1987 BMW 735i 5-Speed

I love the E32. I wanted one very badly about two years ago but instead settled for a low-mileage E46 AWD. That's how hard a good E32 is to find these days. This one is even more significant with a nifty and super rare 5-speed manual.

The 80s were BMW's breakthrough era. It not only meant making great cars, but also catching up with the competition. One of those competitors was that other legendary German luxury automaker, Mercedes-Benz. While BMW had offered cars that lightly infringed on Mercedes' territory (one could  say the E30 was a shot at the W201), the E32 was designed specifically to take on the big ol' W126 Benz.

The E32 was a resounding success. Sure, it was larger and heavier than it's predecessor, but it gained new engines that helped scoot it along, including a rather insane 12-cylinder.

Styling by genius designer Claus Luthe was a home run, introducing a whole new language theme that the company would use for years, then depart from, only to revisit again and again in the 21st century. Looking closely, it's actually a rather bizarre shape, with a long, low hood, big windows, high trunk and those devilish L-shaped rear taillights. But it miraculously works.

Unfortunately for a while the only engine options in the E32 were the underpowered 3.5-liter inline 6-cylinder or the over-complex 12-cylinder. Only until 1993 did an option in the middle arrive in the form of a V8, but by then the competition had caught up and the body would undergo a major restyling in 1995.

Fortunately, this early model has a stick to liven the driving experience up. Very, very few were brought to the US with 5-speeds and have become a coveted collector item since.

The interior looks sumptuous in a saddle-shade leather and awesome pre-airbag steering wheel.

The seller says it was imported from Canada and all paperwork is sorted with a Florida title. Cosmetically they say it wears original factory paint and chrome wheels. Mechanically, they say all power accessories work and it drives excellently and is ready to go anywhere.

Another great thing about the E32 is that it's still a pretty simple car, especially compared to BMW today. They are known for being rock solid and overall very reliable. With just 95k miles on this one, it's just getting warmed up. Drive it hard, change the oil religiously and just enjoy her.

Available here on ebay for the reasonable price of $5,700.

1 comment:

  1. Aside from the unfortunate (and not in keeping with the sporting theme with the manual transmission) chromed wheels, there's a lot to like here. For most US buyers, a manual in a full size luxury sedan doesn't make sense - which explains the scarcity of manual equipped 7 series models here.

    Just like with the similarly uncommon E23 manuals, I think that unusual set-up adds tremendously to the appeal. I usually don't get too excited about full size luxury sedans - even German ones - unless there's something interesting about it that will enhance the driving enjoyment and off-set the added complexity and inevitably higher operating, maintenance and repair costs (cars like the 7-series, S-class and others, were intended for people who could afford to spend more buying and running them).

    I agree that this example looked reasonably priced for the right (manual E32 seeking) buyer. It looks like this auction was pulled due to some issue with the listing. Maybe it will turn up again...