Longtermers #1988 #BMW #E24 #M635CSi
. Another busy month for the fleet with the M5 and 320d requiring some dealership fettling. And the editor goes mad and buys an M635CSi …
If you read my farewell to the E34 #M5
in last month’s issue you could be forgiven for thinking that the last thing I was going to do once the #E34
had departed was to sink a whole load of money that I don’t really have into another classic BMW. As you can see from the accompanying pictures that’s exactly what I’ve done! I really shouldn’t be let out on my own or be allowed unsupervised access to the internet…
Long time readers will know that I absolutely love the E24 6 Series and once the proceeds of the M5’s sale were burning a hole in my bank account I couldn’t help but have a little surf to see how much a #635CSi
was going for these days. Safe to say that the bottom end of the 6 Series market is fraught with danger – there are plenty of machines out there that look pretty decent in the pictures but are actually complete and utter hounds. Hidden somewhere in this pack of dogs is the occasional gem but these are the ones that sell within a few hours of being advertised and I kept arriving far too late to secure a purchase. And at the back of my mind there was a nagging doubt that I simply wouldn’t be happy with a 635CSi.
My past history includes a #1983
635CSi that had been unusually spec’d with pukka Recaro seats, a dogleg ‘box and a limited-slip differential and once I had finished removing all the tin worm and attending to a few mechanical maladies it really was an absolute peach. This rather fine machine was exchanged for what was, in essence, a rather ropey M635CSi and having sampled them both in the past I knew that if I were to purchase even a good 635 the call of the #M88
twin-cam in the M car would always be too strong to resist. So I put the idea of buying a Six on the back burner – much to Mrs H’s satisfaction.
And then somehow I found myself on a train heading for Coventry to look at an #M635CSi
that I’d spotted on eBay. The mileage was high, but it looked pretty good in the pictures… Against it was the fact that it was a Highline and I actually prefer the look of the earlier chrome bumper machines but it was Lachs silver (like my previous #M6
) and had the added bonus of a fairly recent timing chain replacement which needs doing every 100k miles in these. The guy selling it was nice too…
So a deal was struck, we visited the bank for some complicated transferral of monies, I added it to my insurance and headed off down the M1! Truth be told I was sold from the moment he opened the lock-up but the initial road test sealed the deal as it did drive very nicely indeed. Fearing the worst I set off with a full tank of super unleaded cursing that I hadn’t had a chance to transfer my RAC cover over to the ’Six. I needn’t have worried though as the M ran like clockwork down to Sevenoaks with the sonorous straight-six making itself heard over the radio as I experimented with how much performance was still on offer. It’s obviously not modern day fast but it still seems like it retains the vast majority of its 286hp.
BMW made just 524 right-hand drive M635CSis between March #1984
and February #1989
and of that number just 102 were the later Highline model that I’ve just invested my children’s university fund in to. My car was built in September 1988 and like many of these cars was used extensively by its first owners who added the vast majority of the 161,000 miles that it has covered. Old MoTs reveal that it’s generally covered around a 1000 miles a year for the past five years which I’m hoping is enough to have kept everything in decent working order.
It’s not perfect of course, they never are once they’ve done this many miles, but it seems to be fairly free of any life-threatening corrosion and apart from a slight tendency to run hot in traffic, mechanically it seems spot on. The headlamp wash doesn’t work – do they ever? – and neither do the headlamp height adjusters or the aircon but everything else seems to function as it’s meant to. The interior in particular is in pretty fine order and bar a slightly creaky driver’s seat there doesn’t seem to be a huge amount that needs doing in there.
At some point someone has replaced the standard exhaust with the monstrosity that’s now poking our from the rear valance – if they had opted for a twin-pipe exit it wouldn’t have been nearly so bad as the system itself is quite tuneful but to my mind it’s a complete eyesore and needs replacing.
It’ll be off to BM Sport shortly for a good going over with a fine tooth comb and hopefully the verdict won’t be that it’s a complete and utter hound! Fingers crossed.
Bob Harper LONGTERMERS
MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 261
TOTAL MILEAGE: 161,124
MPG THIS MONTH: 21.4
TOTAL COST: My wife reads this!