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


Year: 1983
Model: 635CSi
Engine: 3.4 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 106,500 mi
Price: $24,000

Car is located in Essex County NJ. It is available for inspection, independent pre-purchase inspection at local specialists (e.g. Mr M Car, GutenParts, NorthEast Motorsports, etc), and test drives.

The link to pictures:
General directory

After repaint
During engine swap

Exterior shots (additional sunny day shots from 5/4 added)
Interior and trunk (shots from 5/4)
Under car (shots from 5/4)
Paint depth meter readings (shots from 5/4)

Extra parts for sale
Records

The link for videos:
My youtube channel
Videos added (they’re iphone vids so resolution isn’t the best)

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Specifications:
Engine (all work completed at 106,286 chassis miles)
Fully rebuilt M30 B34 high-compression euro-spec motor by Don Fields, Mr M Car:
• Stamp on motor block: 8173966 / 34 6E A
• Pistons were NOS BMW 92.25mm oversize, with new OE piston rings
• Reground camshaft to OE specifications
• Rebuilt Timing Components, all-inclusive of rails, tensioner, chain
• Head rebuilt (guides, seals, multi angle valve job, new rocker arms, shafts), new head gasket; original 1983 date stamp
• Cleaned / Painted Block
• New rod end bearings, new oil pump and chain
• Complete motor new seals and gasket set (from oil pan gasket to valve cover gasket)
• New cooling system including Nissens radiator, 75 degree thermostat, new fan blade, new fan clutch
• New Bosch fuel injectors
• New ’85-’87 Euro 635CSi B34 high-compression engine with brand new wiring harness and converted to 061 DME (original 1982-83 models had an older, non-chippable DME).
• All new fuel lines, PS lines, and coolant hoses.
• New rotor, cap, spark plug wires, coil, and plugs; new engine ground straps; new starter, new accelerator cable.
• Basically any and all accessory components and ancillary that needed replacing with the engine out-service was replaced during the work. Receipts for all parts and work are included.

Exhaust:
• OE M30 B34 LC Catalytic Converter section from ’86 535i; downpipes from stock B34.
• OE Boysen rear exhaust in good condition
• New exhaust hangers
• The exhaust is a stock OE BMW catalytic converter version. The car runs excellent with this, but the new owner can convert to the OE Euro exhaust should their state be exempt from emissions requirements.

Drivetrain:
• 5-Speed Manual Getrag G260/6 Transmission from a late-model E28 535i
• Z3 short shifter and new leather ergonomic BMW shift knob (photos: IMG_8901.JPG, IMG_8902 small.jpg, and IMG_8903.JPG, show throws for 2nd, 1st, and neutral positions, http://www.m535i.org/635csi/2018_int/).
• All Shift Bushings Replaced, conversion to aluminum shift carrier completed
• New OEM Clutch Kit, pivot pin, pilot bearing, fork, and lightweight flywheel (Top End Performance); New clutch slave cylinder

Suspension:
• H&R Springs and Bilstein Sport Shocks
• Front E28 MD Upper Control Arms, new Lower Control Arms, new tie rods, center link, and pitman arm, new upper strut mounts
• New OEM Rear Subframe mounts, new upper shock mounts
• Stock 19mm/14mm swaybars (upper rear mounts rewelded/reinforced), new sway bar links, new bushings

Brakes:
• Rebuilt original 635CSi calipers and new rotors; new pads
• New Brake master cylinder

Appearance:
• Front M635CSi air dam (NLA part)
• Later style rear M spoiler (not the “duckbill”)
• Hella H1/H4 flat face front headlights and highbeams
• Great condition used rear light housings and lenses with rear foglights
• Front and rear fog lights (front fog lights are new)
• Brand new chrome and rubber parts for front and rear bumpers
• The exterior went through a complete repaint and refurbishment with a whole host of brand new BMW OE parts for the bumpers – again all receipts are included.

Interior:
• Replacement (used) OBC module
• SI Board service by Programma
• Stereo did not come stock with the car; instead an aftermarket headunit and 2 speakers have been wired in. The speakers are currently under the rear seats where a set of speakers used to be that made up the old sound system.
• Rear headrests
• Original vintage Recaro seats; pearl beige leather trimmed
• New light beige Berber floor mats
• Air conditioning works and blows cold, heater works perfectly.

Wheels and Tires
• 17” BMW Style 42 cross spoke wheels (new, less than 2000 miles)
• HTR Z II tires (less than 2000 miles), date code: 2014.

Additional parts available:
• Full set of door cards and caps with holes cut out for the speaker system that was part of the original stereo installation on the car. These are included in the purchase price of the car. Should the new owner decide to add speakers to the car, these are necessary parts to use as they’re already cut out for speakers and can be donor units. Interior parts for E24s are getting rarer and rarer to find and the current interior should be saved and not cut up.
• A set of 16” original Alpina wheels (16×7 and 16×8) is available for the car. The inner barrels were painted blue to match the color of the car by the original owners. Wheels need refinishing to be brought up to snuff to the rest of the car but are otherwise true and straight. These can be had for extra $1,400. Or for extra $1,000, the new owner can specify their own tires to be mounted and balanced at their own cost, and we deliver the car on Alpinas instead of the BMW Style 42s.
• 1 Box of spare parts.
• Front strut brace is available (an extra $100).
• Bumper trim parts.

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Price:
$24,000 as it sits, with additional interior panels, with Style 42 wheels.
+$1,400 for Alpina wheels, or +$1,000 for the Alpina wheels, your choice of tires mounted and balanced at your cost, and I keep the 17” Style 42 wheels.
+$100 for strut brace.
+$1000 for spare bumper trim parts in good condition.

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Notes: as of 5/5/2018, the only two things I noticed wrong with the car is that there’s a backlight missing on the temp control switch of the HVAC panel, and the ABS light comes on (due to faulty right rear wheel speed sensor, sensor is on order and will be replaced prior to sale). I noticed the low speed fan wasn’t turning on when I took the car out for photoshoot on 5/4, and diagnosed and replaced the aux fan resistor, and now it works perfectly. I also replaced the ICV with a new old stock unit I had (the old one was a little gummed up and not responding as fast as it should).

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Story:

When my friend and I (both BMW enthusiasts, and CCA club members) found the car in 2013, it was very tired, but an excellent rust free example of the classic sports coupe. We did some research on the history of the car which made for quite a story.

It was originally sold in Europe, and then later imported into the US in 1984. It was owned by a gentleman in California (Alex Ziegler), who asked Steve Dinan to import and swap in a euro M88 motor into the car. The paperwork indicates the engine was imported in 1985, and installed with the car at approx. 10k miles. Afterwards, the car was then sold to Richard Conway of New York state in 1993 at approx. 52k miles. The car at that point had gone through and had a number of other Dinan mods including their suspension (Bilsteins), lower control arm bushings, front E31 brakes, . He owned the car and did a number of driving schools throughout the Northeast. He also used it to drive between South Carolina and New York state when he retired. After 20 years of ownership and another 53k miles, he posted the car for sale, at which point we acquired the car.

We immediately understood the significant of the story of the car and its stewardship and how clean the car was underneath from a rust perspective. It has virtually no rust. But the car had a long list of needs. We immediately went through all the suspension components, brakes, and replaced almost everything rubber that we could get our hands on. There were some minor electrical items (slow/intermittent windows) and at this point we also did a trim-off repaint of the car. The car had an aftermarket CB/radio antenna mounted to the roof which was patched and fixed, as well as the US aftermarket side-markers that were put on the fenders. We also then replaced most of the bumpers and trim parts including the chrome and rubber strips with new parts or like-new used components that were best match.

At this point, we drove the car to NJ where it was going to be finished. While in NJ, we assessed the M88 motor further and found it warranted a much more involved full rebuild. At this point we also still had a number of issues to fix, including the hodge-podge rear battery tray, rewelding sway bars mounts on to the rear floor and a gearbox that a refusal to go into gear when warm. The decision was made to “return to stock” as much of the car as possible versus just rebuilding the M88. We had a spare M30 B34 high compression motor with a VIN stamp close to the original VIN of the car, which we decided would go into the car. We also had a late model 260/6 OD gearbox, to replace the worn out 265/5 OD gearbox that was in the car. And while the drivetrain was out, we could fix all the other needs, and make sure all the components in the engine bay were returned to stock.

Our goal was to create a more original car from the driveline perspective, but retain some of the good modifications in terms of suspension and appearance, and create a great GT sports coupe that E24s are well known for.
The M30 B34 HC motor was fully rebuilt by Mr M Car in Farmingdale, NJ, well known for his work on BMW and M-motors of the era. The engine was swapped in summer of 2017, along with the new driveline, new shifter, and full re-conversion back to original. The AC was recharged, engine broken in and valves adjusted and sway bar bracket rewelded in November 2017. The hodge-podge battery tray in the trunk was removed and new carpets put in. By March 2018, the punch list was complete and the car was ready for its new owner.

Exterior:
I am hyper critical when I try to describe a car for sale. This 635CSi is exceptionally clean for its age and mileage, and especially given its recent repaint. The paint is shiny, brilliant, deep, with no glaring defects. There are no significant paint chips, dings, or scratches. When we repainted the car we made sure to remove any dings or dents to the best we could, and more importantly use no filler or a minimum of it. The only places where there was a need for filler was the antenna and side marker holes, as such there will be some imperfections in the form of slight dents that have not yet been PDR’d. Also there are some tape marks around the front and rear windscreens from the repaint. There are a couple of dings/dents that are shown in the pictures/can be seen in videos.

The entire car is rust-free, except for one small spot on the underside of the left rear floor, at the center of the pan, where exposed edge of metal has surface browning, but I would not describe it as significant corrosion. All other trim vehicle trim is correct and present.

The windshield and window glass are clear and crack-free, but there are a handful of small pits in the windshield. The door and window seals are in good shape and don’t make much noise at highway speeds, and do not leak. This is critical on these E24s as these seals can perish over time. The Hella headlights are in excellent shape. The indicators, markers, and brake lights have crack-free lenses. The BMW Style 42 wheels are in excellent shape, and given they have less than 2000 miles on them virtually new; straight and true with no curb rash. They are wrapped in Sumitomo HTR Z II tires with over 80% tread left.

Interior:

The interior is consistent in terms of condition and patina. There are no odors and it has never been smoked in that we can tell. It has that typical leather smell that BMWs of this vintage have. The carpet is free of stains or rips and is protected by new set of Berber floor mats. The seat leather is great condition, with no rips, tears, or excessive wear on the outboard bolsters. The seats have been recovered at some point in the cars history, and it shows. The leather is soft and supple and the seats very supportive and comfortable. The seats are fully manual. The dashboard is in good shape, and is free of any major cracks. Some slight warping of the dash vents is visible. The pre-1985 coarse spline M-Tech I steering wheel leather has minor wear on the surface, but it is consistent with the rest of the interior, it was a good used condition piece to replace the original steering wheel. All instrument cluster gauges and lights function correctly (new 5W bulbs to replace the original 3W bulbs). The odometer and trip meter work (new gears in speedo). There are no check engine, brake lining, or anti-lock warning lights. All on-board computer functions work, but there are a few LEDs missing on the older OBD I style computer. There are no check panel lights. All steering wheel stalk controls and dashboard switches work correctly.

The car had an old aftermarket Alpine stereo that wasn’t working when we picked it up. We removed the headunit, amp, and associated wiring in the car. We left the wiring in the door should a new owner want to rewire a new unit and or speakers. The car didn’t come with stereo originally as evidenced by the lack of speakers in the rear seat headrest pods and in the front footwells. We did include a basic CD headunit and wired it to speakers that were put in as part of the original system (under the rear seats). Included in the sale of the car are a replacement set of door cards (front and rear) with caps that were drilled out for the original custom speaker system. These are getting very rare to find (we were able to find a good set of Pear Beige ones without holes to replace). Should the new owner want to reuse the other units, they are already cut out for speakers and a new system.

The blower motors work at all fan speeds, the heat and A/C works (but is weaker than typical new car systems). One thing I noticed is that the water temp gauge shifts slightly when you turn fan speed all the way up, maybe 15 minutes or 30 minutes on the gauge (this is a typical mid 80s BMW poor ground points on the interior/dash/cluster). The temp switch is missing a backlight. The gearshift knob is new and shift boot leather is in good condition, as is the center console. All power window switches work, as does the sunroof. The headliner has no tears or cracks and does not sag. Both interior lights work. The map light mirror bulbs work as well (there are a pair in each, and all bulbs work). The trunk carpeting is fully present and is clean, the rear trunk lid covering is present, clean, is not sagging, and the toolkit is complete (with green handle tools), and the toolkit lid is not broken.

The car did not come with cruise control from the factory, no stereo, and only manual seats. It did come with the older OBD style computer and A/C as options. Also noted when we went through the car is that it has the dual pump set-up on the windshield washer fluid canister, indicating it came with the headlight cleaning system. The wiper motors and original euro headlights are long-gone (from the original federalization), but it appears some wiring may have remained.

Mechanical:

I have a 2-inch binder with records and receipts dating back to 1985. I’ve outlined its current engine rebuild and recently done work in the notes above.

The car has been well taken care over its lifetime, with regular engine oil, gearbox and diff oil, coolant, and brake fluid changes. The motor has been freshly rebuilt and operates accordingly. There are no leaks or seeps. It starts on command, idles smoothly, and pulls strongly to redline. The clutch take up is correct, the shifter is crisp and precise, and the transmission is quiet. There are no driveline or wheel bearing vibrations. The suspension is also tight and compliant thanks to its recent overhaul.

Any car this age will need continued preventative maintenance and repairs in the future. But it has benefitted from overhauls of all major components—a significant investment in time and money from our part. You may find cars with lower mileage, or more original, or from other dealers, but those would have a long list of needs addressed or may not have the specifications this one does. This is a turnkey e24 635CSi ready to be driven across country.

I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen an E24 so exhaustively and impressively portrayed. The seller leaves few stones unturned with extensive galleries of the current condition of the car along with the thorough list of work performed. As a result, in spite of this car’s age it looks fresh and ready to hit the show circuit or your favorite back road. The addition of the later M635 front fascia along with lowering suspension has resulted in a more purposeful look without being out-of-place, and the Style 42s allow for easy replacement of rubber and fit the profile of this 6 well. It’s easy to forget that early models were equipped with 14″ wheels! But the BMW-spec 2-piece alloys keep the essence of the car in place. If you’re feeling more period-correct, the seller also offers a set of Alpina wheels to fill out the package at a much more reasonable rate than how they usually appear for sale. The result is an evocative package and one of the best E24s on the market that will give M6-levels of performance for less money and with a unique look.

-Carter

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9 Comments

  1. Sounds unreplicatable for the money. Great looking car!

  2. Wow. This is a stunning car. I have been in love with E24s since I first saw one and the styling looks as good today as it did over 35 years ago. Off to play the lottery…

  3. I almost bought a Euro version years ago but just didn’t love the looks of the car enough to pull the trigger. Now if it was this colour I probably would have bought it. Definitely the best colour for this car!

  4. I first fell in love with these when I saw a red one (M6) with a trunk full of krugerrands hauling ass through Los Angeles…the design of these is timeless in that it will always look lonk, sleek and powerful.

    As Ed said, a lottery win would buy me many cars…this being one of them.

  5. Gorgeous euro E24. Having owned two M635s and a US 635csi, I can say in terms of driving pleasure the euro M635 stands at the top of the heap by a wide margin. I would say the euro 635csi is equal or very close to the US M6. The power to weight ratio is very close (~3150 lbs/218 hp vs ~3500 lbs/256 hp) and the non-S38 cars are much cheaper to maintain and repair. There are not may euros left in good condition, however the price for this one is a bit high. I think high teens is more likely.

  6. I had a graphite 1984 Euro M6 with an Alpina aftermarket ground effects package at 286 HP. LOVED TGE CAR!! I should have kept it and really miss it now that I see TGE one for sale above. I’m tempted to buy it but like my brethren above, think high teens would do it. If the seller is interested he can contact me. I’ve been a CCA member since ‘73 and still love driving BMWs
    Len. Philly. 610-306-5265

  7. Jack Miofferman

    ROFLMFAO @ Steiny. Typical, class and style is not cheap and this one is a value bargain at the price listed. Only 1 problem, Man has done what used to be done at the factory,which tends to not be as reliable. There is no reason this engine should have been re-built based on mileage.

  8. Jack Miofferman

    Nice story though.

  9. @Jack, the donor motor (M30 B34 high compression) was not stored in ideal conditions. After taking it apart and examining the motor, all the components were gone through and replaced based on the evaluation. The block was marginal in terms of rehoning it; if I felt comfortable doing that I would have done just that. We didn’t want to take the risk, and the the +00 pistons were no longer available from BMW anymore. So we had to go with the +.25mm overbore. All other components were replaced based on a standard OE build. These engines are well known and reliable, but have their intricacies as any expert in the M30 would know.

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