Daily Driver V12? 1993 BMW 850CI – Sold?

by | Mar 2022 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Free For All Friday

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April 21, 2022, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

There are cars that often get passed over by enthusiasts because of reputations for being maintenance hogs that will bleed your bank account dry if given the chance. Here’s a thought: perhaps these scorned vehicles really aren’t that bad if you buy one that’s been looked after as opposed to assigning judgment based upon a few basketcase examples. The E31 BMW is exactly such a model, and while it’s common knowledge that buying a neglected one is a fool’s errand, one that’s been cared for can be a fine driver. Check out this 1993 BMW 850CI originally listed in March 2022 on Craigslist in Hamilton, New Jersey with just over 100,000 miles and claimed to be a healthy driver for $19,500. Comparing that price against the Hagerty Price Guide shows us the seller is just above the “Fair” price of $15,900 and well below the “Good” condition price of $28,300.

As someone who has taken a chance or two on historically needy vehicles, I can honestly say I’m glad that I did. The two vehicles that come to mind are my 2003 VW Eurovan and 1990 Audi V8 Quattro. If you do any basic Googling, you will find pages upon pages of horror stories regarding these two models. However, while mine have both needed routine maintenance (and certainly more routine than your average Honda product), they have been far better than any online peanut gallery would lead you to believe. The same goes for the 850Ci like our subject car: yes, it will absolutely cost more to own than a Lexus SC400, but it also has drop-dead gorgeous styling, a V12, and a cockpit-like interior only BMW can build. The hot ticket is to find one of the few cars sent stateside with the manual gearbox, but no matter which one you choose, an example that’s been looked after will make for an exceptional GT car.

The Daniel White YouTube Channel somehow gets away with posting this vintage BMW 850CSI Top Gear test by a young Jeremy Clarkson:

Now, the one thing working against this seller is the lack of details regarding the 850CI’s maintenance history. You absolutely need that in a listing for a car like this (any car, really, should be listed with these details, but especially a borderline exotic like an E31). Working in this car’s favor is the relatively low mileage of just over 100,000 and the claims made by the seller that it runs and drives nicely; working against are the signs that this 850CI is clearly a driver-grade example, with peeling clearcoat paint, busted pixels in the radio display, and an engine bay that could stand to be detailed. Still, you love to see stain-free carpet like this car has and the presence of factory stickers by the trunk (but I think stickers we see in that photo should be inside the trunk lid itself as opposed to adhered to the top of the bumper.) When cars have entered beater status, you typically don’t see a spotless trunk cavity and a back seat that looks like it was never used, so I’m going to vote that this E31 is worth checking out – especially if the seller confirms the existence of maintenance records.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“101245 original miles v12 automatic. Runs and drives excellent. Motor and transmission are good and strong very reliable. The body has no dents are rust clear code is Lifting and peeling. Interior has no rips everything is working like it should all power options ice-cold air conditioner heater sunroof and lots more I’ve seen one and really bad condition that doesn’t run for lots more money I priced this one fare car is in good condition please call or text no emails

Grand tourer showdown: if you had to choose between a Porsche 928, Mercedes-Benz W126 coupe, or a BMW 850CI, which one would you choose? 


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