Junkyard Find: 1992 BMW 750iL

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
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junkyard find 1992 bmw 750il

When you spend as much time in fast-turnover self-service wrecking yards as I do, you get this lesson over and over: Nothing depreciates like high-end German luxury cars. Once the interior gets a little rough, or the cutting-edge elaborate electrical system gets a bit confused, or the next generation of engine makes an additional 50 horses… well, your big A8 or 7-series or S-class passes through a sequence of increasingly budget-challenged owners, and then there’s another $700 repair needed, and here comes the tow-truck to take it to U-Wrench-It. Mostly I don’t pay much attention to these cars, because the yards are paved with German luxury, but the numbers of discarded V12 E32s peaked about 5 years ago and they’re getting harder to find now. Here’s one that I saw yesterday in a Denver-area yard.

Because you can get running V12 BMWs for scrap value or less, 24 Hours of LeMons racers have run a few of them. Here’s Speedycop’s 1963 Ford Thunderbird with a 750iL engine (equipped with an extremely janky ammo-can-plenum carburetor conversion).

How much did this car cost in 1992? Well, the answer is just about as depressing as looking up horsepower figures for Malaise Era Detroit cars: $76,500 MSRP, and a lot more with all the options a proper 7-series owner must have. That’s about $130,000 in inflation-adjusted 2015 bucks.

V12s are inherently cool. All of us need to start rescuing these engines and swapping them into Edsels and New Yorkers. This one made 296 horsepower, which is 28 more than the 3.5-liter V6 in the ’15 Camry.

Yessir, that’s a built-in analog car-phone transceiver in the trunk.

27 men in Munich began a project that became a quest that became a car.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Writer d'Elegance Brougham Landau.

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  • Jim brewer Jim brewer on Jul 06, 2015

    Had a 1998 Tupac Shakur model I bought in 2005 for $12k (down from $98k new, as I recall). Those were boom years so there was no call for slightly over the hill luxury cars. Also, the market was pressured by very aggressive leasing campaigns by the Japanese. That V12 (327 hp by then), was nothing to sneeze at. I loved it. I remember giving my kid a passing lesson while following a semi going maybe 50 mph on a two-lane road: Me: (in my best Dad voice) " Now check your mirror, signal, then briskly accelerate past the truck" We cleared the front bumper at about 100mph.

  • Spreadsheet monkey Spreadsheet monkey on Jul 06, 2015

    JB's article deserves a repost here. Sums up why so many German luxobarges end up in the junkyard (or exported to Russia/wherever). http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/no-fixed-abode-gotta-rich-cheap-car/

  • EBFlex Pretty awesome this thread is almost universally against this pile of garbage. Tesla really missed the mark.
  • FreedMike I suppose that in some crowded city like Rome or Tokyo, there's a market for a luxurious pint-size car. I don't think they'll be able to give them away here in the U.S.
  • TMA1 How much did exchange rates affect this decision? The Renegade is imported from Italy. I'm wondering if that's what caused the price to reach within a few hundred of the much bigger Compass. Kind of a no-brainer to pick the larger, more modern vehicle.
  • CEastwood Everytime I see one of these I think there's a dummie who could have bought a real car , but has to say look at me driving this cool thing I can't drive in the rain like an actual motorcycle that I should have bought in the first place ! It's not Batman I see driving these - it's middle age Fatman .
  • SilverCoupe I should be the potential audience for this (current A5 owner, considering an S5 in the future), but I can't say it excites me. I have never liked the vertical bars in the grilles of sporting Mercedes models, for one thing. The interior doesn't speak to me either.I would be more likely to consider a BMW 4 Series, though not the current version with the double Edsel grille. Still, I suppose it would be worth a look when the time comes to replace my current vehicle.