A BMW 7 Series with a gargantuan engine of 6.7 liters and no less than 16 cylinder. So summarizing the model created in the late 80’s as the most similar to a hypothetical BMW M7 that had existed. It was the project Secret Seven and was the work of the trio of engineers, Karl-Heinz Lange, Adolf Fischer and Hanns-Peter Weisbarth.
Lange was responsible for the engine division at BMW and had been in charge of the development of the propellant which formed part of the BMW 750i from the generation E32, a brand-new V12 5.0 liters and 300 HP. Fischer was the person in charge of the secret projects of BMW, for he spent the most extravagant and ingenious. For its part, Weisbarth was the leader of the development of the 7-Series E32 and 8 Series E31.
The three formed a small team but really experienced, and, in fact, had a great influence on the Bayerische from the mid 70’s until the early 90’s. The team already knew that their development would culminate in a production model but, sometimes, the greatest follies are performed by the mere fact of being.
The air inlets on the fins show that this is not a 7 Series as ‘normal’
The goal was to see how far it was possible to bring the magnificent V12 engine of the flagship German. Get a motor supreme, something that did not have his nemesis Mercedes. Put their hands to the work in June 1987 and in less than six months the first prototype of the V16 was ready. For February, 1988 had passed the relevant tests.
This engine was known in the company as Goldfish and had ceased to be a legend that could be heard in the hallways, it was not even a simple sketch: was real. Basically they added a four-cylinder engine over the V12 existing, reaching the 6.651 cubic inches of capacity.
The 12-cylinder engine had two ecu electronic Bosch DME 1.2, which managed the performance of each row of cylinders, as if they were two propellers of the six-cylinder in-line. A solution that also was taken with the 16-cylinder, using ecu with a more powerful – Bosch DME 3.3 – managed the electronics independently for each row of eight cylinders.
the power of The engine of 16 cylinders allowed a remarkable increase of power with respect to the V12, delivering 408 HP to 5,200 rpm while the peak torque came at the 461 Nm at 3.900 rpm. Figures modest for its size, because it was decided a performance conservative. Despite its greater capacity, with respect to the V12 mechanics Goldfish weighed just 60 kg more, that is to say, 310 kg in total.
The work of development of the V16 Goldfish lasted less than six months
The only 767iL is retained in the BMW Museum in Munich
The next step was to mount it on a unit from the E32. They departed from the base of the 750i or, better said, the 750iL since I had the wheelbase lengthened. Although a Series 7 has nothing of conventional this Super 7 Series was extraordinary on all levels: it was the BMW 767iL.
The engine bay of a 7-Series is not exactly small but still, as the engine V16 was 30 centimetres longer than the engine of 12 cylinders, the problem arose that not all the mechanical elements fit under the hood. The solution was a bit far-fetched but effective: the cooling system is located in the trunk.
The cooling system eliminated almost all the cargo space
instead of a large radiator front mounted two smaller ones, placed at an angle, one on each side of the cargo space later. This resource brought with it a series of consequences that makes this Series 7 a car peculiar not only for its mechanics but also in its exterior appearance.
To channel air to the radiators were integrated around eye-catching entries of cooling in the rear fins. They were made by hand and manufactured in fibre of glass. In addition, in the wake of the great saloon-German was a huge ventilation grille which hid the radiator and forced to make smaller drivers… removing the fog lights and the reverse.
The passenger compartment had the same appearance as the 750iL standard although with a particularity, it was the first BMW to mount a steering wheel with airbag. There was another detail that jumped to the eye and were of the three pedals: the top versions of the 7-Series always were linked to an automatic gearbox ZF but this unit had a manual gearbox of six marches that was used in the BMW 850i.
The three pedals were something unheard of in the larger versions of the E32
The mastodon BMW was allowed the luxury of spending from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.0 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 281 km/h. The consumption was its Achilles ‘ heel, with averages between 14 and 24 l/100 km according to the route. After a series of tests on the circuit austrian Norisring, in which the own Lange was impressed by the spectacular sound of the engine, the 767iL was ready in may of 1988.
As was expected the brilliant BMW 767iL never passed the prototype stage. In the end, their cost of production would be very high which would force them to put a sale price, nonsensical, and, in addition, it was difficult for a car of this size but with hardly any trunk you will find sufficient demand. But always we are glad to see that there are people trying to to explore the limits beyond reason.