Everything Works: 1991 BMW E31 850i Automatic – Sold!

Feb 2020 | Classifinds, Free For All Friday

Update: This one got away, but if you have your heart set on something similar, email us the details of what you’re looking for or call Rudy directly at (908)295-7330

Let the debate begin (and feel free to comment below), but as far we’re concerned BMW’s E31 850i remains the most beautiful car the brand has ever offered.  Between the just-right long-hood/short-deck proportions and the subtle low-to-high rake front-to-rear all connected by a true pillar-less hardtop greenhouse, BMW simply nailed it with this design.  We can’t get over how stunning the design looks wearing all black like the example listed on Craigslist in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey where the current caretaker is asking $14,500 or best offer.   Researching the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirmed the current caretaker has his E31 priced $1,800 higher than the #4 “Fair” (Daily Driver) estimate of $12,700.  Note that this estimate does not factor out a (-20%) discount for this car being equipped with the less desirable four-speed automatic. 

First launched in the fall of 1989, BMW stunned the world with its new E31 8-series Grand Tourer.  While many consider the E31 the successor to the E24 6-series, BMW’s intent was to go upmarket with the new offering. Way upmarket.  The first indicator of this was the lack of an inline-six version; buyers only had a choice of either a 4.0 Liter V8 or a sewing-machine-smooth 5.0 Liter V12.  Technological advancements started with the E31 being one of the earliest cars to be almost entirely developed using Computer Aided Design (“CAD”) technology to help it achieve an impressively low drag coefficient of only 0.29.  Befitting its place on BMW’s product ladder as a halo car, the 850i featured then-new technologies such as a drive-by-wire throttle control, a seat belt system integrated into the front seats (needed due to the pillar-less hardtop design), an electrically adjustable steering column with memory function, auto-dimming rear view mirror, remote central locking, a ‘high-performance’ onboard computer, stability control, traction control, speed-sensitive power steering, and even damper control (EDC).  While similar systems are quite common on even entry-level cars, this was the stuff of science fiction dreams in the late 1980s.  Despite its beauty and performance, a starting price around $70,000 (about $137,000 today) was not a welcome sight just as a combination of the global recession of the early 1990s, the Persian Gulf War, and energy price spikes took hold and conspired to limit sales in North America to only 7,232 cars between 1990 and 1997.

Everything works.  That’s quite a statement for a BMW 850i with 150,000 miles on the odometer.  With that kind of mileage and the car’s paint and the interior still looking close to new, there’s a strong chance this car has been very well maintained since new. This was an expensive car when new and thus it remains a very expensive car to keep maintained.  In addition to expecting the current caretaker to have a book of receipts, we highly recommend getting a pre-purchase inspection completed by a professional before committing to buy this 850i.  Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Hi i am selling my 1991 BMW 850 and its at no reserve. This car has its original 12 cyl motor and its original trans. This car starts right up everyt ime. The engine runs really smooth. There is no issues at all. There is no smoke or oil leaks either. I drive this car often and get looks where ever i go. There are no warning lights on as well.

The paint and finish are original and is beyond excellent. The car looks like it was painted yesterday. Other then just a couple paint chips the paint looks like it was just applied yesterday. It is what i think is the best color. This car has never had an accident and it has never had any paint work. There are no dents or parking dings on the body at all. The bumpers usually have dings and scratches on the and these bumpers are perfect. They have never been redone either.

The black interior is near perfect. There is not a rips or a tears in the seats. The last picture shows that there is a small amount of wear on the corner of the drivers seat. The side panels do not show any wear either. The dash is near perfect there are no imperfections or discolorization. The carpets are original and show very well. There are no tears or rips and there is no discolorization on the carpets either. The headline is in good condition and while there are no rips in it ;it has pulled away in a couple spots as i am confident this would be an easy fix.

Everything works. The power seats, the gages, all the power windows, the power door locks, the power sun roof, the tilt and telescopic steering wheel, the radio, all the lights, and anything i have forgotten. The headlights go up and down with ease. The air conditioning blows ice cod and the heat blows hot. The on board computer works as well as shown in the pictures.

This car retains all its original books and records. Also the tool kit is original and completely intact. The wheels are near perfect and free of curb rash. The tires are fair and should be replaced soon.

I am available anytime to show this car. Please be real i am not looking for tire kickers. I am asking $14,500 obo probably the cheapest on the market. I am open to trades as well. I can be reached at show contact info my name is David”

Do you agree with how we feel about the BMW 850i?  Comment below and let us know!


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