Here’s A 1989 BMW 5 Series Tuned By Alpina To Nearly Top 200 MPH
Photography by B&B Kristinsson
With a number of interesting vehicles, owners, and events on our radar, there’s always an exciting story just waiting to unearth itself with a bit of luck. So when a friend of Petrolicious got in touch, saying he knew an enthusiast who drove a very special, period-tuned Alpina B10 Bi-Turbo sedan, we just had to share Sveinbjörn Hrafnsson and Anna Maria Moestrup’s beloved BMW. Did I mention they live in Iceland?
Surely, it’s not a place accustomed to giallo yellow 5 Series BMWs against the backdrop of darker volcanic earth that the country is known for. But it is where Hrafnsson lives, with years of traveling around Europe in his ’20s quickly confirming one thing: “…I got addicted to high speed, nothing else was in my mind other than going flat out on the Autobahns,” he writes.
“In my opinion, and I really mean it, the E34 Alpina B10 Bi-Turbo is the greatest Alpina ever made, and the greatest 5 Series ever made, still today—why is that? It was a benchmark then: the media couldn’t believe its performance, and how well it drove, it outperformed almost everything on four wheels—it wasn’t the quickest off the line, but in mid-range and top speed, it smoked everybody…literally. When it was launched 1989, and held the record for the fastest sedan in the world at the time of its introduction, the B10 Bi-Turbo was even compared with the RUF Yellowbird,” he says. “The color of the car is why and where it gets its main attention from, and why I bought the car in ‘FE 102’ paint—its original color is Granite Silver, a previous owner painted it—the car’s been yellow for more than 20 years from now.”
“As we love to travel and drive in Europe, we kept the car at the Nürburgring in 2008-2009 and 2015-2016, and took a Eurotour from Iceland, with the ferry in 2010 and 2012. The Autobahnen are the home of the B10 Bi-Turbo, and that’s why we like to drive it in Europe, we have driven the car around 55,000 km (34,000 miles) since we got it, and I guess 45,000 km (~28,000 miles) of them were in Europe.”
“For me and my wife, the highlights in our ownership without doubt was the 50 year anniversary of Alpina in 2015. We took the ferry from east Iceland, 700 km (434 miles) from Reykjavík, three days and three nights of travel with the ship, we landed in Denmark—and from there drove 1,300 km (800 miles) down to Buchloe, Germany. We are members of the German Alpina community, Alpina Gemeindschaft, and were invited to be on the guest list on the second last day of the one week celebration of Alpina cars. It’s a fantastic event where all the dealers, worldwide customers, guests, etc., came down to Buchloe and took part in this festival.”
“To make a long story as short as possible, we wanted to take part in the concours drive, but got no papers as they were sent to Iceland when we were in Germany. My wife went to the info desk, and insisted that we would get a number so we could take part in this event and the folks at Alpina fully understood that, having come all the way from Iceland—and I must say that it was the best guiding drive I have ever been a part of. Amazing event.”
“We knew that some judges had been walking around all day and would choose the best-looking Alpina. There was a slideshow with pictures from the day with all the cars and folks, and suddenly the slideshow stopped and a picture with us in the car was shown—‘Hmmm, cool, I thought, it must be the license plate and the color of the car,’ the speaker was giving some fellows from the UK a second and third prize. I couldn’t really understand what is was about, and then the speaker said: “…a sure winner as a globetrotter, they’ve come so far away that Google Maps do not have a route to Buchloe—Sveinbjörn and Anna Maria from Iceland…”
“I knew nothing of what was going on, as I thought that the most beautiful car was clearly not ours, and our friends at they table just yelled: “You won!” If Anna Maria had not insisted that we got these numbers, we would not have been the winner!”
Still driving their beloved B10 around Europe as much as possible, if you see an older, giallo yellow BMW in the left lane of the autobahn, best move right, right away…