It's the much-desired first generation of BMW's 3-series, but so much better. This 1980 executive express is one of the first ground-up BMW conversions by left-field specialists Alpina.

Exterior clues are present and correct: spoilers front and rear, Alpina turbine-style alloys - and the company's highly distinctive side striping. Open the driver's door to Recaro sports seats, Momo steering wheel and wooden Alpina gear knob gracing an unmarked interior.

Lift the bonnet and a crowded, pristine engine bay is the clue to the real transformation from the far-from-slow standard car. Alpina cams, forged Mahle pistons, new fuel injection system and five-speed Getrag gearbox are among factory Alpina modifications lifting power to an impressive-for-the-time 200 bhp. Expect a 140 mph top speed, and a lot of fun getting there. Just 83 of these remarkable not-BMWs survive, which makes Four Star Classics' price tag of £49,995 something of a bargain.

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