1998 BMW 740i bubble

It’s every collector’s dream: an untouched example of the ultimate driving machine, perfectly preserved with an air-tight seal as if it were a mummified pharaoh entombed within an Egyptian pyramid. Such an example was recently listed on eBay Germany, and the community is enthralled.

This 1998 740i, which currently resides in an air-tight bubble with recirculating air, was allegedly purchased new in 1998 by a woman born in 1927, according to an original registration document provided by the seller in the listing. Although this 7 Series’ history remains largely unknown, we do know that the bubble-Bimmer now resides in Gogolin Slaski, Poland, awaiting its next owner.

1998 BMW 740i bubble

The best part, however, is the triple-digit odometer reading showing just 255 kilometers (or 158 miles) on this pristine E38. Potential buyers who are less than thrilled with BMW’s current models will be pleased to see pictures in the auction listing highlighting a spotless, albeit almost sterile, engine bay housing the naturally-aspirated 4.4-liter V8. The M62B44, judging from the photos, is paired with a five-speed ZF automatic, leading us to assume the 282-horsepower, 310-pound-feet figures that we are accustomed to seeing from the third-generation pre-facelift 7 Series.

1998 BMW 740i bubble

For years, the E38 has been widely extolled as not only the best 7 Series generation, but perhaps also the best luxury sedan ever developed under the BMW marque. As a result, it is no shock that news outlets and automotive journalists continue to sing its praises, and consequently influence the potential hammer price of this virtually untouched example.

The E38 7 Series’ notoriety, which has also landed it in films such as The Transporter and BMW’s own mini-series, The Hire, continues to make it a desired chassis among enthusiasts. At the time of this writing, the Oxford Green Metallic 740i in question has a high bid of €133,350 or approximately $149,000—an incredible difference from the $61,070 base MSRP in 1998, which equates to roughly $97,000 in 2020. It’s also a breathtaking jump from the $3,795 Kelley Blue Book value assigned to the cleanest E38 7 Series of this model year. Through some additional online auction reconnaissance, it appears that the final sale price of this 740i may exceed that of many other E38s sold prior on other online platforms, specifically any 7 Series ever sold on Bring a Trailer, as evidenced by this nifty scatter plot.

In any case, whoever posts the winning six-figure bid will gain a special addition to their collection, and certainly a boost in their collector cred.—Malia Murphy

[Photos courtesy the seller and Adam Piotrowski.]

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