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The road to success is paved with high-class scrap.

Chris Haining July 10, 2017 All Things Hoon 10 Comments

My wife and I are ‘in training’ for a 75-mile walk later in the year, and we’ve been putting in some shorter stints to ease our way into things. Saturday saw us put in 20 miles, which is easy enough if there’s a pint of real ale available en route. Having a few interesting sights along the way also helps stave off tedium.

The ample cornfields in my neck of the woods do get repetitive, but agricultural premises can be verdant with abandoned iron. It was parked outside a stable block that I encountered this fallen German steed. I’m not sure when I last saw an E32 750iL on the road, and it’s not unreasonable to imagine that this example shared its fate with many others.

Back in the late ’80s the 750il was pretty well as much car as it was possible to buy in the UK. Dreadnought sized, its price could get you the deeds of some very agreeable bricks n’ mortar. It was also complicated to a degree that could make a Jaguar XJS mechanic twitch involuntarily.

At the time, it was The Most BMW. The 8 Series had yet to be launched, and the M5 was strictly for the hurried middle orders. An E32 750iL’s place in life was truly plutocratic, for those who appreciated bleeding-edge technology and algorithmic precision over the elegance of a Jag XJ12 or the ostentation of a 560 SEL. This was a long way before cars like this were commonly available on personal contract plans – there’s a good chance that £60,000 images of the Queen changed hands before this car was driven from the showroom.

I wonder what event lead this example to be laid up in its beleaguered state. It could have been a malfunction of any one of its myriad systems, but as the car grew old it could have even been something relatively trivial. Anything that changes its status from ‘runs fine’ to ‘needs attention’ is enough to push a machine like this into the ‘I’ll have a look at it tomorrow’ category. Tomorrow becomes next week, weeks bleed into months, a ‘temporary’ spare car is acquired and the ‘main’ car is sidelined. In many cases, permanently.

Today, like so many of the financiers who drive these when new, this big Bimmer is full of itself. Various parts litter the interior, removed to investigate, or obtained to solve, a problem that was never resolved. Now, tail resting on its bump stops in exhaustion, still sporting those V12-only wheels, salvation is all but implausible. It awaits its final trip, from broker, to breaker.

(All images copyright Chris Haining / Redusernab 2017)

  • P161911

    I’ve mentioned it on here a few times before, but I am the former owner of a US Spec 1988 BMW 750iL. It was the start of my trading cars phase on Craigslist. (This wasn’t long after this made the news (about 2008).: I traded my 1987 Ford Bronco for the 1988 BMW 750iL. I had visions of moving on up to something like a Ferrari 308.) I knew that the Bronco had what I thought was a flakey oil pressure gauge, a phone call about 3 days later from the buyer confirmed that it was low oil pressure and the engine had died (Oops! I offered to sell him is BMW back for the $1200 I was asking for the Bronco, this was the first time gas hit $4/gallon and you couldn’t hardly give away a big truck.) The BMW had “issues”. Among other things, there was some halfheartedly repaired damage to the rear end (gas tank hung down crooked), half the unidirectional tires were installed backwards, and at some point a big bass stereo system had been installed along with assorted electrical gremlins. It was two weeks before I trusted the thing enough to invest in a full tank of gas. After two or three months I realized that I needed to ditch the beast before something catastrophic to my wallet failed. I ended up trading it for a 1979 Ford Ranchero. Kept the Ranchero for about a year before I realized that I needed a real truck and traded it back to the same guy for a 1984 Chevy K-10 that was “interesting”.

  • “…‘in training’ for a 75-mile walk later in the year…”

    That’s what I call driving my British cars, too.

    • P161911

      Either that or the strange European/British tradition of just wandering around on strangers private property.

  • outback_ute

    I gather that these are horrifically complicated, with the engine effectively operating as two entirely separate 6-cylinder engines that just happen to share a crankshaft. I don’t imagine that parts prices are very friendly either.

    Isn’t there a theory that if you can’t afford a new one, you can’t afford an old one either.

  • Desmo

    I had a 740i E38, it was absolutely fantastic. But even that one was a gas guzzler, so I can only guess what a bimmer with 12 tubs will swallow. I estimate 10 MPG. That horrendous consumption is due to the fact that one simply CANNOT drive it in cruising mode like a Caddy or something, because it’s so easy to go fast and buzz off. (Why wait for those plebejan crapcans populating the streets? You will have to pay at the pumps anyway).

  • 0A5599

    “The ample cornfields in my neck of the woods do get repetitive, but agricultural premises can be verdant with abandoned iron.”

    Verdant implies a shade of green. I think you saw agricultural premises ocherous with abandoned iron.

    • Maymar

      I don’t know, given how moss is taking over that BMW, Rusty might be right,

      • outback_ute

        A little from column 1, a little from column 2?

        • David Buckley

          Oh how I loves a column change car !

          • outback_ute

            Nope, the 750i would be a console shift…

            For an auto I don’t mind a column shift, but the linkage is too long and prone to wear-induced sloppiness on a manual transmission.

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