We’ve mentioned it on this site before, but it bears repeating in this context: it seems BMW peaked around 2001, when the company was producing cars as varied as the E46 M3 and Z8, in addition to modern classics like the E39 M5 and E38 7 Series that have gone on to become timeless.
Over the last few years, these cars and others from their era have benefited from renewed interest, and have experienced something of a reset in terms of valuation. It’s easy to see why, as finding a clean example of a third-generation 7 Series or M3 is only becoming more difficult as the models age. Those with low mileage are changing hands for substantial sums, and the E39 M5 is no exception.
The E38 7 Series, more specifically a short wheelbase 740i with M Sport package (“shorty sporty” if you prefer) is a bit different than some of the other models from BMW’s golden age. Although it may be the closest thing to an M7 you can buy from the period, the E38 740i is not an M car, does not use an M engine, and was never sold with a manual transmission.
The good news is that, given part and technological commonality between models, the E38 can willingly accept the drivetrain of an E39 M5. That is, you can swap the nearly 400-horsepower S62B50 V8 and six-speed manual transmission from an E39 M5 into an appropriate and worthy 7 Series. An E38 740i Shorty Sporty is the default choice, preferably in silver, and just such a car is currently for sale on the enthusiast auto auction website Cars & Bids.
This isn’t the first S62, six-speed-swapped E38 we’ve written about here on BimmerLife. In fact, it’s not the first time this particular car was for sale. When it was posted to Roundel classifieds back in 2017, I wrote about the car for Bring a Trailer and had a great time doing so.
The car is by no means perfect, but as Doug DeMuro says in his take on it, the concept is. BMW never made an M7, and although there are a few modern alternatives in the current lineup, if you’re looking for something the brand’s golden age, this is it.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy Cars & Bids.]