Spotted special: an Alpina extravaganza
We find some delicious BMW based loveliness to dribble over
While BMW's M division has always busied itself with hyperactive throttle response and handling, Alpina has taken a somewhat more lugubrious approach to performance, often eschewing manual gearboxes and high-revving naturally aspirated engines (or enlarging N-A motors).
Which is why both myself and Garlick found ourselves dribbling over Alpinas in the PH classifieds the other day, Mr G from the position of a Merc-loving bargemeister, myself from the angle of a BMW lover.
And what we found was a treasure trove of dribbleworthiness in signatures multi-spoke alloys, ranging all the way from 3 Series to 7 Series.
How about an E30-based C2 2.7 for starters? According to the vendor, this is one of just 30 or so pre-facelift C2 2.7s, so it's pretty rare. This right-hook, UK-supplied car (try saying that about an original M3) even has a 1986 bill of sale with it, showing a cost of £7K for the conversion. That's in addition to the price of the 325i Sport the original owner would have needed to buy in the first place - almost makes the £12,995 the current seller wants seem reasonable...
this E28 5 Series. The vendors call it a B2.5, but we don't actually quite know what that means (somebody can surely elighten us). Whether it's therefore not one of the full-house B9s or B10s (the badges certainly suggest not) we don't quite know, but we are certain that it looks stunning in Henna Red and that a mere 29,000 miles and some serious history make it sound like quite a catch.
Our next 5 Series spot is a bit more of a known quantity, a 1991 B10 Biturbo. Moving a little more up to date, this not-so-little 1991 beauty provides a solid 360hp and 380lb ft from its twin-turbo six. Which is enough to comfortably outgun a contemporary M5. But then again a 1991-vintage M5 probably won't cost you £19,995...
E39-based B10, which means 340hp from a 4.6 V8, and only a set of 'those' alloys' to mark it out as special - this is a BMW that takes the art of de-badging to a new level. It's even temptingly affordable, with a price tag of just £5,995, possibly a result of the car's 139,00 miles, but not bad considering it was originally £75,000-worth of vehicle.
But if you want bangs for your buck, how about 12 cylinders of 350hp E32 B12 for just under four grand? Okay so it's not been run for a year, and has been sold pending a deposit, but blimey, it's a lot of Alpina for the money...