Rare Rides: The Special 1988 Alpina B7S Turbo Coupe in Tartan Plaid

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

The glorious green Alpina coupe before your eyes nets three firsts for the Rare Rides series. It’s the first coupe coated in any shade of green paint, the first BMW, and indeed the first German vehicle in the series (I don’t count last week’s Rolls-Royce as German, though you might).

Time for some eye candy.

Alpina has tuned and modified BMW vehicles since 1965. Today, Alpina models travel down the production line with standard BMW models, making them unique in the third party modification field. Alpina is not owned by BMW, nor is it an aftermarket modifier of completed BMW vehicles. The German government considers Alpina an independent automaker.

Though I’m sure many believe the BMW M6 is the pinnacle of the E24 6-Series, it is not so.

The B7S was created using a 635CSi model, and built at the Buchloe, Germany Alpina factory. Numerous visual touches here and there make it a bit obvious this is a special Alpina model, especially these superb multi-spokes, which are a long-standing Alpina tradition that continues today.

Alpina produced just 30 examples of this beautiful coupe for 1988, and all of them were manual.

The interior is finished in green Tartan plaid; it’s the sort of pattern manufacturers should use today. Alpina buyers received additional gauges over the standard BMW customer, as well as a bespoke wheel.

Alpina didn’t stop with exterior modification, however. The massaged and turbocharged six-cylinder engine produces 326 horsepower and 370 pound-feet of torque. Specialty cylinder heads, pistons, camshafts, exhaust headers, and a sport transmission with an Alpina clutch round out the highlights under the hood.

This example seems to be an other-market import, as it looks like all the numbers are still in German. There’s just 32,000 kilometers on this 29-year-old coupe, and you’ll pay for those low-blow kilos — the Cincinnati dealer is asking just shy of $300,000 for the opportunity to own a rare piece of Alpina history.

[Images via dealer]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

More by Corey Lewis

Join the conversation
2 of 25 comments
  • Ermel Ermel on Jun 27, 2017

    I believe the price on this can't be seen in terms of value, but in terms of rarity, like with ultra-rare versions of American muscle cars that also fetch ridiculous amounts of money just for being rare. I can't remember the makes and models obviously, being a German who never cared that much for American cars let alone muscle cars, but I seem to remember a seven-figure price for one such car quite recently.

  • Lon888 Lon888 on Jun 27, 2017

    Beautiful car yes. Worth $300K no. Dealer is hitting the pipe REALLY hard.

  • Bd2 If they let me and the boyz roll around naked in their dealership I'll buy a Chinese car.
  • THX1136 I would not 'knowingly' purchase a Chinese built or brand. I am somewhat skeptical of actual build quality. What I've seen in other Chinese made products show them to be of low quality/poor longevity. They are quite good at 'copying' a design/product, but often they appear to take shortcuts by using less reliable materials and/or parts. And , yes, I know that is not exclusive to Chinese products. When I was younger 'made in Japan' was synonymous with poor quality (check John Entwistle's tune 'Made in Japan' out for a smile). This is not true today as much of Japan's output is considered very favorably and, in some product types, to be of superior quality. I tend to equate the same notion today for things 'made in China'.
  • Mike Beranek No, but I'm for a world where everyone, everywhere buys cars (and everything else) that are sourced and assembled regionally. Shipping big heavy things all over the planet is not a solution.
  • Jeffrey No not for me at this time
  • El scotto Hmm, my VPN and security options have 12-month subscriptions. Car dealers are not accountable to anyone except the owner. Of course, the dealer principles are running around going "state of the art security!", "We need dedicated IT people!" For the next 12 months. The hackers can wait.