1977 BMW 630CSi with 17,000 Miles

A decade on from the takeover of Hans Glas GmbH, BMW put the Dingolfing production line and engineers to work on their new big coupe. This allowed them to build the design in-house, instead of subcontracting construction of the 2-door as they had with the E9 to Karmann. The E24 was released in 1976, and compared to the Glas V8 they had borrowed for their premium product in the late 1960s it was thoroughly modern. Paul Bracq penned the lines as he did for all BMWs of the period, and but while there was a strong family resemblance between the 3- ,5- ,6- and 7-series cars, the E24 was where the long, low lines and sweeping greenhouse worked the best.

While initially the car was introduced to the world with many of the items from the E9 carried over, the U.S. got a special one-off for its introduction year. The 630CSi was brought in 1977 with a D-Jetronic fuel injected version of the M30B30 which itself had also seen duty in the E9. With slightly lower compression and emissions equipment fitted, it produced 176 horsepower and was shared with the contemporary 530i until 1978. But in late 1977, BMW yanked the 630 from the U.S., replacing it with the more powerful 633CSi.

While BMW’s sales between 1970 and 1977 had doubled (14,574 total vehicles to 28,766), the number of early 6s that made the journey was still relatively small. Couple that with thermal reactor failure that was a demise of many of the early U.S.-bound 3.0s, and of course the big nemesis of the 70s BMW – rust – and finding a lovely example of the early E24 here in the U.S. is quite difficult:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 BMW 630CSi on eBay

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1975 BMW 530i

3The E12 was the first sedan from BMW to wear the 5-series badge. Available in the US only as a six cylinder model, it was sold here in two guises: the 530i (1975-1978) and the 528i (1979-1981). The classic, Paul Bracq-styled design was, and remains, a winner. However, the E12 is mostly remembered for its numerous flaws. Like a lot of European imports from the time, US market cars were burdened by less powerful, emissions-restricted engines and ugly, 5mph crash resistant bumpers. The 528 incorporated thermal reactors as part of its emissions control system and these had a tendency to overheat the engine bay, causing cracking or warping of the cylinder heads. The air conditioning was rubbish. The handling could be twitchy. The gas mileage was pretty awful. The bodies were particularly susceptible to rust, which is why most of them ended up in junkyards long ago. Still, I have a lot of time for these cars mostly because they are so handsome. Since there are so few of them left it’s always a pleasant surprise to find a nice looking survivor like this one.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1975 BMW 530i on eBay

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Shark Week: 1977 BMW 630CS

The BMW E9 chassis was a tough act to follow; gorgeous simplicity, solid performance in street trim and a world contender and winner in the European Touring Car Championship. The E9 was also the basis for the first two BMW “Art Cars”, bringing the maker to a new medium and market. Clearly, Paul Bracq had his work cut out for him designing a replacement, but if he hadn’t already, he would prove himself more than worthy. The E24 launched in 1976, and like the Porsche 928, the design would prove to be advanced for the time.

Initially available in Europe as the carbureted 3.0 630CS, over its production run the E24 gained horsepower, luxury, sprouted spoilers and larger wheels, and became a serious performance machine in M6 guise. Few U.S. enthusiasts even remember the 633CSi, never mind the fuel injected version of the 3.0 that introduced the U.S. to the E24 in 630CSi form. Perhaps that’s because the emissions equipment that was fitted robbed the car of performance, but to me, the prettiest of the E24s are the early, simple cars without the all the spoilers. Thanks to the grey market, a few of the carbureted 3.0 CSs made it to the U.S.. Even fewer survive today thanks mostly to rust and depreciation, but occasionally one of the original sharks surface, like today’s very rare 630CS:

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Year: 1977
Model: 630CS
Engine: 3.0 liter inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 42,000 mi
Price: $9,900

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 BMW 630CS on Classiccar.com

BMW 630 CS Coupe, Black, for sale in Griffin, Georgia, for $15,900. Exterior paint finished in Schwarz Black complemented by a Saddle leather interior. It is truly in mint, pristene condition, both mechanically & cosmetically with just 42,000 miles. Features 4-speed manual transmission, factory a/c, chrome alloy wheels, power antenna, rear power windows, Clarion am-fm cassette radio, coco mats. We just performed a comprehensive maintenance service to ensure ultimate performance & driver satisfaction. If your a BMW enthusiast in the market for a 630CS Coupe, you need to come see this car. You will have to look a long time to find a better one than what we are offering. Just reduced price $5,000 to move. Buy it today for only $9,900. Don’t miss this fabulous car.

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In keeping with our “shark week” theme of E24s, it seems only fitting to find one of the original run. Sure, the 630CS doesn’t have the performance factor of the M6, but in proper tune the carb fed 3.0 put out a respectable 182 horsepower. But if you’re seriously looking at this car, you’re probably not looking for the “ultimate driving machine” as much as what I think is the best expression of the E24. In European market spec, this car just looks like such a fresh and clean design, it’s easy to understand why it was still hanging around dealer lots in 1990. The tight bumpers, the tucked corner lamps, and no spoilers; it’s simply a beautiful car. The leather looks to be in great shape, and the paint shines well, though there is no mention if it’s been resprayed. As with the E9, early cars are noted for being rust prone, so I’d check carefully. The current wheels, sourced from either an E34 or E32, would be best replaced with some nice 15″ or at most 16″ Alpina wheels. If you go too big you’ll ruin the aesthetics – don’t forget they originally came with 14″ wheels on them!

At an ask of $9,900, this car’s price would get you into a later 635CSi with better performance and creature comforts, and indeed they may be better driving cars if you’re looking for a spirited weekend cruiser. However, if you’d really like to appreciate the car’s original design, this is the car to buy. Bring it to a show, and no one there would guess it was a 1977 model. Better yet, you’d be baffling even most die-hard BMW enthusiasts, who would swear you lost the “i” off of your badge. Considering the prices on E9s have climbed so much in recent years, this car appears to be a hidden gem, and while Hagerty may claim the value of one is hovering in the $5,000 – $6,000 range, I think this car would be well bought at $8,000 – $9,000, provided an inspection doesn’t uncover any rust or serious neglect. At about half the price of a nice M6, you’d have a piece of automotive art the way Mr. Bracq intended, and I’m just not sure it gets much better than that.

-Carter