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Thread: The Alpina E21 Holy Grail?

  1. #1
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  2. #2
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    Pretty darn nice '81 Alpina - $30K '73tii $27K

  3. #3
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    That build sheet has some interesting info. Apparently Alpina used 'heat-absorbing glass' in place of the stock windows. And they fitted power locks, power windows and even a power sunroof!

  4. #4
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    1 of 2 Alpina Turbo prototypes. Just bananas. The guy who owns the place is a friend of a friend. I'm gonna try to get down there and see it in person. Hopefully he'd be willing to at least take me for a cruise! I'd be interested to see how refined an Alpina turbo of this era would be.

  5. #5
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    It's definitely unique, but is there any proof that the turbo setup is from Alpina? It looks like it's running k-jet injection. As far as I know the only M10s offered by Alpina were two carbed setups and one k-fish.

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    According to the email forwarded to me by my friend which was originally sent by Paul the owner of Auto Kennel, one of the Alpina engineers that worked on it lives in SoCal and will meet the new owner once it is purchased. Based off of that I would have to assume it's 100% Alpina.

    Also, this is a prototype, not an actual production car so Alpina never actually produced it beyond the three that it initially built. If you read the description, one of the engineers that worked on it was able to purchase this from Alpina. BMW eventually scrapped the project and went with the 6. This is all news to me too but from the information I have been provided I have no reason to doubt it's authenticity.
    Last edited by Surach; 02-05-2013 at 02:09 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  7. #7
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    I'm sure there's a BMW collector down there that would love to own a piece of history like that. Meeting and talking with one of the engineers that worked on it would be so cool!

  8. #8
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    Great history. Hopefully someone will write it down so it stays with the car moving forward. Would love to drive her hard.

  9. #9
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    I contacted ALPINA 3 weeks ago about this car and here is what the response was......




    thank you very much for your e-mail and the greetings -

    I checked our records and with all the "older" colleagues and we never made a E21 turbo. This car was converted or build by someone else.

    So this is not an ALPINA...


    Best regards

    Axel Rimpler

    Leiter Produktion / Head of Production
    Leiter Kundendienst / Head of Customer Service

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ALPINA Burkard Bovensiepen GmbH + Co. KG
    Alpenstraße 35-37
    D - 86807 Buchloe

    Mail: @alpina.de
    Fon : +49-8241-5005-156
    Fax : +49-8241-5005-80-156
    URL: http://www.alpina.de






    If anyone has questions about this being real or not feel free to contact ALPINA directly. again they said after I sent all photos and documents they replied back, they never worked on or made a E21 turbo.

    The current owner is aware of ALPINA's response to this car.
    Last edited by cergybaseball; 02-06-2013 at 11:13 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  10. #10
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    the plot thickens......

  11. #11
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    Man awesome investigative work! I'll pass this along see if we can get clarification. The last owner passed away from cancer, so we will have to see what auto kennel says.

    Thank you!

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    Last edited by cergybaseball; 02-08-2013 at 12:59 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cergybaseball View Post

    They have told this information a few weeks back. Canepa motors was interested in this car but also found out the information from ALPINA.
    They told Auto Kennel?

    From Paul at Auto Kennel:
    "Thank you for the email. Regarding the VIN#...this was what was assigned to the car when it was gray marketed to the U.S. in the 80's. The actual BMW/Alpina VIN# assigned to the car was:


    7159320

    Remember, this car was provided to Alpina by BMW as a "body in white" chassis. This meant that it was never intended to be sold as a BMW but as an Alpina. Alpina never intended to do anything with this car except use it (with the 2 other chassis) to build a prototype to show BMW how 4cyl. Turbo technology was viable for mass production. The car was slated to eventually be a U.S. car as a production run...obviously, that never happened. I hope this clears up the VIN question. Let me know if you have any other questions regarding the VIN#


    Regarding the Alpina badge, it is original. Once again, you have to remember that this was simply a prototype. They were trying to sell BMW on the idea of a joint venture on this car. They wanted to "wow" them with the car and use Alpina in conduction with them. It is no different than a manufacture putting their client's name on a product to help sell them on the idea. They built this car to sell BMW on the idea that Alpina should build all their Turbo 320's.


    Yes, the gauges are not Alpina. In fact, this prototype never had gauges like that, but it really needed them. The original owner/engineer on the project sold the car a couple years ago to my close friend. The engineer still lives here part of the year and visits our shop quite often. Anyway, the new owner decided to redo the interior and in the process put gauges in the car that would really be helpful. The original owner consulted with him on doing that. It was a very big decision, and the engineer didn't really want to do it but the new owner did it anyway...oh well. The gauges do work nicely and are very helpful with a turbo charged motor.


    The steering wheel is original to the car and did not have the Alpina badge initially since it was simply a prototype. In fact, outside of the special Alpina badge and VIN #, there was no Alpina badging or decals on the car. It was intentionally left blank by Alpina as they were trying to produce cars for BMW...not to resell as Alpinas. Once the program was scrapped and the engineer was allowed to purchase the car, he then added most of the badging to the car.


    The reason why Alpina did the turbo on the 1980 was BMW was (per the original owner/engineer) considering a turbo variant for the U.S. market. It could be because of the gas crisis...who knows...maybe emissions. Not sure really. It didn't matter since they never got passed the early prototype phase.


    Regarding contacting Alpina "3 weeks ago," how is that possible? I just got the car from the current owner on Monday? I'm very curious about this. Please let me know how you got the photos 3 weeks ago. This is serious security concern.


    Thanks.


    paul"


    Last edited by Surach; 02-06-2013 at 05:59 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  14. #14
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    A few items of suspicion.
    Someone put Alpina Decals on the Bmw wheels and Bmw steering wheel.

    Even Mike Dietel and Hardy and beck alpina conversions in the states used real Alpina Wheels.

    The Dash Plaque looks like no other alpina plaque and its not riveted or screwed to the dash. Also the alpina symbol is poorly printed on there

    The only alpina parts on this car are a front spoiler.

    the vin. # came up as an E21 sold by Gebhard BMW in Bolder Co

    If it has a real alpina number how come they dont have record of it,
    and the number it has 435 is in the alpina registry as a 1983 E24 B9

    The story on the website says it was brought to the US and federalized, But it was originally a US car so no need to federalize. It also has AC that was only installed by US dealers once the car got to the US.

    also the part of the story that it had an alpina interior and the guy didnt like it and switched it to the recaros, why does the "alpina build sheet" say black recaros.

    to my eye it looks like a 320is that someone put a spoiler, the stripes and decals on and put some turbines on it thinking they looked like alpina wheels, then faked up some plates that looked close then printed up a alpina spec sheet.

    the evidence and story on close inspection dont match up. especially not to the tune of 30k
    Last edited by joel323; 02-06-2013 at 08:19 PM.

  15. #15
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    From an old thread on mye28.com:

    I have owned this car since it was built. I was employed as a Turbo System Development engineer by Alpina from 79 -81 in Buchloe Germany. This project was done at the same time as the M20 development. The project was to test which powerplant was more cost effective. Obviously turbo charging is a much more costly manufacturing process. And the baby six was the direction the company went, unfortunately with about 50 hp less power, than the Turbo M 10.

    Mfg plate shown in photo is not the Vin tag, run the Vin through the ETK and you will see that this is a 2 door M10 Salon non catalyzed (Non USA).
    The Mfg plate on my vehicle in fact would have been metric units not English lbs. Anything with pounds would have been done by the importer of a Gray Market vehicle, and it would have been brought in under the small volume manufacture license allowing Gray Market vehicles of the mid 1980's. They were usually an after thought tag placed in the Drivers door jam on the B pillar as is with my 83 745i.

    The build codes are as follow:
    S920A Alpina Without Title
    S9XAA Alpina Package
    S918A Alpina B3 Package (without drive-line)
    S500A Headlight Wipe / Wash/ Intensive Cleaning


    and:
    I got to the bottom of this story today, and the car is in fact a real "one off" M10 Turbo built at the Buchloe factory and everyting is legit. The car originally had a full Alpina interior, but the owner didn't like it so he swapped it with a buddy that had a US spec 320is. Turns out he works now for Cosworth F1 and if you look at the roster for F1, you can see this guy is quite busy. This would make a great piece of history if someone had the money to buy it!

    To view the thread: http://www.mye28.com/viewtopic.php?t=73575

    Still doing more research. Paul from Auto Kennel also said he is going to contact the engineer and see if he has any more photos/documentation to support the authenticity.

  16. #16
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    Last edited by cergybaseball; 02-08-2013 at 01:33 AM.

  17. #17
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    Yeah man you could be totally right. I'm just gathering info. This is a fun mystery!

  18. #18
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    This is all really interesting to read, and I'm very interested to see if it's real or not. I personally dont know enough about Alpinas though, or gray market E21s to tell. If it is real that that'd be an awesome historic piece to own. Although it could just be because its a prototype, but after looking through the pics, it does look alot more like an American 320iS then an Alpina.

    I'm going by the American rear valance, and its alot of work to convert it from Euro to American, and vise versa. It says its a gray market car that was imported to the US. For the gray market cars, didn't they just put rear American diving board bumpers over the Euro rear valance with modifications to the mounts? What I mean is, BMW made special modifications to the rear just for the American market, so that car was originally intended to come to America, so how is it gray market? Or did they just pick that body because it was intended to be for the American market? If so, then it should have the American bumpers on it too? Unless the owner swapped them out. Or is it coming for the gray market cars to have the american rear valances with euro bumpers? Or it this just irrelevant?

    Also that electric sunroof looks alot like a E30 power sunroof. I've seen lots of pics about the swap, so I know its possible, and they look just like that. I know it was said earlier that the owner swapped out the interior though, so he might have added that as well. But that electric sunroof can't be from Alpina, considering it looks Just like an E30, which wasn't even designed yet. I dont think BMW stole the design for the E30 sunroof from Alpina. And a modifacation like that seems like a pretty big one to do to such a rare car...If I had a 30something year old 1 of 2 of a prototype for a car that is itself rare and hard to find, I wouldn't want to add or delete anything from it that I dont have too. And if I had to add or delete anything, I'd make sure it was reversable so I could return it back to its stock self someday. Just saying.

  19. #19
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    This car is not real. Whoever is trying to pawn this thing off as an Alpina should be ashamed of themselves. There is not one shred of real evidence that this is an Alpina. There is no mystery here. End of story.

    The car was delivered to the U.S. as a U.S. market 320i with “is” options and sold by a BMW dealer in Colorado. It has turbo kit that is oddly similar to a Calloway Turbo kit and U.S. market dealer installed A/C. It also has an e30 sunroof. The car wears Alpina badges in a BMW factory steering wheel and on the stock BMW factory 13” turbines.

    Alpina would not use a Calloway Turbo kit sold in the U.S. They had been turbocharging cars for years by the time they made this car. For reference, I have included a picture of the Calloway kit.



    Here is the turbo on the car:



    The “supposed” build sheet amounts to nothing more than fraud. It is not real and I guarantee I could create a more realistic one in 15 minutes. The biggest problem is that I don’t have a typewriter. Don’t forget that we didn’t have inkjets and laser printers when this car was made. Here is the supposed build sheet:



    So, you ask, what if the build sheet was procured more recently? Well, Alpina has stated that they had nothing to do with this car and that would mean no records.

    A real Alpina E21 A4 build sheet for reference:




    The mye28.com thread referenced above includes these comments:

    “I have not seen a vin plate like that ever,
    BMW did not put "Alpina" on the vin. plate
    And the vin. # came up as a E21 sold by Gebhard BMW in Bolder Co.”

    “I don't believe the sellers horsepower claims for even a half second. More than double stock horsepower with less than 1 bar?
    The build date on the VIN tag is 3/81, but the "Alpina" tag says 1/80.
    The VIN tag shown in the pic belongs to a 3/81 US E21.
    The VIN on that "Alpina" tag belongs to a 1/80 US E21, and not a non-cat euro car as the seller claims. That alone screams bullshit.
    That "Alpina" tag looks as though it was applied with a pop riveter.”

    “I forgot to mention this and that is, if this car was one off car than the bouth plaques insid the engine bay and the dach should read 0001 instead of 0435, so it means that 434 of them around, that is just my openion.”


    The whole story falls on its face in many places, but this one is great: In the mye28 thread you find this quote:

    “I got to the bottom of this story today, and the car is in fact a real "one off" M10 Turbo built at the Buchloe factory and everyting is legit. The car originally had a full Alpina interior, but the owner didn't like it so he swapped it with a buddy that had a US spec 320is. Turns out he works now for Cosworth F1 and if you look at the roster for F1, you can see this guy is quite busy. This would make a great piece of history if someone had the money to buy it!”

    Okay, sounds interesting at first. But, wait. If the owner supposedly changed out the full Alpina interior because he didn’t like it, than why does the “original” Alpina build sheet state that the car had black Recaros?

    This all amounts to fraud. I am disgusted by the efforts being taken by the parties involved to pass this car off as a $30k Alpina.
    --Paul
    '92 525it
    '89 535i
    '83 633csi
    '79 320i -- R.I.P.


    https://sites.google.com/site/straightsixbimmers/

  20. #20
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    Well done Paul.

    I was skeptical about this car from the original post. The evidence and questions raised since then have bolstered the argument that this is a snow job, but your summary clinches it for me. If it looks like a scam, smells like a scam, and walks like a scam ....

    BTW: I followed the link on your Bimmerforums profile page to the website you and your brother have created and it's a great read - keep up the good work!
    https://sites.google.com/site/straightsixbimmers/

  21. #21
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    Thanks for the info Paul!

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    The engineer who worked on the project and ended up with the car from Alpina is a friend of mine who I've known through the years including when he sold the car to Nick Reed before Nick passed away. The builder/original owner has no reason to make up claims. He has much much bigger fish to fry in his current career. And, he sold it to Nick for a very decent price. However, it did need some freshening up. You have to remember that this was simply a skunkworks project at Alpina. They got a blank chassis or "white chassis" from BMW. 3 in fact. And, they started focusing on the drivetrain. That was all they cared about was the viability of a turbo charged E21. They didn't care about badging, vin#s, anything. It was project never got far enough along to warrant thinking about its final production look. So, when the builder got the opportunity, he bought the car from Alpina. I know they installed the blue green interior that the engineer absolutely hated (personal taste) but I'm not sure what exactly came on the car. Also, this guy is a very high level and brilliant engineer who loved to tinker. This car was nothing that valuable to him. He never coveted it. He simply tinkered with it. Plus, he had access lots of BMW parts so he basically finished off the car himself. Regarding the VIN# stuff, he told me that customs never inspected the car when he had it shipped over from Germany as his personal car. He was friends with the dealership in Colorado and it ended up going directly to them with their normal allotment of E21s. I'm working with the engineer to find out more about the VIN#/Alpina badging. Also, I'm hoping that he contacts Alpina himself and produces more info including pics from the day.
    I'm waiting to hear back from him.

    Also, I"m not sure how Canepa got pics of the car three weeks ago. I just got it on Monday to start marketing and I didn't list it until Wednesday.

    Finally, I would normally be very suspect if this information was 2nd hand or "my friend says that his friend says, etc." However, I know the guy who built it. I've known about the car for some time. People in SoCal who know the car and the original owner know and believe him...because, he has simply nothing to gain.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul-HB View Post
    The engineer who worked on the project and ended up with the car from Alpina is a friend of mine who I've known through the years including when he sold the car to Nick Reed before Nick passed away. The builder/original owner has no reason to make up claims. He has much much bigger fish to fry in his current career. And, he sold it to Nick for a very decent price. However, it did need some freshening up. You have to remember that this was simply a skunkworks project at Alpina. They got a blank chassis or "white chassis" from BMW. 3 in fact. And, they started focusing on the drivetrain. That was all they cared about was the viability of a turbo charged E21. They didn't care about badging, vin#s, anything. It was project never got far enough along to warrant thinking about its final production look. So, when the builder got the opportunity, he bought the car from Alpina. I know they installed the blue green interior that the engineer absolutely hated (personal taste) but I'm not sure what exactly came on the car. Also, this guy is a very high level and brilliant engineer who loved to tinker. This car was nothing that valuable to him. He never coveted it. He simply tinkered with it. Plus, he had access lots of BMW parts so he basically finished off the car himself. Regarding the VIN# stuff, he told me that customs never inspected the car when he had it shipped over from Germany as his personal car. He was friends with the dealership in Colorado and it ended up going directly to them with their normal allotment of E21s. I'm working with the engineer to find out more about the VIN#/Alpina badging. Also, I'm hoping that he contacts Alpina himself and produces more info including pics from the day.
    I'm waiting to hear back from him.

    Also, I"m not sure how Canepa got pics of the car three weeks ago. I just got it on Monday to start marketing and I didn't list it until Wednesday.

    Finally, I would normally be very suspect if this information was 2nd hand or "my friend says that his friend says, etc." However, I know the guy who built it. I've known about the car for some time. People in SoCal who know the car and the original owner know and believe him...because, he has simply nothing to gain.

    Why would you represent a "build sheet" that is clearly fake? Why would you say you know the car came with the Alpina interior and then present us with a build sheet that says the car came with black recaros?

    I think at this point this must be some kind of game you are playing. To assume that the BMW community as a collective is going to accept your stories as they continually change in order to accomodate the most recent facts is amazing.

    I am sick of this car and this situation. I have one question for you: Stupid or liar?

    And one more thing, as previously posted, Alpina has seen pictures of this car and researched it. They have stated they had nothing to do with the car.

    I contacted ALPINA 3 weeks ago about this car and here is what the response was......




    thank you very much for your e-mail and the greetings -

    I checked our records and with all the "older" colleagues and we never made a E21 turbo. This car was converted or build by someone else.

    So this is not an ALPINA...


    Best regards

    Axel Rimpler

    Leiter Produktion / Head of Production
    Leiter Kundendienst / Head of Customer Service

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ALPINA Burkard Bovensiepen GmbH + Co. KG
    Alpenstraße 35-37
    D - 86807 Buchloe

    Mail: @alpina.de
    Fon : +49-8241-5005-156
    Fax : +49-8241-5005-80-156
    URL: http://www.alpina.de






    If anyone has questions about this being real or not feel free to contact ALPINA directly. again they said after I sent all photos and documents they replied back, they never worked on or made a E21 turbo.

    The current owner is aware of ALPINA's response to this car.
    --Paul
    '92 525it
    '89 535i
    '83 633csi
    '79 320i -- R.I.P.


    https://sites.google.com/site/straightsixbimmers/

  24. #24
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    Based on all the information presented so far, I think the car is in fact a project from the Alpina factory. But I don't believe it was given an Alpina plaque, Alpina badges, or an Alpina build sheet. All of these have been counterfeited by someone. I doubt it was the original owner (the engineer) that made these counterfeit items.

  25. #25
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    Adding my two cents....

    If in fact the car has a US Vin# which seems to be the case, I would be stunned to learn that a BMW dealership attached that # to this car as a "favor" to a friend. A person just does not "finish" a car by himself/herself and then have a dealer assign an actual BMW sequenced VIN# that would then show up in BMW's files. I mean come on....

    The car looks, as stated in a number of other posts, as a US spec 320i either with or without an S Package option attached to it as the wheels are non S Package rims though the large tool kit is present as well as the Recaro seats. The air conditioning system was more than likely added in the US, though, as incorrectly stated in a previous post, A/C was an option on the European E21's as my 83 E21 323i came with it from the factory. This is factual as documented by the build sheet under the rear seat and the A/C controls which are in German.

    As far as the power windows, s/r and door locks, each of these options were available aftermarket in the early 80's through many outlets with other items such as Kamei spoilers and front end bras. I though about putting the power windows in my 81 around 1983 though never got around to doing it.

    The Alpina bits such as the front spoiler, badging/striping and differential cover were all available through the dealer along with just about any other Alpina part you wanted. The items on this car are suspect in that they seem to have been added haphazardly. Why would someone who is supposedly working for Alpina in their "skunk works" department with access to anything they have to offer go about it this way. Take for example the Alpina sticker on the factory S Package steering wheel or the Alpina center stickers on the stock wheels. These are available every day on Ebay or from Walloth & Nesch. The Alpina badged speedometer and tach are also available from a number of sellers on Ebay.de, the German site. Same with the VDO gauges though I have to say that guage pod is rather nifty. Could be Alpina or custom....not sure on that. The battery in the trunk is a common move on many cars as well as extending the trunk lining to the outer wells and tail trim.

    Another give away that this was absolutely a US spec car that was then modified is the placement of the VIN tag. On European models, such as mine, the plate was attached to either the A pillar or near the window, NOT rivited in the dash over the left drivers air vent as is on this car. Look as well at the so called "BMW/Alpina" Vin plaque in the engine compartment. To the best of my knowledge, it was either BMW or Alpina, never combined. The blank plaques are available on Ebay.de sooooo....

    Also, if it was Federalized as I think the seller stated in a previous post then a plaque would be attached to the drivers door frame or under the bonnet stating as such.

    Forgot to mention the pictures of the owners manual set....stock US with BMW Service USA booklet and USA dealer directory which would have only come with a US spec car at time of delivery. The yellow owners manual with it can be purchased all day long on Ebay.co.uk or Ebay.de.

    Again, there is literally no way a "shell' came over then had a dash with a VIN # attached to it that magically matched up to an exact spec US car that had already been delivered to a dealer unless the dealer was doing some shady stuff. I mean the 80's were a different time and things were a little "looser" then but this just seems implausible.

    Forgot that the foglights are also US spec 320i, not the European version with the metal housing....

    Looking at the Alpina build sheet.........Really? Done with a typewriter (still have mine in the basement!) or an early computer and printer and put together with codes attainable through a myriad of sources....Alpina brochures, Google etc. Same with the dash plaque. Why would someone working for Alpina use one that looks NOTHING like the correct one or even the good fakes available on Ebay. Most damning to this whole notion of this car being a prototype is the fact that Alpina themselves have stated they have no knowledge of the car.

    The turbo looks like a modified unit using bits from either a Century or Callaway kit. Again, both of those as well as a few other types were offered in the early 80's by a number of sources... The headlight washer system was available as a kit from BMW that could be retrofitted to any European E21. Available in the US in the 80's if the dealer would be nice enough to order it for you.

    All in all, when someone is asking a high price for a "prototype" car, there should be rock solid, verifiable documentation from owner to owner. An example of this would be to look at the Alpina B6/2.8 that is also presently for sale on Ebay. While not a "prototype" , it is an actual documented Alpina car with the correct dash plaque, Alpina Vin plate in the engine compartment etc. etc...
    Last edited by dspulv1; 02-07-2013 at 11:08 PM.

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