"What country is this car from?" - Homer Simpson

"It no longer exists. But take her for a test drive, and you'll agree -'Zagrevev min zlotny dev!" -Crazy Vaclav

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

Earlier today ( around 2am) I got back from Maryland, and returned triumphant (if you can call it that) with my new to me 29 year old BMW. Before I tell you how I "Put it in H!" and bought the car, lets rewind the story.

In the fall of 2012, my friend Steve drove up to PA to pick up this.. well it wasn't really a car as much as a biohazard at this point in time. You see, the car, who was owned by a group we'll refer to as "The German Brothers", was sitting out side with the front windshield caved in for over 6 years. This car was an absolute pile of shit. Actually no, that'd be insulting shits everywhere.

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

The car wasn't even fully assembled, they took it apart and gave up on it, so it just sat and sat and sat.

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

The suit wasn't a joke (okay maybe it kind of was but not really), this should tell you that I wasn't kidding.

The German brothers fired up one of their old mercedes benz's and dragged the 745i from its slumber.

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

And up on the trailer it goes!

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

So my friend managed to drag the e23 + a 80gal air compressor from PA to southern MD all with his C1500 Chevy truck. The 4L60E was not happy I'm sure

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

He got to work cleaning the interior, this was 1 of 100 cleanings it'd receive. It'd eventually go from "natures cleansing" all the way to industrial strength hospital body fluid cleaners. No I'm not kidding, shit wasn't cheap either.

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

The car didn't really have enough parts to put the front back together, and euro spec parts are not easy to get

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

PGW windshield installed

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

735i US spec front end

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

All of the brakes were rebuilt, and the trans was gone through and refreshed also. Overall it was in good shape but the front pump seal going bad is what lead him to refreshing it. The rear end also had to be reinstalled and the HVAC system was revamped so it actually worked.

Then came the first set of wheels so the stupid 14" wheels would be gone. The wheels everyone everywhere hated... The 18" antera 123's

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

In nov of 2012 I saw the car for the first time. A friend and I took his crown vic sport (I've posted about this car in the past also) down to Steve's house to have a set of 18" wheels and tires mounted/balanced. That turned into a whole rebuild-fest that can be saved for another story time. But during that weekend I was thrown the keys to the BMW with two explicit instructions.

1. It smells inside, drive with the windows down as the blower motor doesn't work

2. Don't crash

Here it is at my grandmothers house one morning

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

(I dubbed it the Mafia Sentinel Here)


It really did smell awful, but it drove awesome and it was different from anything I'd ever driven at that point. I really did enjoy borrowing it for that weekend.

Time goes by, my friend wants to try and sell the car. I submitted his CL ad to Graverobber and 2 days later to our shock, the car ends up on the front page. I guess its an internet celeb-retard now?

NPOCP BMW Link

The car didn't sell, the market on euro import cars that nobody has ever heard of isn't really strong, especially down in southern maryland. He did have a BMW collector show up in a beautiful M6 and drive the car. The guy loved how the car drove but he said body wise it was to much for him, so he passed. Oh well.

Later on, I was down there to watch the madness unfold that was the valve adjustment. The valves were so out of spec that it sounded like a sewing machine going down the road.

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

Once we started it up, it ran like shit. Defeated that day, it was left alone for a short while. It was discovered later that while moving plugs around to access things, we bumped the coolant temp sensor (this EFI is primitive and thats a very vital sensor) which put it into a cold-rich loop and would flood the engine. The plug was shot, and instead of terminals, the German Brothers put ALUMINUM FOIL, yes you read that right, ALUMINUM FOIL in place of the connectors so it'd actually work. Once that plug was replaced, the car fired up and ran perfect.

Later down the road, he got tired of the anteras and picked up a set of staggered style 118's off a later 6 series. Oddly enough in pictures I don't really like them but in person I don't really mind them. I'm going to try and find a set of style 37's though as he wants these back so they can sit in his basement next to all his SBC parts doing nothing.

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

After MONTHS of nagging, he finally put in the effort to find a set of euro spec headlights. He ended up buying 2 sets and piecing them together, as I said before its not easy to find a good set of euro lights.

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

In october, I went down to MIR with a friend from HS in my supercharged marauder to hit up the track for some testing before my forum's track meet that was in November. Once again I was thrown the keys to the BMW, except the "smell" part of the instructions were replaced by "watch the temp gauge". We were taking it on a 3 hour round trip that saturday, the furthest it had ever been at that point.

Sat 8am, we hit up starbucks then hit the road for Cars, Cars & Cars

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

Even with traffic, it made the trip with zero issues. My friend, who also initially thought this car was a piece of shit, loved it by the time we got back and didn't want to give up the key.

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

Sunday was track day, and the BMW came along with my marauder and my friends marauder. The BMW ended up with a best of 15.7 @ 93mph, which according to the e23 community is the fastest known recent pass to date. The only other stock e23 745i anyone knows of running the 1/4 mile, ran a 16.4. I guess you could say this car is running as well as it did in 1985. You can read about our track day here.

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

The last time I was down in Maryland, the Momo Veloce steering wheel I had in my room for ages found its way into the BMW. I knew I'd find a use for this thing one day, I just didn't expect this.

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

Well after the track day, the steering link broke, so the car was parked until I bought it and picked it up this weekend. It even had the track numbers on the windows still. It fired up as usual, no drama. The car was revamped with Bilstein HD struts, new tie rods, and a new steering link. The car steers with zero play, and the ride is as, not to sound cliche, but "grounded to the ground" as I've ever felt. It rides excellent, very happy with these struts. I really wish bilstein made a set of my marauder, but they only make shocks for old cars that people generally wouldn't spend the money on in the first place.

Front

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

Rear (yes those 735 coils are crusty, I'll deal with that later)

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

So this brings us to Saturday. The car was finished up and aligned while I was there. (Fun fact, e23's only have 1 adjustment on the entire car... toe... The rear is 100% fixed, and the front is toe only.)

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

Working on it at the house. We mounted the original horns back (had none working before). I am very glad to have working horns, since they are used often in NJ!

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

We had no idea how they actually went, but my friend found out that its one horn per side. So we found the stock wiring, I fitted some quick brackets out of scrap steel, and the end result

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

The end result is I can tell people to go fuck themselves with 2 different notes!

Alignment time!

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

Eventually came time to gas up and hit the road. The gas gauge is broken but thank god the "range" function on the OBC works!

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

I guess my friend and I now both have German cars, although mine is authentic west German, his is built in Mexico.

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

At some angles I like the 118's, this is one of those angles

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

The drive back went great. The car rides excellent and I pulled about 22mpg with plenty of time in boost.

If you can't handle theoretical "illegal shenanigans" I suggest you skip the italicized part, I don't want to hear any crap in the comments

When we hit south jersey my friend lined his jetta (2.5 I5 6spd auto) up and we went from a 50 roll. I was in 2nd gear and brake boosting (I can't believe that works on this car, but it does, woo 6psi). By the time I let off at 100 I had a solid 3 to 3 1/2 cars on him and was already on the decel when he told me he hit 100. We both knew that'd happen but I didn't know by how much. I think off the line he'd get me for sure since that I5 is pretty torquey down low, and the BMW has massive turbo lag and doesn't go anywhere. But keep it in the powerband and this thing moves out damn well for its age. It was factory rated with a 150mph top speed, where the N/A cars were 120mph.


After 4 1/2 hours I finally made it back to jersey. I'll post some updates as I work on it a bit, first order of business is replacing the shot blaupunkt and washing it.

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i

Hope this was a decent read, if you made it this far, give yourself a pat on the back.

Edit 9:30am - Here is a teaser shot, I just gave it a quick wash. I'll have more later today

I've Entered A Grey Area - My 1985 BMW 745i