There are GT cars and then there are serious GT cars. Most GTs are powered by inline-6 or V8 engines, but the top-tier cars in this category have V12 engines under their bonnets.
There is something magical about the sound of a V12 starting up that is a visceral assault on the senses. And the music of a V12 as it approaches redline is the stuff dreams are made of.
BMW might be known for manufacturing some of the finest inline-6 engines in the world, but there was a time when they stretched their legs and gave us a V12 that was as good or better than anyone else had created. They placed this engine in the 750il sedan and the cars of the 850 series.
With a proper grand-touring car being a 2-door, the E31 850i seems like the ultimate German GT.
The Pick of the Day is 1991 BMW 850i in original unblemished condition with just 22,654 miles on its odometer, according to the Farmingdale, New York, dealer advertising the V12 coupe on ClassicCars.com.
Introduced in 1990, the E31 was a halo car for BMW. The company spent an estimated 1.5 billion Deutsche Marks on the project. The car was well-received when introduced but BMWs timing for a luxury V12 coupe could not have been worse.
A global recession took hold during the early 1990s along with a spike in oil prices, resulting in the $70,000-plus BMW with poor fuel economy becoming a slow seller. BMW sold only 7,232 8-series cars in the US during its seven-year production run and built a worldwide total of only 30,621.
But times have changed. Today, we have a temporary drastic reduction in the cost of fuel and these stunning grand touring cars can be had for less than half the price they cost when new.
In fact, during this time of sketchy air travel due to this stupid virus, we may be in a new golden age for these spectacular cars. The E31 is the kind of car that can cross the United States in smooth comfort in a few days, making it a viable alternative to getting on an airplane for a 5-hour flight that might be full of infectious people.
This BMW 850i is a two-owner car from new, the seller says, with its original paint in Calypso Red Metallic and factory beige leather interior. The car has been cherished from new and is in exceptional condition in all respects, the seller adds.
From the pictures with the ad, this truly looks like a flawless example of a time-warp 850i. You should know up front that these cars can be a maintenance nightmare if you buy a bad one, so it would behoove you to obtain the best possible example available.
The biggest reason for trouble is the complexity of the car’s ignition and fuel-injection systems. Since BMW did not have another V12 before the 850 but had been building 6-cylinder cars for years, they decided to just double up on what’s essentially a twin 6. That means the 850i has two separate ignition and fuel systems, connected by BMWs first drive-by-wire throttle. They are not cheap to service, although neither are they the witchcraft some people make them out to be.
This very-low-mileage 850i survivor is offered with a fair asking price of $39,900.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.