Shark Attack
Fast Car|January 2018

John Ludwick’s E23 7 Series blends European optional extras with the best that modern tuning has to offer, all wrapped up with his own keen eye for detail. The results are something to behold.

Jarkle

It’s often said the grass always seems greener on the other side, and, in automotive terms at least, it certainly rings true. Just think, how many times have you been scrolling through a forum (or indeed Facebook) and been struck by the looks of a car from halfway across the planet, a model you could never have bought as it wasn’t imported to the UK?

Sometimes the car in question was sold in a totally different specification in different domestic markets, with the US DM being a case in point. A knee-jerk reaction kick-started a fixation with safety and emissions in the early ’70s, which in turn resulted in all imported cars being subjected to a series of extensive (some might say draconian) modifications, including massive bumpers, restrictive inlets and exhaust, and all the things which are anathema to most of us petrolheads.

The BMW you see here is a good example of this fixation with cars from the other side of the globe. Though the keen-eyed will already be champing at the bit to inform us that no, this isn’t an American spec 735i (check out the position of the steering wheel). And that’s despite the fact it’s lived the majority of its life in the land of the free and the home of the brave. The story as to how this stunning slice of early ’80s Munich magnificence ended up so far away from its native Blighty is a complex and entertaining one. But first let’s meet its owner, John Ludwick Jr.

“I saw the car for sale back in the fall of 2015 on Craigslist,” recalls John. “It was in Vermont and I live in New Hampshire, so it was a bit of a trek. But the photos showed it was a European, top-spec car with a manual gearbox, so well worth travelling for.”

John made the trip more in hope than expectation, fully aware of the 735i’s significance and rarity. What he found was something akin to the perfect BM-bargain. One which looked far better in the metal than it did in the photos, perhaps the first time this has happened in the history of looking at blurry camera-phone photos of cars on the internet. The car didn’t run, thanks to a duff fuel pump, and the boot wouldn’t open (“The seller claimed it was frozen shut”). But a deal was struck there and then, and John trailered it home.

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