Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!  

Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe candidate is all about the even numbers. It has twelve cylinders, six speeds, it's a four-seater, and the model is an eight-series. All that means the price must also be even-steven, right? Well, it's up to you to find if that's the case, or if it is just plain odd.

A whopping 78% of you didn't find yesterday's ‘70s-hot Vega to be Cosworthy of its asking price, no matter how tidy it was. The consensus was that a polished turd, not withstanding its luster, still requires a price commensurate with its basic fecal nature. Today's car looks more like a suppository than that bullet of health's desired outcome, but despite that, it seems to have its shit together.

The BMW 8-series is the only series production car from the roundel brand to have pop-up headlamps. You may have seen on the just-ended season of Top Gear Richard Hammond get as excited about that feature of his 850 as he might upon discovering that he had grown a full inch. Both the Hamster and Sir Jezza had bought stonking-big German coupés that were each powered by a twelve, and while more ancient, at least in the short run of season 17, the 850i proved less problematic than Clarkson's galactically expensive to repair Mercedes 600.


Hammond's car was a deep burgundy while our 1991 850i has a six year old coat of silver giving its pointy-nosed visage the mein of a ‘50s sci-fi movie rocket. The 850i, which from the factory was claimed to wring 296-bhp out of its 4,988-cc M70 twelve, was never intended to give rocket-like acceleration, but with zero to sixty times of 6.8 seconds, it certainly could have been considered to have the right stuff.


A good part of the all the stuff this E31 maintains is its six-speed Getrag 560G transmission (making this car one of only about 850 so fitted), which the seller claims has both a new clutch at its nose, and a rebuilt mechanism between it and the leather-clad shift lever. He also claims that M70 has been the beneficiary of a head job, as well as the requisite might-as-wells that such an undertaking offers. There's also the aforementioned respray which took place in ‘05, when the car also received a new set of weather seals. Control arms, radiator, coil packs. . . the litany of parts that didn't come with the car from the factory is almost as long as that of those which did, and that's either reassuring or alarming considering the complexity of the big Bimmer coupe.

And big it is, at 188 inches long and well over two tons, there's one thing the 850 has and that's presence. This one even comes with an additional set of aftermarket rims - big jobbers too - that'll kick the car's douche-factor up a notch. But both sets of wheels are clean and the seller says the tires have plenty of meat left on them. There's 118,000 miles on its rebuilt and claimed dead pixel-free MID, and the rest of the interior - draped in black leather - looks to be in good shape , with the only exception being the driver's off-side seat bolster which does show wear but no wear-through.


On the downside, the seller says there's an intermittent CHK ENG light ominously haunting the dash, and the A/C is apparently one of those climate deniers as it refuses to do anything about the heat. More alarming is the business about the the hand that dropped the cradle during the clutch job - which the seller says threw the front end, and the steering wheel out of alignment. That sounds. . . oh I don't know, bad?

Those kinds of red flags might overcome the fantasies one might have bulleting down the autobahn in what is arguably one of the most handsome of BMW two-doors, but do they also conspire with the seller's asking price to make this a 850i a superfund site? The seller has already dropped his price from thirteen grand to $12,500, which on the face of it sounds like you'd be getting a car that's as close to Ferrari spec as Kia money could buy, but this one does seem to have issues that may portend far greater investment in the future.

What do you think, does that $12,500 price tag make this 850 totally nifty? Or, would you expect - as the car has been described - that the price of this Bimmer should be slimmer?


You decide!

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