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:
We would be remiss if, during Shark Week, we failed to present an E24.
Well, here it is. And, frankly outside of the museum, I’m not sure that it gets better than this one.
First, it’s a late M6. They’re automatically better looking than the early M6s to me because of the color-matched bumper covers if nothing else. Second, this one is the perfect color combination of Royalblau Metallic (198) with Silver leather (201). Truth told, I’d prefer Lotus White Nappa (199), but I’m being quite picky. That’s because of the third item; with only 12,100 miles since new, this M6 is as close to showroom fresh as one can get it would seem. GREAT! I’ve found perfection! But, what price does that translate into.
Well, we have some comparable models to look at, amazingly. I featured a 36,000 mile 1987 reached $54,700 in bids this past April. The equally impressive 1988 Schwarz model with 32,000 miles asked $80,000. But this one? This one bats the asking price right out of the park at $135,000.
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:
I’m a big fan of unusual track cars. I’m not sure why entirely, but there is some satisfaction in taking the path less traveled, perhaps. Maybe it’s just having something a little different than the norm. If you wanted to go to the track with a V8, there are any number of possibilities from Mustang to Mercedes. If you wanted to go to the track in a Porsche, 911s, Boxsters, Caymans and 944 Turbos abound. But to combine the two? Well, that means 928, and traditionally speaking, the 928 hasn’t been a great track car even though one raced at Le Mans in 1983. Complicated, heavy, expensive and well, old, the 928 doesn’t immediately strike you as an ideal track attacker. But what if you swapped in a 400 horsepower LS1? They do call it the “German Corvette”, after all…
The shark-nosed E24 looks good in just about any color, but red always seems extra appropriate. From more than a few angles the Paul Bracq design cuts some Ferrari-worthy lines, and the S38 engine helped it streak down the roads with similar power and performance to the contemporary Italian 328. Thanks to the good looks, considerable speed, and increasing coveting of early M models, we’ve seen prices for these fast and luxurious GTs start chasing the E30 M3.
This red example has just 54k miles, making it one of the nicest on the market. We should expect nothing less from Hemmings, one of the most reputable names in classic cars. It has all of the documentation from new, but isn’t quite all-original. The self-leveling rear suspension has been replaced with conventional shocks, a reasonable update for longevity and maintenance. OEM+ BBS wheels are the other update, giving a little deeper dish and allowing for more modern tire sizes while looking almost identical. The original shocks are included in the sale in case you want to go old-school, but the original wheels are not. The Lotus White interior is very nice, but not the most attractive color. Low miles and nearly perfect condition mean the seller is shooting high and looking for almost $50k.
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:
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:
The market has spoken, and the 1983 European-spec Porsche 928S 5-speed I wrote up back in August is still available having been relisted several times. Pricing has dropped $400 to just below $10,000 since August; surprising given the perceived lack of interest over that time. While there are some issues to sort overall this still looks like a pretty decent and rare Porsche to get into with 1980s 911 prices now rapidly heading up. What price would you pay for this neat bit of Euro goodness and would you keep the 944 Turbo alloys or run the original forged “manhole covers”?
The below post originally appeared on our site August 10, 2014:
Black wheels. Do you know what they look good on? Porsche 917s, and a smattering of the 911 and 944 models that came with black and polished Fuchs. And, perhaps the “Bluesmobile”. That, as far as I can figure, is it. Don’t get me wrong, I understand one aspect of the appeal of the black wheel. The last 20 years of my life have been a constant struggle of cleaning brake dust off of brilliant silver wheels. Would it be easier to just paint them matte black and never worry about it again? Sure, it would end my Sisyphusian struggle against pad deposits on my wheels. But then, I’d stand back and look – and I’m quite sure, every time I would shake my head. No, it just doesn’t look right to me – even when they’re very expensive wheels on an otherwise stunning car:
In my recent write up of two pretty overpriced 318ti M-Sports, I suggested that a vintage 635CSi would probably be a better option if you were looking for a collectable BMW for around the same ask of those two models. To put my theoretical money where my unfortunately quite real mouth is, here’s a lineup of the venerable E24 grand tourers. For a modest price you get a tremendous amount of style, sport, near bulletproof engine and drive train and a potential investment. I have five examples to look at; interestingly, four of them are the last of the run, rare to see mid-88 and up refresh models. Also interesting though less surprising is that none of them sits on their original wheels. That, and their birthplace may be the only thing that links them though, as they’re all quite different. Which would be the one you’d choose? Let’s take a look at the oldest: