The Smoothness of a Classy V12: Oliver and his BMW 750i
Last summer in Berlin, I met Oliver and his wonderful 1990 BMW 750i. I’m a fan of big BMWs from the 80s/90s, they are very spacious and classy. One thing, in particular, I like about this car, was its red interior. I think it makes the car much more special.
Looking for the perfect location, as I always try to do, I found several options to make the car look great. As you know I am a big fan of coupes, but a sedan like this one always wanted to photograph. Here is part of what we did that sunny afternoon and some questions to Oliver about his 7 Series.
Tell me about you.
My name is Oliver. I’m 32 years old and I’m working as a computer graphics artist in the automotive industry.
What was your first car?
My first car was a 1998 Smart City-Coupe. I bought it from an old lady living in the village where I grew up. She had this car for many years and took good care of it. The City Coupe only had 45hp, was very slow and uncomfortable, but I could afford and run this car while being an apprentice. Since then I’m into small and light vehicles as well, I love weird things like the Honda Beat, Suzuki Cappuccino and Autozam AZ-1. I still own a modified Smart Roadster, which falls into the same category.
How did you first become interested in cars and why especially in BMW?
I became interested in cars as a kid. A friend of mine got a PlayStation1 for Christmas, along with a copy of Gran Turismo 2. Daily visits to his house followed, just to see which new cars he has unlocked by winning the races. I was fascinated by the variety of cars out there, and somehow this game introduced me into a whole new world. I was hooked and spent all my money on magazines, books, trips to museums, and race tracks. To my surprise, many racers turned up in their modified daily cars, mostly BMW. I wondered how they were able to throw their car around the racetrack, and then drive back in the same car! Today cars made by BMW are known to be drivers cars, and the 7 Series is not an exception. It is very light-footed and agile for such a big car.
How did you come across the 7 Series?
After getting my first proper job, the idea was to reward myself with a nice car. I always liked the Jaguar XJ40, so I reviewed at least a dozen of these models. Although they looked great and had nice engines, most cars lacked in build quality and refinement. Looking for alternatives in the same category in terms of power, size, and price, the 7 Series model E32 turned up. I checked out three different cars, and the 750i was the best by far. At first, I was hesitated because of the red interior and the big engine, but looking back it was the right decision.
The car nearly was scrapped, because back then the German government launched a scrapping premium to help the dwindling economy. If you bought a new car and returned your old one in exchange, you got a bonus. However, the previous owner decided not to scrap the car for the bonus but instead wanted to sell it for some extra money. I bought the car a few weeks later.
I never looked back, although at the age of 22 this car could have easily ruined me.
What condition was the car in when you bought it?
The car was in excellent condition because it had low mileage and only one owner. However, it ran on an odd set of wheels and had some dents and scratches all around the bodywork. These issues were easy to fix. The black window trim from the Shadow-Line package ordered by the first owner was swapped to chrome parts. The wheels were replaced with iconic two-piece BMW Styling 5 made by BBS. I polished the lips to better fit the chrome on the exterior. The front was lowered by 40mm. This, together with the wheels, gave it just the right amount of stance.
What’s your favorite detail or what do you love most about your car?
It is the smoothness of the V12. Although the car is 30 years old, you can still put a coin upright on the idling engine. Even when revving, the coin will not fall over.
Also, I still get goosebumps from the sound of the starter after all the years. It is such a unique sound, you could easily spot the 750i in a crowd of cars just by listening to the starter.
The red interior it’s so amazing, I think it gives a special touch to the car, also the wheels!
In the beginning, I was neither a fan of the red leather nor the sterling silver exterior. On the pictures in the offer, it looked very bright and saturated, but that was down to the photos. After the first year, I fell in love with the color combination, and I don’t want anything else now.
I spent nearly three years to find exactly these wheels for my car. They were a factory option by BMW, but not many buyers ordered them so they are quite rare in the size needed for the E32. When I finally found a set, they were in a really bad condition and needed a total rework. They were split, repainted, polished, and fitted with new chrome-plated bolts. The Styling 5 is a great wheel, fitting any BMW from 1980-1995.
Are you using the E32 as a daily driver?
No. The 750i is my car for the summer, I only drive it on weekends. On wet or snowy roads, you need to be very careful. Although the 7-series already has advanced features like Electronic Stability Program, the tail end becomes loose quite easily.
Is there any other BMW or classic you would like to have?
After the disappointment regarding the XJ40, the E31 8-series came up as an alternative, too. And while they were only a little more expensive than the E32, I could not afford them. The 8-series is a very clean design, and it still turns heads today. I already know the engine and platform in-and-out because it was shared with the 7, so who knows, maybe I will have an E31 one day.
On Sunday, June 19th, we celebrated the first Carphiles event of this year. In a typical Berlin industrial backyard in the Xberg area where our friends from @conciergecoffee are located! I selected 19 iconic cars to stage and appreciate them in different ways. Here we were both car lovers and non-car lovers which in a different way is my way to draw the attention of those who don’t have an interest in cars, especially these design icons.
I think that in almost all my photos I can show my great love, passion, and respect for architecture and cars. That’s why I could say that this shooting is one of the best I’ve ever done in the almost 7 years I’ve been specializing in cars. This time I was in one of the most prominent buildings of Swiss Brutalist architecture, combined with one of the great icons of the 80s, the Testarossa.
Everything comes to an end in some way, such as air-cooled engines or more recently the end of one of Europe’s most emblematic and modern airports of the 1970s: Berlin Tegel TXL.