Test Run - Revcounter 448

By: Guy Allen

Presented by

revcounter revcounter

Excitement, joy and paranoia in equal measures

You might be familiar with this syndrome. It happens when you go for the first proper drive in your ‘new’ toy. That is, new to you, but in reality a few decades old. This is the acid test, the time you work out whether it will be okay or, as you secretly suspect, you’ve just blown your dough.

In some ways, there’s a great argument for paying someone else to do this for you. A proper shake-down run where the driver has no emotional investment. But then you’d miss out on the mix of fear and loathing (sounds like a book title...), mixed with joy and relief.

Which is where we were the other weekend, spouse Ms M senior and I, pounding the pavement with our latest money-pit, the 1993 BMW 850Ci. In addition to having 12 cylinders, it seems to have at least two of everything else – particularly if it’s electronic. So, complex, viciously expensive back in the day (think $220 grand in Oz) and now reaching an age where components are thinking of early retirement.

After some brief trips scuttling around town, we took the plunge on a 500km day trip out into the countryside, to places where there is no mobile phone coverage and, mid-Summer, people have signs out offering weird stuff like Nordic ski hire (but no banjo lessons). What could possibly go wrong? In the end, nothing much.

We’ve discovered a few issues, such as one of two lamps that are having a sulk, a climate control system that’s acting a little weird at times and that it has a prodigious thirst. Trust me, if we hang on to this thing, you should buy shares in BP.

In the end we had a great old time in the monster. The V12 has been allowed to make its voice heard thanks to a new and less restrictive exhaust system, and it sings a very distinctive tune. Though not particulary quick by current standards, it corners dead flat, feels secure, while the combination of a low pillarless cabin with the long snout out front makes it feel like a special place.

Fear and loathing? Nup, we just might get away with this...


From Unique Cars #448, January 2021

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