PH CARPOOL: ALPINA B10 BITURBO (E34)
Rent4Ring's Fredy Lienhard on the childhood dream made real thanks to the ultimate eBay steal
1991 Alpina B10 BiTurbo (E34)
Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Ford, VW, various BMWs but nothing special
Why I bought it:
When I was a kid I always dreamed about fast cars, in particular the Ferrari Testarossa. Until I had a special encounter with the B10. It was at a local car show in 1990 when I first saw this car - a blue B10 BiTurbo - and it was supposed to be even faster than the Testarossa. The owner took me along for a ride ... that was it! Ever since it was my childhood dream and I swore to myself 'one day I'll have one!' It took me nearly 15 years after I got my driving licence to get it but I was constantly looking out for one, and I wanted it in perfect condition. This car I finally found on eBay and I took a chance. Now I'm the owner of No.299 out of 507.
Of course I did a lot of research, also on this particular one. It is in original condition, fully loaded and out of an Alpina collector's hands. It had one registered owner since it was built and the collector had it in his showroom for over 10 years, just drove it once in a while. There is an Alpina registry where you can find historic data about the car, just by filling in the VIN. I have owned it for a few months and haven't had the chance to make my own experience with it yet. I've driven it for 20 miles so far...
Buying tips? There are a lot, most important is that you look for a car that has been very well maintained with no expense spared. The best advice is to sign up to a forum and educate yourself before you buy one! On the BiTurbo model the turbos are one of the weak points. Replacing those two Garrett GT25 in specific Alpina spec can cost over 5,000 Euros! Also, the first 50 cars built have a weak organic cylinder head gasket which has been replaced later by a metallic one. The engine can get very hot during hard use. Very important to warm it up before driving hard and let it cool down before turning off.
It's a legend. When this car was launched, it was the fastest saloon until the Lotus Carlton/Omega came out two years later, but the Alpina still had the highest top speed until 1996 when the Brabus E V12 came out. Personally, I like the engineering behind the car. Alpina put so much effort into this car, it's just too much to list. But the most impressive thing is the power delivery of the engine. Back in the late 80s when turbo engines still suffered from lag this car was different. I had to drive it myself to believe it, but it delivers full boost from just over 2,000rpm and keeps it steady. The parallel twin turbo set-up makes it possible. Great spool up and enough air all the way to the redline is just unbeatable - even now!
The four-piston brake calipers, the Bilstein suspension, the special Getrag gearbox with a limited-slip differential combined with a more or less 535ish look make this car the perfect sleeper. It's a piece of proper German engineering. Blasting this beast down the Autobahn at an indicated 300km/h-plus is just priceless!
Nothing so far - I haven't owned it long enough yet. But I'm aware of the risk that this car could tear a big hole in my wallet. So I'm constantly looking out for parts, such as the turbos and maybe even a replacement engine, just in case I will need it someday.
I keep the running costs low because I only drive it every once in a while, when weather and conditions are perfect. Since it's not my daily driver, I don't care much about the running costs, but it's slightly higher than that of a 535i. German tax is rated at the emissions of the car, and it's even better than those of the base 535i thanks to Alpina's unique and leading-edge catalyser technology. But if something goes wrong, repair costs can make you cry. Insurance is just about average of a medium size car, like any other 5 Series for example. I will bring the car to an Alpina specialised garage to service and maintain it, I have a few in mind but there are not many.
Where I've been:
I will take it to some Alpina meetings in Germany and Switzerland, and I planned a trip over the Swiss mountain passes. Maybe I will take it on a smooth sightseeing lap around the Nordschleife?
I'll never sell it, just to make this clear! I will keep it, treat it, drive it and look at it. And I'll be proud at every moment I'm doing this. I will try everything to keep it in 100 per cent original condition. I'd even consider of getting its older brother the B7 Turbo. If anyone knows how to get hold of a 1979, let me know!