Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe BMW is a rare turbo six and is said to have even rarer water buffalo seats. We’ll have to decide if its price and condition will have us all buffaloed.
Look, can we just go ahead and add the Fiat X1/9 to the list of old cars we all love? We’ll put it right there next to the E30, and down a row or two from Buick’s GNX among others.
The love was flowing yesterday for our candidate 1984 Fiat/Bertone X1/9, and especially for its price. That came in with a solid 55% Nice Price win, which might actually disappoint the seller as it seems he was originally seeking weaponry.
Speaking of weapons, you know how they say never bring a knife to a gun fight? I say that’s bullshit because you can easily bring both a knife and a gun to the fray and then open tightly wrapped packages after the gunfight is over. Geez, some people never think ahead.
Bringing the wrong weapon to a fight was an issue BMW had back in the day. Their main rival Mercedes Benz had been dropping stout V8 engines into their executive models for years, and by the time that the Bavarians decided to get serious about that market all they had in answer were six cylinders.
It would be a few years before BMW would have their own modern eight with which to play, so as a stop-gap they released the 745i turbo, which applied a turbo to a smaller engine to give it big engine power. Yes that’s exactly how it’s done today, but back in the 1980s, it was born out of necessity not efficiency.
This 1985 BMW 745i represents the result of BMW’s stopping-up the gap. The engine is a 3.4-litre SOHC six, which under the company’s naming convention goes by M30B34MAE, or to its friends the M106. Why did BMW, a company known for naming their models after their engine’s displacement, anoint a car with a 3.4-litre engine the 745i?
Well, because Mercedes was selling the V8-powered 450SEL and BMW wanted something comparable on the boot lid of their E23-based range-topper. The company’s explanation was that the turbo actually added to the displacement or some such thing. I’ve never been that good at maths so I just kind of gloss over that bit of baloney.
You won’t be able to gloss over the seats in this handsome four-door however, as they are upholstered in what is claimed to be water buffalo hide. The seller makes a point to address their appearance in the ad noting that they are in fact NOT dirty, that’s just the way water buffalo seats look. He does admit that they could stand a good reconditioning, however.
The interior otherwise seems to have decent wood, a ton of cracks across its dash, and a steering wheel cover from the checkout line at the Piggly Wiggly. There’s no word as to the functionality of the gauges or the little system status lights on the driver’s left, but who wouldn’t want to play with those seat controls? There’s a few other niggling issues in here, but you probably wouldn’t even notice them once you’d become obsessed with those odd buffalo seats.
Outside things are good from far but far from good. The Bahama Beige Metallic paint looks to hold a shine on the sides, but not the hood or trunk lids. There’s also some arch rot on both rears and a weird spot of darkness on the top of the driver’s side rear pillar, right above the wonderful Hofmeister Kink. All in all it doesn’t look too daunting, but you’d probably want to POR-15 the bad spots or something. Wheels off a 2008 3-series look a bit out of place here, but the original Bottle Caps do come with the car so there’s that.
The seller says that the 93,000-mile car is mechanically well-sorted, and pulls well once the turbo gets its act together. This is a Euro edition car, as the 745i never made an official appearance in BMW’s American dealerships. The appearance, with its smaller bumpers, is all the better for it.
Okay, so this is a bit of a shabby chic ride, but I don’t think that any of its negatives are anything to completely dun the car over. It most likely could be driven and enjoyed as-is, or you could give it a thorough going over and fix all the issues. It is after all a pretty rare bit of BMW history, what with the M106 and Buffalo upholstery. But is it worth $3,299 for the hassle?
What do you think about this cool old E23 and that $3,299 price? Does that seem like a fair trade to get your buffalo on? Or, for that much and in this condition is this a dimmer Bimmer?
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