power (bhp DIN / rpm) 300/5200
    Maximum torque (Nm DIN / rpm) 450/4100
    Independent suspension; Front, lower transversal oscillating arms, anti approximation bar; rear, multi-link, anti approximation bar; electronic damping system #EDC with height adjustment.
    Transmission, automatic transmission 4-speed #ZF4HP / #ZF ; stability and traction control #ASC
    Steering Rack & Pinion, Variable
    Brakes power-assistance, front ventilated discs; rear disks; ABS #Bosch-ABS
    Chassis monoblock, coupé steel body, two doors and four seats
    Tank fuel capacity 90-litres
    Wheels / Tyres 7,5J / 235/50 ZR16
    Length: 4780mm
    Wheelbase: 2685 mm
    Width: 1855 mm
    Weight (kg) 1790
    Acceleration 0-100 kmh (0-62MPH) 7.4 sec
    Top speed 250 kmh

    TECH DATA #Mercedes-Benz-500SL - #Mercedes-Benz-R129 #1992 - #2002
    Production 79,827
    Engine V8 cylinders, front longitudinal position
    Distribution 4 camshafts to the head, 32 valves
    Bore x Stroke 96.5 x 85mm
    Displacement (cc) 4973
    Power mechanical injection / #Bosch electronic KE5-Jetronic / #Bosch-Jetronic / #Bosch-KE5-Jetronic
    Max power (bhp DIN / rpm) 326/5500
    Max torque (Nm DIN / rpm) 450/4000
    Independent suspension; Front, wishbone, bar stabilizer, coil springs; rear multi-link, stabilizer bar, coil springs
    Transmission automatic 4/5 speed
    Steering Rack & Pinion power-assistance
    Brakes with assistance ahead ventilated discs; ago disks; ABS #Bosch
    Chassis monoblock, convertible body in steel, 2-door, four-seat capacity
    Fuel tank 80-litrtes
    Wheels / Tyres 8J / 225/55 ZR16
    Length: 4470 mm
    Wheelbase: 2515 mm
    Width: 1810 mm
    Weight (kg) 1800
    Acceleration 0-100 kmh (0-62MPH) 6.2 seconds
    Max speed 250 Kmh
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    Sports family #Lancia - Thema-8:32 vs. BMW-M535i-E28 / TEXT José Ricardo Gouveia / IMAGE Pedro Lopes

    The truth of the lie. The demand for two super-saloons 80s, led us to the discovery of some undeniable truths. But also to demystify legends embodied by time. This is the story of a titanic battle between BMW M535i and Lancia Thema 8:32.

    The preparation this comparison could not have started more clinical form: the goal was to join two superberlinas 80s, equivalent in terms of performance and pedigree. There is much in the sights of Motor Classic, the choice of Lancia Thema 8:32 was based on its mechanical exceptional V8 Ferrari and pure appeal of driving a luxurious Italian - other than a Maserati - with the ability to get the better of very sporty the war of the traffic lights.

    As a counterpoint, the apparent sedated BMW E28 M535i, simple and discreet body inside, only reached the final choice by presenting a six-cylinder in line with similar power (218bhp BMW against the 212bhp of the Lancia). But if the role models close - themselves as magnet and iron, on the road to their separation could not be more drastic.


    Angular and well defined, with an elegant waist line and front grille typically Lancia Thema revealed in their ways why the Italians consider true masters of car design. No major frills, the saloon of Turin is still immensely enjoyable to look at, revealing details exquisitely placed each time we approach such as the dual support of mirrors, the sculpture of the bonnet or the design of bumpers.

    Since the BMW is pure menir German: geometric and sturdy with a back which seems to have been cut out of a steel block and a front in which only the double rim and the four round headlights stand, this is a well achieved evolution of the first 5 series, lending strength and muscle to the design of the masters Paul and Pietro Frua Bracq. But before the elegant Italian forms, loses luster.


    Conservative in approach, #BMW-Motorsport GmbH delegated to division - responsible for the preparation of the most coveted sports - the transformation of saloon 5. lower chassis and firm a six cylinder in-line 3.5-liter "vitaminized" to the 218 horsepower and limited slip 25 percent to try to put the power down, the BMW is nonetheless quite conservative, with its head eight valves and one camshaft.

    By contrast, the Lancia is to equip a V8 Ferrari with three-liter, four camshafts head, 32 valves and 216 horsepower. Least six horses than the BMW, but exotic and impressive, idling or skim the redline.

    Life on Board

    As in the technical chapter, here the Italian back out benefited by genetic taste of its designers. The dashboard lined timber open tone and we pronounced the magnificent armchairs lined with fabric reminiscent of a mix of alcantara and velvet, the Lancia is worthy of the most demanding mobsters. Too serious and gray, the interior of the BMW in little or nothing is distinguished from the remaining range "Five", using logos simple ones "M GmbH" to stand out. In the midst of such shyness, only the excellent bucket seats saved the model of dishonor. Solid and warm, each more pronounced curve these remind us that we are sitting in a sports true.


    With over 210 horsepower available, both sports saloons still worthy performances of note. In the case of BMW, 218 horses announced for its six-cylinder engine feel something asleep, but still allow the model that weighs 1414 kg accelerates from 0-100 kmh in 7.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 230 kmh. But the Lancia feels more immediate, with its 212 horses ignite immediately the front tires, hell-bent on fighting the lack of traction of a model that weighs 1405 kg and has announced an acceleration of 0-100 kmh of just 6.8 seconds and a top speed of 240 kmh.


    Probably the only parameter in which there is a dead heat. In terms of rolling comfort, both the BMW and the Lancia are excellent, isolating the cabin from the drudgery of surface irregularities. Thanks to independent suspension and high-profile tires (something unthinkable in sporting-day) both saloons meet perfectly the luxury purposes for which they were created. In addition to the comfortable cushioning, an appropriate allocation of equipment covering items such as electric windows, power steering or air conditioning, it makes the driver and passengers life easier.


    States for similar potencies and weight, in theory both the BMW M535i as Lancia Theme 8:32 should provide a level of enjoyment to the driving wheel. But could not be more different. Blessed with an eccentric Ferrari engine, the Lancia is one of the rare cases where the enthusiasm fades from the time that the eight cylinders are filled until we started walking. Theater in the roar that sends idle, the block does not give up in impressing the hearing, which prima - owner that warms the throat before his great performance. Helped by a smooth and precise gearbox, the engine is felt all of its 212 horses at once, flooding the interior with a bright cacophony. But we are quickly restrained the momentum of the right foot by a lack of traction threat of extinction rubber of front tires, no matter what the speed is. Subvirador is a mild adjective for a car that, with dated suspensions, can not digest the spontaneity of the accelerator.

    However, stealth M535i six cylinders is at least disarming. Doubt in the pattern of capacity remains even when printing more pace on driving. Direct yet lightweight and conveniently assisted steering commands, the "M" runs quietly and without fuss. However, just a curve in realizing excellence and balance of your chassis. Superiorly gifted, the BMW makes it easy to describe the trajectories in expressive power-slides, raising anyone traveling to your steering wheel Heroes recognized grace. Never losing his composure, the German sedan maintains a steering assistance that communicates the precise angle of the front wheels, while the rear axle takes the most out of limited slip prepared by the sports division of the brand.


    In the market of the classics, both the BMW and the Lancia themselves in terms of price with the German to be worth 16,000 euros and the Italian to reach 15 000 in very good condition. But when it comes to maintenance, things are quite different. Like so many other Italian models, the Lancia has the scarce stock of the main defect replacement parts. And we're not even talking about the precious Ferrari engine, on which all eyes seem to be focused when it comes to profligacy.

    In the case of BMW greater availability of parts and mechanical simplicity are only opponent in the price of some items. But when it comes to restoration, it is always better when the pieces are the same.


    Fabulous in its time, both BMW M535i as the Lancia Thema 8:32 still make heads turn, but for different reasons. In the case of the Italian exotic engine that hides it gives it a pedigree far above its dynamic potential. But the German, with his quiet personality, conquers our hearts every curve described artistically, winning this comparison by the way can communicate what the mechanics will doing every second.

    We appreciate the collaboration to Classic Care Center (Tel 214 693 072), with the #Lancia-Thema-8:32 and Manuel Mascarenhas (Tel 962 793 114), with the #BMW-M535i . Both cars are for sale.

    Sports details donated by division sporty #BMW Motorsport GmbH make unlike the interior of the 5 Series E28.
    The five-speed gearbox is smooth and the Lancia relatively precise, especially at low speeds and when not asked too much engine.

    Aesthetically the M535i's body is distinguished from others by the use of a small rear spoiler, side sills deeper and specific bumpers, sports and more pronounced.

    Distinguished in appearance, the Thema only reveals the pedigree of his Ferrari engine in the logos "8:32" in yellow and bumpers painted in body colour. The interior features a number of useful tools...

    With its electrically adjustable seats, upholstered type alcantara, the interior of the Thema 8:32 is higher than the BMW.

    Lined with the finest materials, the interior is luxurious Lancia

    Kids, do not try this at home. Bending aside does not come naturally to Thema

    TECH DATA #Lancia-Thema 8 / 32 #1986 - #1989
    Number built 4000
    Engine V8-cylinder engine, front transverse position / #Ferrari
    Distribution 4 camshafts to the head, 32 valves
    Bore x Stroke 81mm X 71mm
    Displacement (cm3) 2927
    Power electronic injection #Bosch-Jetronic-KE3
    Max power (DIN bhp / rpm) 212/6750
    Torque max (Nm / rpm) 285/4500
    Suspension front, MacPherson type, helical springs; rear, rocker arms, coil springs; telescopic shock absorbers and bars stabilizing;
    Transmission Front, from 5-speed manual gearbox
    Steering Rack and pinion, with power assistance
    Brakes front ventilated discs; rear disks; #Bosch-ABS ;
    Unibody chassis, bodywork steel, four doors and five seats
    Fuel tank capacity 70-litres
    Wheels / Tires 15 '' / 205/55 VR15;
    Dimensions Length: 4590 mm
    Wheelbase: 2660 mm
    Width: 1750 mm
    Weight (kg) 1405
    Acceleration 0-100 kmh (sec. 0-62MPH) 6.8
    Top speed 240 kmh

    Spartan but coated with materials quality, the inside of the M535i stands up well over the years.

    Worked by Motorsport GmbH, the brilliant chassis 5-series #BMW-E28 is revealed in curve.

    Banks kind Bacquet has demonstrated remarkable strength, sin only the slight sway in the pipeline (BMW defect of this season)

    TECH DATA #BMW-M535i-E28 #1984 - #1987
    Number built 9483
    Engine 6-cylinder inline, front longitudinal position / #M30 / #M30B35
    Distribution 1 overhead camshaft head, 12 valves
    Bore x Stroke 92 X 86mm
    Displacement (cm3) 3430
    Power electronic injection #Bosch-Motronic-DME / #Bosch-Motronic / #Bosch
    Maximum power (bhp DIN / rpm) 218/5500
    Maximum torque (Nm / rpm) 310/4000
    Suspension front, MacPherson struts, springs Helical; rear swing arms, helical springs; shock absorbers #Bilstein and stabilizer bars;
    Transmission, 5-speed manual gearbox with limited slip differential (25%)
    Steering Recirculating Ball, #ZF
    Brakes with assistance ahead ventilated discs; rear disks; #ABS
    Unibody chassis, bodywork steel, four doors and five seats capacity
    Tank 70-litres
    Wheels / Tires 15.5 '' (R390) / #Michelin-TRX 220/55 VR 390
    Dimensions length: 4620 mm
    Wheelbase: 2625 mm
    Width: 1710 mm
    Weight (kg) 1414
    Acceleration 0-100 kmh ( 0-62MPH sec.) 7.2
    Top speed 230 kmh
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    Dinan Turbo #BMW #M6 #E24 ( turbo-engined #M635CSi #E24 #1988 ) The Annihilator. By Nicholas Bissoon-Dath.

    The needle races past 60 mph. The on-ramp ahead curves tightly away, but your right foot stays flat to the floor, the turbo-charged engine screaming with the hard- edged bass of a highly tuned six-cylinder in full cry. As the sign suggesting a ramp speed of 25 mph flashes past, you bend into the turn, and your passenger audibly pleads for divine protection. You feel the immense lateral loadings build as your speed rises, but the car clings to the road with no dramatics. As you merge onto the highway at more than 80 mph. you look over at the disbelieving face in the right seat. Welcome to the world of the Dinan Turbo BMW M6 E24.

    Company #AMG has the #Hammer , but #Dinan-Engineering has an equally formidable implement; think of it as the #E24-Annihilator . It blasts from 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, through the quarter-mile in 13.2 seconds at 107 mph, and on to a rev-limited top speed of 172. It offers race-car handling, #BMW quality and feel, and a shove in the back dial will get anyone’s attention.

    Steve Dinan is a 34-year-old mechanical engineer and the founder of Dinan Engineering (81 Pioneer Way, Mountain View, California 94041; 415-962-9417). He has spent the last nine years of his life servicing, racing, and tuning BMW's. The Turbo M6 is his star, and he has every reason to be proud of its brilliance.

    The source of the Dinan M6’s E24 prodigious performance is its modified turbo engine. Dinan Engineering retains the 24-valve M6 block and head, but that’s about all. It lowers the compression ratio from 9.8 to 7.7:1. A specially matched Garrett T04B turbocharger supplies the boost, which is limited by a Roto-Master waste gate to 13.0 psi. A huge HKS intercooler lowers the temperature of the intake charge; at 134 mph on a 70-degree day, according to Dinan, the reduction is a whopping 160 degrees. Dinan also installs a new airflow sensor and high-flow injectors and enlarges the stock air-cleaner inlet for better breathing. 4he final touch is a #Bosch-Motronic engine-control system, reprogrammed to Dinan’s specifications by Veloz Car Computers.

    The results are 390 horsepower at 6400 rpm —134 more hp than the standard M6 E24 — and a 7300 rpm redline. Not only is the power amazing, but it feeds in smoothly and progressively in response to the throttle. Press with your right foot and full boost is available just a moment later. The thrust builds at a furious pace, and before you know it you’re traveling at twice your previous speed. It’s easy to maintain high average speeds along remote secondary roads, picking off other cars as if multiple-jumping your way to victory in a game of checkers.

    Dinan has also seen to it that the M6’s superbly controllable brakes will haul you down from high speed as often as necessary. Metallic pads grab the stock rotors, and the front brakes are cooled by means of race-car-sized ducts feeding air from two gaping intakes in the front spoiler. The Turbo M6 #E24-Turbo stops from 70 mph in only 173 feet, ten feet shorter than the stock M6 can manage.

    Dinan’s racing experience is evident in his Stage 4 suspension. The $1938 package includes firmer shocks, stiffer springs, and adjustable anti-roll bars at both ends. Negative-camber plates in front and a special rear crossmember allow the normally fixed camber settings to be adjusted at all four wheels.

    The rolling stock consists of #Goodyear Eagle ZR S or #Yokohama A-008R tires on #BBS modular aluminum wheels. In front. 225/50ZR-16 rubber is mounted on 8.0- inch rims; the rear tires are 255/50ZR-16s on 9.0-inch wheels.

    Yes, #Steve-Dinan personally tunes the sus-pensions of his cars, and he achieves impressive results. We measured 0.91 g on our skidpad; that’s 0.04 g better than a #Z52 #Corvette with 275/40ZR-17 tires. In the real world, the #Dinan-Turbo-N16 will scythe through a series of switchbacks at an incredible pace. Charge into a comer at more than twice the posted limit and the car holds its line precisely. Once past your apex, the tail digs in as you press hard on the throttle and unwind the steering. You can blast through comer after corner in this fashion, in an unending stream of speed and tire squeal and fury, yet remain in complete control.

    At the limit the car understeers just enough to let you know that you’re about to run out of grip. The rear wheels can also be provoked loose by accelerating hard in a tight comer or by sharply backing off the throttle at the limit. When the rear does let go, however, it does so slowly and predictably.

    The price of this performance is a nice, round $20,000 — not including the $59,000 that an #M6-E24 will cost you. For your extra twenty grand you get the rocket engine, the Stage 4 suspension, the wheels and tires, the brake modifications, and a special Center forced clutch.

    You also get a few compromises. The #Dinan M6s ride is substantially stiffer than the production car’s, and the front tires tend to follow highway ruts. If you find such behaviour unacceptable, Dinan Engineering offers three other suspensions for 1970-and-later BMWs, each with its own level of control and complexity. It also sells turbo kits for both 5- and 6-series BMWs (means #E34 and #E24 ). Our test car didn’t have any smog controls, but Dinan builds emissions-certified turbo engines as well.

    We’ve driven Dinan BMWs equipped with both types and found that the cleansed car suffers little in feel. Dinan’s racetrack experience and development work have paid off. The Turbo #M6 s limits are so high, and its acceleration is so aggressive, that only the most exotic performance cars on the planet can compete with it. This is a civilized race car for the street. Drag racers, beware. And heaven help anybody w ho tries to keep up with the #Dinan-Turbo #BMW-M6-E24 on a winding road.

    Vehicle type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive. 4-passenger 2-door sedan #BMW-E24 series

    1988 Price as tested: $80,000

    Engine type: turbocharged and intercooled 6-inline, iron Block and aluminium head, Veloz / ##Bosch-Motronlc electronic engine control system with port fuel injection.

    Displacement 211 cu in, 3453cc #S38 / #M88
    Power (SAE net) 390 bhp at 6400 rpm
    Transmission 5 speed
    Wheelbase 103.3 in
    Length 193.8 in
    Curb weight 3537 lb
    Zero to 60 mph 4.8 sec
    Zero to 100 mph 10.8 sec
    Standing ¼-mile 13.2 sec @ 107 mph
    Top speed 172 mph
    Braking 70-0 mph 173ft
    Road-holding, 300 ft dia skidpad 0.91g
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    Now imported into Britain the Bavarian #Alpina-B9 -3.5 is a blisteringly fast version of BMW's Five Series #E28 saloon. In its performance the car simply has no peers.

    The world's fastest production saloon comes from Bavaria. At a glance, the four-door powerhouse looks very much like a humble 118mph #BMW-518i-E28 . but when the throttle is opened, this inconspicuous metamorphosis of a Five Series BMW will instantly blow off any five seater rival - from Munich's own #BMW-745i-E23 , through the #Mercedes 500SE #W126 to Jaguar's XJ 5.3 HE. On an empty stretch of road, preferably dry, the car will top an honest 153mph (that's it, one hundred fifty-three) with the tachometer needie nudging the redline at 6100rpm. The lair of the performance giant is in the picturesque village of Buchloe halfway between Munich and the Tyrolean border, where a performance car addict called Burkard Bovensiepen has devoted himself to the production of very special motor cars named Alpina. But now, there’s a brand new British connection. BMW (GB) have just begun importing Alpina converted cars, plus Alpina parts and accessories, and Sytners, the Nottingham dealers, are to build and retail the cars. This first model, the B9, costs £22,894, and will be sold here at a rate of about 40 a year, something which will ensure the B9’s exclusivity.

    Alpina’s latest creation wears the full model designation B9-3.5. Burkard Bovensiepen explains: ‘We used "A” to cover our development of BMW's small fours, and B labels the modified sixes. The figure ‘‘9" denotes the ninth improvement we made to this unit, and 3.5 of course, indicates the engine capacity.'

    The #Alpina-E28 B9-3.5 is based on a BMW 528i #M30B28 fitted with a revised big-bore 3.4-litre slant-six #M30B34 BMW engine that is also used in the #735i #E23 saloon and in the #635CSi #E24 coupe. In true #Alpina tradition, the standard BMW engine undergoes thorough modifications, in the course of which the power output is increased from 218bhp to a very effective 245bhp at 5700rpm. ‘Top priority is more torque, better acceleration and a significantly higher top speed', marketing manager Gunter Schuster explains, ‘but the one thing we did not want to end up with was some nervous, pseudo racing car powerplant that would inevitably be hit by reliability problems and excessive thirst, would be difficult to service and too fragile for everyday use’.

    Bovensiepen, who hates being called a mere car tuner, and engine specialist Wolfgang Siebert together set out to breathe new life into the engine without affecting its longevity and serviceability, but with the ambitious aim of at the same time increasing the power output and improving the fuel economy. The engines getredesigned camshafts, the compression ratio is raised from 9.3 to 10.2 to one, their special, balanced pistons have a quench zone for superior thermodynamic efficiency, and the cylinder head with its hemispherical combustion chambers, like the inlet manifold, are shaped and polished to make the gases flow more freely. Other modifications include revised fuel injection settings and minor changes made to the #Bosch #Bosch-Motronic engine computer that monitors fuel feed, ignition and exhaust emission.

    ‘While many so-called tuning firms often just attend to the engine without touching the rest of the car, we don’t do anything by halves,' Bovensiepen claims.

    ‘Like all our products, B9-3.5 has uprated suspension and a redesigned interior.’ To teach the basic #BMW-528i better road manners and to attune the chassis to the extra potential of 61bhp more than standard, suspension expert Alois Wiesinger fits progressive-rate coil springs, specially developed adjustable #Bilstein gas-pressure shock absorbers and 16in alloy wheels, shod with fat 205/55VR #Pirelli P7 tyres at the front and with even wider 225/50VR rubber behind. To improve wet road traction, a limited-slip differential with a 25percent locking ratio is installed. The long-legged Getrag five-speed gearbox is taken unchanged from the standard production model: a three-speed automatic is optional.

    Although the 'basic' B9-3.5 is a vastly understated car that can only be distinguished from its mass-market brothers by its wider wheels and tyres, most buyers opt for the full Alpina trim pack which includes a prominent front spoiler, a black rubber lip on the bootlid and several feet of contrasting stripework stuck on the flanks, which gives the car rather boy- racer looks. According to Alpina, the aerodynamic aids are ‘an absolute necessity’, which help redTjce the aerodynamic drag factor by 9.0 percent, increase the top speed by 6.0 mph, cut front axle lift by 57 percent and rear axle lift by 4.0 percent. The spoilers are also claimed to have a positive effect on the car’s exceptional high-speed fuel economy. The Alpina B9-3.5 returns 37.7mpg at a steady 56mph and 30.9mpg at a constant 75mph, but even with the speedo indicating 125mph-plus wherever possible, the 245bhp Bavarian bullet will better 20mpg. Our hard- driven test car averaged an astonishing 24.1mpg over several hundred miles.

    Inside, the Alpina B9-3.5 feels far sportier and more purposeful than a standard #BMW-528i-E28 . The well-contoured bucket seats and the rear bench are trimmed in the ‘house colours' - black, blue and green. The tacho and speedometer wear Alpina logos, the dished, rather big-diameter standard steering wheel is replaced by a four-spoke leather-rimmed device, and an anodised vehicle identification plate mounted on the dashboard identifies the test car as the 20th B9 to leave Alpina, ‘makers of exclusive automobiles’. Standard equipment also includes a sophisticated sound system, tinted glass, electric door mirrors and a rear axle oil cooler. Extra cash can buy any option listed in the official #BMW brochure; such goodies as ABS anti-lock brakes, air-conditioning or electrically operated windows.

    Without extras, a B9 sells in Britain at a premium of £7400 over the already-expensive #E28 #BMW-528i-SE . ‘I know that our cars are not exactly cheap,' Gunter Schuster concedes, 'but Alpina cars do offer a unique combination of performance, prestige and exclusivity. Our production capacity is limited to a mere 200 cars per year, and less than half of those will be sold abroad. At present, our export efforts concentrate on Switzerland, France, Japan and Britain. The UK will soon be number one export market for us.’

    When you first sit in the relatively confined cabin of the B9, the environment is not as familiar as expected. The firmly- padded seats have little in common with the soft velour- trimmed originals. Alpina's own buckets seem to wrap your torso in a cocoon, minutely adjustable in rake, reach and height. The heavily-modified engine under the short, square bonnet sounds alien, too - marginally less civilised than the #528i unit, it answers all throttle inputs during warm-up with a hoarse, growl, impatiently awaiting the departure from city limits. The quick steering is ideally weighted to cope with really fast motorway esses and zig-zagged country lanes. In town, however, it feels a bit slow and slightly heavy, and it takes a firm hand to keep the car on course when longitudinal ripples make the fat wheels tramline. The handling is tough and precise, not sharp or nervous. Quickly and willingly the Alpina turns exactly where it is pointed. Treated decisively but with due respect, the Alpina is close to the perfect partner - responsive, precise, fairly docile; never acting on its own initiative.

    This obedience makes the #Alpina-B9-3.5 reassuringly safe, even at very high speeds. Stability and imperturbability are perhaps the two qualities which impress most. Even at 140mph the big saloon will cut through motorway bends with surprising ease and unerring precision. Back off and brake to stay clear from an overtaking truck, and there will be no drama: the rear end may go a little light while the nose is pressing into the road, and you may have to reduce lock an inch to maintain your chosen line, but that is all the car will need. The body remains composed and stable, trusting the chassis to sort out the conflict of forces. The fact that bump steer is virtually absent and that the camber changes are minimal also pays off on really bad roads tackled at speed. Here the #B9 doesn't even pretend to be a comfortable car- what the suspension cannot absorb is transmitted faithfully to steering and seats - and occupants- butthe reactions and reflexes of the chassis make up for it, by tying the car firmly to the ground when others would have lifted wheels.

    Like the model it is based on, the Alpina oversteers at the roadholding limit. But compared to a standard Five Series BMW, the car from Buchloe has enough oomph to hang its tail with superb control where its tame brother rolls and lurches rather more.

    The B9 can be pushed sideways with power, even in third or fourth gears, and in the wet, any overdose of torque needs to be administered with extreme caution. I remember drawing enormous black marks on the road in second gear when a nudge of the throttle promptly kicked the back out in the middle of a tightish corner - exciting, spectacular, but expensive and, ultimately, slow. I tried the bend faster and in third and, voila, the car bounded through on the edge of a well-behaved four-wheel drift, smooth and faster. The rear wheels broke eventually, when I floored the accelerator, but the control was very satisfying. It takes some time to get attuned to the Alpina's behaviour at the limit, indeed to actually locate precisely where the limit lies. At that stage, the owner will admire and respect the car's abilities in full.
    Put your mind to it. and the big Alpina will rush from 0 to 60mph in 6.8sec and in under 18sec from standstill to 100mph. Floor the throttle when lazily strolling along in fifth at 40mph. and the car can be doing 75mph in 15sec. Rev the engine to 4500rpm in first and second, and the maximum torque of 231lb ft will spin the fat P7s with ease. The Alpina B9 is a high performance car, but it is neither a rowdy handful only macho men can tame, nor a perfectly neutral, totally domesticated tool for beginners. It is a blend of both characters - competent, fast, and a lot of fun. What irony that the most desirable BMW saloon was not conceived by the original manufacturers themselves.

    Alpina B9 buyers can have car in standard BMW trim or go the whole hog with spoilers and side stripes. Alpina say first are necessity.

    Cabin is distinguished by sporty trim on seats, #Alpina logos on dash and four-spoked steering wheel. Much modified version of BMW 3.4-litre six replaces standard 2.8-litre engine under bonnet, pumps out 245 bhp at 5700 rpm for genuine 153 mph top speed. 6.8 sec 0-60mph. Engine flexibility is excellent, economy remarkable.
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