For $7,500, This 1996 BMW 725tds Could Be Your Five Speed Diesel Dream

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

VW may have cheated on their emissions tests, but you can still get your diesel on with today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe BMW. It’s claimed to have a clean California title, but will its price dirty up the deal?

In National Lampoon’s Animal House, the Deltas were the worst/best fraternity on campus, eventually ending up on double secret probation for their disrespectful and impertinent behavior. We didn’t go that far with yesterday’s 1988 Lancia Delta HF Integrale, although its price, and 68% Crack Pipe loss did get it - metaphorically at least - thrown out of school.


That Lancia was brought over to America through the grey market. They call it grey because, as we all know, traversing its legal, regulatory, and logistical requirements can be a murky endeavor indeed.

That forecast of cloudy with a chance of impound is just what makes the claim of a clean California title and registration for this 1996 BMW 725tds just so freaking incredulous. This big Bimmer smoker is well under the 25-year exemption for imports that the Feds allow, and is nowhere close to the Golden State’s requirement of a get out of jail free card allotted to those ‘75 and older.

California requires a clean bill of health from a smog station every two years to get that purdy plate sticker on anything else, which makes this one’s tags highly suspect.


Okay, let’s just say there’s some shenanigans going on and the current owner has somehow gamed the system. That allows him to drive this M51D25 turbo diesel-powered E38 sedan in California’s execrable traffic like it’s nobody’s business.


At least it’s a manual, because who doesn’t like that? That will make the best use of the 141-bhp/206 ft-lb of torque the 2,497-cc inline six produces. All other aspects of the car aside from the drivetrain should be familiar to U.S. A-ians, as gas-engined versions were sold here in large numbers. The diesel however wasn’t sold in sizable numbers anywhere, with total production of the E38 725tds beings somewhere short of 10K.

This one is gunmetal over black, and rides on a standard set of basketweaves. The body looks to be in decent shape, presenting the typical dulling of the tail lamp lenses you expect from cars this age, but seemingly no major body boogers otherwise.


The interior is perfectly serviceable, albeit likely all metric. Ewww, metric. There’s a creepy steering wheel cover and some pretty crappy cup holders demo’d in the pics, but each is an easy fix or could be overlooked.


The ad doesn’t offer mileage or the whole VIN so there’s not a lot else to go on here, other than the claim that it “run good.” I know nothing of the durability or long-term expectations of the M51D so that’s a mystery too. What I do know is that I’ve never seen one of these offered for sale in Southern California before and I’m kind of jonesing on it.

The price tag is $7,500 which is a lot for a gas-burner E38, but then, this isn’t a gas burner. What’s your take on this big, grey, Grey Market BMW and its potential price? Is that a deal to roll the dice on keeping it in-country so you can enjoy it? Or, is that price too high just to show Volkswagen how it’s done?


You decide!


Orange County Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Engineerd on Hooniverse for the hookup!

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