Sold – $29,500 (Plus Fees)
In Europe, from 1977 until 1980 the BMW Alpina B8 was available for purchase. It offered exciting enhancements over the standard 5-series with regards to performance and luxury. The late seventies were a time when Alpina was first beginning to dig its nails into BMW modification outside of racing cars and only four years after 1979 it would be recognized nationally as an official manufacturer. Unavailable for purchase new in the United States until after the millennium, Alpina models imported from the seventies and eighties remain rare to see. This makes them excellent additions to collections and perfect for BMW enthusiasts looking to stand out without the use of anachronistic aftermarket modifications. Arriving today and now available for auction is a sterling example of just such an Alpina B8 from the swinging seventies.
When new, Alpina’s modifications to BMW’s straight-six motor made for compelling copywriting figures. The sprint to sixty took 6.4 seconds, a quarter-mile was crushed in around 14.5, and the B8 could carry on all the way up to a top speed of 143 mph. This ovation-inducing performance was all courtesy of BMW’s M30 engine that was now displacing 3.3-liters for 240 horsepower and the quick shifting dog-leg five-speed transmission. The engine in our example for sale dates itself with around 80,000 miles, although the actual number is not known since three instrument clusters have been used due to mechanical failures.
During that time, the original importer in 1985 and owner Ms. JoElla John, who was an avid racer, had the cylinder head rebuilt after a failure to the head gasket on track in 1995. At the same time, new timing chains were put into use. Other notable replacement parts include an Accusump oil lubrication system, an oil separator, an exhaust system taken from an M535i, a Fahey crank hub, and a conversion to electronic ignition. The five-speed transmission is original to the B8 and has also been rebuilt once. Our current seller informs us about some dripping from the power steering pump and the engine’s rear main seal. However, they maintain that the rear main seal leak has dissipated some due to increased driving. A 6” ring binder complete with maintenance records (fluids, service, adjustments, and more) dating back to the B8’s United States arrival is included with the sale.
Aesthetically the exterior is in prime condition. Repainting of the original light blue metallic hue happened a few years ago by the previous, previous owner and the finish was expertly applied. Nevertheless, the current seller claims that a slight paint wrinkle is visible in the front bumper on the driver’s side. At the same time as the painting, traditional silver ‘Alpina’ graphics were added to the sides of the car. The original offset 16” 20-spoke Alpina wheels with colored center caps are still fitted to the B8 and are wrapped with expired Yokohama A520 tires from 2000. The European front and rear bumpers have not been modified, and the original rubber trunk lid spoiler is still present. A spare rubber spoiler is included with the purchase and remains sealed within its Alpina factory box. Apart from the stock exterior, Ms. John – in 1995 – had a set of Dinan performance springs with Bilstein FC2 dampers put on. Some rust repairs have been performed and can be seen near the pedal box, a jack hoist point, a water drainage port, and a rocker panel.
Prominently placed within the cabin are a set of Alpina adjustable sports seats with green and blue striping. The fabric design continues to the rear bench seat, and it is worth noting that all of the colors are still bright. The front right seat bolster has a small split, and the cloth on the center folding rear armrest has come apart at the vinyl pull-down strap. Upon arrival to the United States, the original instrument cluster required replacement and the kilometer reading set to its mileage equivalent. After that unit failed, another VDO unit was installed and set to under 80,000 miles by the current owner. The rest of the dashboard is in beautiful condition, except a small crack forming in the center air vent housing. Adjacent to the central vents is an auxiliary instrument cluster that houses three original VDO gauges (oil temperature, oil pressure, and coolant temperature) in metric readings. The original Alpina plaque is still mounted above the passenger dashboard bin next to the additional instruments. Wood veneer applied to the dashboard has held up well to aging; yet, the door panel wood tops show signs of cracking and peeling. Allowing you to control the corners is the original leather wrapped Alpina steering wheel with contrasting stitching. In the center, a wooden Alpina shift knob sits just out front of an aftermarket in-dash stereo unit. Previously, a Sparco racing accelerator was installed, and holes in the original pedal are a reminder of that.
In preparation for the sale, an oil change and a new battery service were performed. The seller informs us about moderate squeaking from the rear suspension over bumps and some pedal vibration under hard braking. Nonetheless, the B8 is an active athlete ready to tackle any turns. Accompanying the sale are the new spoiler and the handwritten maintenance binder. In 1992, Ms. John wrote to Alpina to verify the authenticity of her B8. Their four-page correspondence in return, which includes the Alpina-installed upgrades and a listing of available stocked replacement parts, validates its prominence and is going to be presented with the purchase. The original BMW factory manual, tool kit, DOT and EPA admission approval paperwork are all to be turned over to the new owner as well. Even with their introduction to the United States market in 2002, Alpinas are rare to this day – principally early variants. If you are looking to stand out with an exclusive BMW that has some seriously hopped-up performance, then look no further than this seventies sweetheart.