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BMWotD — The Semi-Legendary M7

Filed under: BMW Of The Day,Racing — Tags: , , , — dave @ 10:06 am 2012/06/26

Edit: Bumping this back up to the top because it’s such a cool car, and it’s back up for sale. Eric sold it back in 2012, and it appears that Todd (the man behind Turbocharging Dynamics) bought it a couple of months ago. As a dyed-in-the-wool turbo guy, Todd knows that normally-aspirated cars don’t hold his interest very long, so he’s listing it for sale already. And at a very tempting price; $5,800. I might have to jump on this car this time around. I’ll paste the body of the new listing as a comment to my original post.

Here’s a pretty unique car, a 1984 BMW 733i with the heart of an M5. It was built and owned by one of the members on the mye28.com board, and is pretty well known (relatively) especially for surprising the crap out of people by how fast it is.

The car is pretty nondescript; looks pretty much like an older 7 series ought to look, which is part of the appeal I guess. Here’s the story from the seller:

My priorities are changing and I can’t keep so many BMWs. Unfortunately, this has to go on the chopping block.

I bought this car as a 1984 733i in 1998 with 150k miles. A couple years later I got the hare-brained idea to take this car to driving school. I was hooked and was learning my apexes, but got tired of being passed on the straights. After considering several options, I figured my best one was to drop an S38 in the darned thing. The rest is history.

The conversion was completed in 2001 when the chassis had 201k miles. The car now has nearly 290k miles. The modifications include:

* S38b35 engine (80k miles at the time of conversion)
* Euro headers
* G280 transmission (40k miles at the time of conversion)
* 4:10 big case diff with 50% LSD (rebuilt by Blanton about 7-8 years ago with new 4.10 ring and pinion from Maxmillian)
* Dinan springs
* 28mm front sway bar (stock 27mm)
* 22mm rear adjustable sway bar
* Custom valved Bilstein struts front and rear
* Recaro SRD driver’s seat
* Bav Auto front strut bar
* Short shifter (can’t remember if it’s M3 or Z3)
* Euro bumpers
* Slotted rotors with Porterfield Racing Pads
* Custom exhaust with E36M3 cats and 745i muffler (yes, it passes the CA sniff test…)

I can provide either BBS RX or Style 8 wheels, both with Kumho Victoracer tires.

The car has been very reliable on the track. The only issue I’ve ever had is power steering pumps, as E23 pumps don’t seem to like regular trips to 6800 rpm. In the last few years, I’ve learned that upshifting at ~6200 (redline of the M30) not only doesn’t upset the balance of the car, it saves PS pumps.

Of course, I have driven it on the street and cross country…with street tires the car is not too harsh.

The car was repainted stock Arctic Blue in 2004 and is a bit worn. There are a couple of scrapes but the car has not been in an accident in my possession. The interior is in decent shape, the HVAC doesn’t work but the pieces are there.

I have had great fun with the car. If I had won the lottery, I would keep the car but alas such is life.

This is a difficult car to price as you can imagine. I put out about $20k to put together this car. The memories are priceless. I think a fair price is $7,500…

And now the pics:

Update: This car & the mye28.com ad were featured on Jalopnik yesterday, under the Nice Price or Crack Pipe category. The NP/CP gimmick features a car advertised for sale and asks readers to judge the car a good buy (Nice Price) or the seller to be out of his mind (Crack Pipe.) This one looks to be judged overwhelmingly the latter. The commentary in the article (and I thought Graverobber was a decent fella) and the reader comments that followed reminded me of why I don’t enjoy Jalopnik much these days. It was encouraging to note that many comments said it was a decent car, just not worth the asking price. But the seller did say he’s open to offers…

BMWotD — 1980 M1

Filed under: BMW Of The Day,Cars!,Racing — dave @ 8:31 pm 2010/09/13

Now this is a car…

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The 1980 BMW M1, aka the E26. With the exception of the kidney grilles and the BMW roundels, the M1 actually looks more like an Italian supercar of the same vintage, which should come as no surprise as it was designed by Lamborgini for BMW. Thankfully, the doors swing horizontally, as God intended.

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The mid-engined, two-seat M1 was designed & built a homologation special — it’s classified as a production car but was only built in sufficient numbers to allow BMW to race the car (with some important but relatively minor modifications) in certain events. The cars that were not raced, like this fine machine, were sold to the public.

One cool thing about the M1 is that it’s exclusive as all get out, but since it uses many off-the-shelf BMW parts, it’s still a very maintainable car. The engine is a kissing-cousin to the M88/S38 engines found in the e28 M5s and e24 M6s. The addition of the tuned headers makes the view under the hood a work of art; maybe not hanging in a gallery, but I like it enough to have it grace my desktop!

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Because it’s considered a production car, the parts database for it is listed in RealOEM right along with every other production BMW. I doubt, though, that there’s a Bentley service manual available for it, and there’s definitely no M1 equivalent to the rabidly fanatical MyE28.com crowd!

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Because of their rarity & cost, most M1s have been babied since new. I first saw this particular M1 in the Hemmings.com classifieds; it’s got a mere 26,999 miles on the clock, and it sounds like it’s had a nice restoration done to it to put it back in factory original condition. Its original owner was actually Christopher Cross, who bought it (and a twin M1 to it in Hennarot Red) to celebrate his rise to fame after the 1980 Grammy Awards. There he was awarded the Best Record & Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist for his song, “Sailing”. (just thinking of that song brings back high school memories!) Even with the restoration and the car’s history, I don’t know if the seller’s $250,000 asking price can be justified. Other similar examples are going for about half that, but who knows.

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While I consider the engine to be a work of art, and the car itself is a work of art as well, some went a bit further with the M1. Andy Warhol and some people at BMW saw a Group 4 race-prepped M1 as a canvas on which a work of art ought to be painted. I guess that makes it an art car… a really fast art car, that actually did battle in & finished the 24 Hours of LeMans in 1979.

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I can’t say that I’m impressed by this car as art, at least not in photos. That might have something to do with Warhol spending all of 22 minutes painting it. The car was featured in a recent Jalopnik post, and I think the author’s impression of it was the same, at least before he saw it in person:

… and then I am left with a glass of champagne and the M1. There it sits under high ceilings, a time capsule from the late ‘70s, corpses of long-dead and mummified bugs still stuck to its radiator, Andy Warhol’s finger-painted signature on its rear. It’s a menacing, purposeful object, a riot of color, and it’s very, very real, it’s not a museum piece to be observed while drinking a glass of champagne on a barely air-conditioned summer afternoon and nodding thoughtfully, it is a race car which has gone out and raced, which has survived the hell of Le Mans, and here it sits, a testament to all that’s great about BMW and about motor racing, it makes you wish for a gas mask and a quick-acting synthetic vaporized opiate to knock all the museum guards out cold, so you can take your dear time filling up the M1’s fluids, gently prodding the M88 engine to life, its red velocity trumpets waking like both the space marines and the xenomorphs in Aliens, so you can pop open its un-Lamborghini door and toe the accelerator and motor out and away, and then, once it’s warmed up, see what it sounds like in the upper reaches of the 6000s.

In a sense then, it is great art after all.

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F1 Destination: Austin, TX

Filed under: Cars!,Racing — dave @ 8:22 am 2010/05/26

Yesterday’s big news in the world of Formula 1 Racing, the sport returns to the US in 2012, and will be held in Austin, Texas! Just one more reason for me to visit that fine and funky city; not that there was any shortage of reasons before, but this means that I really need to do it, and have a really good reason for it.

I doubt there will be anybody doing donuts in the sand, but it should be a good time anyway!