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This Euro-Spec 1975 BMW 520i Is Minty Fresh Bavarian Excellence

A clean example perfectly highlights Paul Bracq's genius for clean design.

Designer Paul Bracq's original 5-Series, the E12, spent a few decades as simply an old BMW, living in the shadows of its increasingly powerful and advanced offspring. Not to mention the fact that our American-market E12s were saddled with woefully unattractive crash bumpers and power-sapping emissions equipment, although the smooth M30 inline-six was a nice touch. But a crisp, minty fresh European-spec E12 5-Series is a sight to behold.

And this one, pictured here, is about as minty fresh as they come. It's listed at Bring a Trailer, and it shows off how delicate and perhaps even beautiful Bracq's design was. The slim Euro bumpers blend into the bodyside moulding, and all the little stylistic asides harmonize into a fantastic (and slightly nerdy) symphony of sheetmetal. The little vent aft of the iconic Hofmeister C-pillar kink, the filler door in the rear fascia, the headlight wipers, the blue velour interior, the 14-inch multi-spoke alloys wrapped with vintage Uniroyal tires—it may be a low-spec model by American standards, but it's perhaps the perfect example to capture the model's European vibe.

It's no big six that would power the American 5-Series to glory, but the M10 2.0-liter inline-four that's under the hood of this 520i is the same motor that is found in the contemporary 2002Tii, so it's a peaky little engine that rewards a lot of revving (and doesn't make a ton of torque down low). With the larger E12 body, it may mean hoofing the gas a fair bit to get it to move with urgency, but it should also be incredibly rewarding to wring out once it's built up a little speed. Plus, the fuel injection system should require a little less fiddling than carburetors, always a welcome bonus.

This particular example is exceptionally clean. There are only 8,000 or so miles showing on the odometer, and based on the condition that might be accurate. Whether you want to bid or just gawk at the images, enjoy!