- Post is under moderationShark Hunting
CAR: 1981 BMW 323i TOP CABRIO
OWNER: Sanjay Seetanah
/ #1981 / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-E21 / #BMW-E21 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E21 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW / #M20B23 / #BMW-M20 / #M20 / #BMW / #BMW-323i-Baur / #BMW-323i-Baur-E21 / #BMW-323i-Baur-Cabriolet / #BAUR / #1981-BMW-323i / #1981-BMW-323i-E21 / #1981-BMW-323i-Baur / #Bosch-K-Jetronic
Have you heard classic BMWs described as ‘sharknose’? Sharknose-era BMWs were manufactured from the 1960s through to the late ’80s and represent a crucial period in BMW’s history. They can be as different as they are similar. Some were built for racing, some were built for families.
Some featured cutting-edge technology, others were a little more basic. What brings them together is a common design aesthetic. They range from the Neue Klasse models of the ’60s through to the M1 and E28 (the second-generation 5-series), taking in the CSA, CS and CSLs and the earlier 3-, 5-, 6- and 7-series along the way.
Now the #BMW-Car-Club has introduced a new umbrella group called the Sharknose Collection, and I was delighted to be asked to attend a gathering of cars from this collection to produce a video for the club’s website. As club secretary Richard Baxter says: ‘These cars are now becoming sought after yet finding parts and specialists can be difficult. The Sharknose section of the club aims to give cars and owners a collective platform at shows, to help with parts and accessories, to share technical days, and allow networking with fellow owners.’
The pressure was on to get my Baur looking as good as possible, given the company that it was going to be with. I contacted Joseph Crowe, owner of Knowl Hill Performance Cars in Maidenhead (www.knowlhill. com), and he obligingly ensured that the car was machine polished to look its best.
Gathered together for the shoot were some of the very best examples of sharknose BMWs in the UK. In the picture, above, from left to right are Stu and Lizzy Blount’s grey #BMW-E28 / #BMW-M5 / #BMW-M5-E28 , Tony Wilkes’ beige #BMW-E3 , Georg Champ’s red #BMW-2002 , Sam Lever’s blue #BMW-3.0-CSL-E9 , Trevor Gude’s white #BMW-E12 / #BMW-M535i-E12 , my own BMW-323i Baur Top Cabrio and Kos Ioizou’s beautiful red #BMW-635CSi-E24 . I was amazed at the depth of knowledge and passion for the cars shown by all the owners – the future of these classics is safe in their hands.
The Club is looking for ownership and restoration stories to share in its monthly publication Straight Six and hopes to attract owners of cars not yet known about. Cars from the Sharknose Collection will be on show at several events this year, including Masters at Brands Hatch on 26-27 May; Sharknose Europe at Rosmalen, Holland, on 23 June; Silverstone Classic on 20-22 July and the club’s National Festival on 12 August at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon. There’s more info at www.bmwcarclubgb.uk and I hope I will get along to at least one or two in the Baur.
Above and below Sharknose Collection members lined up some of the UK’s finest examples, including Sanjay’s 323i Baur cabriolet.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationGlen Christie with his smartlooking 635CSi in New Zealand
/ #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).
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- 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. HowevWe 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: firstname.lastname@example.org, 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? More ...
- Post is under moderationRoad test retro BMW coupes – 3-gen of rare BMW GT-cars
/ #BMW-2000CS-E120 / #1967 / #1967-BMW-2000CS-E120 / #BMW-2000CS / #BMW-E120 / #BMW-Neue-Klasse / #BMW-Neue-Klasse-Coupe
/ #BMW-2800CS-E9 / #1971 / #BMW-2800CS / #BMW-E9 /
/ #BMW-635CSi-E24 / #1985 / #1985-BMW-635CSi-E24 / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-6-Series-E24 / #BMW-E24 / #BMW /
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- Post is under moderationJAWS 2 Ten years ago we featured this E24 in its original incarnation but now it’s back and meaner than ever. We’re going to need a bigger magazine… Words and photos: Andy ‘Sharkey’ Starkey
/ #JAWS-2 UK air-ride E24 #BMW-635CSi-JAWS-2 / #BMW-635CSi-Highline-E24
The iconic Spielberg movie, Jaws, put a whole new spin on suspense and horror, and we have never looked back. This movie was responsible for making an entire generation of film fans squeal, hide behind their popcorn and give them involuntary bowel movements. It was such a success and a landmark in cinema history that it spawned several sequels. Now, I have a problem with the whole sequel thing. If you have made something good, I guess it’s a given that you want to continue the success and do it all again.
That’s all well and good if the subject matter can cope with the return, and if the public want it. The big difficulty for the moviemakers is that we’ve already seen the shark, the villain, the hero or whatever in the first one; we’ve had the shocks, the cheers and the laughs. This usually results in a very loose link to the first instalment which develops into almost the same story but with more blood, scares, laughs, bangs or car chases; all a bit disappointing really.
There are exceptions of course: Indiana Jones, Jason Bourne, Austin Powers and naturally Mr Bond – all have had continual success with their ongoing escapades and adventures, and that’s all because the key character has what it takes for audiences to keep coming back for more. They all have charisma, attitude and presence, which is exactly what this E24 has in abundance and this too is something of a sequel.
We think you’ll agree that this particular 6 Series possesses the kind of credentials that any movie icon would give their right arm for. That’s because this #BMW-635CSi-Highline is a continuing story of ownership and development. It even graced the pages of this very magazine some ten years ago and was dubbed ‘Jaws’ by us at the time. For once, this is where a sequel really has paid off, although maybe sequel isn’t the right word, a ‘continuation’ is probably better…
Way back when, this 635 was owned by a certain Kabir Miah and both he and his brother Lala had a very particular idea for this car in mind. The shark theme was to be played out by having the original paintwork in a two-tone scheme; grey on top graduating into a much paler off-white towards the sills, just like the skin of a shark. The front wings also got the ‘big fish’ look by having a large, striking set of gill slits added. These were not just a stick on adornment, either, these gills were actually pressed through the wings and the finishing touch was the addition of the Jaws number plate.
That was then, but what about now? To start with, the car now belongs to Lala himself. It may have been Kabir’s car but Lala was the one to make the transformation happen both ten years ago and now. This is wholly because he’s a fully trained painter. In fact he co-owns and runs a Birminghambased styling business, LA Modz, specialising in window tints and wraps, so he’s going to know a thing or two about making cars look good. He still does some bodywork but, as he told me: “Tints and wraps are so much cleaner to work with.”
As you have probably noticed the, two- tone paint job has gone this time around in favour of clean, bright Nogaro silver with a fabulously deep gloss. The trademark gills and numberplate still identify the car as the original Jaws but now a lovely set of rims highlight the new look.
Lala does have an eye for detail so the choice of wheel that was to achieve the desired effect had to be right, and boy, are they right. They started out life as a set of M System II Style 21 ‘Throwing Stars’ but they’ve been made into a special set of bespoke three-piece splits by CR Customs in Poland. The guys there have added extra diameter and width, taking them from lowly 17s to a whopping 19”, with the fronts measuring 9.5” wide while the rears are now a massive 11”. The hardware has also been plated in 18ct gold and the wheel nuts had nifty covers made for them from 12 bore shotgun cartridges.
The interior has been redesigned this time around too; the tired black has now been replaced with luscious terracotta leather. Lala has taken the lead from an M5 he’d seen with a Fox red interior and rather liked the contrast. The style and choice of covering carries on with modified and decluttered doorcards and centre console. The craftsmanship of the interior is something to behold and the stark difference between some of the retained interior scheme and the new is striking. Hats off to Autotrims UK for a sterling job. The whole interior theme has been topped off by the addition of an MTech 2 steering wheel and the all-important shark tooth hanging from the mirror.
Ten years ago most suspension setups comprised springs and shocks but today air is where it’s at and it’s all about getting your car so low that sometimes you think you could sneak under a snake’s belly wearing a top hat. With its low roof and sleek look, the CSi is the perfect candidate for air and dropping it to the ground accentuates those long, low lines. Lala’s done something very smart here too; sure the air-ride gets the car down low but the clever bit is the use of a specially made M3-style chin spoiler and the fitment of, would you believe, Volvo 850 side skirts.
These additions make the whole profile look even lower and very sleek. As Lala explains: “The idea with the spoiler was really to give the impression of a shark’s open mouth, but it does lengthen his nose.”
His nose, did you say? “Definitely,” Lala says. “Jaws was certainly male, so this car must be a bloke too.” Looking at the car now after that statement, you have to agree it does look masculine. It has a sharp, angular feel to it and we’re sure that’s pure testosterone coming out of the exhaust…
Having a wrap expert on-hand would make you think that this car would be littered with the stuff but on initial scrutiny you’d say there wasn’t any wrapping going on at all. Well, you’d be wrong. Look a little closer and you’ll find something very subtle, but very nicely done: the window surrounds. It may not look much but, while all the glass was out for the paint job, Lala took all the mouldings that fit between the glass and bodywork, and wrapped them in a fabulously deep gloss black wrap. Not only does this look really neat, but you just have to think of how much of a nightmare it must have been to do.
Externally the look gets further enhancements with the fitment of American side marker lights, smoked headlamps, taillights and badges. The window glass has been replaced with some from a pre-1985 model, purely because the glass had a tasteful bronze tint to it (unlike this 1989 version). This was then made deeper by adding another layer of tint, thus creating a totally unique shade.
How many times do you feel a tad disappointed when you’ve read all the interesting guff about the fancy bodywork and the trick bits only to be told that the engine has been left totally standard? Well, brace yourself, because this motor is pretty standard too but, before you go all ‘I told you so’ on us, remember one thing, this is a 635CSi which has the lusty 3.4-litre ‘Big Six’ under the bonnet. That’s over 200 feisty ponies in there wanting to get out so – why mess with something that good? Lala has added an induction kit, though, and a bespoke exhaust, making the tuneful straight-six sound even better, from air going in to exhaust gases coming out. To top off the whole package the standard 635 brakes up front have been swapped for the beefier ones from an 840.
With the subtle changes, bespoke additions and attention to detail, Lala has given us a worthy sequel to his original Jaws, and just when you thought it was safe to go back on the road… This is real proof that sequels can work and work well, providing the main character has what it takes, of course, and this 635 has exactly that.
“The idea of the chin spoiler was to give the impression of a shark’s open mouth”
DATA FILE #Air-ride / #BMW-E24 / #BMW-635CSi / #BMW-635CSi-E24 / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-6-Series-E24 / #M-System / #BMW-E24-Air-ride / #BMW-635CSi-Air-ride / #BMW-635CSi-Air-ride-E24 / #BMW /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.4-litre straight-six #M30B35 / #M30 / #BMW-M30 , induction kit, stainless steel exhaust system, four-speed auto gearbox #ZF-4HP / #ZF
CHASSIS 9.5x19” (front) and 11x19” (rear) custom three-piece #M5-M-System-II-Style-21 ‘Throwing Stars’ with 3.5” (front) and 4” (rear) polished lips and 18ct gold-plated hardware, 235/35 (front) and 255/30 (rear) tyres, Air Lift Performance air suspension, 840Ci brakes (front)
EXTERIOR Full respray in BMW Nogaro silver, gloss black wrapped window surrounds, pressed metal gills in front wings, custom E30 M3 chin spoiler, Volvo 850 side skirts, pre-1985 bronze window glass with additional tint, American side marker lights, smoked headlights and tail-lights
INTERIOR Re-trim in terracotta leather, modified doorcards and centre console, #M-Tech 2 steering wheel, custommounted #AutoPilot-V2 digital air-ride controller, single #ViAir compressor, single air tank, 2x #Pioneer Champion Series 12” subs
“The idea of the chin spoiler was to give the impression of a shark’s open mouth”
The craftsmanship of the interior is something to behold…
“Jaws was certainly male, so this car must be a bloke too”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationClassic 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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- Post is under moderation/ #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: £17,850Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationIf you ask for Alex Bachmann about his big love, only 2 projects come to mind. His ex MK2 Edition one G60 Golf - crazy low at that time and then this #BMW-E24 built in #1986 / #BMW / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-6-Series-E24 / #BMW-635CSi / #BMW-635CSi-E24 / SECOND LOVE /
In between there were a number of other Golfs, apart from time and money there‘s not much to remember from those builds though.
It was then more than fortunate when this 6-Series was brought to Thuringia, since it actually belonged to a purchased collection of 50 vintage cars owned by well-heeled Slovenes. 2 models did not fit into their collection and so Alex scored this BMW for only 5000 Euro.
Alex already test drove a 6 series a few years ago where the purchase price of 12.000 Euro resulted in no change of holder. With his current love, nothing is left to chance. Christian of Wagnair delivered custom made air suspension supported by Airlift components.
However, Alex himself worked on his dream set of wheels, inspired by Rotiform and Fifteen 52. They now run under the name LX001 in his own collection, since he also conveniently owns, LX Felgen'.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationBASKING SHARK
The E24 6 Series is a masterpiece of classic design and one that with a just a few mods becomes something special. This classic CSi isn’t the sort of shark that’ll rip your leg off without hesitation or warning – it’s a mellow, low-and-slow cruiser. Although with 200hp-odd from the factory, you’d still do well to keep an eye on it… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Henry Phull.
“BMWs are in my blood,” says Henry Phull, as he nonchalantly rumbles to a halt before the photographer’s lens in his shimmering retro sharknose. This, of course, sets alarm bells ringing – you know what happens when you mix sharks with the suggestion of blood, you’ve seen Jaws. We step back cautiously and allow him to elaborate: “My dad had numerous Beemers when I was growing up, the most notable being an E24 M635CSi in red – that was his favourite car, and I’ve wanted a sharknose of my own ever since.”
It’s a story oft-told, the my-dad-had-one-of- those aspiration, and it’s played beautifully into Henry’s hands as he strategised the long game. Starting out his driving career in an Audi runabout before graduating to an E34 525i, the stepping stones were inexorably leading him toward an old-skool 6 Series… although when it happened, it came out of left-field, as it turned out that the lure of the E34 5 Series distracted him somewhat. “I just fell in love with the noise and the leather of the 525i,” he grins, “and after that I had a V8 530i, with both cars receiving Throwing Stars, coilovers and M5 interiors. I was then on the hunt for a 540i – and I test drove a few which turned out to be lemons – when a 635CSi turned up at the right price, in the right place at the right time…”
This move of celestial serendipity was enough to jolt Henry’s childhood dreams back on track. Receiving a message from a friend saying that a mate of theirs in the motor trade had just taken in an E24 in partexchange was enough to prick Henry’s ears up. He called the seller in question, who turned out to be vague on the details and sent over some low-quality photos of the car. Not a lot to go on, there – but it had one key hook: “It was white!” says Henry, triumphantly. “A white 635CSi is an uncommon sight, so I was interested.”
From there on in the whole thing was inevitable, really. The cherry on the cake was that the vendor was planning to put it into his bodyshop to freshen up the front wings and sort out any rust the car may have, and this – combined with the low, low price (undisclosed here, but undoubtedly a once-in-a-lifetime deal) – was enough to twist Henry’s arm. Although to be fair, it was already pretty much twisted. The chance to own the car of his childhood dreams? Yeah, you’d have been right in there too.
“I told him I would go up and view the car as soon as it was out of the paint shop,” he recalls. “A week later I made my way to Basingstoke to take a closer look. On first inspection the car was dirty and tatty, like it was in the photos I’d seen previously, but the paint was decent and they’d done a good job on the wings. It needed a few niggly things sorting; the floor was wet, the windows didn’t work properly, the indicators didn’t work, the engine had a couple of oil leaks and sounded tappy… but I decided that the car was being sold to me so cheap, it was worth the risk, and I could break it for more than I paid for it if the car turned out to be bad.” With no prior experience of owning M30-engined cars, this was something of a step into the unknown for Henry, but it represented more of the good sort of fear that you get from, say, rollercoasters than the bad fear you associate with axe murderers and PPI cold calls. And so a deal was struck.
Such was the thrall in which the E24 held Henry that he kept it completely bone-stock for a year before any thoughts of modifying crossed his bows. But inevitably the dark thoughts crept in, as they’re always prone to do, and he found himself bolting on a set of Throwing Stars (hey, stick with what you know…) and chopping a few coils off the springs. Appearances at a few shows yielded universal praise, although at this stage he was focusing more on maintenance than modification. But with the car mechanically tip-top and aesthetically up-to-scratch, it was time to do things properly.
“I’d always fancied split-rims, and this was the car that finally pushed me to do it,” he says. “I’d always gone with OEM+ wheels before, but I found myself scanning the internet, looking for the right splits.” He’d already decided that they had to be 17s or 18s, and initially favoured a mesh design that would evoke the CSi’s original metric wheels. But then a set of OZ Futuras popped up on Stanceworks and changed all of that.
“They were up for sale in Germany, and it was a bit of a scary purchase as they were used and I would never know the true condition of them until they arrived,” he recalls with a grimace. “I wasn’t even after this sort of wheel design but this set had gold centres; gold on a white car was what I wanted. It’s just so period-correct. A quick photoshop later and it was clear that they would look amazing!”
The specs were aggressive and Henry found that the judicious use of spacers would push them right into the arch lips in fine style. The next inevitable quandary, of course, was how to lower the thing…
This was a weighty decision indeed, with Henry having recently devoted himself full time to Slam Sanctuary, the site he founded to showcase badass low-down rides. He had to walk the walk, right? But at the same time there was a tight budget to consider – going it alone employment-wise is a financial tightrope. This was the initial impetus that swayed him away from air-ride and toward rolling static, although we all know that this is more than a cost-based decision; air vs coilies is a lifestyle thing. They both have their merits, but it’s down to how you use your car and what sort of character you want to give it.
A long chat with SS Autowerks resulted in a set of well-priced BC Racing coilovers winging their way to him, in drool-worthy Extra Low flavour with custom spring rates. To complement this new attitude to altitude, SSA also threw some engine raisers to get the M30 20mm further from the Tarmac which, brilliantly, raise the base of the sump above the subframe, so the car doesn’t even need a sump guard. Who says static rides are all oily heartache and tow trucks?
The vagaries and mechanical complexities of the E24 (shall we just call it quality engineering?) meant that the fitment of coilovers wasn’t a walk in the park, so Henry entrusted the job to the irrepressible Paul of Coltech Classics, who set about ripping out the MacPherson strut setup and welding the Extra Low units to the hubs.
“Paul said the BCs were a dream to work with,” Henry enthuses. “We couldn’t believe how low they allowed the car to run while maintaining drivability, I’d recommend them to anyone with an E24.”
The nature of Henry’s sloped driveway meant that the centre exhaust box was catching with these new-found lows, which gave him the excuse to rip the thing off and replace it with straight-through pipes – a nifty little fringe benefit – while some trimming of the rear arches was the final job Paul needed to carry out in order to make the thing day-to-day streetable.
And that, in a nutshell, was the realisation of Henry’s boyhood dream. You’ll note that the car’s exterior remains resolutely unmodified – “Why alter the body of an already beautiful car?” he reasons – and much the same is true of the factory interior, save from the addition of an MTech I steering wheel. This is textbook ‘stop, drop and roll’ stuff, and it’s all the better for it.
“The first show I took it to with the new look was the Players Classic, and the attention it received was just on another level,” he grins. “And then the BMW Festival at Gaydon… people were constantly asking me if it was bagged, which just goes to show what the right sort of coilovers can achieve.” Such is the menace of the bona fide shark; you don’t need to be flash – you just have to bare your teeth.
DATA FILE #BMW-E24 / #BMW-635CSi / #BMW-635CSi-E24 / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-6-Series-E24 / #BMW / #OZ
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.4-litre straight-six #M30B35 / #BMW-M30 / #M30 , engine raisers, centre exhaust silencer removed, four-speed auto / #ZF4HP / #ZF
CHASSIS 8.5x17” ET13 (front) and 10x17” ET19 (rear) #OZ-Futura wheels with 25mm (front) and 30mm (rear) spacers and 205/45 (front) and 245/35 (rear) tyres, #BC-Racing Extra Low Type RA coilovers with custom spring rates
INTERIOR Stock with full factory leather, M Tech 1 steering wheel
THANKS Paul at Coltech Classics for going the extra mile to lower the car, Nick and Alex at SS Autowerks for supplying BC coilovers and engine raisers, Tom Etheridge for servicing and helping to maintain the car in his spare time, Paul at MVT Poole for general maintenance and always sorting me out at the last minute whenever there’s an issue, Simon and Nathan at The Wheel Specialist Bournemouth for assisting with fitment and tyres. Last but not least, my parents for letting me park the car in their garage!
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- Post is under moderation/ #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.”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationGloriously 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.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.