I love stories about one-off automotive projects that never saw production and were lost to time. BMW has a few, actually, with the most famous now being the original BMW M8. However, there’s another one that is equally as intriguing but in a different way. Whereas the original BMW M8 Prototype was awesome and exciting, this other car was silly and hilarious. The car in question is the V16-powered BMW 750iL “Goldfisch” made back in 1987.
Meaning “Goldfish” in German (who would have guessed?), the BMW 750iL Goldfisch was an absurd and amazing one-off by BMW that seemed to have been made purely to see if it could be done. Essentially, what BMW did was stuff a massive 6.6 liter V16 engine under the hood of an E32-generation 7 Series, which could barely accommodate a V12. In fact, the V16 was such a tight fit that BMW had to modify the 7 Series quite a bit to get the monster engine inside.
For starters, the radiator had to be moved to the trunk of the car. But rather than just use a standard radiator, BMW opted for two smaller ones. To send air to them, fiberglass ducts were made and worked into the rear quarter panels, where ducts were cut. To extract hot air from the trunk, a custom-designed grille was made to fit into the rear of the car, requiring modifications to the entire rear end, including the taillights.
Power was ample for its time, with the massive V16 making 408 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque. That was significantly more powerful than the 300 hp V12-powered 7 Series of the time and would actually still be pretty powerful today. Though, the only 16-cylinder car on the market today makes over 1,500 hp, so we’ve progressed since then.
The best part about all of this? It had a six-speed manual transmission. Not only was it a V16-powered 7 Series but it had a manual transmission. How incredible is that?
Once it was finished, the car was painted gold, hence the name. It was a fascinating car and one that looked awesome but, of course, never saw production. It’s not hard to see why, either. It was incredibly expensive, completely unnecessary, would have sold horribly and was difficult to build. It was wise to not move forward with the project from a business standpoint.
Still, the BMW 750iL Goldfisch is an incredible car and one with a great story. We wish BMW would have actually made it because it would have been one of the very coolest cars ever made. Imagine actually buying a V16-powered 7 Series with a six-speed manual and rear air ducts?