A BMW NOT A BEEMER Launched to replace the old CS strain (which are becoming hugely sought after), the 6 Series E24 w...

Launched to replace the old CS strain (which are becoming hugely sought after), the 6 Series E24 was bang in tune with the mid 1970s in terms of styling and driving, although it’s said that these later cars lack the sporting edge of the original coupés. What you get as compensation are lusty straight-six engines (2.8-3.2-litre), a less skittish chassis for more secure handling, a roomier cabin and strong value for money. Top model is motorsport-aimed 635CSi but all are worth buying so long as rampant rust hasn’t got there first.

A brief history of the E-24 6-series coupe

A high-end two-door luxury sports coupe dubbed the 'Bavarian Ferrari,' the 6-series is considered by many to be the most aesthetically pleasing BMW of all time. Just 86,219 units were built between November 1975 and April 1989. About half of those came to the United States.

During it's production, many changes were made internally and externally,though to the untrained eye, the outward appearance of the E-24 coupe remained constant.

Initially the bodies were based on the E-12 5-series platform, the earliest being built at the Karman factory and shipped by train to BMW for assembly. This quickly became a problem and by 1977 everything was done in Munich. The original 630CS was carbureted and had a 4-speed gear box which remained until 1978 when the 5-speed replaced it.

1979 brought the end of the non-injected fuel system and indtrodued the first computer management system. Also available at this time was the 'economy' version 628 CSi and the introduction of the ABS braking system as an option.

The E-12 platform remained until mid-1982 when the change to the E-28 5-series platform was indroduced. With a much improved suspension, engine, interior and a computer-based engine management system, the new 6-series also got subtle body changes: the front fender flairs were increased and the antenna moved from driver's front fender to passenger rear.

A 4-speed automatic was an option in 1983 and this was also the last year of production of the 633 CSi.

The BMW ///M cars were first introduced in 1984, available only in the European models. It wouldn't be until 1987 that a US version M6 was produced for the American market. Also in 1984 airdams became standard equipment with recessed, rectangular fog lamps.

1987 was the only year for the US-specific L6 model. A 'luxury' 6-series that had all leather interior including headliner and dashpad, rear A/C with cooler and was available only as an automatic.

In 1988, the world-wide bumpers replaced the euo and US bumpers and made all the cars look the same. Airdams now had flush curve-edged fog lights as well.

April 6, 1989, the last E-24 coupe rolled off the assembly line.

During it's production, there were several 'specialty' models built. German tuners Alpina, Hartge, and Schintzer made high-performance models adding their own engine parts, suspension, wheels, interiors and more. Some of these were turbo-charged.

In addition, many dealers offered a convertible conversion as an option at purchase (or after) and though there is no number as to how many of these were made, several still survive.

More information on the history and numbers of cars can be found through the links above.
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  •   Bob BMW reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    CAR: #BMW-E24 / #BMW-M635CSi / #BMW-M635CSi-E24 / #BMW-M6-E24 / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-6-Series-E24 / #BMW-M6 / #M88 / #BMW-M88 /
    YEAR: #1988
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 164,021
    TOTAL COST: £148 (battery)

    ‘And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain,’ so sung the great Frank Sinatra, and indeed the end has arrived, the M635CSi is no longer with me. I’ve bored you all senseless with the news that I’m going to be leaving the magazine and pursuing a freelance career and one of the most upsetting upshots of this was the realisation that the M6 was going to have to go. Without a fixed monthly income and worries about who is likely to employ someone who know lots about BMWs but not a lot about anything else I just couldn’t justify keeping what was effectively a toy, especially as it was costing the best part of £100 each month just to keep it garaged. The possibility of something going bang in a major way and not having the funds to fix it was not one I wanted to ponder.

    I’ve never been all that good at selling cars – I think the bottom line is that I’m too honest and I’m likely to blurt out any known faults on a car. Having heard horror stories recently about people getting ripped off when selling cars and the amount of no shows combined with the inevitable low-ball offers chancers make I decided the best way to achieve a decent amount of money for the car with the least amount of hassle was to put it up for sale at a classic auction. I’ve always been somewhat fascinated with the cars that come up for sale at Anglia Car Auctions and as luck would have it the date of its sale in April dovetailed very well with when I wanted to sell the car.

    First things first though… before it would sell I needed to wash it and get it up and running. After dormant months of winter the battery was flat (surprise, surprise) so I whipped the battery off the car and gave it a thorough overnight charge. Popping it back on the car saw the interior lights glowing brightly but when I turned the key there was nothing. A big fat lack of M88 music reverberating around the garage. It felt a bit like when the starter motor had gone bad, but I thought I’d try and jump it from the trusty Passat so I walked home to get the jump leads. Now with the Six being bum in to the garage Halfords’ finest heavy-duty leads wouldn’t reach to the boot in the battery and when the M6 was manufactured #BMW had yet to pop a jump-start point under the bonnet. So I pushed the M6 out, connected everything up and hoorah, a running M6.

    I drove it round for half an hour or so and then parked it up at my house so I could go and get the Passat which can’t be left where I’d hastily parked it up… and yes, you guessed it by the time I got back home with the Passat there was no longer enough charge in the M6’s battery to get it going again. So… jump leads out again etc… and a quick call to the ever helpful BM Sport saying I was coming down with the M6 saw me cruising to Bexley with my fingers crossed that I wouldn’t stall it and that the range on the OBC was vaguely correct as I didn’t want to do a splash and dash with a car that would have to be left running on the forecourt. The chaps at BM Sport got it straight in the workshop, wired it up to its battery tester, and yes, the virtually brand new Halfords Yuasa battery was duff.

    A quick phone round for some quotes threw up the odd situation that the official BMW battery was actually the cheapest option so one was ordered and fitted and I could be on my way. The cruise up to Kings Lynn where Anglia Auctions are located was very pleasant and I let the M88 off the leash a couple of times before waving a tearful goodbye to ‘POW, POW, as it had become affectionately known. For some reason I had the romantic notion that it would be bought by a like-minded enthusiast, preferably one with some money, who would lovingly bring the M6 back to its former glory. Errr, no. It was purchased by an outfit called Eclipse Car Sales with the hammer falling at £15,500 – about what I thought it would sell for – which means that I got back around £14,500 after commission and fees which means I more or less broke even on the car in the 30 months I owned it. With the buyer’s premium Eclipse paid £16,275 for it… so it was a little bit of a surprise to see it advertised on eBay and its website a scant six days later for £30,000! At least Dick Turpin wore a mask. Personally I don’t think they have a hope in hell of achieving that sort of return on it as there’s just too much work that needs doing, but it has left a rather sour taste in my mouth which is a shame as I really did enjoy owning and driving the car. Such is life, onwards and upwards, live and learn etc…
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  •   Daniel 1982 reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    E24 M635CSi

    I think I left things last month on the verge of taking the plunge on buying another shark-nose classic and part of me really wishes I had. The E28 I had my eye on came up on eBay and was being sold by James at JFI Classic Cars who I’ve met on several occasions when we’ve been featuring some of the cars he’s produced. You might remember an E28 Five running an E36 M3 engine or a 2000 Touring which he’d fully restored and having chatted to James he reckoned this E28 would be ideal. It was Dolphin grey with a tan leather sport interior and it really did look rather pretty. We agreed I would sleep on it and I’d get back to him the following day.

    However, in the ensuing 12 hours there were some fairly seismic shifts going on in the background that I’ll be able to tell you about next month, and the upshot was that it would not be financially prudent not to drop several thousands of pounds on a car that I really don’t need, especially as I’d then be pulling it apart and spending several more thousands trying to install a V8 into it. Especially when I’ve still got an M635CSi to look after too. Mrs H is pretty understanding, but it’s best not to push too far!

    Truth be told, the M6 has seen very little exercise this month. It’s generally been dark and murky both on my way to and from the office and combined with a fair amount of moisture in the air and the fact that I don’t really like putting the car away in its garage wet it means that it’s been slumbering for most of the month. I did fit a set of Osram bulbs to try and improve the headlights but to be honest the jury’s still out as I’ve yet to take it out of town and on to darker country roads with them fitted.

    What I have been doing this month is keeping a keen eye on how much #BMW M635CSis are selling for at auction as this may well be a route that I take in the new year should some additional funding be acquired. What I’ve found to be most interesting is where cars end up after some of these auctions. I’d spotted a black B-reg M6 at Classic Car Auctions’ sale in early December with 117k miles and a large history folder. Being a nosey parker I did a quick check on its MoT history and was somewhat surprised to see that it had failed recently on several counts, mainly corrosion to both the offside and nearside subframe mountings as well as both the offside and nearside front suspension component mountings, along with a few other odds and sods. What was a little odd was that it then passed an MoT a little under a month later with two advisories – an oil leak and ‘underside corrosion’. Maybe the work was done, or maybe a different MoT tester felt the corrosion wasn’t quite so severe but either way it sold for just under £16k including buyer’s premium.

    I was somewhat gobsmacked to see the same car back up for sale at a non-franchised dealer two weeks later for £24,995! That’s some profit margin. It’s always been the way I suppose, but to see what could be a really nice car if it had the money lavished on it being sold with glib statements such as ‘you will struggle to find another M635 that represents such good value for money’ does stick in one’s craw somewhat.

    Deadlines being what they are this issue was put together before the Christmas break, but I’ll do my best to give the Six some exercise while I’m away from the office.

    CAR: #BMW-E24 / #BMW-M635CSi / #BMW-M635CSi-E24 / #BMW-M6-E24 / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-6-Series-E24 / #BMW-M6 / #M88 / #BMW-M88 /

    YEAR: #1988
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 163,925
    TOTAL COST: £18 (bulbs)
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  •   Robb Pritchard reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    / #BMW-E24 / #BMW-M635CSi / #BMW-M635CSi-E24 / #BMW-M6 / #BMW-M6-E24 / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-6-Series-E24 / #M88

    CAR: E24 M635CSi
    YEAR: #1988
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 163,247
    MPG THIS MONTH: 21.4

    Another month goes past without getting much done – tell a lie, without getting anything done – on the M6. Trips to Germany for a visit to AC Schnitzer and then back again for the 24 Hour race at the Nürburgring as well as a holiday in the West Country over the half term break meant that more or less all I’ve done with the Six is drive it to the office and back a couple of times just to keep everything ticking along nicely.

    Bar its tendency to run rich at low revs it does seem to be running very sweetly at the moment, pulling sweetly through the rev range and howling its way up to the redline with alacrity. Of course it’s not a quick car by today’s standards and not a desperately refined one either – frameless doors have come on a long way since the E24 was designed – and there is a fair amount of wind noise generated as I whiz down the motorway to the office. There’s also not much in the way of driver conveniences that we tend to take for granted these days and every time I engage reverse gear I also have to remember to engage my brain to remember that this car doesn’t have PDC… it’s an expensive accident that is waiting to happen every time I parallel park.

    I’ve also been wondering this month whether or not I should really keep the car… I seem to go through this every six months or so, but this month as I was going through my bank statements I couldn’t help but be a little bit stung to see in cold back and white how much the M6’s garage costs were. I can pretty much guarantee that the car isn’t going up by that amount in value every year and given how much I use the E24 it does seem crazy to pay so much to keep it out of harm’s way. Maybe I should sell the Six and buy another BMW classic that is less desirable to thieves and then I could just leave it outside my house? Or do all old cars act as a magnate for car thieves theses days as they’re so much easier to steal than their modern counterparts?

    The jury’s still out on what to do with the car but it will certainly be staying for the short term as the weather’s getting better and punting down to the office with the bettersounding stereo blasting the tunes while the M88 does its best to drown it out certainly helps to blow the cobwebs away of a morning.
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  •   Robb Pritchard reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    / #1988 / #BMW-E24 / #BMW-635CSi / #BMW-635CSi-E24 / #BMW / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-6-Series-E24 / #BMW-635CSi-Highline / #BMW-635CSi-Highline-E24

    If any proof were needed that collectors are more likely to go for low-mileage minters than high-mileage examples then you just had to have a look at the two E24s on offer at ACA. One was a 1987 example with 139k recorded miles which went for a smidgen over £2500. The second was a Diamond black Highline with Lotus white interior that had a comprehensive history and just 44k miles on its clock. It made £17,850 – proof that good Sixes are on the up.

    SOLD FOR: £17,850
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  •   Robb Pritchard reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    Classic Car Auctions June sale #1988 / #BMW-E24 / #BMW-635CSi / #BMW-635CSi-E24 / #BMW /

    This Dolphin grey 635CSi might not have been a lowmileage minter like the one sold by ACA, but at less than a third of the price it did represent excellent value for money. The car presented very well and hid its 130,000 miles well. There was extensive history and invoices showing £3000 worth of expenditure in the last couple of years. At £5500 it looked like a good buy. #BMW-635CSi-Highline / #BMW-635CSi-Highline-E24

    SOLD FOR: £5500
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  •   Robb Pritchard reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    E24 M635CSi / #BMW-E24 / #BMW-M635CSi / #BMW-M635CSi-E24 / #BMW-M6 / #BMW-M6-E24 / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-6-Series-E24 / #M88 / #BMW-M88 /

    Just a short one from me this month I’m afraid as there’s been very little progress with the Six this month. I’m blaming my youngest who has an unfeasible appetite for sport which has meant that this month I’ve spent the vast majority of my weekends at athletics meetings and cricket matches. And athletics meets and cricket matches seem to take a very long time to reach a conclusion.

    At least with a football or hockey match you know you’re only going to have to give up a couple of hours but it appears that summer sports are designed to last a whole day! The sooner they lower the age at which kids can learn to drive the better as far as I’m concerned, but as he’s only 11 I’m betting I’ve got a fair way to go yet.

    The upshot is that I have yet to fit the speakers to the M6. I did however have plenty of time to surf the web while waiting for another interminably long sporting event to reach its conclusion and this meant that I ended up buying a new head unit for the E24.

    I’ve gone for a Continentalbranded unit which looks pleasantly retro yet is crammed full of the latest technology. Seeing as I ended up being so time poor I opted to take the M6 to BM Sport to install the head unit and the speakers – the head unit fitted fine and works as it should… but the damn front speakers don’t fit – particularly galling given they were sold to me as being a perfect fit for an E24! They’re too deep and the magnet’s too large to fit the ridiculously small aperture that BMW saw fit to equip the E24 with. So, I’m on the hunt for some more speakers! Hopefully I’ll have a resolution next month.

    CAR #BMW E24 M635CSi
    YEAR: #1988
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 163,259
    MPG THIS MONTH: 17.2
    TOTAL COST: My patience
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  •   Robb Pritchard reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    The editor finally gets some sounds sorted for his M635CSi, the M3 track car has a frustrating time at the ’Ring and the E36 318iS is no more…

    E24 M635CSi

    I’ve had a little look in the Guinness Book of Records but there doesn’t seem to be a category for ‘longest amount of time it takes to fit a stereo to a BMW 6 Series’. If there was one, I’d have won it, hands down. But here I am, only four months or so after I said I was going to fix the stereo with four new speakers and a head unit all nicely installed. I dealt with fitting the new rear speakers a couple of months back and I’m still pleased with the way these turned out, but I’m afraid that was the extent of my hands-on involvement in the installation, unless you count manic Googling to find suitable speakers.

    I think I left it last month with the new head unit installed and a set of front speakers that didn’t fit but it occurs to me that I didn’t actually say very much about the head unit I’ve installed. While the previous Blaupunkt item was okay I felt it looked a little bling and while it was hooked up to a CD autochanger I did find that I never got around to swapping over the CDs so I became very bored with the music. For better or worse everything is digital these days so I ideally wanted a retrolooking head unit with iPod or memory stick connectivity and in an ideal world, Bluetooth audio streaming. I’ve got so used to this in my Passat company car that anything else just seems a bit old-fashioned these days. It also means that you can literally listen to just about anything you care to mention from internet radio to the Archer’s podcast.

    Amazingly I seem to have found a unit that does all that, a Continental-TR7412UB-OR . I, like most folk, generally associate Continental with tyres but if you look a little more closely you’ll find it has its finger in several different pies. As far as I can work out these are actually rebranded VDO units – they’re marketed as VDO in Australia – and Continental do several of these from the basic version I’ve opted to buy right up to far more advanced versions with CD players and DAB. Now it’s installed and I’ve had the opportunity to play with it for a few days I must say I’m pleased as punch. It paired seamlessly with my phone and plays everything I want it to, the radio seems pretty good and it even still has LW for listening to the test match when you’ve got no 3G or 4G reception! As it has Bluetooth audio streaming it’s also hooked up to a microphone for handsfree calling which is a handy bonus, too. All in, including VAT and delivery, it cost £105 which I thought was a bit of a bargain.

    It was the front speakers that caused the most amount of grief as modern units have significantly larger magnets than those with which 1970s speakers were equipped. Space for the footwell speakers in the Six is very tight, not only due to the small hole within which the magnet needs to fit, but also because the actual aperture is very shallow. And after endless internet searching one thing became very clear: it’s very hard to discover the exact measurements for speakers!

    Eventually I settled on a set of Pioneer three-way 6x4-inch speakers (TS-A4633i) that looked like they might do the job and once I’d dropped them off with the everhelpful Jags at BM Sport (020 8304 9797, I was mightily relieved to get the call a few hours later to say they were fitted!

    I’m sure a more serious hi-fi buff would have come up with a more innovative and better-sounding solution to a 6 Series stereo install but I really didn’t want it to look too non-standard or start cutting into the leather door trim panels to fit some kicking bass bins or whatever the youth do these days! All-in-all though I’m very pleased with the way it’s come out – it didn’t break the bank either which was quite important as when I return from holiday it’ll be going back into BM Sport for a full inspection service and investigation into the running rich.

    In an attempt to rectify that I decided to run some of BMW’s petrol additive through the car to see if it made any difference. After nigh-on 30 years I wouldn’t be surprised if the fuel system and valves are a bit gummed up so spending £13 on some fuel additive seemed like a good idea. I’m about halfway through the tank of fuel since adding the additive and it may well be my imagination but it does seem to be pulling a little bit cleaner through the rev range… although it’s still running very rich in traffic. To such an extent I almost feel like I should be handing out face masks to those unfortunate enough to be stuck behind me in a queue of stationary traffic on the south circular! The bottom line is that the additive certainly won’t do any harm, and I may well try another one through it just to see if it does clean some dirty deposits off the injectors – after all, after 163k miles their spray patterns probably aren’t quite what they were when the car was new. Hopefully new plugs, filters and a proper check of the valve clearances will sort F570 out, but knowing my luck I’ll probably need a new airflow meter! Let’s hope the summer holiday isn’t too wallet-wilting… oh, wait, I’m going to Europe and the pound’s just tanked against the euro!

    CAR: E24 #M635CSi / #BMW-E24 / #BMW-M635CSi / #BMW-M635CSi-E24 / #BMW / #BMW-M6 / #BMW-M6-E24 / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-6-Series-E24 / #M88 / #BMW-M88 / #Continental-TR7412UB-OR / #Continental /
    YEAR: #1988
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 163,305
    MPG THIS MONTH: 19.3
    TOTAL COST: £225
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  •   Robb Pritchard reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    E24 M635CSi

    Not an awful lot to report this month I’m afraid, other than the fact that I’ve used the Six a fair amount as the weather has been pretty decent. Nothing’s fallen off, nothing’s broken and no other gremlins of any note have reared their ugly heads.

    Perhaps the highlight of the month was attending Munich Legends’ ‘Legends in the Fall’ meeting which was held one Wednesday evening in September. It was well attended with a selection of mouth-watering metal descending on the company’s Sussex HQ and taking over the pub next door’s substantial car park.

    The M6 performed faultlessly on the way there and back but, despite me having given it a quick clean beforehand, it did look a little bit like the poor relation when compared to the other E24s that attended! It did get me thinking that maybe I should get the bodywork attended to sooner rather than later.

    A wonderful Royal blue 635CSi Highline really caught my eye but chatting to the owner it was obvious that it had taken a lot of hard work to make it that way. There was also a lovely M6 Motorsport car in Misano red in attendance and this was a car that I knew quite well in its formative years as when it was new, back at the tail-end of the 1980s, it used to come to the dealership that I worked in for its servicing requirements!

    All in all it was a great evening and it was great to be able to have a look around the M1 that Munich Legends has recently restored for BMW UK. The guys there have done a wonderful job on the car and it is a tribute to what can be achieved with these older cars.

    The news on the way home was less good as my 1980s super coupé was comprehensively out-dragged by a new Ford Fiesta ST. I know these are quick little things but it was slightly sobering that the M6 was so comprehensively out-gunned and I went to sleep that night dreaming of more horsepower. Regular readers may remember an E24 we featured back in 2007 that had been enhanced by the fitment of an S62 V8 from an E39 M5… and I’ve been having evil thoughts about recreating that car!

    Back in the real world the MoT is due next month and I was planning an Inspection service and some investigation into the car’s rough running and overfuelling. However, thoughts of having the bodywork done soon means that I might leave the servicing until after that. Decisions, decisions.

    CAR: #BMW-E24 / #BMW-M635CSi / #BMW-M635CSi-E24 / #BMW / #BMW-M6 / #BMW-M6-E24 / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-6-Series-E24 / #M88 / #BMW-M88

    YEAR: #1988
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 163,689
    MPG THIS MONTH: 22.1
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  •   Robb Pritchard reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    E24 M635CSi

    I’m afraid to say I’ve been dilly-dallying and prevaricating this month… how unlike me! I simply can’t quite decide what to do with the M6 – do I keep it and get all the bodywork refreshed and have a bit of a mechanical makeover to turn it from a perfectly usable but slightly rough around the edges machine into an absolute show stopper, or do I sell it and move on to something else?

    On the one hand the thought of having a nigh-on perfect M6 is something I’d love to have, but on the other I know it will be a wallet-wilting experience. And as it’s already done almost 165k miles it’s never going to be one of the really valuable ones.

    Having said that I’ve seen some examples advertised recently for E30 M3 money… but one always wonders what they’re actually selling for?! At the back of my mind there’s also the performance aspect to consider.

    Back in the day when I first owned one of these beasts it was a real performance powerhouse, but as I’ve mentioned before these days 286hp in a hefty coupé does not equate to hot hatch humbling performance – quite the opposite in fact! Which does beg the question whether it’s worth me owning the M6. After all I could sell the M635 and buy a better non-M 635CSi and still enjoy the car. Or I could buy something that doesn’t have any pretensions to being quick… I saw an absolutely lovely Neue Klasse saloon advertised the other day for really not a lot of money and was sorely tempted! Alternatively I could try to extract some more performance from the M6, but this would entail non-original modifications that would detract from its value. Our tech guru Andy Everett did suggest to me that the later M635CSis did struggle to make all of their 286 horses and wondered if I’d had the car on a dyno to see what it’s producing, but I must admit that putting such a high-mileage machine through the stress of a dyno session fills me with fear – seeing the M88 go bang is not on my ‘to do’ list!

    At the back of my mind is a vague plan to sell the M6 and buy another E24 into which I could insert a more modern and more powerful M engine which would give me the performance I hanker nicely wrapped up in the shape that I love. It’s just a pipe dream at the moment, but if anyone knows of an E28-based E24 with a relatively rust-free shell and a knackered engine then do get in touch!

    All these musings are all very well, but more pressing was the need to get a fresh MoT on the car. While it was in with BM Sport (020 8304 9797, I also asked the chaps to have a look at an intermittent non-start issue. This had only happened a couple of times but I’d turn the key in the ignition only to be greeted by a big fat ‘click’ and nothing else.

    My initial reaction was that the battery was flat, but twisting the key a second time would bring the reassuring starter motor whine followed by the M88 erupting into life. A dodgy starter motor, a relay problem or a wiring malady?

    As far as the MoT was concerned BM Sport reckoned it would be okay once it’d realigned the headlights and secured the passenger seat that was working itself loose, and sure enough F570 returned from the testing station with a fresh MoT and the same advisories that it had last year; slight corrosion on all brake hose ferrules, slight corrosion to offside front floor pan, rear beam axle bushes starting to perish… and a new one – slight corrosion on outer body sills.

    The starting problem was diagnosed as a duff starter motor and while the chaps were poking around in the engine bay they decided the brake fluid was looking a little bit second-hand and as I don’t know when it was last replaced we decided to change the brake fluid too. Sadly the starter that was ordered for the car turned out not to fit so the old starter has been sent off to be repaired. Having removed the plenum to access the starter motor the throttle bodies looked pretty mucky and gummed up so these are being cleaned as I type. Hopefully it’ll return in fine fettle.

    Just before I sign off I’d like to thank Michael from Athens (a fellow M635CSi owner) who wrote in with a couple of possible reasons for my car running rich – hopefully I’ll be able to let you know next month if your tips were correct Michael!

    In the mean time I’ll continue to cogitate the M6’s future…

    / #BMW-E24 / #BMW-M635CSi / #M88 / #BMW-M88 / #BMW-M635CSi-E24 / #BMW / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-6-Series-E24 / #BMW

    YEAR: #1988
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 163,721
    MPG THIS MONTH: 19.2
    TOTAL COST: Rising rapidly!

    Above right: duff starter and dirty throttle bodies. Above: throttle butterflies nicely cleaned.
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  •   Robb Pritchard reacted to this post about 3 years ago

    First up this month, I’m happy to report that the M6 is back on the road and feeling much fitter after the latest ministrations from the good chaps at #BM-Sport (, 020 8304 9797). Thanks to the refurbished starter motor it now starts on the button first time, every time, which is, after all, the most important aspect of car ownership… there is nothing that puts you off driving a car as much as the possibility that it’s not going to start.

    Once it’s running the good news is that it’s actually a much sweeter drive than it used to be thanks to the thorough cleaning of the throttle butterflies that were severely gummed up which was spotted when the plenum was off for the starter motor to be replaced. As far as I know the last major work that was carried out on the engine was the replacement of the timing chain around 15k miles ago, but I can only conclude that when the plenum was removed for this job no one thought it a good idea to clean up the throttle bodies. They were so dirty that it seems impossible that this build up of crud had occurred in the last 15,000 miles. The upside is that it now idles beautifully – it was always somewhat lumpy and a ticked over too low previously, but it now seems to be running like a dream. It pulls more cleanly from low revs in higher gears now and it may be a placebo effect but it seems faster than it was before.

    I put the new-found performance to the test when I ran it down to Munich Legends for a book signing by Tony Lewin. His latest tome, The #BMW Century, is a good read and while it probably doesn’t go into as much depth as a real hardcore BMW aficionado might be looking for it’s a fantastic introduction to the marque and cover BMW’s first century from the aero engine days right up to the latest Project i machinery with everything in between.

    If I’m popping down to Munich Legends I like to try and take the Six as bowling up in a dirty VW Passat company car doesn’t really seem the right image for the editor of a BMW magazine. The run down to Sussex was a very pleasant drive along the back roads with the #M88 singing its tunes and the chassis providing plenty of entertainment on the slightly damp and greasy Tarmac. The Falkens that came on the Style 5 wheels that I fitted to the car a while ago probably aren’t the grippiest tyres in the world but they do hang on quite well and when they do break away they’re nice and progressive, giving you plenty of time to catch the rear end before it gets too out of shape. I did enough miles in my previously owned E24s to know that the factory OE-fit Michelin TRXs would have been a far worse proposition on these roads.

    Once I’d chewed the fat with several other BMW owners at the Munich Legends event and spent some time poring over a very original 2002 that’s ripe for restoration, it was time to head home for a late supper and conscious that I’d been rather longer than intended I needed to press on if Mrs H wasn’t to end up serving my dinner to the dog. And that’s when I discovered the limitations of running a classic, or perhaps this particular classic, the headlights are absolutely atrocious. Never mind the fact that they’d just been realigned and are deemed fine to pass the MoT, the level of illumination they provide on dipped beam is utterly laughable – I would probably have done just as well by gaffer taping a couple of candles to the front bumper.

    It’s slightly odd really as on main beam it’s absolutely fine with the quad lamps illuminating things rather well, but as soon as you need to dip the lights because someone’s coming in the opposite direction you feel like you’ve been plunged into darkness and you need to weigh anchor pretty rapidly if you’re not going to be involved in an E24 shaped hedge interface. That’s reminded me actually, and sorry to depart on a tangent, but the brakes are now similarly much better than they were before. You get used to how the brake pedal feels in your car and really don’t notice the deterioration over time that occurs as your brake fluid slowly degrades. Having just had mine replaced the M6 has a much better feel through the pedal and is far more reassuring when you jump on the anchors. If you’ve not had your fluid replaced for a couple of years I really would recommend you have it done. Returning to the headlights though, it’s something I really will have to look into sorting – I’ve bought some upgraded bulbs – and once I’ve mustered up the energy to fit them I’m hoping things will have improved somewhat. If I can bring myself to stand out in the cold I might also see about removing the headlight washers – they’re currently seized up – as the wiper isn’t completely parked properly on the nearside light unit which must be obstructing the light somewhat.

    Last month I think I mentioned I was having a bit of a daydream about fitting a larger engine to another 6 Series and I have gone so far as to have a look at a couple of potential donor cars, but both were too crusty to be viable for what I want to do. It does seem that people have an overinflated view of what an old and rusty 6 Series is worth – both the cars I looked at were high mileage 628s in really not very fine fettle – just because it’s a 1980s BMW it doesn’t automatically mean it’s worth a lot of money. I saw another 635CSi on eBay that looked promising until I did an MoT history check on it… it was evidently rustier than the Titanic underneath and had failed its last MoT on ‘excessive corrosion, seriously affecting its strength within 30cm of the body mountings’ on ten counts! Currently I’m looking at E28 Fives as prices don’t seem to be quite so ridiculous and as I type a rather nice looking example has popped up on eBay… guess where I’m going this weekend…

    CAR: #BMW-E24 / #BMW-M635CSi / #BMW-M635CSi-E24 / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-6-Series-E24 / #BMW-M6 / #BMW-M6-E24 / #BMW-6-Series-M6 / #BMW-6-Series-M6-E24 / #BMW

    YEAR: #1988
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 163,902
    MPG THIS MONTH: 23.2
    TOTAL COST: £398 (MoT, starter motor, throttle body clean up, brake fluid)
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