There are plenty of great, affordable luxury sedans that’ll eat your wallet alive if you aren’t watching out. Even reliable older Lexus LS400s have some complicated repairs due at this point that, while probably not as draining as that beater W140 S-class you’ve been eyeing, are nonetheless costly. There are a few ways to mitigate risk on older luxury sedans, and one is to reduce complexity. Like by finding a unicorn-ish E23 BMW with a manual transmission, which avoids the failure of the automatic at around 100,000 miles. That leads us to this 1984 BMW 733i for sale for $2400 in Vancouver, WA.
Anecdotally speaking, the 4-speed transmission seems more common on the 7-series, so it’s interesting to find a 5-speed, and it will help with fuel efficiency and more relaxed freeway cruising. The seller does not offer much detail, but to say it runs and drives well and has faded paint on the horizontal surfaces. If you’re an outdoorsy or hoarding type, the seller can throw in a roof rack.
The overall impression is pretty straight, and while this is a classic BMW shape, the picture does not do anything to disguise the slab-sided styling of the car. E38 7-series wheels are attractive enough on this car, but low profile tires mean the overall wheel assembly does a poor job of filling the wheel wells. But that’s all the excuse needed to stance it, yo. Or just get different tires – the positive is you don’t need to deal with the original equipment metric wheels.
The interior wood seems to have been refinished, and is in good shape, if a bit light compared to other 733i dashes. The seller has fixed some electrical issues and replaced the radio, which is not at all visible in this shot. Everything in sight looks to be in good cosmetic shape, though, which is impressive for an indicated 219,000 miles.
The car has clearly spent time outdoors recently, as there’s accumulated tree debris around the engine compartment. Everything does look clean and structurally solid, so if you’re lucky some cleaning will get you back in shape. Is that hose at the rear of the engine compartment a heater core bypass? This looks like a compelling alternative to an E28 5-series, now their value is increasing, and this generation is in many ways simply a larger version of its little brother. If it’s as well-cared-for as it appears, it could be a good entry-level BMW.