Monday, May 16, 2016

Clutch Your Shifter: 1984 BMW 733i E23

The E23 generation BMW 7-series was released in 1977, right in the middle of the malaise era, but it was far from a floating slow boat that induced thoughts of suicide, particularly with a manual gearbox.  Domestic cars might have offered luxury in the form of a vinyl top or complete isolation from the road, but the German version of luxury involved a properly fast ride with no cup holders.  Find this 1984 BMW 733i offered for $8,900 in Manchester, NH via craigslist.

The Paul Bracq designed E23 7-series was released in 1977 as the first BMW to wear the 7XX designation and as a replacement for the aging E3 New Six platform.  The changes were more evolutionary than revolutionary, but the shark nose, high belt-line, and small greenhouse is considerably more modern looking than the E3.

The M30B32 inline-6 under the front hinged hood produces 181 horsepower and 195 ft-lbs of torque from 3.2 liters of displacement.  In this one it is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, and $8,900 is a huge hunk of cash to pay for any E23, but this one has only 119k miles on the odometer and everything works.  If it has somehow avoided the ravages of NorthEaster winters, it could be a keeper.

See another manual transmission equipped luxury bomber?


  1. This is a beautiful example. The manual is really compelling. There is still the impression of the sublime Bavaria.

    This would have to be a 3rd or 4th car. Some nice road trips, local cars&coffee.

    Try driving this as if it were your Accord and all the "stuff" might not be working for long as you'd like.

    The last dozen years or so I had been using older cars as daily drivers. I enjoyed them much more than the NASA capsules we are ensconced in today, but cars needed an amazing amount of fiddling.

    They are robust, and back in the day when a "whatever" part went, you sucked it up and kept going. Now, many parts can put it out of action despite the internet. Try buying outer tie rod boots for a 75' Volvo 245. The listings, no matter the source, are standardized and every source said they had the boot. None did. They had from 76-94. Just one example. Just saying that even if you do your own wrenching, does not mean you'll have anything to replace what's broken.

    I am sorry for writing so much, but I needed to tell myself to get this car out of my mind. Now. Manchester is only 4.5 hrs from NYC.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Agreed. Having something this vintage around as a daily-driver means you've got to have something ELSE around to drive while you figure out where to get the thing that broke last Friday. Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's not.

      These are not common junkyard hardware any longer; if your parts store is the U-pull-it yard then you're better off with an E32 or an E34 or even an E39. And, frankly, the money he's asking will put you in a nice E39. So you've got to really WANT an E23.

  2. Nice touch that the seller upgraded to non-TRX wheels/tires, but is including the originals anyway.


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