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

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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  •   MaxNew reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    Glen Christie with his smartlooking 635CSi in New Zealand

    CARPET-BAGGER, HOPEFULLY!

    / #1989-BMW-635CSi-E24 / #1989-BMW-635CSi / #BMW-635CSi-E24 / #1989 / #BMW-635CSi / #BMW-E24 / #BMW-6-Series-E24 / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW

    I’m looking for some help in the form of a referral. I’m a long-time reader of BMW Car and have it ordered through my local magazine agent in Ponsonby Road, Auckland, New Zealand.

    I have a one-owner (plus me) 1989 BMW 635CSi, and I need to order new moulded carpets for it; it’s a right-hand drive car. I understand the carpet can be purchased in a pre-made kit-type format, but I’m completely unsure where to go?¬ Thanks for a great magazine and it’s good to see that Bob Harper is still a contributor; I always enjoyed hearing about his, since-sold, M635CSi, although I’m not a camping fan! (That’s the latest I’ve read from him).
    • We haven’t had any direct experience with specialists making vehicle carpet sets, Glenn, so it’s difficult for us to make a firm recommendation.We haven’t had any direct experience with specialists making vehicle carpet sets, Glenn, so it’s difficult for us to make a firm recommendation. However, one wellestablished company that we came across, and which lists your 635CSi among the vehicles it caters for, is Wigan-based Coverdale (UK) Ltd (tel: 01942 255535, email: [email protected], website: carcarpets.co.uk).

      The set for your car is listed as costing £266 (NZD507) but you’d need to add a delivery charge to that price which, to New Zealand, isn’t going to be cheap. It may be more cost-effective for you to find a specialist supplier closer to home although, having said that, we didn’t have any luck with a search on Google. There are a number of moulded carpet set suppliers in Australia, but BMW coverage seems very limited with them all. Maybe our readers will be able to recommend a supplier in your area?
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  •   Daniel 1982 reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    ADS ON TEST #1987-BMW-M635CSi-E24
    COST NEW £32,195
    PRICE £29,995

    Big mileage but with prices for these on the up, Nathan finds out if this one’s worth the risk.

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


    his year’s big #BMW M635 CSi E24 auction result (£100k) has seen many E24 Sixers hit the scene, all of varying quality. The consistent theme is that you’re looking at north of £50k for a low-mileage example.

    This isn’t one of those, but it is up for a smidge under £30,000. It could be one of the last remaining chances to get into one for this money that isn’t already home to livestock in a barn somewhere.

    The good news is that this example is a genuine get-in-and-drive car and it holds up to scrutiny. The Salmon Silver Metallic paintwork is largely good, with only a light smattering of stonechips to the front of the car, and a mark on one wheelarch. There is bubbling around the front bumper, and the window chrome has marks and smudges. However, the alloy wheels are absolutely perfect and they wear period-correct Michelin TRX tyres. At around £350 a corner you’ll be glad there’s plenty of tread left.

    Inside there’s creasing and marks to the oh-so-comfortable leather chairs, and the headlining has a few minor marks. The driver’s seat bolster is showing a fair amount of wear, but this is discolouration rather than rips or missing thread. The only real sign of major wear is the wellthumbed steering wheel; we like the patina though.

    The engine bay is largely clean with no signs of corrosion. All the fluids were up to the maximum marks and none wanted to burrow their way back to Munich. The paperwork file is enormous, and points to diligent, loving care. The book’s stamped up to 185,776 miles at a mixture of BMW main dealers and specialists, with receipts for work done. Recent examples of that fettling include a 2016 service at a cost of £1009, which involved a little welding. Further back, a 2015 going-over cost £4147 including new paint.

    Behind the wheel the M635 CSi is a fabulous GT cruiser; a flick of the wrist down the evenly-spaced if slightly long five-speed manual gearbox and a hefty prod of the accelerator elicits a zinging snarl from the M88/1 powerplant. There’s plenty of torque and a deeply addictive howl as you reach the upper echelons of the BMW M1 E26 supercar-derived unit. It handles well too, with plenty of feel and immersive responses to your inputs. This car drove very well, without any drivetrain, steering, brake or suspension faults.

    CHOOSE YOUR M635 CSi E24

    The M635CSi was launched in 1983 with a modified M88/1 engine, which had first seen life in the M1 E26 supercar. It also received a ZF five-speed gearbox. The M cars have the larger front air dam, rear spoiler, BBS alloys and colour-matched side mirrors.

    BMW chose to limit all its cars to 155mph in the late 1980s, but the M635CSi sneaked out before. Its 158mph velocity still makes it the second-fastest BMW after the M1 E26.

    Production ended in 1989, with 5859 sold – of which just 524 were right-hand drive.

    BMW M635CSi E24
    Year #1987
    Mileage 185,778
    On sale at 4Star Classics 4starclassics.com

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE SPECIFICATIONS 1987 BMW M635CSi E24

    Engine 3454cc, 6-cyl, DOHC #BMW-M88/1 / #BMW-M88 / #BMW / #M88
    Transmission RWD, 5-speed manual
    Power 282bhp @ 6500rpm / DIN
    Torque 251lb-ft @ 4500rpm / DIN
    Weight 1505kg
    PERFORMANCE
    0-60mph 6.3sec
    Top speed 158mph
    Economy 29mpg

    INSURANCE QUOTE Policy £200, with £250 excess. Legal cover and agreed value included. Quote based on a 39-year-old self-employed male, no points on his licence, living in Peterborough. Car is garaged, 3000 miles per year and with comprehensive cover. Call 0800 085 5000 for your quote.
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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
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 104
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 164,021
    ECONOMY THIS MONTH: 24.4
    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
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 23
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 163,925
    ECONOMY THIS MONTH: 23.3
    TOTAL COST: £18 (bulbs)
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  •   Robb Pritchard reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    BMW Art Cars Ernst-Fuchs : #BMW-E24 / #BMW-635CSi / #BMW-635CSi-E24 / #1982 / #BMW-635CSi-E24-Ernst-Fuchs / #BMW-Art-Cars / #BMW / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-6-Series-E24 /

    The fifth of BMW’s Art Cars was the first machine in the series not to have been based on a race car

    The fifth machine in BMW’s Art Car collection was quite a departure from what had come before for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it was the first of the five cars that wasn’t a competition car – it never raced at Le Mans, which had been the main drive behind the four previous cars – and secondly, the artist, Ernst Fuchs, was the first one who wasn’t an American.

    Ernst Fuchs, born in Vienna in 1930, studied sculpture and painting between 1943 and 1950. In the late 1940s he founded the ‘Vienna School of Fantastic Realism’ along with other young artists. Until 1961 Fuchs lived and worked mainly in Paris together with his fellow countryman Friedensreich Hundertwasser. From 1974 he devoted himself to music theatre as well as the design of scenery and costumes. With his increasing interest in poetry and music, his paintings became more intense in colour. As Fuchs was mainly known for his monumental paintings of saints, BMW had no idea what he was going to do with one of its vehicles. The answer was something completely different to what had come before as Cornelia Eibl, former director of the Ernst Fuchs museum in Vienna said: “With the Art Car he entered a new creative period. Painting this car gave a new drive to his pictures which can still be seen today and the BMW is the highlight from this time.”

    Commenting on the 635CSi that he painted, Fuchs said: “A machine should not be made to look better. It has its own aesthetics. I call this car ‘Fire Fox on a Hare Hunt’. I see a hare at night running across the autobahn and leaping over a burning car – a primeval fear and a bold dream of surmounting a dimension in which we live. It shows me its colours, I read them in its lines, in its contours, I hear its voice calling out emphatically and see that beautiful hare leaping through the flames of love, averting all fears.”

    In painting the car Fuchs drew very much on his own personal experience: “Leaving a burning car at the very last moment has happened to me before,” he said. “It is a very cathartic matter, so that is the incantation – nothing of that sort should happen.”

    The car itself was a standard 1982 635CSi complete with its 218hp 3430cc #BMW-M30 / #M30 straight-six and it was never registered, driven on the road, or intended for use on track.
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  •   Robb Pritchard reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    TRIED AND TESTED £7,995

    City Road Cars Sheffield / www.cityroadcars.co.uk / 0114 239 9994 / #BMW-635CSi / #BMW-635CSi-E24 / #BMW-E24 / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-6-Series-E24 / #BMW

    YEAR: #1987 MILEAGE: 151,000 PRICE: £7995 MOT: 12 MONTHS

    Decent examples of BMW’s original 6-Series are now hard to find, and prices have been slowly creeping up over the last few years. Really mint ones are now around the £10-15,000 mark so this one at around £8000 appears too good to be true. But bear with us.

    The 635CSi arrived here in late 1978 as a worthwhile upgrade over the 1976 633CSi and the original models majored on performance over everything else. Until 1980 they were all five-speed manuals with a limited slip diff, harder Bilstein suspension and front and rear spoilers.

    By 1980 a three-speed auto was an option, the limited slip diff and Bilstein suspension were relegated to the options list and the car took the place of the now discontinued 633CSi model. In March 1982 the so-called ‘E24’ was given a huge reengineering job that meant that very little of the 1978 car was carried over – just the roof skin, bonnet, bootlid and some glass was retained.

    The front and rear arches were flared out more, the 3453cc engine was replaced by a reworked 3430cc version and the entire floorpan and suspension was new, derived from the contemporary ‘E28’ 5-Series set up, while the seats, instruments, heater – pretty much everything really – was replaced.

    Built on August 1, 1986, but not registered until the following February, this car was clearly built for a stock order and had quite a decent spec. Options included a limited slip diff, pearl beige leather sport seats, electric sunroof, four-speed automatic with sport/ economy modes, as well as green tint glass but not air conditioning or cruise control. This car has had two owners – there are three recorded keepers but we think the first and second are the same driver – and has had the registration number ESK 378 from new.

    Rust was a problem on the E24 but his one appears to be very good and we think it may have had one if not both of its front wings replaced in the past. The last owner bought the car in 1991 and it has been well looked after. The bodywork is fine, the panels are nice and straight and the paint is very good.

    The sunroof and windows operate as they should. The rear light lenses and driver’s front indicator lens could do with replacing – not with new ones because they’re silly money, but good used items. The rear bumper centre blade has the usual bend but is being straightened or replaced before sale and the passenger front bumper blade has been pushed in an inch (easily sorted out). The wheels are the original metric 390mm alloys. The front tyres are Avon Turbospeeds and the rears are Dunlop TDs with plenty of meat.

    Mechanically the car is very good. The mileage is 150,000 and the engine sounds superb with a lovely crisp noise and no unwanted cam noises. The car will be getting a full service with oil and antifreeze before it goes out as well as having a couple of exhaust blows sorted – one is from the rear box, requiring a welded repair, and the other from the manifold – most likely a stud has dropped out. The automatic gearbox works as it should (the fluid is clean and a pinky-red) and the limited slip diff is nice and quiet.

    The E24 635CSi was a pretty rapid car back in its day and whilst the automatic gearbox does blunt some of its 218bhp, it kicks down as it should and goes well. The gearbox is the switchable sport/economy type and when it’s in ‘S’ mode it locks out both the torque converter lock up and fourth gear. To be honest though, for regular driving you can just leave it be and let the engine’s torque do all the work. The 635CSi has a good ride as well – a far cry from the crashy nonsense of later BMWs with sport suspension. This one has ABS as well and the sport seats are much better than the standard pews. The 635CSi was a fast and pleasant car when it was new, easy to drive and very useable. The same can be said today.

    The days of decent 635CSi BMWs going for £2500 are long gone. The prices have been creeping up unnoticed for a while and the problem now is finding an owner of a good example who will part with it – most won’t, and you will need to spend 15 grand for a real cracker needing nothing. This one needs a few bits doing but most of this (the exhaust blow, rear bumper and service) will be done before it’s sold. That leaves the new owner a few detail bits to sort out – a pair of rear light lenses and perhaps a pair of new matching Dunlops on the front. But overall this is a nice genuine example with a stack of bills; high on miles maybe but very low on owners.
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  •   Robb Pritchard reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    SOLD FOR: £5720 / #1986 / #BMW-E24 / #BMW-635CSi / #BMW-635CSi-E24 / #AC-Schnitzer / #BMW-635CSi-AC-Schnitzer / #BMW-635CSi-AC-Schnitzer-E24 / #AC-Schnitzer-E24 / #BMW / Brightwells May Sale

    This was an unusual Six in that it was equipped with the five-speed dog-leg manual gearbox as well as a limited-slip diff. It had also been modified by AC Schnitzer and its spec included a Schnitzer-uprated engine with dyno print-outs showing that the robust M30 3.5-litre engine produced close to 300hp. The car was original throughout with records of restoration work in the large history file. The black leather Recaro sports interior also original and in good condition. It had covered 142k miles but did require some recommissioning – a replacement clutch being the first item needing rectification.
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  •   Robb Pritchard reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    SOLD FOR: £6820 / #1989 / #BMW-E24 / #BMW-635CSi / #BMW-635CSi-E24 / #BMW


    This example was one of the last of the Highlines and had covered 111k miles. It came from a deceased estate, and had been put away in 2003 where it had remained unused since. A fine covering of dust obscured the #Zinnober red paintwork which looks like it would respond well to a good cut and polish and the black leather interior looks to be in good order. The lusty #M30 six-cylinder had been coaxed into life with some fresh petrol and idled smoothly while on site at Brightwells, although the car has yet to be driven and would obviously require recommissioning and a new set of rubber before use.
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  •   Robb Pritchard reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    Gloriously original Schnitzer 635CSi racer

    A True Original Squirrelled away down in Australia you’ll find perhaps the most original Schnitzer E24 635CSi race car in existence – it’s an absolute peach!

    ‘It came second in every major race it entered’ – hardly a claim to fame, especially when it comes to a race car’s value post-retirement. Thankfully it’s not the only deciding factor, as this ex-Schnitzer 635CSi proves. Words and photography: Chris Nicholls.

    A TRUE ORIGINAL


    As with many things in life, originality is key. Whether it’s the arts, sciences, or even consumer goods, a truly unique idea or product will stand out. It doesn’t even have to be the best in its class. It just has to be one of a kind. The same can be said of racing cars. Tyrell’s six-wheeler was hardly the most successful F1 car of all time, but it’s still revered today because it tried something new. Similarly, this #Group-A 635CSi never won a single race in its life but its remarkable career, despite the lack of wins, and originality (being possibly the most complete Schnitzer Group A E24 in existence) means it truly is a standout car.

    Now sitting in the Bowden Collection warehouse in Queensland, Australia, we decided our trip up there earlier this year would be a great opportunity to both shoot and delve into the history of this amazing machine. And thanks to the generous assistance of the Bowden clan, we were able to do just that. Looking into the car’s past, it’s perhaps remarkable such a storied machine could have started its career so badly. Entered into the 1985 European Touring Car Championship as the factory Schnitzer / #BMW #M-Technic car, chassis RA2-55 didn’t even finish its first three 500km endurance races at Monza, Vallelunga and Brno due to mechanical problems. And it only managed sixth and seventh at the Salzburgring and Nürburgring events respectively. And that was despite having drivers like Emanuelle Pirro, Dieter Quester and Johnny Cecotto at the wheel. A huge effort from both the team and drivers Quester, Oestreich and Cecotto did yield a second behind its sister car at the Spa 24-hours that year, but that was as good as it got in its European run.

    Thankfully, the late-season pick-up in fortune meant British team manager John Siddle still decided to bring the car Down Under for the Bathurst 1000 later that year. Originally, he wanted the Spa winner, but given it ran the famous ‘parts car’ livery, one that would have cost around AU$10,000 to replace when it returned to Europe, Siddle settled on buying its sister car outright instead and had it painted in ‘Bob Jane T-Marts’ orange. After a complete rebuild by Schnitzer and testing by Quester, it ended up on a boat to Australia.

    Remarkably (at least when viewed through the lens of 2016), this was fairly normal for the time. The team’s driver line-up for ‘the great race’ originally consisted of Nelson Piquet (whom Siddle managed) and Nikki Lauda, but a date clash with a Brands Hatch F1 race meant Johnny Cecotto and Roberto Ravaglia had to be flown in instead. To help ensure the best possible result, Siddle also brought in two Schnitzer mechanics and a BMW factory engineer to bolster the local crew.

    Qualifying eighth, the bright orange 635 suffered a terrible start due to the kind of engine trouble Siddle had spent so much time and money trying to avoid. Thankfully it cleared by lap three, only to be replaced by a computer wiring fault on lap 17, which left the car down on power for the remainder of the race.

    Despite this, after two hours in the car was up to fourth and eventually moved up to third behind the TWR Jaguars. At one stage it even snatched second place before a charging Peter Brock went past in his Commodore. Thankfully for the BMW fans, though, Brock’s timing chain later broke and chassis RA2-55 took its second consecutive number two spot in a major race. Rather frustratingly, a post-race inspection by the team revealed the wiring problem probably cost them a second a lap and therefore the win, but such is Bathurst.

    After Australia’s biggest enduro, the Bob Jane car competed in an F1 support race at Adelaide, driven by none other than Gerhard Berger, before a brief retirement until the tail end of the 1986 Australian season. There, thanks to Garry Rogers (who now runs the Volvo V8 Supercars team) destroying his ex-JPS 635CSi at Oran Park, it was pressed back into service to run with Charlie O’Brien as the second driver at the Calder Park South Pacific 300 (where it finished seventh), the Sandown 500 (where it finished 11th) and once again at the Bathurst 1000, where sadly it DNF’d. Finally, the CSi finished off its racing career by being shipped to Japan to compete at the Fuji InterTec 500, piloted by O’Brien and Pirro, where it finished (yet again) in second.

    Upon returning to Bob Jane’s ownership, the former racer and tyre magnate changed the vinyl numbers to replicate the 1985 Bathurst livery and left it at that, using it as a promotional vehicle at his various tyre and wheel stores around Australia. Indeed, it seems he thought little more about the car until he showed it at the 2012 Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne. There, a chance encounter with some Red Bull mechanics made him realise what a special piece of history he had on his hands.

    According to current custodian Chris Bowden, these Red Bull mechanics were ex-Schnitzer and, after examining it, said to Bob they used to work on the car and they couldn’t believe how original it was. “They told Bob that it was the only one left of the original (Schnitzer) 635CSis,” says Chris.

    Having realised quite how valuable it was, Bob decided to find some caretakers who could look after it better than he could, and thanks to being friends with the Bowden family, chatted to them first.

    “Bob called us after that event and said, ‘I’ve just found out this car’s a lot more special than what I thought it was, and I think you should have it,” Chris explains. “So we started talking from that point onwards and a deal was struck not that long after.

    Obviously it was Bob Jane [a man renowned for his business nous], so we had to pay – we had to pay well – but let’s just say all parties were happy and, to date, I’m yet to have seen another 635 like it. It’s just a time-warp, and its fantastic race history backing it up is really cool, too.”


    Chris’s description of the car as a ‘time warp’ is apt. Looking over the car, you can see every little detail from its racing career remains intact. Outside, the completely original paint is chipped and worn, as are the wheel centres, and the aluminium fuel tank still has dirt streaks running down it. The windscreen even has a crack in it from its last race in Japan. Lift up the bonnet and bootlid and you’ll see every mechanical component remains untouched and the rubber seals are long past their use-by-dates. Even the tyres are the original Pirelli P7 slicks it last raced with back in 1986. Inside, the time capsule feel continues. The original Recaro carbon bucket is now completely yellowed by the ageing resin, while the kick marks on the doorcards and aluminium roll-cage, as well as the partly-faded plastics surrounding the switchgear behind the gear knob and shiny leather on the wheel itself, all further reinforce how old and well-used the car was. (On a separate note, the completely stock road-car gear knob, door panels and dashboard are a bit of a throwback, aren’t they? It’d be impossible to think about seeing such items on a modern race car).

    The car’s originality and condition makes it all the more amazing that, far from leaving it as a museum piece, Chris has had it out for a test run at Queensland Raceway. Admittedly it was just one test, and the original ’80s tyres and safety gear meant it was hardly flat-out, but after getting his mechanics to ensure it all still worked, he did indeed drive it. And to prove that age never wearies a great car, Chris says it was still a peach and rather friendlier than his other Group A 635CSi – a JPS car we’ll also be featuring. “The JPS car is very much set up for sprint racing – it’s got a huge cam in it,” Chris says. “There’s literally nothing going on below 4000rpm. Getting it out of the pits is an absolute nightmare. And the JPS car (like all Group A 635s) runs a huge amount of caster and the gearbox ratios are extremely tight. It’s a real purpose-built sprint car. Whereas in the Schnitzer the clutch in it is quite friendly, the gear ratios are spread a little bit wider and it’s got power steering. It does run a pretty big cam, but nothing like the JPS car. It generates power from about 3000rpm; you could take the Schnitzer car to the shops.”

    Of course, Chris says this doesn’t mean the car isn’t utterly vice-free, as it’s still “a little bit cranky” at low speeds, but for a purpose-built race car, he says it’s a nice drive and very clearly one set up for endurance racing, where outright speed is less important than ensuring the driver isn’t exhausted by lap ten.


    Thankfully for race fans, Chris even says he plans to drive the car at future events, too, if only for demonstration runs: “This particular 635, given I’ve never seen another one like it – as original – I don’t think racing is what should be done with the car. I’d love to but I don’t think I’d be doing a favour to mankind by giving it a big rub or blowing up the engine or doing those things that happen when you decide to enter a race with a car. The JPS car, definitely, there’ll be a time in the future when we do race that, but the Bob Jane car, no. It’s a time-capsule – it’s something that should be kept for future generations so that in 30, 50, 100 years from now, when they talk about the early Group A cars, and the ones that ruled the roost and what they were really like, this car should be an example of that.”

    Wise words indeed. We look forward to seeing the car on track at future events, where no doubt it will wow people with its originality, history and bewitching M30 song.

    Above: The ‘Bob Jane’ 635CSi as it was when campaigned by Schnitzer in European events – this is it finishing second at Spa in 1985.

    Looking over the car, you can see every little detail from its racing career remains intact.


    TECHNICAL DATA Bob Jane #Schnitzer #BMW-635CSi / #BMW-635CSi-E24 / #BMW-635CSi / #BMW-635CSi-Schnitzer / #BMW-635CSi-Schnitzer-E24 / #BMW / #BMW-E24 / #BMW-Schnitzer / #Bob-Jane / #Getrag / #BBS / #AP-Racing /

    ENGINE: 3475cc SOHC #M30 / #BMW-M30 straight-six, cast iron block, 12-valve alloy head, #Bosch injection, 310hp @ 6900rpm
    GEAR BOX: Getrag five-speed gearbox
    CHASSIS: Steel monocoque
    SUSPENSION: McPherson struts, coil springs, shock absorbers, anti-roll bars (front), semi-trailing arms, coil springs, shock absorbers, anti-roll bars (rear)
    BRAKES: AP-Racing four-piston callipers (f) and Lockheed two-piston callipers (r) with 297x26mm two-piece discs
    WHEELS AND TYRES: 8x17-inch (f&r) BBS centre lock mesh wheels with 285/630 (f&r) Pirelli P7 racing slicks


    For a purpose-built race car, it’s a nice drive and very clearly one set up for endurance racing.
    The Bob Jane 635CSi that now resides in the Bowden collection retains a wonderful patina – it’s probably the most original E24 race car anywhere in the world.
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  •   Robb Pritchard reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    / #BMW-Art-Cars / The sixth machine in the series: Robert Rauschenberg’s 635CSi. / #Robert-Rauschenberg / #BMW-635CSi / #BMW-635CSi-E24 / #BMW-E24 / #BMW / #BMW-635CSi-Robert-Rauschenberg / #BMW-635CSi-Robert-Rauschenberg-E24 / #1986 / #BMW-6-Series-E24

    Robert Rauschenberg: E24 635CSi. The sixth Art Car followed a successful formula, using a pop artist and a 6 Series.

    For the sixth Art Car #BMW again opted to use another pop artist, Robert Rauschenberg, and, rather oddly, it decided to use the same car for a canvas as the fifth car: an E24 635CSi – although this time it was a later 1986 model with US-spec impact bumpers.

    Rauschenberg was born in Texas in 1925 and was one of the artists who paved the way for American pop art. After studying art he started designing scenery and costumes for theatres. Later on he experimented with photographic designs, painted in the style of abstract expressionists. He finally discovered his own personal style in what’s known as ‘combine painting’ – a collage technique integrating real objects and photographs into the abstract painting.

    Rauschenberg was first to use other artist’s works on his Art Car, which he processed by means of photographic techniques and projections onto the car.

    For example, on the left we see Bronzino’s ‘Portrait of a Young Man’, and on the right a painting by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. Rauschenberg’s own photographs of trees and swamp grass point to the environmental problems associated with the motor car. The ‘hub caps’ are formed using photographs of antique plates. The associations between the narrative elements are grouped along the surfaces, composing a virtual story for the observer to behold.

    It was somewhat ironic that despite depicting some of the environmental issues created by the car in his artwork he was happy enough for a palm tree to be felled from in front of his studio in Florida in order to get the rolling canvas into the studio – which demonstrates just how keen he was to be involved with the Art Car project.

    With his Art Car Rauschenberg stayed true to his ‘picture within a picture’ collage technique and was the first artist to work with foil rather than paint and lacquer to create his images. “I had to make sure that whatever I did beautified her,” he said. “I wanted to bring the whole world into it.” On the car Rauschenberg depicts three different worlds: that of art; that of nature; and that of the technical world in a sort of cultural kaleidoscope.

    While the first four Art Cars were racing machines that took to the track in anger, Rauschenberg’s #BMW-6-Series was the only car to be driven on the road – by Rauschenberg himself. In an interview he commented: “There must have been around eight or nine accidents… people driving past and going ‘what was that?’ as they swivelled their necks to get a closer look. Once I saw that, I knew it was going to work.”
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