This Modified 1992 BMW 850i Is a Dreamy BMW Parts-Bin Special

Modified 1992 BMW 850i 11 photos
Photo: RenneR_Projekts/Bring a Trailer
1992 Modified BMW 850i1992 Modified BMW 850i1992 Modified BMW 850i1992 Modified BMW 850i1992 Modified BMW 850i1992 Modified BMW 850i1992 Modified BMW 850i1992 Modified BMW 850i1992 Modified BMW 850i1992 Modified BMW 850i
When you think about a cool car, a coupe body with a long hood and short rear end might come to mind. Add pop-up headlights and a big V12 under the hood, and you have the perfect formula. You'd be wrong if you thought that might be the stuff of dreams or a cursed Miata swap. This exists, and it's called the BMW 850i. Let's take a deeper look.
The 8 series story begins in the '70s. Back then, BMW was still in a slump, making outdated econoboxes. On top of that, the company had just parted ways with brilliant designer Paul Bracq. But he left BMW with a little gem: the 1972 Turbo concept car. However, the manufacturer wanted something new, so they looked outside the company, as they had something exotic in their minds.

BMW called up the Italians at Lamborghini with a mid-engined proposition in hand. On paper, everything looked amazing; the Germans would design the power plant and the mechanical side of things, and flamboyant Italians would take care of the exterior and assembly. The result was called the M1, and it looked M-zing. Still, the relationship crumbled as Lamborghini failed to live up to the assembly expectations, and the car underperformed on the track.

So, following that, they stuck to what they knew - German reliability and engineering. Their golden child was the E24 6 series, born at the hands of Bob Lutz, who wanted a stylish and powerful cruiser - and he got a pretty good one. While this is an unbelievably cool car, and I scour Facebook Marketplace day and night looking for one, it was a precursor to something even better.

1992 Modified BMW 850i
Photo: RenneR_Projekts/Bring a Trailer
Fast forward to 1984, and Claus Luthe thought up something new. Following the massive success of the E30 that he had designed two years prior, he worked on the E32 7 series. While the idea for the new coupe came in 1981, Mister Luthe pushed the pedal to the metal in '84. The plan was simple - build an over-the-top car with a drag coefficient of under 0.3. To put that into perspective, the Countach had a drag coefficient of 0.42, and the Ferrari Testarossa was a little better at 0.36.

To achieve that feat, he employed the help of Klaus Kapitza. He took inspiration from the Turbo concept mentioned above with the long hood and mixed it with the styling queues of the M1 nose to create the front of the car. Then, he focused on eliminating other places where drag would occur - he curved the front fenders, gave it recessed windshield wipers, and even the mirrors were sculpted so that drag would be reduced.

All of that work resulted in an impressive 0.29 drag coefficient. And that was the birth of the BMW 850i in 1986, but it would hit the market in 1990, as 6 series sales were still going strong. That said, the 1989 Frankfurt Auto Show launch was a massive success, and the 8 series was sold out until 1993 - some people were ready to pay double the price on an already pretty expensive car.

1992 Modified BMW 850i
Photo: RenneR_Projekts/Bring a Trailer
Now, to see what makes it so good and what made so many people flock to buy it, we should look at its nooks and crannies. Thankfully, aiding us in doing so, we have a superb example from 1992 here, with a surprise under the hood - but we'll get to that in a second.

The pillarless body was refinished in its current shade of gold metallic, and it has green and yellow pinstriping. I mentioned a surprise under the hood, but the modifications don't stop there. The body also features 850CSi bumper covers and mirrors. The gold theme continues with the wheels, which are three-piece AL13 ones and measure 18 inches in diameter.

Behind those wheels, you'll find even more modifications. It has Bilstein shocks and H&R lowering springs. The struts assembly was also tinkered with to accommodate the brakes from other high-performance Bimmers - E60 M5 stopping power on the front and E92 M3 on the back.

Moving on to the inside, a lot of yellow leather greets you - and I mean A LOT of yellow leather. The seats, the dashboard, the center console, and the door panels are all in that questionable but exciting color. Contrasting it, you'll find a steering wheel wrapped in black leather. It fronts a 170 mph (275 kph) speedometer and other gauges. It also has a Renner Projekts badge, the Miami company that turned this 850i into what it is today.

1992 Modified BMW 850i
Photo: RenneR_Projekts/Bring a Trailer
You have waited long enough, so let's look at what lies under the hood. The standard 8 series had three different engine options under the hood. You had a V8 option called the 840i or the 840Ci, and then the flagship with the V12 monster. The first iteration had the 5.0-liter (305 ci), called the 850i that later became the 850Ci, in which the engine grew to 5.4 liters (330 ci), and then the big boy 850 CSi, with a 5.6-liter (342 ci) M70 V12 producing 385 hp (390 ps).

But the car we have here today has none of those engine options. Under the hood hides another BMW beast of an engine. It is powered by the 4.9-liter (300 ci) S62 V8 sourced from a 2002 BMW M5. I know it's not the mighty Autobahn destroying V12, but the screamer V8 is at least just as cool. It has 400 hp (406 ps) going through a six-speed manual sourced from the same E39 M5.

This car might be weird, and purists might even call it a sacrilege. But it is pretty damn impressive. If you find yourself in the pool of people who like it, it's up at auction in Miami, Florida. It currently sits at $23,000, with 38,000 miles (61,000 kilometers) on the clock, but the Carfax notes an inconsistency, so the total mileage is yet to be determined. It also comes with a clean Florida title and an accident-free Carfax.
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About the author: Călin Iosif
Călin Iosif profile photo

Călin’s origin story is being exposed to Top Gear when he was very young. Watching too much of Clarkson, Hammond and May argue on TV turned him into Petrolhead (an automotive journalist with a soft spot for old pieces of... cars, old cars).
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