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Rare Shark Sighting – A Trio of low-mileage 633CSIs

I still remember when my father purchased his first German car. It was a 1982 BMW 633CSi in metallic grey with tan leather and a 5-speed manual, with the original BBS Mahle wheels. It was otherworldly to me; long, lean and low compared to the Toyotas I was used to being carried around in, the BMW had a feel of quality that the other cars I had been in couldn’t match. It snarled with a wonderfully raspy exhaust note and I felt invincible inside. The 633 was also the first car I displayed at a show myself; in that case, I proudly spent hours cleaning it and getting it ready for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix in 1993. At that point, the 6 was still a pretty new car – but even then, it was rare to see 6 series and since then it’s even more rare to find them. The best of the bunch are arguably the ones that came after my father’s car was made and got the post 1983 E28 chassis updates. Although considered the lesser model due to the lower displacement motor, in fact the 633CSi was only 1 horsepower short of the 3.4 that made its way into the 635CSi replacement for the United States in 1985. Today, there are three lower mile examples of these clean coupes up for sale – which would you choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 BMW 633CSi on eBay

Year: 1983
Model: 633CSi
Engine: 3.2 liter inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 69,000 mi
Price: $23,900 Buy It Now

1983 BMW 633 CSi COUPE

















This car is listed as a 4-speed, but should be a 5-speed. The U.S. bound cars got a wide-ratio 5 speed with economy-based gearing in 1983, so unless it was refitted with an earlier box or something is wrong it shouldn’t be a 4-speed. The Henna Red is a nice color but not my favorite on these early cars that have a little too much U.S. bumper; I think that the lighter silver colors hide those bumpers a bit better. Condition is certainly very good and the car appears to be all-original and clean, but the pricing is extremely high for a non-M 6 in my opinion.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 BMW 633CSi on Hemmings

Year: 1983
Model: 633CSi
Engine: 3.2 liter
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 53,912 mi
Price: On Request

Description: 1983 BMW 633 CSi E24 VIN: WBAEB7405D6726410 Original, unrestored car 53,912 documented miles European delivery Complete books, tools, first aid kit, and service records dating back to 1996 Built on May 5th 1983, this 633 CSi was picked up at BMW AG on July 8th by Roland Milller of Kansas City, MO. He would drive the car over 1000 miles in Germany before bringing it home to the States. By 1996 the car had only covered 44,253 miles when it moved on to its second owner, also from Missouri. The next two owners would show the car at many BMW CCA events over the next few decades treating the 6-Series as a show car, and accumulating very few additional miles. Since arriving at Canepa the E24 has had over 200 hours of detail work performed, bringing it to a level of finish that would shame a new BMW. It has been fully serviced and presents and drives as a new car. BMW Options: Limited Slip Differential –

If you thought Enthusiast Auto Group went to extremes for their cars, Canepa is the same if not moreso for Porsches. In this case, though, they have a clean and low mile 633CSi with an interesting history, including European delivery. It’s nice to hear the stories and the condition certainly looks very impressive but notably there are several non-original items. The 633s in U.S. spec trim didn’t receive the deep chin spoiler which appears to be off a later 635CSi. Of course, the wheels are wrong and to my mind the much newer BBS design doesn’t fit. I’d opt for some clean BBS Mahle wheels in their place where it up to me. Also, the black painted plate surround isn’t correct but is a detail that I think looks good. As with EAG cars, you’re buying the best here and Canepa knows it – so you’ll be paying dearly for the opportunity. However, this is one of the nicer 633CSis I’ve seen overall.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 BMW 633CSi on eBay

Year: 1984
Model: 633CSi
Engine: 3.2 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 43,000 mi
Price: $12,000 Buy It Now

The care is in great shape. Only driven a few hundred miles for the past 6 years. A beautiful car for any collector. I do have the service manual and part manual. Tires only 2 years old. Can arrange for delivery Car is located in Salem, OH 44460

Data for vehicle identification number: WBAEB740XE6727912
Model description: 633 CSI
Market: USA
Type: 5274
E-Code: E24
Chassis: Coupé
Steering: links
Doors: 2
Engine: M30 – 3,20l (0kW)
Drive: Heckantrieb
Transmission: manuell
Body Color: Saphirblau Metallic (149)
Upholstery: (0160)
Production date: 01.03.1984

Code Sonderausstattung Optional Equipment
Sitzverstellung vorne elektrisch Electr. front seat adjustment
Bordcomputer On-board computer

Lastly, there is this very nice Sapphire Blue with navy leather example. Miles are lowest of the three and this car looks very nice and original overall. I’m not a fan of the pin striping and it could use some more detailing – but outside of that, I don’t think there’s much to complain about here. 1984 was the last year of the 633 and this one has some neat features like the electric seat adjustment – usually associated with the later, more luxurious models. While not much is covered in terms of mechanical history, it certainly appears that this car was well cared for. However, the best part of this car is the realistic pricing – at $12,000, it’s about where most very clean 6 series change hands for.

Which is the winner? As pleasing as the Canepa car looks, I’d estimate they’re looking for high teens at the very least and more likely above $20,000 for that example. That prices both of the first two squarely into M6M635CSi territory, and it’s hard to argue the appeal of the the lesser motored car when considering those even if they have much higher miles. The Sapphire example, though, is reasonably priced and highlights the classic lines of the E24 at a more realistic entry point.



  1. Brad
    Brad September 23, 2014

    I know the red is being sold by a dealer, but mental note: lay down persians in the garage, put an ikea desk with computer in there, framed applicable posters, etc = bitchin.

    As my dad says, if you’re gonna be a bear, be a grizzly.

  2. DeaconBlues
    DeaconBlues September 23, 2014

    All three are appealing, but I have to say the Henna red 633 is my favorite. It’s a very rare color for an E24, and looks very sharp. I also don’t think I’ve ever seen a 6er with such an original-looking interior. The front passenger seat and rear seats look like they’ve never been occupied. As for the transmission, it’s evidently a 5-speed, as you can see the familiar shift pattern in a few of the photos. I think $23K is overpriced by about $10K, but if I had the garage space, I’d try to make a deal on it.

  3. Mark
    Mark September 24, 2014

    Other than low mileage these cars are as undesirable a sixer as you can get. No chin spoiler, comfort seats, anemic engine, original wheels, missing pinstripes. Crikey! Only an auto would make them worse.

    You’d have to be utterly clueless to buy one of these. You should be able to get a nice euro 635 with chrome bumpers, unencumbered 215hp, dogleg 5-speed, sport seats and all the other goodies for $10k, maybe less.

  4. Carter
    Carter September 24, 2014

    Mark, I’m not so sure. I think a manual 633 would trump an automatic pre-88 635 for me. My father had both when I was growing up; the 635 was a nice car, but even the 82 E12-based 633 was more fun to drive. The 635 did feel a bit more composed on the highway. I’d probably take the 633 over some of the earlier U.S. spec cars like the 630 or even an early L6. But I really do agree that the Euro cars are the ones I prefer and I’d gladly grab a well maintained car with even triple the miles of these for less money. This 1979 is a good example:

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