This Alpina C1 is a Rare Bit of BMW 3 Series History
Over its five decades in the business, German tuner-turned-automaker Alpina has established a long history of taking great BMWs and making them just a bit tastier, more luxurious, and well… faster. Of course, they haven’t always been the land rockets of modern day, however that’s not to say they were exactly tame. Back in the early 1980s, this was one of the cars to have—an Alpina C1 2.3. Based on the original E21 BMW 3-series, the C1 2.3 bridged the performance gap between the standard BMW 323i and Alpina’s hard-charging B6 2.8. It summoned up a heady 170 horsepower and disposed of the 60 mph sprint in just seven and a half seconds. Not shabby at all. 33 years later, this ’83 Alpina C1 is back up for sale, and it’s still quite the head-turner. RELATED: Check Out the Hard-Charging 2016 Alpina B6 xDrive
A look back at the C1’s contemporary relatives show just how wide Alpina’s performance gap had been. Introduced in 1977, the BMW 323i offered up 141 horsepower courtesy of BMW’s famed M20 straight-six engine, a big performance improvement over the E21’s previous four-cylinders. The Alpina B6 2.8 3-series on the other hand, introduced in 1978, blew its doors off thanks to the bigger 2.8-liter straight-six plucked from the BMW 528i, offering up 200 horsepower. All that, in an early 3-series.
With that in mind, a middle-of-the-pack car made sense, so Alpina treated the 323i’s straight-six to some of the B6 2.8’s goodies, minus the former’s Bosch fuel-injection system. Bilstein shocks were part of the diet too, along with oversized disc brakes, sleek alloy wheels, as well as the tell-tale Alpina front splitter, rear spoiler, and racy side-stripes.
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Inside, Alpina added a dose of luxury as well. One could order their C1 2.3 with the gorgeous optional Recaro seats with Alpina stripes, as well as a bespoke leather steering wheel, gear knob, and speedometer. Top speed? About 130 mph.
Compared to regular E21 BMW 3-series cars, these are quite rare. How rare is a point of debate, however. Production estimates range from as few as 35 to as many as 400, depending on the source. Regardless, you certainly don’t see them everyday, and if this one fits your fancy… it lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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