Turbo Barge: Manual Transmission-ed '84 BMW 745i

red bmw 1984 002
745i, that’s a 4.5L V8, right? Wrong! The 745i was arguably BMW’s most egregious departure from the [Series][Engine Size] nomenclature (at least until the current “Xdrive35i” or whatever they’re doing). You see, BMW decided that the turbocharged 3.2L I-6 had comparable power output to a 4.5L naturally aspirated engine (and that most owners would never look under the hood) and decided to go with the bigger number in place of the more accurate letter “T”.
red bmw 1984 004While the Euro E23 was available in trim levels that included water buffalo hide interiors (seriously), our example is stuck with the more plebeian light gray interior swapped from an L7 (not that L7). With 10psi of boost (good for ~250hp) and 5 cogs to swap will keep you’ll probably keep up with a V6 Camry, but you’ll do it in a much more involved, precise and prestigious fashion. It’s hard to tell if it’s a Euro gray market car, or has just had all the Euro bits swapped on.
red bmw 1984 005
At $1500 with a $2500 buy-it-now it’ll cost less than a set of tires on a new 750 (which has a 4.4L engine, by the way). If all else fails, you could drop the turbo I-6 into any contemporary 5 or 6 series and spend the remainder of your days trying to get it to clear smog.

It's got the "I hotwired it" special-edition steering column.
It's got the "I hotwired it" special-edition steering column.

Check it out on eBay and be sure to visit the seller’s Picasa album, complete with non-tiny pictures.

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  1. Maymar Avatar

    Oh, that is just several kinds of awesome. Once again, I wish I lived in California, just for the used car market. At least I’ve got my pick of E30s (which might be a good recipient for this engine).

    1. acarr260 Avatar

      Every time I see something like this in CA, it makes me wonder if you could make a viable business out of purchasing these cars on the left coast and then hauling them to the Midwest or the right coast for a quick freshening and sale (especially given our lack of emissions testing in the Midwest). That interior looks eerily pristine when compared to the exterior and engine.

  2. Blueplate Avatar

    Entertained me and I learned something. A chuckle for the L7 reference. And.. we’re off to the races. It’s good to be here. The paint on the walls seems a little fresh in here, but feels like a new home.
    For the commentarioisie: Can you tell from the VIN whether a car is European market or NA? Is there a difference in how the check digit is encoded? (I.e., Can you take a quick pic of the VIN through the glass, and come home and work out whether it was a grey market car or not?)

    1. Manic King Avatar
      Manic King

      Not 100% sure but most if not all older cars in Europe doesn’t have VIN plate in a dash. That’s totally American requirement so VIN plate must have been glued on top of dash when gray imported or something, if not original US model (these should have US style solution i.e. integrated VIN plate).
      Also, you could check window glass, I suppose US versions have some US approvals there and other versions have different markings.
      Btw, German cars, at least European versions have production year of a window glass marked on them, so if those numbers are different than production year of a car, problematic car can be detected through this.
      When I was buying cars in Germany for export local shady dealers had those year codes removed, which of course was clear sign of something fishy.

    2. Maymar Avatar

      For what it’s worth, the internets suggest that the 745i was Euro-market only (also, only built with an automatic, although programed to handle a manual).

      1. Armand4 Avatar

        It WAS Euro-market only, but in those days it was pretty easy to import Euro-spec cars, which were usually hotter anyway. I’ve seen one in CA before, but it had an automatic.

    3. Blueplate Avatar

      Thanks guys. And, Manic King, your gravatar is full of win.

  3. small_e Avatar

    Turbo, inline 6, 5-speed, under 200k miles. All for $2500?
    It could use a paint job, but otherwise looks pretty clean. Now if only it wasn’t 2500+/- miles away.
    It has the added benefit of being 25 years old, which means that, in Michigan, the registration fees would be based on GVW, instead of MSRP. If it were closer… let’s say… by a factor of 25 (<100 miles), I'd be stopping by the bank at lunch.

  4. superbadd75, enriched with vitamins and minerals. Avatar
    superbadd75, enriched with vitamins and minerals.

    Damn, Bimmers used to be such sharp cars. I love the simple, crisp design of the classics. The lines are just so clean, and still look so good today. Why, oh why did they have to Bangle-ize everything?! I really wish this could find a home in my garage.
    And wow, L7? It’s been years since I’ve even heard them mentioned. When you think of the garbage music that’s on the radio today, it’s amazing to think that a lot of cool bands from the ’90s never really made it anywhere. But that’s another discussion for another day.

  5. FЯeeMan Avatar

    A nice wash ‘n’ wax, and that’d turn even non-gearheads heads everywhere.

  6. PFG Avatar

    To echo what Maymar said, this was without question a grey market car, as the 745i was never officially exported to the U.S. I can’t imagine how this beast has stood up to the California smog gestapo for so long…maybe it hasn’t, and that’s why it’s for sale.

    1. dwegmull Avatar

      According to this site: http://www.bar.ca.gov/applications/VehTests/PubTstQry.aspx
      It passed its smog last week. Back in 2007, it took a few tries but it eventually made it.

  7. engineerd Avatar

    I like it. The fact that it is probably gray market (the 745i was never officially imported into the States) makes it even more alluring.
    Also, why does oxidized paint just look right on some cars?

    1. joshuman Avatar

      I’m partial to red oxidation myself. On one of my old cars, after a wash, the sponge would be pink.

    2. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

      Seems to work well on mine, but that’s a personal view. I think it’s mostly ’80s Euro stuff, with the occasional Japanese car from the same era, that does well under it.
      My paint, in fact, is easily written on. I need to wipe the hell out of it and wax it yesterday, I think. Then lay down the yellow cross.

  8. 1337 Avatar

    I wouldn’t feel at all bad hooning it to death at that price. I’d love to put on a black suit, and transport bank robbers in this car. Strictly speaking it’s the wrong generation for this, but I think any manual-trans 7-series deserves some Transporter cred.

  9. joshuman Avatar

    There are so many cool older cars out there for less than $5000. It’s too bad I don’t need another project.

  10. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    It’s worth noting I spotted a 745 Alpina in the Sun Valley Pick-your-part a few months ago. The transmission was there, but the head and all the turbo stuff was gone.

  11. Bret Avatar

    Wonder if it could be bought cheap enough for a LeMons project? Are L7 interiors sought after enough to be worth SalePrice-X=<$500?
    These are interesting cars, back in the coke-tastic 80's my neighbor had one in black. It seemed really impressive then but doesn't stir me as much as do similar vintage 5ers. Like this beauty I saw in Duarte CA. (crosses fingers, hope image upload chingus works).

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      Crap. Not working?
      More floggings for the IT monkeys!
      …wait, that’s me. Damn.

  12. ltdscott Avatar

    I’ve never been a big fan of the droopy butt 7-series, but this is hotness. I guess the Euro bumpers improve the looks. And I love the big and little headlights on the front.
    This also reminds me that I really wish I could find some decent wheels with a nice lip that will fit my LTD.

  13. discontinuuity Avatar

    So 4.5L engines were expected to make 250 hp in ’84? Dang. I’m kinda glad that they don’t make ’em like they used to.

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      Actually 250hp would’ve been optimistic for a 4.5L V8 in 84…more like 200 +/- 20.
      For reference, a 5.0L Mustang made like 175. Our 82 3.2L 633 made ~190 (much less now).

    2. Tollberg Avatar

      The 5.7L in the ’84 Corvette put out a whopping 205 hp. So yeah, this BMW was fairly overpowered for its time.

  14. Tomsk Avatar

    Way cool, but you can practically hear it licking its chops at the sight of wallets and checkbooks…

  15. Schm von Richthofen Avatar
    Schm von Richthofen

    Pink? Really?

    1. Blueplate Avatar

      That’s not pink, that’s crimson patina!

  16. inbocadalupo Avatar

    From ’97 to ’07 I owned a gray market 5-speed NA version of this car. Compared to the US 180 HP version, mine had 218hp/220 tq. out of a 3.5 liter- in 1982! Cool small bumpers and the M30 engine was mechanically straightforward, smooth, torquey, and easy to work on. More on that later. The 5 speed was highwaytastic, I could get to 120 in fourth gear, and 5th gear was a cruisey 3000 rpms at 85 MPH. My car, WBAFH7104D7855174, was LapisBlau car on Natur leather interior. A handsome car. Satisfying door thunk. I did truly love it. Had dreams of restoration. Put on Dinan stage 1 springs on it, turning from its original bavarian cadillac handling to well, new Cadillac handling. But as you noticed by my memorization of the vehicles’ production code, I did a bit of work on it. At first went to the dealer, who had to pull the microfiche for parts until I got a hold of the BMW ETK and parts catalog on disc. My first paint job, too. However, as with many of its high end brethren, it had no end to electrical maladies, of which I am mentally ill equipped to fix, especially as many of them were maddening gremlins whose sole purpose was to drive me to drink. Plus, all of the designations on the dash were in German, which eventually was like its own language program. But, as school and work ramped up, I could not keep up with its demand for parts and its incessant electrical related breakdowns. So, (and heres the capper, lemonites!) I sold it for 500 bucks, with the express note that it go to a good home. Sad but true for the big blue bavarian beast. I would kill now to have it, if only to hoon around a track for old times sake. In its way, a great car, a great car.

  17. Mark Arnold Avatar

    The paint is a terrible color. It has the slushbox. It’s not in great shape.
    …But I still want it.
    Makes me miss my old E23 http://jalopnik.com/5065269/memories-of-a-bmw-732i

    1. Mark Arnold Avatar

      Ah crap, it doesn’t have the slushbox. Excuse me, I’ll be leaving for California now.

  18. Formerlythegreatestdriver Avatar

    That one pic alone tells all you need to know about the state of affairs in the automotive world. Everything right. Everything wrong.

  19. e46 led Avatar

    In fact, I’m liking this recent model far more and much more. Maybe simply because it kind of is similar to the earlier classier designs. The down played although sophisticated styling, the lengthy, low front-end. It is a shame I can not buy one for around 10 years…

  20. Claudilene Avatar

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  21. scientologist Avatar

    I wandered here a few weeks back and I truly cannot get enough! Please keep writing!

  22. koko Avatar

    I want buy it