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Inexpensive twelve-cylinder: Cheaper by the dozen, luxury for little money

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There is already a good F errari 400i, a decent Jaguar XJ-S costs 8,000 euros, Mercedes 600 SEL and BMW 750i start at 5,000 euros.

The magical number of cylinders in automobile construction remains out of reach for most enthusiasts for a long time. A twelve-cylinder belongs without a doubt to the elite in terms of performance, smoothness and nimbus, but also in terms of maintenance costs. A twelve-cylinder ennobles not only its owner, but also the brand from which it comes.

New barely affordable, affordable for everyone as a youngtimer

Toyota has long been a member of Japan thanks to Century Club, we have long expected it from the late-noon British noble manufacturers Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin Lagonda. The number is still unusual for a Volkswagen, and the ambitious Audi even has a V12 turbodiesel direct injection engine in its range. But that doesn't mean that a twelve-cylinder is popular instead of elitist. It remains very costly to design, develop and manufacture.

The twelve-cylinder only becomes popular as an accident in old age, at the dead center in the oil sump of the used car depression, shortly before prices rise much more slowly than they previously fell.

Twelve-cylinders ready to drive for 1,500 euros

The motto “Cheaper by the dozen” hits a milestone in German automotive engineering particularly hard and unfairly. The first post-war twelve-cylinder from Bavaria is called the BMW 750 i - its glorious title is almost as quickly forgotten as the name of Miss Germany in 1987. Today, 23 years later, there are three hundred thousanders ready to drive for 1,500 euros, after all, it is enough for the meaningful sentence: 'I drive a twelve-cylinder'. Passable ones cost 3,000 and good ones hardly cost more than 5,000 euros.

A Ferrari is much better off there. Read more about the Ferrari 400 i.

Cheap twelve-cylinder Ferrari? Even those with the last V12 ancestor of the legendary design by Gioacchino Colombo? There are too. Would you like a case study? The spontaneous click on the Internet at mobile.de makes the following offer thoughtful:

The Ferrari 400 i with front engine is the poor dog among the Ferraris

Ferrari 400 i Automatic, Rosso Corsa, red Connolly leather like the car in our archive photos. Year of construction 1982, 92,000 km, various new parts such as Michelin TRX tires (very expensive), exhaust, control unit for the K-Jetronic. Good service history.

According to the dealer Aretz-Automobile in Dinslaken near Wesel: 'A collector's vehicle in excellent condition' - 24,500 euros. It is the variant that has been strengthened from 310 to 315 PS with an even better torque curve, if you even notice it at an exuberant 392 Newton meters in dialogue with the three-speed automatic transmission from General Motors.

Meaningful photos confirm the very good impression, there is also a 400 next to it. The 400 i from Aretz is not the only relatively cheap home among the Ferrari twelve-enders, starting at 13,500 euros for a right-hand drive 400 i, most of these impressive touring cars range between 20,000 and 30,000 euros.

Like the BMW 750 i, the front-engined Ferrari 400, formerly the 365 GT 4 2 + 2, does not have a good chance with car enthusiasts. He is the poor dog among the Ferraris, in the bite order of the pack only the eight-cylinder Mondial is below. Even the former Bertone stepchild Ferrari 308 GT4 has already drawn level. And also the 365 GTC, which is technically completely related to the 400 GT, with its black plastic nose not exactly a beauty, costs a good 90,000 euros. They are conventionally powered. Transaxles like the Daytona and 456 GT - the posthumous rehabilitation of the 400 GT - neither have.

Luxuriously equipped, large and cheap - good genes of the Ferrari 400i

We already suspected it , it's the shape. It is too unspectacular for the Ferraristi, too sweeping, perhaps too much Ford Granada or better still Rolls-Royce Camargue. Pininfarina styled it at the same time, and he also dressed a Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 in a similar way. There is something established about the 400. The tuxedo is closer to him than the racing suit, it polarizes.

His fans are not only happy about the low price. They love its authoritarian size, its graying gentleman's driver attitude, its high quality in detail - like the quilted leather headliner, the bulging individual seats in the rear, the center console that suggests the airplane atmosphere. Even the dominant selector lever does not look like a foreign body in this aura of sophisticated luxury. The automatic has not been a Ferrari taboo anymore since the carburetor 400 from 1976.

Many mourn for him, the 340 PS strong, irresistibly attractive full-blood twelve-cylinder with six Weber double carburettors. Petrol injection, ABS or even automatic instead of theThe five-speed gears typical of the brand are not Ferrari-like for many, because this shakes the untamed sensuality of the cars. The extremely soft GM automatic system even goes very well with the character of the Trans Europe Express, which was created for effortlessly high travel cuts. Although it costs bite.

Almost outrageous drop in prices for the Ferrari 400 i

A BMW 750i is downright outrageously cheap. But the mighty Ferrari is anything but a casual hammock, not a magic carpet like a BMW 750 i. The wonderful, always tingling, beguiling sound of the Colombo-V12 intoxicates the senses and stimulates driving pleasure, the heavy coupé with the real tubular frame nestles safely and elegantly into the curves of a fast stage on country roads. His revving enthusiasm, as well as his pulling out of the speed cellar.

After all, in 17 years the 400 family, which also includes the original 365 GT 4 2 + 2 with the three taillights and the late 412, 2,978 copies built. The new price of the 400i was 123,000 marks in 1981 - there were two Mercedes 500 SELs for this. Only one Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit has an even worse price after almost 30 years.

In contrast to the furious Ferrari 400 i, smoothness is more important to the BMW 750 i than performance. Read more about the BMW 750 i on the next page.

But because the V12 of the BMW 750 i ignites twice as often as a six-cylinder per work cycle, the result is noticeably smoother running, especially on low tours. The quiet, inconspicuous 300 hp from five liters of the sculpturally beautiful M70 are almost on par with Ferrari, but are achieved with less effort.

The BMW 750i is available from 1,500 euros

Two instead of four camshafts are sufficient for the highly efficient short-stroke BMW light-alloy engine, which uses rocker arms instead of the bucket tappets customary elsewhere for valve actuation. The ingenious Bosch Motronic helps against the heavy drinking binge of the mighty twelve. That then only makes 15 instead of 20 liters per 100 kilometers. Need a sleepless night, you twelve-cylinder affiçionados?

Selbin Automobile in Heilbonn advertises a 92 BMW 750 i, silver metallic from first hand, with a full service history with 292,650 kilometers for 4,300 euros on mobile on 0 71 31/8 98 44 21: 'A collector's item, no scratches, none Dent, very neat garage car. Buffalo full leather in anthracite 'is a small excerpt from the extensive accompanying text that lists all the extras. The photos speak for themselves, the high mileage is becoming less important in view of the magnificent condition. Mobile.de starts at 1,500 euros for a used 750 i. What is the reason for the unworthy sell-out of a valuable automobile?Answer: It seems shy like a fiver.

Understatement, harmony and balance - the virtues of the BMW 750 i

The BMW 750 i lacks that certain Something, the signal. In contrast to its extroverted brother BMW 850 Ci, which gives the macho incarnation of a super sports car, it disguises itself with the timeless, almost technocratically serious body of a 730 i. Only connoisseurs signal the wider kidney and the rectangular exhaust ends. From a zeitgeist perspective, elegant understatement is just out of fashion. The Buffalo leather doesn't change that.

The driving experience in the big BMW is as impressively effortless as the lines. He whispers, he can do a lot, is downright a model boy in harmony and balance. Left off the chain, he bites like a wild animal. Is a disguised sports car, especially with a short wheelbase. But you don't go all out with him, it would be improper. But the 750 i has the lowest risk of ruinous follow-up costs, it is the most rational of all twelve-cylinder engines.

Before the appearance of the BMW, this compliment was due to the Jaguar XJ-S. Read more about the Jaguar E-Type successor on the next page.

Its 5.4-liter twelve-cylinder, an heirloom from the planned Le Mans XJ racing car 13, is still the quietest and quietest of the tenors quartet. When accelerating gently, only a gentle wind blows around the E-Type successor, which was designed avant-garde by William Lyons and Malcolm Sayer. No more.

Silky smooth running of the twelve-cylinder in the Jaguar XJ-S

When idling, the driver has to hit the See tachometer, otherwise he will accidentally restart the car. As the E-Type successor, the XJ-S has failed thoroughly - too expansive, too sedate, formally without that dash of eroticism that makes the E-Type so desirable even in the full third series.

The XJ-S takes a while to work. Then the spark jumps over and you fall head over heels in love with him. At Jaguar it plays the role that the 928 plays at Porsche. He's a really big guy, but nobody understands him because he's so different. The price of the XJ-S was always overshadowed by the XJ 12, Series III. Women don't like him. But slowly it comes out of cover, its shape with the elongated C-pillars looks fresher than that of the explored sedan, it still holds secrets.

Gregor Zimmermann, Youngtimer dealer from Friedrichhafen, Tel. 0 75 41/5 73 05, advertises a silver XJ-S with black leather interior in mobile.de. It is a 1977 Swiss import, comes from the particularly attractive first series with the strange segment aluminum wheels, the wood-free interior and the extremely rare four-speed gearbox with overdrive.

Love at second sight - the XJ-S still holds secrets

Only 350 XJ-S stickshifts are said to have existed. The mighty, flat coupé with the strange ones oval Cibié headlights costs just 7,499 euros: 'TÜV and AU new, including H approval. Fresh from service and newly sealed '. Such pleasing facts are sweetened by a V12, which with 287 hp was still in the prime of its power, but also needs 20 liters per 100 km.

Some claim that it does The later HE version with Fireball combustion chamber by Michael May no longer has the bite of the early years. Usable XJ-S start at 3,000 euros, often it is GKatless mid-eighties, plus high-risk patients with maintenance backlog.

The BMW monopoly on the German modern twelve-cylinder lasted only four years. Arch-rival Mercedes-Benz raised the bar with the fat W140. More on the next page.

Mercedes-Benz 600 SEL -Fascinating technology, unpopular exterior

Four camshafts instead of two; four to two is also included the valves; six liters of displacement poured out; 408 hp, 580 Newton meters - that was a world record at the time The audience did not acknowledge the engineering achievement that can be found both in this engine of the century and in the entire W140. One was bothered by the huge, not very graceful body. For the first time the word 'socially acceptable' came up in the discussion with a luxury car.

Mercedes-Benz 600 SEL - the unmatched maximum

Today, the few Mercedes 600 that remain in the country They paid SEL the respect they deserved as Maybach forerunners and masterpieces. Driving comfort, material quality and processing level are unmatched since then. The passenger is greeted by dignified functionality in the salon-like interior of the 600 SEL. In contrast, the predecessor, the W 126, appears as simple and compact as a mid-range sedan.

Gathered leather, fine burl wood inlays, a center console carved from solid. A lavish feeling of space in the rear, maximum isolation from the outside world thanks to the sound-absorbing double glazing. Such a 600 SEL is like a luxury villa on wheels, comfortably furnished, but without trinkets. The only thing missing is the open fireplace between the lushly upholstered front seats.

The highly complex technology can cause annoyance for W140 owners

Which cost 198,360 marks , is available today at EZT-Exporthandel GmbH in Trierweiler, phone 06 51/9 98 58 72 for 4,500 euros. A 92 Mercedes 600 SEL with 189,000 km, dark blue metallic, black leather. 'Good condition, fully equipped, new TÜV and AU', it says succinctly in the mobile advertisement, which the photos confirmthis is meaningful. The appetizing fund alone tempts you to blindly buy this magnificent specimen immediately.

But unlike many old Mercedes, a W 140 is not without its problems. The abundance of networked, intercommunicating control devices (Can-Bus) makes life difficult, especially for owners of low-maintenance S-Classes. The deterioration of the cable harness, the sheaths of which tend to dissolve, can also have an insidious effect. Passion for driving twelve cylinders also includes the ability to suffer. But is that really holding us back? Not at this price.

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