SOTW: BMW 740i (E38)

Given that the humble barge is a staple of Shed's diet, it's odd that the E38 BMW 7-series has never been granted the honour of Shed of the Week.

It's even more odd when you consider that Shed has featured a full 20 BMWs since the beginning of recorded Shed time (mind you that only goes back to late 2006 - we didn't keep an SOTW archive before then) and that your humble scribbler here is more than partial to a Bee-Em. We've done a few Sevens, but never the 1994-2001 E38.

That changes today, for we present you with 4.0 litres and 282bhp of creamy BMW V8 in the form of this 1995 N-plate 740i. And a car that a certain J Bond sped around in duringTomorrow Never Dies (yes, we know that was a 750iL, but this is close enough, surely?).

What's particularly tempting about this car is that it comes from a dealer forecourt rather than a private drive, so you'd (probably) have some comeback if things went all pear-shaped - which is a fine idea when you pick out a barge - this might have a £1k price, but it still has the running costs of a much more expensive motor...

...which brings us to the slightly odd wording of the advert. The dealer's ad describes it as a 'cheap runner'. Now, a V8 BMW 7-series may be many things, but cheap to run it will not be. Heck, even the advert admits to the group 19 insurance. Must have been the work experience lad who wrote the ad for that one...

Even so, 995 notes for all that power, leather and prestige, plus a full 12 months MOT, seems pretty good value for us. The sticker price in the first image also tells an intriguing tale - this car has already been reduced from £1295, so you could probably twist the salesman's arm* and knock a few quid further off that.

*Metaphorically of course - PistonHeads does not condone physical violence on car traders

Advert is reproduced below

BMW 7 SERIES 740i V8 Auto 1995
130,000 miles £995

BLUE 4 Door Saloon


Insurance Group 19, THIS CAR WILL COME WITH A 12 MONTHS MOT DRIVES WELL, CHEAP RUNNER Electric Mirrors, Electric Sunroof, Electric Windows, Remote Central Locking, ABS, Climate Control, Power Steering, Drivers Airbag, Passenger Airbag, Alloy Wheels, Full Leather Interior, Immobiliser, Alarm, Please Call 01925 820222 For Further Details



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Comments (211) Join the discussion on the forum

  • theironduke 16 Feb 2013

    Leptons said:
    Laird said:
    They're the wrong wheels (from an E36 by the looks of it).
    I'm not convinced, I've never seen those on a 3 er. I think people forget hows small wheels used to be, 15inch used to be the norm!

    How reliable are the BMW V8's? Awsome shed IMO!

    My 1985 500 SE Mercedes (the flagship of the day) has it's original and standard fit wheels which are....14"!! yep, fourteen inch on a 5 litre barge! Wasn't all about the bling back then I guess.

  • dafeller 16 Feb 2013

    AL V8 said:
    It's a 95 litre tank so yes, it's been a while since I've filled it to the brim. I've had my 2001 740 sport for 3 years now and love it every bit as much as when I first bought it. Plenty of comfort & power, one of the last truly good looking BMWs made.

    I rarely get to drive it these days as I have a company car (diesel X1 of all things) forced upon me, already been told off for using the e38 for work... Considering the road tax for it here in Ireland is €1600 per year and I'm paying twice that in company car tax I should really sell it, but the thought of that breaks my heart. Here it is:

    you really should sell it. To me.

  • bga 05 Aug 2011

    poshgit said:
    . Expert opinion (from the forums and the 11 - yes 11(!) independent auto gbox specialists that I consulted before getting the gbox rebuilt) indicates that the sealed for life gbox oil shouldn't be changed
    To offer an alternative opinion the 3 (yes, 3!) autobox specialist I consulted strongly recommended changIng the gearbox oil at 80k ish miles. The company who rebuilt the box in my 540 reckoned a change every 80k miles would easily see 200k out of a box before it needed major work.

  • VictorMeldrew 05 Aug 2011

    I did a fair bit of research on the gearbox issue a few years ago when the box on my 2.8 Audi A8 failed into limp mode at 120,000 miles. A ZF specialist charged £400 just to tell me it was broken and they couldn't fix it.

    There was lots of debate about sealed for life then, but it boiled down to "life" = approx 100,000 miles. Yes, you can flush and refill, but if left to 100,000 before you do it the chances are that debris will be dislodged and actually cause the failure you were trying to prevent. Between a rock and a hard place then.

    My view at the time was that the best course was preventative flush and refill every couple of years/30,000 miles. That way there is less opportunity for cr*p to build up and the box should last a few hundred thousand.

  • joebongo 05 Aug 2011

    I did a fluid change, seals, filters and software upgrade for my autobox on a '99 740 17k ago and it's fine. SOme you win some you lose. Mine was at 103k when I did it. 100k seems to be the cut off point between going for the change and keeping the old.

    And the "lifetime" concept is somewhere loosely around 100k, not the total lifetime you can keep the car going.

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