1980 Alpina Turbo E21 prototype

This 1980 BMW Alpina E21 prototype has an interesting history and is one of the of the oldest complete Alpinas cars I’ve come across for sale.

alpina1 alpina2In the early 1970s, Alpina worked closely with BMW to produce racecars for the Europiean Touring Car Championships but towards the end of the decade they would actually become a manufacturer in they’re own right.

alpina4 alpina8Alpina would purchase chassis and engines from BMW customize and build the unit and eventually sell the completed cars through BMWs existing dealership network.

alpina14 alpina16This is a prototype Alpina based on the E21 3-series chassis, the story goes Alpina was provided with 3 bodies in white (a blank chassis) and decided to try building a turbo based on a 4 cylinder 2.0 liter engine. Eventually they chose a larger 2.3L 6 cylinder motor for the production version of the E21 and dropped idea of a turbo.

alpina9 alpina12An engineer who built this prototype was able to purchase off Alpina and is 1 of 2 that were built. Fast forward to today and this car has recently undergone a restoration on the interior of the car and is for sale on eBay.

alpina10 alpina13I like how Alpina always applies branding to the different parts of the car from the speedometer to the wheels. The exterior graphics are a little wild, but it works to draw attention to this otherwise boxy looking car.

alpina3alpina15The front air damn looks like its based on an old touring car and the side graphics theme are also applied to it. The rear Alpina bade looks a little boring and I wish they used an Alpina emblem on the rear trunklid over the regular BMW one, but overall I think this makes a great collectible piece and fun little car to drive.

alpina7 alpina11Because of the recent restoration, the interior looks immaculate with sport seats with side bolstering and a nice looking weave on the carpet. Since this is a turbo engine, a number of VDO badges are mounted to keep track of boost, water temperature and other engine essentials.

alpina5The buy it now price is $30k and although the E21 chassis isn’t the most collectible in BMW history I love the story behind this Alpina car and imagine it will be swept up quickly.

Sellers contact info

From the seller:


After purchasing the car in 2011, the recent owner put the finishing touches on the car.  He spent over $6,000 restoring the interior of the car.  The factory sport seats were recovered in vinyl.  A new headliner and carpet kit was also installed.  Also, he completely restored the original dash including the rare Alpina gauge cluster.  Finally, he redid the door panels and center console.  The only flaw is the small plastic trim near the gauge cluster has a few cracks in it.  It isn’t that noticeable, but unfortunately, the part is NLA.  We are still on the hunt for a good used one. Recently, a major service was performed on the car including a valve adjustment, alignment, and oil service.  This Alpina is ready to be enjoyed.


The build on this car was typically BMW contract prototype budget.  No expense was spared and nearly every component on this car was improved upon.


Modifications include the following:


Recaro sport seats

Electric Sunroof

Alpina body stripes

3:64 Limited slip differential

Leather 3-spoke steering wheel

Rajay oil fed turbo

2.3L Bottom End Engine that’s been Stroked

BMW 323 Suspension

All Wheel Disc Brakes

Bilstein Shocks

Minor Porting

Minor Head Work

Battery relocated to the trunk