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Old 04-06-2020, 01:11 AM   #1
Khanon701
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Was my car originally euro spec?

So there's something I've always been curious about. When I first bought my car, the dealership I found it at had mentioned that the original owner had brought it back from Germany. The owner's manual case still has a business card in it from the original German dealership. I even got to confirm this one day while I was taking my cat to the vet. I was leaving the parking lot, and an older guy comes running up to the car. "Hey, that's my car! Or... At least it was..", he says. Turns out to be the original owner. I ask about the car's history and he tells me that yes, he bought it as a way to get around while he was staying in Germany, and imported it to the US when he came home, then drove it halfway across the country, and sold it to the dealership I got it from to get something that would handle winter better. (guessing he was in the military and getting transferred around, happens a lot since we have an AFB here.) So is this...... a common thing? If the car was originally sold in Germany, what might still be different about it versus a North American one? What might have been changed on it when it was imported? Would it have been gone over and set up to match a NA spec, or might there still be some differences?
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Old 04-06-2020, 01:32 AM   #2
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There are some minor differences in NA vs European versions - mirror glasses (Euro mirrors are curved to give more coverage), additional reflectors on bumpers for US models, Possibly different settings of engine to meet emission control requirements. So changes possibly done on your car depend how your car originally met US requirements.
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Old 04-06-2020, 02:38 AM   #3
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Post the last 7 VIN digits and we'll look it up.
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Old 04-06-2020, 03:23 AM   #4
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i was going to say let's look up the VIN. but BaliDawg beat me to the post...
again.

but just so you know although it was bought in Germany it still may be the US spec car. they offered that and still do.
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Old 04-06-2020, 09:10 AM   #5
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The VIN will tell you. Also Eur dont have SAP or associated plumbing. No doubt there were other small differences.
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Old 04-06-2020, 09:21 AM   #6
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This is actually really common for military stationed in Germany. The cars are 100 percent US Spec sold to service members over there with the benefit being that they save on taxes and import fees by purchasing the car in Germany, and then shipping it back once their tour of duty there is over. Most cases the US government will ship "one" vehicle on a persons orders as part of the "move." I have seen plenty of soldiers also get talked into buying these cars, because the dealers tell them how much money they will save, and then they end up not being able to afford the payments on a new BMW just because they barely clear $30,000 a year as some lower enlisted soldier. There are only a few dealers that do this in Germany and its usually those close to military bases. There are also contracts with all the other German car manufacturers that do this service for US personnel overseas.

The car does not need to meet any German specifications due to the Status of Forces Agreement we have with Germany. In similar respect, american service members, government civilians, and contractors are allowed to ship their US spec vehicle over to Germany and freely drive it without any modifications done to the vehicle (including lights, glass, emissions). The only stipulation is that it will pass German safety inspection, which is sometimes a big surprise when soldiers ship their 95 Honda Civic over there with blown out ball joints, uneven braking, excessive rust, and a dark window tint just to find out they need a ton of repairs and will argue with the German inspectors that it passed state inspection in the United States a few months prior (the US inspections are a joke compared to what the Germans look for.)

I was stationed there six years, while I did not import a BMW from Germany. I did what a financially responsible service member would do, and I imported a wife instead.
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Old 04-06-2020, 09:52 AM   #7
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Click image for larger version

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WBABD33444JY98564
I checked a couple VIN decoders myself. An interesting line was:
S863A | Händlerverzeichnis Europa | Dealer List Europe

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Wonder if Jürgen still works there, maybe I could call him up and ask about it lmao.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex323Ci View Post
but just so you know although it was bought in Germany it still may be the US spec car. they offered that and still do.
I think that's probably the case. Interesting. Cool history nonetheless. To have started in Leverkusen, Germany, come to the US, and come all the way to North Dakota with the original owner? That's pretty awesome imo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DönerPorsche View Post
This is actually really common for military stationed in Germany....
Fascinating! That's exactly the kind of thing I was wondering about it. Makes perfect sense. Service history from before I owned it looked pretty decent, so the guy must not have been too hard up if he was bringing it to BMW dealers at regular intervals.
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Last edited by Khanon701; 04-06-2020 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 04-06-2020, 10:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AusM325I View Post
The VIN will tell you. Also Eur dont have SAP or associated plumbing.
False
we have it (only on M54s)
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Old 04-06-2020, 11:48 AM   #9
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I actually have been to that dealership, I needed a thermostat for my wifes 316i in a pinch. There is a brothel, aldi, KFC, and a slot machine casino all within walking distance. There is plenty to do nearby for all walks of life while your car is getting serviced there.

Also let me guess, the service booklet has all the dealer stamps from all the servicing's in it? German dealers always stamp the service booklets in the cars. My 323ci has always been meticulously maintained, but I definitely put some hard miles on it running that engine on the Autobahn for hours. Almost 200,000 miles on the engine now and not a drop of oil being burned or anything.
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Old 04-06-2020, 12:32 PM   #10
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Here's a Build Sheet for your car.

https://www.mdecoder.com/decode/jy98564
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Old 04-06-2020, 03:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DönerPorsche View Post
I was stationed there six years, while I did not import a BMW from Germany. I did what a financially responsible service member would do, and I imported a wife instead.
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Old 04-06-2020, 04:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
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...I imported a wife instead.
Same thing happened to me back in 2000. I went to Bali on a surf trip and came back with a wife!
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Old 04-06-2020, 04:36 PM   #13
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Realoem.com says the car is USA spec. German delivery of a USA car. Seems legit to me.

https://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/select?vin=JY98564
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Old 04-06-2020, 06:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
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False
we have it (only on M54s)
Sorry Riddle can you explain a bit more. We have Euro spec in Australia. Are you saying only the M54 has no SAP?
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Old 04-06-2020, 11:11 PM   #15
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My wife's family has taken European Delivery on a few cars and I also bought my current Vanagon from a guy in Florida who was a former US Service member stationed in Germany. Though my Vanagon was a US spec, it had some German artifacts in it such as a cool folding reflective triangle and a couple German safety items that I think might have been required of all cars. So nose around in the storage places in your trunk and perhaps you'll find a German first aid kit, etc. Cool story.
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Old 04-07-2020, 05:52 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AusM325I View Post
Sorry Riddle can you explain a bit more. We have Euro spec in Australia. Are you saying only the M54 has no SAP?
NO
EU Spec M54 have SAP, M52TU don't
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Old 04-08-2020, 09:49 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRiddle View Post
NO
EU Spec M54 have SAP, M52TU don't
I have 3 M54 EU spec cars and none have SAP. I look at all M54 E46s for sale locally online and none have SAP.I am in Australia and all our cars are EU spec. Must be different type of EU specs sold in different countries.

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Old 04-09-2020, 07:55 AM   #18
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JY 98564 comes up as a USA specification E46 325Ci BD33 with my genuine ETK.

Also having served with the armed forces USAF Torrejon Spain 1979-1983, there was a small shack on just about every base (camp for you ground pounders, LOL) that sold USA specification new cars to servicemen/women. Tax free.

Given that your car came from Germany and then ended up in N. Dakota I'd take a wild guess that the importer might have been in the USAF and ended up @ Minot AFB. ("Why not Minot? Reason cause it's freezin'.)

Servicemembers could also naturally buy new/used Eurospec cars, but importation was problematic. The branch of the Defence Department that handled bring back cars & belongings back to the USA was very much on top of what was/wasn't allowed to be brought in to satisfy US EPA regulations.
It was my understanding that a pre-arranged "Importer-Converter" had to be arranged ahead of time.
This was one of the many ways those late 80's BMW & Benz "special cars" ended up back here.
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