I think it’s fair to say that there are quite a few of our readership that came of age in the 1980s, and the cars from that era hold a special appreciation in our minds; this author included. As we work our way through our celebration of “Coupe Week”, I went bank into my memory banks a bit. Growing up flipping through car magazines every month, I studied and memorized the horsepower figures, the 0-60 times and scrutinized the driving impressions of every single car, but there were some that caught my attention. Admittedly, in the early 1980s I had a predisposition to the Porsche 928. It looked so futuristic, and with its big aluminum V8 the performance figures seemed otherworldly to someone who grew up with Toyota Tercels and learned to drive on a early ’60s Beetle with no clutch. But towards the late 1980s, a car came to my attention that I had largely ignored up to that point; the E24 BMW. Sure, they were good looking 2-doors, but to a young man power was everything and the 928 was top trump. But then my father sold his RT1100 BMW motorcycle and bought something the family could enjoy; a 1982 633CSi. My appreciation for the BMW instantly grew. The long hood and delicate A and C pillars were a symphony of design; the sharply angled nose and BBS Mahle wheels hinted at a connection to motorsports. Inside, I still remember the smell of the luxurious leather and the sound of the M30 heading its way up the tach. Solidly in “Camp 6” now, my new favorite car was the fastest version of the E24 that was available to U.S. customers – the M6.
Later on, my father’s priorities changed slightly and heading to the track more, he opted to get into a 1988 BMW M5. But as much as I respected and liked that car, the M6 still had my fascination. I still remember the first time I got to drive one; I detailed the car for a friend of the family. It was not my car to drive with reckless abandon, but still I was able to revel in the growl of the S38, the directness of the steering, the way the transmission seemed to perfectly slot into each gear. It was driving bliss and I felt invincible. Unfortunately, at that time M6s commanded a strong premium over the M5 and M3, and all were far outside of my income bracket. Fast forward to today, and the M6 has become perhaps the best performance bargain from BMW in the 1980s; find a good example, and they’re sure not to disappoint still:
Click for details: 1988 BMW 635CSi at Sun Valley Auto Club
Engine: 3.5 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 134,231 mi
One owner shark nose M6. Factory paint all the way around with no body work. This is a accident free and rust free coupe with a five speed manual transmission. The interior is stunning in grey leather with a full leather headliner. There are no engine or warning lights on and everything works even the power adjustable head rests. Working power Sun Roof and heated seats. We had our German mechanic fully inspect this M6. His full inspection lead him to replace the left and right tie rods and drag link. This M6 picked up new spark plugs, power steering belt, Alternator belt and the AC belt. New valve cover gaskets were put on at the same time as the fuel filter and oil filter. New tires have just been mounted and this Shark is ready for the road. We have the original black mesh wheels too. Our detail department has just finished with a full detail which included a high speed cut and buff. This BMW has the classic look, performance and ownership history to impress it’s next owner. Contact Max at 208.720.4838 or Shep at 208.721.1973
One of the aspects that I really like about the M6 versus the similar M5 is the color pallet; true, outside on this example you get the same Schwarz that adorns the 4-door, but inside the Silver Grey Nappa leather (Code 201) looks so refreshing compared to the often tired Natur leather in the M5s. Only 1,700 and change of these coupes made it to the U.S., about a third of the M3s that were imported, and only about 400 more than the M5. Yet because many of those other two models suffered from hard use and neglect due to falling residual values, the M6s – as the top-spec model you could buy in the U.S. – have managed to remain fairly steady in the marketplace. This example certainly looks as though it was loved; the mileage is in line and the all-original interior and exterior still shine as new. Heated seats were one of the few options that you could select for the M6, and this car is so equipped. It is also one of the roughly 1,000 post June ’87 cosmetic update cars, with ellipsoid lights, Halfline leather and the updated bumper covers. The seller has taken time to perform a pre-sale inspection, which revealed many items that have been rectified including a minor engine refresh along with suspension fixes. While the later BBS mesh wheels aren’t correct, they are innocuous enough and offer the ability to buy a wider range of better performing tires than the original TRX wheels, plus the look – while not as aggressive as the original stock – works for me, and a second set of wheels is included.
Comparing this car to the E9 coupes I just wrote up, it’s striking what a massive deal they are. At the asking price of $16,000 for this M6, you might be able to get into a poor running and rusty E9 which this car will outperform in every aspect. However, the big comparison is to its ’80s M siblings. The market will certainly recognize these superb ’80s icons for what they are, and the prices will undoubtedly soar once again out of reach. For now, though, you can get arguably one of the best looking BMWs produced with one of the most celebrated inline-6s ever made in great condition for a reasonable amount. If there ever was a time to buy these surely collectable Coupes, it’s now.