Alpina B6 3 Series


For some reason, somehow, my oldest friend had one of these for his first car.

Quite inexplicable, really. He wasn’t a rich kid. His dad helped him out, sure – but it wasn’t the sort of family who did flash cars. Said dad, for gawd’s sake, drove a very down-at-heel Vauxhall Viva.


The car was fast. It was horribly unreliable – used to overheat constantly. It drove with a sort of lurching wheeze – and the gearbox had obviously been thrashed to within an inch of its life before my mate got hold of this thing.


But around the A-roads of Essex in the early 1980s – a place replete with every kind of Dagenham dustbin known to the Estuarine region – it was something special – and it set those that drove her and those that rode in her apart.

That’s the appeal of a sub-brand like Alpina. There’s an otherness to them that once tasted, will stay with you forever.