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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So, I sold my 1989 Spanish-market E34 M5 with 120,000km to buy a 1990 German-market Alpina B11 3.5 with 70,000km. #122 is black/black with gold stripes, and a manual gearbox! I understand it is the 254hp version. The dealer from whom I acquired it bought it at an auction in Japan. It is in spectacular condition. Amazingly, I feel it out-handles the ol' M5, though I do miss the extra 57hp, but only when I'm driving hard. When I'm not, the B11 is much nicer to drive! The controls give a far superior feel to the M5. The steering is beautifully weighted at all speeds, and the clutch/gearbox are an absolute joy to operate compared to the heavy, on-off switch clutch in the M5, and clunky Getrag 280 gearbox. The suspension is *so* refined, yet so capable. I can go over a bunch of nasty bumps and feel comfortable, then throw the car into a set of twisties and feel completely in control. Alpina did an incredible job with these cars.

I have a few kinda bad pictures, didn't have a chance to snap much while there was still light out.
http://www.filefarmer.com/feckn_eejit/pics/b11/01/
just view the images from the directory listing.

In the long run, I do hope to own a B10 BiTurbo. In Canada, as long as a vehicle is 15+years old to the month, it can be imported pretty much no questions asked. I'm going to need to do some research as to how far in which direction the prices for the BiTurbo are heading in order to decide how quickly I want to start aggressively trying to locate one.

Either way, this lovely B11 should tide me over.

Robert of Splendid Automobiles also has an automatic B10 3.5 on the way to Vancouver, and is actively looking for other interesting, quality prospects. Any Canadians interested in Alpinas or other interesting old European cars should check out his website - www.splendidauto.com. I bought my M5 from Robert in February, and my second experience with him this time around was as pleasurable as the first.

Cheers!
--jeff
 

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It seems very unlikely your car is a German market car. Many Alpinas in Japan were spec'd LHD instead of RHD. Looks like a beauty though!
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
No red needles.

OK, so I just presumed it was a German-market car since all the writing on the controls/etc is in German. Perhaps it is Japanese market! Does anyone know if Alpina would have specified a Japanese FM Frequency specific head unit in a Japanese-market car? I want to apply for collector plates so I can get *CHEAP* insurance here in British Columbia, and the car has to be 100% stock, they're very picky about head units I hear. My car phone has been removed at some point so we'll see what they say about that... my bet is they'll have no idea what to think of an Alpina and just let me through.

So I see from Kees' registry that there is at least one other B11 3.5 here in Canada! Cool!

I will snap some more pictures, including interior, hopefully sometime this weekend in the daylight this time. For the curious, those nighttime pictures were taken parked in Stanley Park, with the Lions Gate Bridge and North Vancouver as the background.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Looks like it is a German-market car - it has rear fog lamps, which I understand are illegal on new cars in Japan.
 

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Congrats on your new B11.

I had a B11 for 3 years a number of years ago (1995-97). I bought the car at the time for the same reason, ie wanted an auto equivalent to my M5. Yes I did miss the extra power, mine was an auto also and now and again I did miss changing gear, but most of driving was in town so it was a blessing really.

I have very fond memories of that car and I was amazed at its handling. It was still very fast and I remember buying a 840i sport to replace it at the time and promply got rid of it. It did not handle as well was far slower to 100mph and the driving expierience was totally distant compared to the B11.

To this day that car holds some of my outright time records on certain journeys ( all at night ) and I could not believe that a car this big could handle this well. It was not that great on really twisty stuff because of its weight and size, but on flowing A and B roads it would have left my M5 for dead.

If anyone knows the A65 from Kendal to Bradford, before the Bingley by pass was put into it last year, then you know the kind of road I am referring to. I once did J36 on the M6 to Bradford city centre in 32 mins!!!!! (approx 48miles)

I have tried it in other cars and have not got to within 5 mins of it.

Enjoy it and take good care of it, I think it is one of the best and most underatted Alpina's. I know there are a few in the UK still and plenty in Germany.
Oh and one other thing, I was a Managing Director then and I thought that I should grow up and buy a 7 series, but it spent more time going sideways than any other BMW I had owned to date and any other I have owned since (Amazing for a car so long). Fantastic car. So much for growing up.
good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Mine is a manual transmission, and I wouldn't have bought it otherwise. Whether bombing about at 100+mph or sitting in traffic downtown, I always prefer the more intimate interaction with the machine that is a proper manual gearbox and clutch. I loved my M5, but the reason I changed to the B11 was that my M5 wasn't in the best of shape, and I got the chance to buy this beautiful car in far better condition with much lower mileage for a minimal loss.

Now that I've had it for a few days, I have to admit I do prefer it to the M5. As much as I miss the glorious S38b36 engine, the B11 is a superior car overall. I think the M5 cornered slightly better at extremely (120mph+) high speeds, but for everything else the B11 is better!

I've also noticed how the B11 doesn't mind going sideways, which it does beautifully, unlike the M5 which is very hard to break lose, but once it does, it is GONE, QUICKLY.

I hope that when my time with the B11 is over, that I can have it in better condition than when I recieved it. I wish it could have been the same with my M5... but it was just not to be.
 

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Just be careful of the suspension components as I don't think they are available anymore.

I had a real problem back then getting some new dampers for it. Sytners had quoted me £1800 for a set. I knew someone that worked for Bilstein UK at the time and he told me he could get a set from the factory through the back door, but would have to wait until they produced a batch for Alpina. I had to wait about 4 months and got them. They were the same part number but they did not have the blue Alpina badges on them. I saved over £1200. But I did recall him saying that this was the last batch that were going to be produced for Alpina as the car was soon to be replaced with a new 7 series.
At the time I also had a new set of springs made for the car at the same poundage but 35mm lower at the rear and 20mm lower at the front. This changed the look completley and also improved the turn in and higher speed handling, without effecting the ride whatsoever. But the springs did cost me some money!!!!
It was very rare to have a manual 7 series in this country, they were all specked as auto's. I remeber reading somewhere, BMW Car I think, that they only ever bought in about 10 manual cars. If you speak to Kees I am sure he will tell you that there were no manual B11's here.

By the way there is a B12 5.0 for sale here in the UK for £10,000 its right hand drive though.

Keep her looking good mate and if you get a problem with her drop me a PM as I ended fixing loads on the car, as well as adding things like a high flow K & N etc.

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #11
With my low mileage and pristine condition example, I intend to keep it as stock as possible. A manual 7-series is pretty much nonexistent here in Canada as well...

Also, I don't expect I'll have this car long enough to do any major component replacement as I think I'm going to try and find a B10 BiTurbo...
 

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Nice car Jeff! Congrats on finding a rare Alpina.
Black with gold stripes is my fave, very classic Alpina.

I'd rather buy non-Alpina suspension mods. I once bought an Alpina E34 suspension set (shocks and springs) for my 535i. It is too soft for my taste and about 50% more expensive than Bilstein sport-kit or other makes. Problem with yours is probably not many kits left for 735i chassis.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks, it is a great colour combo.

As for my suspension, I am completely happy with how it is. It's in great shape thanks to this car's minimal use over its life. As well I probably won't have it long enough to worry as I want to get a B10 BiTurbo...
 

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b11s in japan have a very unfortunate life. they are by far the most affordable alpinas over here. and because of it the cars usually have a multiple-owner history which is not a good sign cuz they threw’em away when any problem came to the surface. miles on the odo on these cars is considered to be a joke and various chemical have been injected into the power unit which makes it work pretty well “for a while”. the paint work and interior condition look reasonably good but you may find the layers of renovation works in the past which usually makes the car look pretty good “for a while”.

when the b11 came out in the late 80s, the demand for the car was ridiculously stretched (in the middle of the real estate bubble). as a consequence, many private firms imported the cars from europe. so if you don’t see the nicole sticker on the rear window shield or the japan model sticker under the hood, most likely your is not a japan speced model (fyi, the japan models come with a rear fog lamp), which is bad since nicole and bmw japan don’t perform their services for the car they didn’t import.

it’s a shame to see any of alpines getting tarnished. sounds like you have a good one and i’m glad to see they have a second life in some other place where the value of the car is still appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the great info, getnoir!

Obviously I don't know the history on my car, however, one of the two premier independent BMW mechanics in Vancouver gave the car a thorough going over and was extremely impressed... his partner even wanted to buy it! I took it back to them after buying it to have a twisted seat fixed and they said there's really nothing else to do on the car, everything is in tip-top shape. Lucky me!

Robert just imported a B10 3.5/1, which does clearly have the Alpina Japan sticker in the door, as well as the Nicola sticker in the rear window. I suppose Robert was incorrect when he told me about the rear fog lights.

Another question I have... the last B10 which Robert brought was badged simply as B10 3.5 (a 1989-produced German-market car, #237), while this one (a 1990-produced Japanase-market car, #343) is badged B10 3.5/1?
 

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JeffCullen said:
Another question I have... the last B10 which Robert brought was badged simply as B10 3.5 (a 1989-produced German-market car, #237), while this one (a 1990-produced Japanase-market car, #343) is badged B10 3.5/1?
That's correct. On the German market the cars were badged B10 3.5 on the rear, in Japan they were badged B10 3.5/1. On the dash plaque they are typically both badged B10 3.5 /1.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
scorpion928 said:
Oops, I stand corrected on the rear fog light issue - the Japan 1990 B10 3.5/1 does have them. They are however not required by Japanese laws.

Robert
www.splendidauto.com


:3:
Interesitng that the Japanese car does have them... but hey, there's tons of stuff we don't know about these cars over here since we just don't have enough exposure! All in time...
 

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JeffCullen said:
Interesitng that the Japanese car does have them... but hey, there's tons of stuff we don't know about these cars over here since we just don't have enough exposure! All in time...
In Europe we probably know even less than you do about the Japanese market Alpina's :(
 
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