1977 BMW 630CSi with 17,000 Miles

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

1979 BMW 528i

1979 BMW 528i

In yesterday’s Alpina Roadster post, I mentioned cars that you just don’t see much of any more. Is there a better example than the BMW E12? I’m sure there is, but in many ways the E12 embodies exactly what I was speaking of. Early examples suffered from the notorious thermal reactor problems – something that would likely put them on a CIA watchlist for extremist activity today. But it wasn’t just engine problems that struck the E12. There was one that a friend of mine owned and then sold to my cousin. It was a fun car for sure with tremendous personality, but it also had tremendous rust – the downfall of many 1970s BMWs. From the floorboards to the (leaking) fuel tank, it seemed to rust from everywhere. Not many of these sedans survive today, but they really established the benchmark for BMW’s mid-range sedans that carried over through today – they were, at the time, the best driving sedans money could buy:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 BMW 528i on eBay

Wednesday Wheels Roundup

Wednesday Wheels Roundup

Boy, it’s been too long since I did a Wednesday Wheels – amazingly, it seems like late January was the last wheel roundup. But it’s something I love and with the sun shining and most of the potholes on their way towards repair in Rhode Island, I can finally shift my attention from snow chains to summer tires! Today I returned to my favorite subject; BBS wheels, with a roundup of some of neat ones that appear. There are the eponymous 80’s semi-aftermarket wheel choice, the BBS RSs many manufacturers offered at the dealer. This is a set of 16×8 and 9s for a 944 Turbo. Equally neat to see are the the 4x100mm BBS RM wheels; not as prevalent as RSs yet with a similar look, these were the perfect fit for the 16V GTi in 1991 and 1992. If you were looking earlier, you might have been interested in some BBS Mahle wheels; these are a pretty early Mercedes-Benz specific set that would look great on a SL. In more modern times, BBS was still a great option – Volkswagen specified the RXII 2-piece model for the Jetta Wolfsburg 1.8T, and again the BBS RC seemed to be the go-to option in the mid 2000s for a great looking performance wheel – this set is for an Audi. What’s you’re favorite and why?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: BBS RS 16×8,9 Wheels on eBay

1976 BMW 320i Euro-Spec

1976 BMW 320i Euro-Spec

With the longtime popularity of the 2002 model and the more recent rise of the E30 models as popular tuning and collector platforms, it’s really amazing that the E21 continues to be generally ignored. The ingredients are all there; classic, rear drive platform, small sedan versatility, Paul Bracq design – they’re really perfectly placed as a small coupe with design elements from both the big brother 5 and 6 series. Sure, shipped to the U.S. they were a bit of a wet noodle, with low horsepower and heavier weight than the ’02s they replaced – which, themselves by the end of the run had lost a bit of the original magic. On top of that, as with the end of the run ’02s and all U.S. bound BMWs until 1988 they carried the heavier “diving board” bumpers. Some aren’t bothered by them, but I don’t think anyone will claim that the 5 m.p.h. DOT-mandated bumpers compliment the original designs of Mr. Bracq particularly well. But, as with all European models from this time, seeing a ROW-spec model is always a treat.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1976 BMW 320i on eBay

1979 BMW 323i 2.9 Euro-Spec

1979 BMW 323i 2.9 Euro-Spec

Just the other day, Nate wrote up a resto-modded BMW 325ix. There were some nice touches and a considerable amount of work done, but also a few pretty polarizing items – the gold BBS turbofan-look replica wheels, the gold custom decals and the factory BMW sport seats that were recovered with Recaro fabric. As if to answer some of the issues with those items, a rare European-spec 1979 323i with some period modifications turned up for sale:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 BMW 323i 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

1982 BMW 320is with 37,000 Miles

1982 BMW 320is with 37,000 Miles

I’ve recently been on a bit of a kick enjoying the looks of the BBS Mahle wheels. I’m not entirely sure why they appeal more to me today than they did last week, or last year, or even when my father had a set on his 1982 BMW 633CSi two decades ago. Then, I felt they looked outdated and undersized and really preferred the looks of the RS wheels he later placed on the CSi; but there’s a certain purity about the original design that I really like. Generally associated with the E9 and E24 models, the BBS Mahle wheels also made an appearance on the E21 320is. Today’s example is stunning in Henna Red with claimed original condition and lower mileage; but does that support the high asking price?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 BMW 320is on eBay

Wednesday Wheels Roundup

Wednesday Wheels Roundup

For today’s Wednesday Wheels I have some more affordable options and some of my favorite aftermarket wheels. I’ve been neglecting Brabus for Mercedes-Benz, but they make some great looking wheels that are just subtle enough to look slightly different than stock but more aggressive. It’s an understated look that can really dress the car up. I love the BBS Mahle wheels in the right offset on early BMWs, even if they are only 14″ wheels. Try getting good tires for those today! The Speedline MIM wheels are some of my favorites and rare to see, and I just love how those Empi wheels look on early VWs. Another rare set is the Fittipaldi/OZ 3-piece wheels, though they may be better suited to a track car. All of these are cool to see for one reason or another – what’s your favorite?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Speedline MIM 16×7.5,8.5 5×112 Wheels on eBay