Shark Attack: BMW 635CSi Roundup

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:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 BMW 635CSi on eBay

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1984 BMW M635CSi

Yesterday, Nate wrote up a last-of-the-run 1988 M6 for a budget price. He noted that $12,000 seemed like a deal for a 107K mile car with that magical S38 power plant hidden under the long hood, but concerns about maintenance costs linger with any of these complicated machines. It wouldn’t take you long if you dove into the motor to double that initial investment. Well, from last of the run to first, perhaps this 1984 M635CSi is a better proposition? It’s got a lighter curb weight, more pure European lines outside, and an even more potent engine thanks to the M88/3 pumping a few extra non-catalyzed ponies. Presented in black over black with a great set of BBS RC wheels, it sure looks fresh despite being 30 years old:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 BMW M635CSi on eBay

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1977 BMW 630CSi

I’ve said a few times that the prettiest 6-series in my mind are the earliest examples and the very last, mid-88 refreshed cars. But in terms of pure beauty, my vote still goes to the early, uncluttered Bracq design. Certainly the E24 looked much heavier and not quite as elegant as the E9 it replaced, but it has its own character and was a quite handsome design in its own right. The sweeping roof line carries perfectly into the falling trunk, and in front the chiseled headlight panel echoed images of the creatures that would become the namesake of this model – the “Shark”:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 BMW 630CSi on eBay

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Heap of the Week 2: 1987 BMW M6

“It was a running driving car when parked” has to be one of the most pointless things that is put into a used car advertisement. First off, in order to park, most cars needed to run. They need to drive to where they were parked. But then, something happened. Something happened that made you not go start the car again. Sure, we hear the stories from time to time about an owner who died, left the country, suddenly became completely uninterested in the car. But usually, those cars are first generation Ford Tauruses or Jeep Wranglers; it’s not often that they’re a 1987 BMW M6. Well, we do get the typical ad lines – selling for a friend’s widow, car ran when parked, looks good when sprayed with water. But with the frenzy of activity in the M market these days, is it worth the risk to step into a legenary S38-powered M6 that’s been sitting for 15 years?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 BMW M6 on eBay

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1985 BMW M635CSi

A about a month ago I wrote up a M6 roundup, covering the many nice examples for sale. They range greatly in price and condition these days, so it’s really best to do your homework, find the one you like and try to get one with a solid maintenance history over a few less miles. But occasionally one pops up that you just say “Wow!” to, and this one is pretty high up here. With a reported 40,000 miles, this European-spec 1985 M635CSi is just jaw-dropping:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 BMW M635CSi on eBay

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Heap of the Week: 1985 BMW M635CSi

If the classic 911 market has scared you, the Mercedes-Benz SECs are a little too soft and you worry about a foray into 928 ownership costs, M6 and M635CSi are a great alternative for a high-speed weekend transport for two. The U.S. received the quite potent and catalyst-equipped S38 motor, while the original daddy M635CSi got the full-fat M88 motor right out of the M1. With nearly 300 horsepower on tap, the M88 and those beautiful headers was a healthy upgrade from the U.S. version. If that wasn’t enough, you also got the much cleaner looking bumpers to go along with the extra ponies. Many M635s made it here thanks to the grey market, and occasionally one pops up for sale, such as today’s silver example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 BMW M635CSi on eBay

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Double Take: Original and Extra Spicy 1977 BMW 630CSis

Earlier in the week I wrote up a pristine, lower mile E12 528i that was a very pretty color combination and rare to see. The early generation cars of the 1980s – the E12, early E24 and E21 – are still in collector no man’s land; they’re in general not sought after enough to justify expensive restorations, and they’re not valuable enough for people to keep in pristine condition. They’re also not the best performers that BMW has produced; but in spite of that they’re all pretty cars and when well presented it’s a reminder of how clean and desirable some of these early BMW designs were. Few are as pretty as the original Paul Bracq designed E24 with it’s low, lean and long stance. Bespoilered later in life the design become increasingly cluttered and more aggressive, and while that has a certain appeal the early cars really do express the original design better. Today there are two examples, surprisingly, of the early run 630CSi – in your choice of original or modified “extra-spicy”. Which would you prefer? Let’s start with the modified version:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 BMW 630CSi on eBay

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1988 BMW M6

1980s BMW M cars have been stars on the rise over the past few years. It is hard to believe these days, but there was a point in the not-too-distant past where you could buy a E30 M3 for below $10,000 – and a nice one at that! Not only that, but E28 M5s have been suddenly for sale in the high teens for even worn copies and the venerable M6 is rare to see much below $20,000 in reasonable shape. What is an enthusiast to do? Well, sometimes that means you need to take a bit of a risk if you want to enter the wonderful world of M, and today I’ve got just the car to roll the dice on – a Christmas red 1988 M6:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M6 on eBay

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1988 BMW 635 CSi

One of the most popular theme weeks we’ve head here at GCFSB.com was “Shark Week”, where we reviewed one of each iteration of the E24 chassis. People love the classic styling, the understated performance, and ability to gobble up miles on the highway, and the relatively low entry price. They’re all the makings for an enjoyable classic that is affordable, too! With prices of the M models and every E30 made on the rise, these E24s are still good value. While most enthusiasts lust after the M6 and the legendary S38 powerplant, the reality is that for most of us, the less complicated and less expensive to maintain M30 found in the 635 CSi among others is a smarter option. Production ended in 1989 and these cars were lightly updated mid-88 with revised headlights and bumper covers, such as we see on this sharp white 1988 model:

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Year: 1988
Model: 635 CSi
Engine: 3.5 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 113,455 mi
Price: Reserve Auction, current bid $5,600

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 635 CSi on eBay

The classic “shark” or “sharknose” body style, chassis code E24, which is often heralded as the most beautiful of all vintage BMWs, had a very long production run from 1976 until 1989. Unfortunately, the 6-series cars for the United States market were crippled with significantly reduced power in addition to ugly and bulky padded bumpers up until the 1988 model which featured revised aerodynamic “world” bumpers and an engine upgrade that boosted power up to match the European specification car. These revised and very desireable post 1988 cars were then discontinued the very next year in 1989 and virtually all the cars imported to the US were optioned with the Automatic Transmission. This car has the best and rarest possible combination, the final body style, final upgraded engine, Manual Transmission, nearly all factory options, a full service history including original manuals and window sticker, we believe this car to be in original condition and completely unmolested. The only non-original parts on the car are 16″ authentic BBS wheels, replacing the stock TRX wheels which are no longer viable (the TRX specification tires are no longer in production).

Originally purchased in Hollywood California by a BMW collector who used it as his driver before passing it on to another BMW collector in New Mexico, this car has been in the best of hands its whole life from new. Of the 47 Alpine White 635csi’s with the Lotus White leather interior, only 11 of these cars had manual transmissions. This may be the only surviving one, and it is in pristine condition, with only minor flaws which I will note in detail. Being a Southwestern car, it has absolutely no body rust of any kind, the underbody coating is completely intact.

1988 BMW 635CSi, Alpine White over Lotus White
– Full leather interior, all seats, center console, headliner, door cards and handles, dash underside, rear speaker shelf leather wrapped
– Power seats with 3 position memory, power sunroof, power windows, cruise control
– Cold air conditioning (I do not know whether it is R12 or R134, but it works!)
– M30B35 3.5L Straight 6-cylinder engine with Motronic Fuel Injection, 221HP and 225LB-FT Torque
– Getrag 260 5-speed Manual Transmission
– Original BMW stereo, speakers, power antenna fully functioning, even BMW tape deck cleaner
– All features, lights, buttons, inside and out are fully functioning properly
– Heavy duty floormats
– BBS chrome 16″ wheels with nice 225/55/16 tires
– Rear air conditioning and drink cooler works great
– Suspension has been updated with Bilstein shock absorbers

This car runs and drives like you would expect it to as new in 1988, it runs nice and smooth, the engine purrs and pulls hard to redline, the suspension soaks up road imperfections as it should in a world-class touring car.

Noted Imperfections:
– Very small clearcoat loss (about quarter sized) driver’s side fender near base of windshield
– Shift knob is loose
– Scuffed paint on driver’s side front fender top edge
– Trunk can get stuck if opened too far
– Driver’s side interior door handle shows slight wear and is pulling away from door card slightly
– Center console leather has two small imperfections
– There are a two slight depressions in the roof, and one in the hood, very hard to see unless you look, easy to correct
– The exhaust has a broken hangar and the muffler is somewhat rusty, it does not leak
– A metal bracket attached to the front driver’s side frame rail, that appears to be an attachment point for an engine undertray is bent
– Rubber seals around outer door handles need replacement
– I cannot discern whether the memory function on the power seats work, all power functions work great however
– Slight scuff on driver’s side rear bumper

Contact:
My name is Ian, and I am here to help you with your purchase. Do you have any questions about the vehicle? Call my direct line at (505) 449-1316 or email me at iriela@powerfordnm.com.

This sales account is brand new, and as such we realize that we have yet to build up a large background of positive reviews on eBay. Our sales team is well versed in eBay auctions however, and we will treat all bidders with the same care and respect we treat all our customers at Power Ford. Please feel free to contact us, we are here to address your concerns and provide you with customer service that is second to none!

I have a complete album with 100 pictures including underbody and all detail shots of imperfections in this web album: Photo Album. Listed below are some pictures of the car as it is right now. Some minor defects in the white paint were too difficult for the camera to pick up and are hard to detect even by human eye and shots are not included.

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For a dealer, this car seems to be very honestly presented, which if you follow auctions is fairly remarkable. The seller notes the small details that are imperfections on the car, and seems to actually know what it is, too – a bit of a rarity. As the seller notes, the later cars are hard to find with a manual transmission. This car has the extended leather option like the M cars, and it looks to be in fantastic condition. Also rare for an Ebay dealer are all of the records which come with the car, making this the one to look at seriously. Downside? Well, the 528i spec wheels in chrome fit the Hollywood origins, but not the car. That said, wheels are a pretty easy fix and generally an individual item anyway, and while I’m not a fan of those wheels on this car it certainly wouldn’t stop the sale for me.

Values of these 6s have been all over the map as of late – some M6s pushing $20,000 plus for nice examples, but some 635s failing to sell well under $10,000. As the last of the breed and equipped with a manual condition, with all records and in good condition, this is the most valuable of the non-M models currently, and I would expect it to be priced between $10,000 – $12,000 depending on interest. I do hope that this dealer receives positive feedback for their ad print as I really think they advertised the car the way we all like to see it. It’s hard to believe, but in most states around me, this car could be registered as an antique and enjoyed on the weekends and at shows – rather than purchase an older car that has more needs, this might be a smart way to have a great looking and reliable weekender!

-Carter

Shark Week – 1980 BMW 635 CSi FIA Group 2

Edit 2017: Updated advertisements of this car indicate it is a recreation of the original, and still for sale for 190,000 Euros

I spent a solid chunk of my childhood dreaming of cars like this. In fact, I bet if I went through some old notebooks from high school and college, a poorly drawn likeness of just this car would be scrolled in the side margin. As Clarkson would say, this car is pure “strong pornography”. I still feel that all cars should have wide tires, big chin spoilers, wide flares, a roll cage, side exit exhaust, and stripes and sponsor graphics all over them. There are few things to me that look more “right” than the fat-flared race cars that the FIA helped to create. BMW is known for quite a few of them, but the FIA rules created some memorable models from every German marque. Heck, even Opel got in on the action. Touring car racing in the 1970s and 1980s was more stock-based than today’s carbon fiber tube frame bespoke race cars; imagine that there used to be a time when the cars that were racing were actually based on cars that you could buy! Amazing concept, I know.

In the early 1980s, the FIA changed the grouping rules for all race cars, including touring cars, in order to keep them closer to the specification of their market counterparts. Previously the rules had allowed companies to take advantage of loopholes. Slantnose Porsches? That’s because the FIA rules didn’t specify that the headlights had to remain in the stock location. The same went for fender flares and spoilers, and the late 70s saw some impressive displays of aerodynamic tweaks. Before they all went to pasture, though, BMW decided it should go racing with the new E24 chassis to replace the 3.0 CSLs that had raced and won in the European Touring Car Championship. The new 635 CSi Group 2 was born, and while it didn’t appear to be quite as much of a wild child as the “Batmobiles” had been, it wasn’t a slouch by any means. With a reported 300 horsepower, 1100 kg weight, wheels so wide they required additional fender flares to tuck them under the body, the new 635 CSi was a potent contender in the ETCC. However, rules changed in 1982, and more strict regulations of the renamed Group A cars meant the wild flares went away. As with any obsolete race car class, the remaining examples were sold off, to be raced and modified by their privateer owners. Finding an original car outside of the factory is therefore pretty rare and finding a fully restored original spec car is just about impossible, but we stumbled across just one such example in Luxembourg – today’s 1980 Group 2 635 CSi:

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Year: 1980
Model: 635 CSi FIA Group 2
Engine: 3.5 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: TBA miles
Price: TBA

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 BMW FIA Group 2 635CSi at Art and Revs

BMW 635 Group 2
FIA HTP

Price : Please call

For more details, contact us directly on +352 661 700 777
To be contacted by email

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I know, the amount of information provided by the seller is overwhelming. Despite this, I did a little digging and this car appears to be a car that was run in 1980 and 1981 by a driver named Dieter Schmid. It seems it was originally run by BMW Italia, then purchased by Mr. Schmid and run independently in the colors it is now presented at the 1981 ETCC Grand Prix of Brno where it finished 6th. Schmid finished 3rd at the ETCC Pergusa race, what appears to be its last official race and also its best result. I was able to find one photo of the car from Brno in 1981, courtesy of Racingsportscars.com. It’s not clear at this time what happened to the car after 1981, but perhaps that information is forthcoming. As it is presented now, the car appears to be completely restored to original or better than original condition.

Now, the value. This is the tricky part. Few of the original Group 2 BMW 635s survive, and most that do were modified at some point. The last one that came up to auction was the much more famous Jim Richards JPS ATCC car, itself modified from the original spec. It was estimated to sell between $180,000 and $200,000, but by all accounts that estimate was high given the condition of the car. With a good restoration and in good running condition, but without serious race provenance, I would guess the value of this car in the $150,000 to $180,000 range, but my guess is the ask price will exceed that. Because they weren’t as successful, the Group 2 635 CSis don’t command the prices of the 3.0 CSL race cars. These cars are now eligible for all sorts of vintage racing series and are loved wherever they show up. Running the original motor won’t be cheap, but then the car itself isn’t particularly cheap, so $50,000 engine and transmission rebuilds probably won’t scare the potential owner away. Although this car appears to be in show condition, I sincerely hope the new owner has the fortitude to drive the car on the track, or at very least do some Goodwood Festival of Speed appearances. We’ll keep an eye on this one and when more information on this Megashark becomes available, we’ll update everyone.

-Carter