One of the wonderful things about old BMWs is that from afar, the rare high performance models look just like their everyday, low-options counterparts. That means that every E28 5-series could just be a hen’s tooth M5, and look at that old E30’s spoiler…is that an M3? No matter how often you think about old top-rung BMWs, they have a way of sneaking up on you, and when I walked up to this ’80s 7er, camera in hand, I didn’t really think it would be the never-imported-to-the-US, turbocharged 745i.
Since BMW never sold the 745i in the United States, they exist more in the American automotive consciousness as something that either appears on the internet, or in the garage of a complete BMW fanatic. These high-speed limousines came from the factory with a KKK turbocharger fitted to their type M30 straight-six engine, producing around 250 horsepower. It wouldn’t be until the very tail end of the 1980s that you could even get a Corvette with as powerful an engine. A Mercedes S-Class sedan wouldn’t be available with as much power until the mid 1980s, and it would take a five liter vee-eight to make it happen. So when this 745i was new, it must have ruled Bavaria’s left lanes (save for those verdammte Mantas!!). A real Autobahnkourier.
Now the car is owned by some high power lawyer with a taste for impeccably maintained Hochgeschwindigkeitsluxusautos¹, happily living out his appreciation of the Autobahn, the ADAC, and Weisswurst.² Why else import a car from Germany, but for to relish in the ultimate in precision automotive manufacturing. I, on the other hand, get to happily live out my carspotting summers, seeing my old Down on the Street dreams being fulfilled. A great joy of
hunting out interesting parked cars to take pictures of is that every street becomes a chance to spot your next big find. You never know when some old classic will pop up, and every street starts to get a bit of mystery. Old BMWs are the very embodiment of this wonder, and I’m so glad I got to hang around for a short while, making jokes with the mechanic working on this car, searching the engine bay for the turbocharger, and taking a few spare snapshots on a warm summer day. I have no idea whether or not this car’s owner is the glaring, imperious figure that this 7er’s front end seems to imply, but whatever the owner’s manner, his BMW certainly brought me great joy and renewed my faith in finding the rare and the wonderful in cars where one might expect to find the dull and the ordinary.
1. The actual term for high speed luxury sedans is “spörtliche Oberklasse-Limousinen,” but I like my made up word better.
2. There are more vegetarian Germans than you might think, however, and maybe this BMW-Fahrer prefers a nice glass of wine to the typical Weissbier. Whether or not this car’s owner downs Hofbräu like Franz Josef Strauß, or if he nibbles his Bio-Grünen before every Atomkraft? Nein Danke protest, his car is awesome.