Saturday, January 1, 2011

Project/Flip: 1988 BMW 750iL

I've had a fascination with the BMW 7-series for as long as I could comprehend what a BMW was. My parents' realtor had a 740iL with the Nikasil V8 engine. Even though the car had a boatload of mileage and wasn't within warranty, BMW replaced the engine with a brand new Alusil block. The car was awesome, even with 200,000 miles. "I'd take that old BMW over a new Honda any day," I remember thinking. (Speaking of all this, I should get back in contact with that realtor!)

The 7-series is definitely the epitome of a "land yacht," with features that some people don't even realize are available in a car like heated rear seats, power sunshades.... and the rare but legendary 750iL, which featured a 5 liter V12 engine that produced 300hp and nearly 400 lb-ft of torque that could push the boat to 185mph, if you removed the 155mph electronic limiter.

In the back of my mind, I had always planned on buying a 7 someday. I've bid on a few at auctions and test drove a cosmetically challenged 740iL, but never imagined that a 750iL would come my way.

I was wrong.

In my Facebook inbox one morning was a note from an acquaintance who owned a 1988 750iL. Apparently he was fed up with its quirks and problems. After sinking nearly $2,000 into a front suspension rebuild, his BMW "mechanic" informed him that the car needed a lot more work to be back into prime condition. Tuition bills took priority over the BMW (obviously this guy has messed up priorities) and he sold it to me.

With 280,000 miles, the car isn't new... but you would never guess if you couldn't see the odometer. After an oil change with 8 quarts of Castrol 20w50, two new air filters (the existing ones were stamped year 2000!), and a used door latch to replace the very quirky drivers door mechanism, the 750 was flying down the freeway at triple digit speed with ease. It does have some minor oil seepage and one of the rear door latches is broken, but for 22 years and 280,000 miles it's not doing so bad.

Before I re-sell this wonderful piece of engineering, I'll complete a BMW "Inspection II" service which will be documented on this website. The mechanic of the previous owner has no credibility in my mind; he insisted that the nearly-new tires needed replaced and completed high-dollar suspension work, but ignored things like 10 year old air filters and other quirks that can be easily fixed, but aren't as high in profit as the repairs that he did complete. Perfect example of why the best place to take your car for service is often your own driveway or garage!

As with many BMWs, this car is extremely impressive cosmetically for its age. The rims were very faded and peeling, so I painted them with some spray wheel paint and they turned out surprisingly well! (details to follow in another post)

1 comment:

  1. I'm a huge E32 fan and I think this is a great story, I salute you, thanks for sharing it. These were designed to mechanically and cosmetically last for as long as possible, and this example proves that. Color is nice and I love the "pizza dish" wheels (not my term, I saw that on flickr lol) - how did you paint them?! Also what did you end up doing with the vehicle?


Your comments are welcomed and encouraged! Unless they're spam, of course.