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Sold for: £38,500
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This is one of 500 B9 3.5s (E28) built between 1981 and 1985 of which just 64 are understood to have been right-hand drive examples. Of the 64, 46 were supplied with ZF automatic transmission, with only 18 (including this car) being optioned with the far more desirable Getrag five-speed manual gearbox. Costing almost twice that of the BMW 528i SE (E28) on which it was based, the B9 3.5 offered huge power and performance increases over the standard car. Manual transmission B9 3.5s were easily the fastest saloon cars of their day. According to Autocar, 0-60mph required just 6.3 seconds and top speed was 153mph putting the E28-based Alpina on a par with Porsche’s then-current 911.
Left-hand drive examples were built by Alpina at Buchloe while right-hand drive production took place at Sytner in Nottingham. Cars destined for transformation were supplied by BMW with certain modifications already in place and then further enhanced with a long list of Alpina upgrades. The B9 engine had been developed from the unit used in BMW’s 635 and 735 variants. Uprated by Alpina with a gas-flowed cylinder head featuring hemispherical combustion chambers, bigger inlet valves and a gas-flowed inlet manifold, a 268-degree high-lift camshaft and balanced pistons enabled compression to rise from 9.3 to 10.2:1. Combined with revised fuel injection settings, a reprogrammed Bosch Motronic engine management system and Alpina twin-pipe exhaust system, the net result was a conservatively rated 245bhp at 5700rpm. The standard ZF automatic gearbox was retained (a Getrag 5-speed manual box was an option) and those cars destined to become B9s always came with a BMW-fitted 25% limited-slip differential that was further uprated with an Alpina-installed oil cooler. Suspension modifications saw progressive-rate coil springs and adjustable gas-filled Bilstein dampers fitted although the original front and rear anti-roll bars stayed. New Alpina 16-inch wheels measured 7-inches wide at the front and 8 at the rear (requiring a small modification to the rear wheel arch), these light alloy rims originally being shod with Pirelli P7 tyres.
Cosmetically the exterior was enhanced by Alpina’s deep front spoiler, a rubber boot lid spoiler and body-coloured door mirrors, the eye-catching Deco stripe kit being an optional extra. Early examples were supplied with an amazing interior, the figure-hugging Scheel bucket seats being upholstered in Alpina’s trademark grey fabric with blue and yellow stripes. Other bespoke features included an Alpina leather-rimmed four-spoke steering wheel, Alpina instrumentation, Alpina wooden gearknob and numbered dash plaque.
Offered here is a beautiful B9 3.5 Alpina that for the last 9 years has formed part of a significant collection belonging to rock legend Jay Kay. First registered on 27th October 1983, this rare UK-delivered right-hand drive example is believed to be one of just 18 B9s with a manual gearbox. 64 right-hand drive cars in total were upgraded by Sytner in Nottingham (Alpina's UK partner) to this specification most of which had been delivered from BMW with an automatic transmission. Indicating 134,756 miles at the time of cataloguing ‘A853 FRA’ presents very well, the black paintwork retains a deep gloss and the Alpina clothed Scheel sports seats are superb. Accompanying the car is the original book-pack and a substantial history file containing a wealth of old MOTs, invoices dating back to the mid-80s and some correspondence between the previous owner and Jay Kay, both clearly BMW enthusiasts. It appears that shortly after purchasing the B9, Jay Kay instructed a thorough inspection from a marque specialist with all areas requiring attention to be taken care of. Pleasingly, a customer copy of an invoice for the purchase of this car from Sytner of Nottingham can also be discovered in the file, dated 1st September 1986, and this invoice clearly shows the full Alpina B9 specification leaving little doubt on the authenticity of this particular Alpina.
Having been well maintained over the years and carefully selected for a good reason to form part of a diverse and interesting collection of motorcars, this is an opportunity to take ownership of this truly superb super saloon from the 1980s. A modern classic that really stands out from the crowd and should rightfully be preserved for future generations to see and admire. Performance BMWs continue to have a strong following and this Alpina is sure to be the talking point of any classic car show you choose to attend.