It’s been a while since BMW Group Classic showcased some of the rare gems it has in storage, but it was well worth the wait as the new video highlights three special 7 Series models. The video starts off with a 745i from the E23 era made only for South Africa in just 192 examples. It’s actually the car used in the original sales brochure, but those M badges were added later on. What makes it so special? A look under the hood reveals its juicy secret.

Power came from a variation of the M88 engine, the same used in the iconic mid-engined M1 supercar. It’s a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter inline-six with 290 horsepower and 340 Newton-meters (251 pound-feet) of torque. The M88/3 worked with a manual gearbox, making the car even rarer as only 14 came with a stick shift. Speaking of the M1, we’re being told only these two cars came with the BMW Motorsport classic logo on the wheel center caps.

Up next is an E32 730i prototype that was never sold to the public. However, it was registered for road use at some point. It served as a company car and was driven by German engineer Paul Rosche. Not only are those retro-tastic wheels taken from an M5 E34, but so is the S38B48 engine. It’s been bored out to a 3.9-liter displacement to extract a meaty 390 horsepower or 50 more than the 3.8-liter engine inside the M5 E34.

Saving the best for last, the Goldfish makes a somewhat rare appearance on video as an E32 7 Series equipped with a gargantuan V16 engine. Rather than gluing two V8 engines together, BMW’s engineers actually sliced two “M70” V12s to use eight cylinders from each and join them, thus creating a sixteen-cylinder monster. A closer look at the engine shows where the two were merged. The 6.7-liter engine pumps out 408 hp and over 600 Nm (442 lb-ft), enough to take the fullsize luxury sedan to 174 mph (280 km/h).

Because the engine was so large and barely fit under the hood, the cooling was moved in the back as the air was routed from the rear fenders through the grille flanked by the taillights, thus making the trunk unusable. As to why it was nicknamed Goldfish, one of the prototypes was finished in gold while the side vents look like the gills of a fish. Back in the day, it was also known as the 767 or “The Secret Seven.”

The V16 engine went on to be tested in the Bentley Mulsanne, but it was never put into production.

Source: BMW Group Classic