1988 BMW 635CSi

In 1987, BMW wowed the U.S. market with the introduction of the S38-powered M6. In the shadowline of that model, though, was another special E24 – the L6. Essentially, the L6 was a standard 635CSi with a very special all-leather interior. Produced in small numbers for only the 1987 model year, they proved to be a bit of a headache for BMW. Like the all-leather dash M6s, the leather upper cover had a tendency to deform and BMW had to replace quite a few under warranty. The L6 also had leather-wrapped center console, the rear air conditioned storage compartment like we saw in the M6, and even a leather headliner. The L6 generally matched European models referred to as “Highline” packages.

When the revised ’88 E24 launched, the L6 was officially dropped as a model. However, you could still opt to get all of the L6 bits installed in your 635CSi, and that’s what we have here:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 635CSi on eBay

Continue reading

Feature Listing: 1983 BMW 635CSi

I count myself lucky that my formative BMW experience was in an E24. Around 1990, my father finally gave up riding motorcycles and decided it would be more fun to have company on his trip. He traded his RT1100 for a much older BMW, but this one had doors. The shape was outrageous to me; coming from a family that had almost exclusively owned Toyota products to that point, the low and long 633CSi he purchased had so much more presence and so much less plastic. The interior was lined with rich carpet and supple leather, and it just oozed class and style. It just felt special.

A few years later, he picked up a second E24. It was a 1985 635CSi, and the character of the two cars was remarkably different. Of course, I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was in part thanks to the mid-82 swap to E28 underpinnings. Dynamically, the ’85 was a much better driver, and while the revised M30 only had 1 more horsepower, it felt gutsier and revved more freely. It was Arctic Blue Metallic with Pearl Beige leather, and it was just a beautiful car. It only had one real downside – it was an automatic, and after a few years my dad decided he’d have a lot more fun in a M5.

While that would certainly be hard to argue, I wonder if he would have been so motivated if today’s E24 Feature had been his original purchase. There were several distinct advantages to the European model, not the least of which was of course the lack of the DOT bumpers. But one thing that always really bothered me about the U.S. E24 was the front corner lights. They stuck out a strange amount while the European units smoothly followed the fenders. But that was minor niggles, really. The big news was under the hood, where the M30 was allowed to breathe a bit more freely. The result was while the U.S. B34 produced 182 horsepower, the same motor in Europe ran higher compression and hit 215 according to BMW, plus they were a bit lighter as well. This particular 635CSi puts all of those things together in a beautiful color combination and has been fully reconditioned as well:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 BMW 635CSi on MyE28.com

Continue reading

1989 BMW 635CSi

Just as Rob’s first 911 experience was a Targa and he consequently always has a soft spot for them, my formative BMW experience was my father’s first foray into German automobiles. I was a young teenager when he purchased a 1982 633CSi. Coming from a family that had otherwise had only Toyotas, the 633CSi looked, felt and went in exotic ways I could never have imagined. The tactile sensations remain with me; the bark of the exhaust, the smell of the leather, how unbelievably small and uncomfortable that rear seat was.

He later followed up the 633 with a 1985 635CSi. Though outwardly the only change was larger wheels and the front air dam with integrated spoiler, it felt much more modern. I didn’t know it at the time, but of course that’s because it was – underneath, the E24 had moved to the E28 bits and that really did make a difference when you drove the two back to back. But BMW wasn’t done updating the dinosaur from the 70s quite yet.

1988 saw a host of further upgrades to the chassis even as its planned successor 8-series was completed on the drawing board computer. Inside the car got an airbag steering wheel, while outside saw revisions to the headlights and bumper caps. But the bigger news was under the hood, where the M30B35 replaced the B34. Moving from the 3.2 to 3.4 motor between the 633 and 635 change had netted only 1 more horsepower for the shark, though it did have more torque. However the newly updated 3.4 really did up performance a few ticks. Now with 208 horsepower and 214 lb.ft of torque, the last of the E24s were the best non-M you could buy in terms of luxury, performance and drivability. It’s no surprise, then, that they’re also generally the most valuable outside of the M range, and this 1989 has been offered with no reserve to the delight of many bidders:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 BMW 635CSi on eBay

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

1988 BMW 635CSi

183_p4_l

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

Continue reading