BMW 635CSi Face-off: High mileage US-Spec vs. Low mileage Euro

BMW 635CSi Face-off: High mileage US-Spec vs. Low mileage Euro

With its sharply raked front fascia, long hood and tapering rear end, the E24 6-series is arguably one of the most beautiful BMWs ever made. The grand tourer first arrived in the US in 1977 as the 630, powered by a 3.0 liter M30 engine that produced a not-terribly-impressive 176 hp. While a series of improvements and changes to the lineup would improve things little by little – the 630 was replaced by the 633 in 1978, then the 635 in 1985, and an M6 would arrive in 1987 – the American models would remain saddled with performance-sapping emissions equipment and engines with lower compression ratios than their European counterparts. It wasn’t the end of the world: the E24 was not really about out-and-out performance anyway. Instead, it was for loping across vast stretches of road in comfort and style while conspicuously showing off your wealth. The US-spec 635CSi appeared 1985, bringing with it the 3.4 liter version of the M30 engine and Motronic engine management. Still underpowered in comparison with its European cousin, it was at least significantly torquier than the 633 it replaced. And the performance gap would close almost entirely by 1987 when power output on US-models was bumped to 208 hp. For today’s post, I’ve selected two lovely looking examples of the 635. Both wear Bronzitbeige Metallic paint and come equipped with manual gearboxes. One is a high-milage US-spec example, the other is a low-mileage Euro-spec car with a significant price premium attached.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 BMW 635CSi on Hemmings.com

End of the Shark Era: 1988 BMW 635CSi

End of the Shark Era: 1988 BMW 635CSi

We have not written up an E24 in the past few months.

‘For shame!’ you should be shouting at your screen, and you’d be right. Quintessentially an 80s car (though designed in the 1970s), the BMW 6-series offered performance, elegance, presence and practicality to the 2-door luxury market. While the Mercedes-Benz SEC might have enjoyed a better reputation and the Audi Quattro was technically more exciting, the E24’s resilient staying power has meant that some 28 years after production wrapped these lovely coupes are still eye catching.

This particular car caught my eye because of a unique combination of factors; the Cirrus Blue Metallic exterior mated with the later bumpers is a rare sight, but inside was a 5-speed manual. How rare is this combination? Well, prepare yourself for one of the most exhaustive (and entertaining) listings we’ve seen in a while:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 635CSi on eBay

1989 BMW 635CSi

1989 BMW 635CSi

Having featured one final year model earlier today, let’s take a look at another. The BMW E24 6 series coupe didn’t make it into the 1990s, making way for the radically different E31 8 series coupe. In my opinion, these were two very different beasts. The 6 series was based around evolutionary styling, whereas the 8 series was more revolutionary with its concealed headlamps and wedge shape. While I like both of these BMWs, the 6 series always had a way of making me lust after it. That raked front end was just too irresistible and by the end of the production run, we even saw two special versions in the US, the potent M6 and leather-clad L6. This 635CSi for sale in Oklahoma apes a bit of that M look, sitting on later model Style 5 alloys and looking all the more aggressive for it. It also has the five-speed manual gearbox to get the most out of the 3.5 liter inline-6.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 BMW 635CSi on eBay

End of an Era: The last 1989 BMW 635CSi

End of an Era: The last 1989 BMW 635CSi

I always get excited when I come across a car that is the final example of a production run. These cars tend to have all the bugs worked out that may have existed when the model first started rolling off the assembly line. My 2006 MINI Cooper S hardtop is one of the final R53 hardtops produced. The car I drove before that, a 2007 Mercedes-Benz C230, was built in the last four months of W203 production and one of a few painted in Granite Gray Metallic. Even the 1998 Volkswagen GTI 2.0 I had years ago was one of the last Mk3 GTIs, fitted with special interior trim and polished aluminum wheels specific to that model year. This 1989 BMW 635CSi in Bronzit Beige is claimed to be the last of its kind built, with a letter from the President of BMW to back it up. Those looking for a late E24 won’t want to miss this.

Click for details: 1989 BMW 635CSi on Hemmings Motor News

1985 BMW 635CSi Euro-Spec

1985 BMW 635CSi Euro-Spec

It’s been a good week for European specification BMWs here at GCFSB, with the ultra-clean and original E28 and unique E34 the other day. Today is a more desirable model to many, because beyond offering the slimmer bumpers the rest of the world enjoyed, through the mid 1980s if you wanted any real performance from your BMW the Euro versions offered a substantial bump. Through 1984, the top of the heap on U.S. shores was the 633CSi – power had steadily improved since launch, but only slightly – from 176 horsepower in the 630CSi to 181 in the 633. Running concurrently in Europe, however, was a hotter 635CSi. With 218 horsepower on tap from the enlarged 3.4 liter displacement, coupled with a lower weight, these sharks offered much better performance than the U.S. bound models and it was quite popular in the early 1980s to import them. However, in 1985 BMW brought it’s own semi-neutered version of the 635CSi to the North American market, meaning the flood of European models slowed to a trickle and it’s fairly rare to find any post 1985. Today’s example is from that changeover year, and looks splendid in black over tan with BBS wheels:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 BMW 635CSi on eBay

1988 BMW 635CSi

1988 BMW 635CSi

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Our intrepid editor here at GCFSB sent over this listing when the 968 I was going to write up sold. Though it’s an entirely different style of vehicle, the purpose of the E24 is quite similar to that of the last four cylinder Porsche. Both were geared towards upwardly mobile citizens who wanted to spice up their lives and make a statement with what they drove. Make no mistake, the E24 is a statement vehicle, from the 628 CSi all the way up the M6. It has mountains of curb appeal from any angle, which is what makes it one of the prettiest cars of all time. The spacious cabin has a airy greenhouse feel, something sorely missed in modern car design, which has become a study in minimizing blindspots while raising belt lines. Everything about the E24 is balanced, it’s just the right amount of luxury, just the right amount of sporty, it’s BMW at their best. While the current 6 Series is a brutish grand tourer that I admittedly have a soft spot for, especially in Gran Coupe form, it doesn’t come close to matching the beauty of the original 6. It’s incredibly difficult to produce a car that manages to draw all the right kinds of attention. The 968 is a fun car, but in its heyday it was seen as a car for those seeking attention.  The E24 on the other hand was for those folks who just wanted to go about their business, but wanted to look damn good while doing so.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 635CSi on eBAY

1989 BMW 635CSi

1989 BMW 635CSi

All good things come to an end. As the 1980s came to a close, a few legendary German vehicles exited stage right. Along with the Mercedes-Benz R107 SL and Audi Coupe GT, the BMW E24 6 series took its last breath in 1989, to be replaced by the 8 series at the dawn of the 1990s. This 635CSi for sale in California represents the last of the breed for the E24, and comes equipped with a 5-speed manual gearbox, a rarity outside of the Motorsports version of this venerable coupe, with only 61 imported for the 1989 model year.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 BMW 635CSi on eBay

1982 BMW 635CSi Euro-Spec

1982 BMW 635CSi Euro-Spec

Sellers of automobiles – specifically, most second hand dealers – always interest me. It seems that seldom they do the research to properly sell a vehicle. Perhaps when it comes to a brand new Kia, research just isn’t really necessary – but a 30 year old classic German car? Is some description better than no description? Sure, I guess at least there was an attempt made. But, if very little to none of the information actually applies to the model, I guess I’d err on the side of maybe it would just be better off with no description and just some pretty photos. At least in that case, I’d be annoyed that no effort was made to explain what I was looking at, but an effort made that misrepresents the product or just shows a lack of attention to detail? Now, that I find even more annoying. It’s much like plagiarism; I’d rather receive a poor quality essay on the right topic than an award winning lifted essay on the wrong topic. So, let’s look at this strangely portrayed E24:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 BMW 635CSi on eBay

1983 BMW 635CSi Euro-spec

1983 BMW 635CSi Euro-spec

Perspective is an interesting thing. This came to mind when considering this E24 for several reasons. First off is how some people like certain perspectives of cars more than others. For me, the best angle of the E24 is the 3/4 rear shot, which accentuates the flowing roofline, the subtle drop in the trunk, and tucks the long hood in just slightly while not masking it. It makes the car look both elegant and aggressive. However, to this car’s seller, the best perspective is clearly the front as there are no less than seven pictures of the front of the car but effectively none of the side or rear that are at all meaningful. Now, perhaps that wouldn’t matter much to a perspective buyer of this European specification 1983 635CSi if the price were quite aggressively low. Instead, though, it is quite aggressively high, which brings me to my second point about perspective. That is, how much a car is worth is really a perspective of both the seller and the buyer. It would seem that amongst more rare models, the initial attempt at pricing generally seems like a Hail Mary – a hope that someone, somewhere will say “That’s the car that I want, regardless of price” and ante up. Obviously, what a car is worth to the seller in terms of either sweat equity or sentimental value does not necessarily equate to market value for a buyer except in rare occasions. So, let’s consider today’s 635CSi:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 BMW 635CSi on eBay

Coupe Week: 1987 BMW 635CSi

Coupe Week: 1987 BMW 635CSi

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If there was one song that summed up the 1980s for me, it was Opportunities by the Pet Shop Boys. “I’ve got the brains, you’ve got the looks…let’s make lots of money.” Economic liberalism was on the move during this decade and as a result, consumers were hungry for vehicles to showcase their new found wealth. German vehicles would quickly become objects of desire, noted for their quality. The Porsche 911 wasn’t a new design by any means, but it would be the standard bearer for sports car excellence. The Mercedes-Benz S-class and SL roadster would be for the folks looking to capture a bit of that old money look and the pinnacle of luxury. Then we have the BMW E24 6 series. What about this coupe, then? I’ve always considered the 6 series the thinking man’s luxury car. It combined performance you’d expect from a Porsche with understated luxury you got in a Mercedes-Benz. It wasn’t the obvious choice, but time has been kind to the E24, as it is steadily becoming more and more popular with collectors. This 635CSi for sale in Vancouver, British Columbia is a US market car with just over 70,000 miles on the clock.

Click for details: 1987 BMW 635CSi on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1982 BMW Observer Coupe

Tuner Tuesday: 1982 BMW Observer Coupe

The 1980s saw a fair number of interesting and innovative ways to chop the tops off of what would otherwise be lovely coupes; the Carelli 928 and Treser Quattro Roadster are just but two examples that we’ve written up. But long before the Porsche 993 Targa introduced a large sliding glass roof, in 1982 BMW combined with the automotive modeling firm MGA and some backing from The Observer to create a quite unique expression of topless motoring. Think of it as a BMW 635CSi Targa if you’d like; but boy is it unique and well done compared to some other 1980s creations. It’s also on sale, if you have a spare $50,000:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 BMW Observer Coupe on 4 Star Classics

E24 Face-Off: 630CSi vs. 633CSi vs. 635CSi

E24 Face-Off: 630CSi vs. 633CSi vs. 635CSi

As the 2002we featured yesterday was getting ready to ride into the sunset, another two-door BMW chapter was just beginning: the E24 6 series. Today we’ll look at a trio of E24sm beginning with this early 630CSi for sale in Texas. While I generally am a fan of the later E24s, early models such as this one in a decidedly period metallic green have a strange way of drawing me in.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 BMW 630CSi on eBay

U.S. or ROW? 1985 BMW 635CSi Euro-spec vs. U.S.-spec

U.S. or ROW? 1985 BMW 635CSi Euro-spec vs. U.S.-spec

I bang on about how much I prefer the look of the European market cars from the 1980s over the U.S. spec cars, and this is especially true amongst BMWs. For some reason, the powers that be at BMW decided to do the worst integration of DOT bumpers of all the European manufacturers; it was almost as if they said “Oh yeah? Well, take this, then!” Bulky, with too much plastic, rubber accordions and fading stainless trim, they stand out as a stark reminder of how simple and pretty the European bumpers on many of the same models were. However, it’s not often that we get to see two very similar models for sale at the same time; today, however, there are two nearly identical BMW 635CSis on eBay. Both are 1985, dark metallic colors, red leather, 5-speed manuals and updated wheels – and in their own way, each is lovely. Does the Euro-spec car win out for me once again?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 BMW 635CSi Euro-spec on eBay

1979 BMW 635CSi Euro-Spec

1979 BMW 635CSi Euro-Spec

As iconic designs go, the E24 has to rank pretty high on most German car enthusiasts’ lists. The lines are pure and classic – a long hood line with chiseled front end, delicate and subtle wheel arches, a sweeping greenhouse and a flowing trunk line. It just looks right – the front of the E9 that it succeeded was equally as classic, but I have always felt that the back of the 6 series was prettier than the car it replaced. It took elements of some classic BMW designs that preceded it and incorporated them flawlessly with updates for a new time. By 1970s standards, it was a very clean design – consider what was coming out of Detroit during this time period, and you’ll understand why the 6 still looked reasonably fresh a decade on in the 1980s. But for my money, the prettiest of the 6s are the early Euro cars, unencumbered by the DOT bumpers. Early on, though, the 6s suffered from not much performance – the engine lineup was effectively carried over from the previous E9 platform. That was solved in 1978 with the launch of the 218 horsepower 635CSi; a 5-speed transmission, deeper airdam and black rubber rear spoiler with model designation indicated the higher performance of this model. The 635 officially wouldn’t come to U.S. shores until much later in 1984 with the E28 updates in place, but for a time this was the highest performance BMW coupe you could get. Finding early examples that are still in prime shape is quite tough these days, but there’s a lovely example on Ebay today in Connecticut:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 BMW 635CSi on eBay