Monday Megapost: 1985-86 BMW 524TD Craigslist Mania

From the ashes of the fuel crises of the '70s, many auto manufacturers, especially from Europe, rose to the occasion by offering diesel technology as a viable alternative to gasoline engines for their customers.

Mercedes-Benz were among the most prominent who consistently pushed diesel engines in their passenger cars with moderate success. While they've been offering diesels for the past 40 years, fellow German automaker BMW was last to the diesel party. They offered just one diesel car in the U.S., the 524 Turbo Diesel from 1985-1986 only, importing around 1,500. It had a 2.4-litre inline 6-cylinder diesel engine producing 115 horsepower.

I love diesels. Diesel engines have no spark plugs and compress air alone first, then directly inject fuel. There is less movement in the engines so components stay put together better and therefore the engines last far longer than those powered by gasoline. They are also far more fuel efficient and emit less carbon monoxide. Why they didn't catch on more is debatable, but advertising and mere image has a lot to do with it.

So, in the spirit of tough economic times and a renewed interest in alternative energy, here are all of the BMW 524 TD cars I could find on craigslist. It's a 26 year-old car that averages 33.1 miles per gallon. That's 10 gallons better than the average fuel economy of new cars sold in early 2012, which was a pitiful 23.2 mpg.

  •  $1,100 - 2 owner with 120k miles bad belt, need engine rebuild, neat plaid door inserts, in Atlanta, Georgia here

  • $2,400 - 223k miles, new timing belt, odd paint scheme, running in Montgomery, New York here

  • $3,500 - tinted windows in New Orleans, Louisiana here

  • $4,000 - 1 owner, 128k miles in Fairfield, Ohio here

  • $4,000 - 200k miles, bad starter, engine+tranny fine in Scranton, Pennsylvania here

  • $4,400 - biodiesel veggie oil tank added, leaking fuel injector pump in New Haven, Connecticut here 

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