Classifieds Challenge: 1990s Villain Edition

It’s almost December, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some awesome cars listed on the BMW CCA Classifieds. In light of Radwood Los Angeles next weekend, we’re looking at a selection of BMWs from the 1990s—which would you like to see under your tree?

Our first contender hails from Illinois and is perhaps the ultimate example of dot com boom and ‘90s hip hop/R&B style. Yes, it’s the era’s ultimate pillarless coupe, the E31 BMW 8 Series, and in particular, this 850i. Known for its ahead-of-its-time electronics and curious design challenges (including the integration of belts mounted on the seatbacks), the 8 Series—even without a true M8—grew to be BMW’s halo car in the GT category throughout the ‘90s.

This example is powered by the M70 V12 and finished in a neat Mauritius Blue Metallic. It’s travelled 64,000 miles and appears to have an extensive maintenance history of all the bits that 1990s BMWs so often need. Like most 850s, it’s an automatic, but for this big cruiser, we’re fine with that. The price for all this rad-ness? A steep $18,900.

Our second platform is interesting and is an example of a familiar platform: the BMW 7 Series. While many drivetrain components are related to the later E39, the stately E38 (considered one of the most handsome BMW designs in history) was introduced far earlier, carrying the torch of BMW’s luxury sedans through most of the ‘90s. While it pioneered a variety of technologies at the time (particularly with both visible and discrete electronics), the big V8 or V12 autobahn cruiser is now seen as a classic and trusty vintage platform.

Since I’m on a plane watching cliched action films, we’re pulling a Transporter special this week to even the playing field. Our earlier 8 Series commands quite a premium over its four-doored chassis mate, but it’s a big coupe befitting a Bond villain—and what would a good villain be without henchmen?

That’s why we’re comparing a fleet of not one, but two 7 Series’ against the BMW 8 Series. There’s practically no downside to having two 7s, whether starting your own heavily-armed courier service, or simply having one to drive when the other is broken enjoying the true 1990s BMW ownership experience.

The first car here is actually an E32, but it’s in what appears to be incredible shape, with just 110,000 miles and some of the most gorgeous pictures on the BMW CCA Classifieds. Besides being the already-rare and reliable E32 735i with the M30B35 straight-six, it comes with a couple unique features—most notably, a limited-slip differential and a 5-speed manual transmission. The price? A reasonable $9000.

Our second 7 Series shares the V12 of the 850i, but in a distinctly larger vehicle. The long-wheelbase 750iL was the ultimate 1990s luxury machine, combining BMW performance and driving dynamics with the timeless analog comfort of a luxury sedan. This one cranks up the performance with a Borla SS exhaust, drilled and slotted rotors (no doubt helpful to prevent warped brakes slowing the massive E38), and a 3.64 LSD. The price for this glorious 115,000-mile V12? $8500.

So if you wanted to show off your one billion dollars at the end of the 20th century, which route would you take? One big coupe, or two big luxury sedans?

As usual, let us know in the comments! If you have any suggestions for future Classifieds Challenge entries, let us know those as well. Happy searching!

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