What is so interesting about the fledgling UK operation is that just days before Alpina achieved full manufacturer status, homologation compilations were preventing the importation of entire cars from Germany. So Sytner had to build – or rather convert – the cars herself, and logistics became an art.
“We came to an agreement that they would send us all the parts, including engines, wheels, body parts, differential, suspension, tires and badges, in a container,” says Sytner, whose men (or, at first, Mark Adkin) would then reconstruct recipe B9. “The engine was taken out of the 528i and then left with the transport company in Germany. As we started taking orders for cars, there was a constant flow of Alpina parts arriving in Nottingham, and we had technicians who traveled to Buchloe to train in how to make the car. Either way, this laborious process has proven to be commercially viable. Then again, the B9 cost £ 24,100 while the Audi Quattro cost £ 20,400 and the 528i SE only £ 16,925. It is telling that these early Alpinas RHDs were mainly sold to people in the motorsport world, and they were willing to pay.