The Drive found a fascinating car listing on eBay’s German site that, were the listing in the U.S., we’d expect to see on Bring A Trailer and bid up to BAT’s altitude-sickness prices. The listing says that in September of 1997, a woman born in 1927 bought this 1998 BMW 740i brand new. She is said to be the only registered owner. We’ve no idea what became of her, but she — or someone — put 158 miles on the BMW, the final drive ending in a storage unit in Gogolin Slaski, Poland, an out-of-the-way hamlet roughly 40 miles from the Czech border. Someone then decided to wrap the short wheelbase sedan in “an air capsule with mechanical air circulation” and let it sit for around 23 years, before throwing it on the eBay lawn seven days ago. Make of all this what you will, the fact is that BMW likely doesn’t have an E38 7 Series in this condition, with “no signs of the passage of time” between the low miles and the air bubble.
Based on the headlight surrounds, this appears to be a pre-refresh model. Nothing having changed from when the dealer sold the car, up front will be a 4.4-liter, naturally aspirated V8 with 282 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque sending power to the rear wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission. Although the 7 Series was the first European car to offer built-in satellite navigation, the listed sedan slots the standard cassette player in that spot.
At the time of writing and with seven days left in the auction, the bid is up to €48,350 ($51,952 U.S.), which doesn’t meet the reserve. In the U.S. in 1997, the NADA guide shows a brand new 740i started at $61,070 before handling, which equates to almost $98,500 in today’s dollars after inflation, that latter sum nearly $12,000 more than the base price for a 2020 740i. The eBay car could end up being a deal on a trip back in time, looked at that way. On the other hand, $6,000 and a dip into the online classifieds will get a mint-but-high-mileage E38-series 740iL or 12-cylinder 750iL. If you must have the eBay time capsule, though, don’t bother bidding unless you live in the EU or have a friend there, because the seller won’t ship beyond ye olde worlde borders. This 2008 Dodge Challenger First Edition with 15 miles on the odo might make a decent consolation prize closer to home, though.