1985 BMW E23 728i – Classified of the Week

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By Chris Pollitt

Sports cars, luxury cars, hot hatches, roadsters – they’re all cars we associate with the genre that is classic cars. They all have a quality, a spirit if you will that keeps the interest burning for years and years. That’s why we have so many MGBs, Healeys, TVRs and RS2000s. The executive car, however, is not a car that often makes it to classic status. Which, given some of the executive cars of the past, is something of a shame. 

Executive cars are, by their very nature, a status symbol. That’s why executives buy them. They are the wheeled embodiment of wealth and success. No executive has ever driven a Nissan Sunny. Instead, they buy flagship cars. Cars that the respective manufacturers have filled to the gills with whatever technology was available at the time. These cars are flagship cars; they allow a company to show the world what it’s working on. The S Class, for example, was the first car to ever have a turbo diesel engine. It was the first to have standard seatbelt pretensioners and it was one of the first to have an airbag. 

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Executive cars do things first. But then, after a while, they get replaced by a newer model, leaving the old ones to fade into relative obscurity. Because no executive worth his or her salt is going to be seen in the older model. And so the values of these cars tumble, they end up being run by people without the means to maintain them as they should be, and invariably they end up in the crusher. Sad, but true. 

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As such, it’s rare to see a classic executive car. Which is why this E23 – the first incarnation of the BMW 7 Series – is so special. There must only be a handful left on the roads. Many went the way of the cars mentioned above, while the rest dissolved due to poor rust-proofing. Ask any BMW specialist about old models, and they’ll tell you about rust. It was a serious cancer on these old cars. 

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This car though, a stunning 1985 E23 728i with manual transmission, is from South Africa, so rust has never really been an issue. It’s got MOT, it wears its original paint and trim, both of which are in excellent order, it sits on the factory alloys and it comes with loads of paperwork to back up how well it has been cared for in the past. It is the perfect way to get behind the wheel of an E23. No dodgy rust repairs to worry about, no knackered body, no threadbare trim. This is an E23 as it should be.

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