There have been almost as many permutations of the TV show CSI as there have been of BMW coupes carrying that suffix. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe 635 is one of the most highly rated - of the cars, not the shows - but will its price warrant watching?
BMW's original six series is an interesting car. Introduced in 1976 as the E24 the car replaced the earlier E9, offering similar styling in a much more modern presentation. What's odd about the 6-series however is that while its outward appearance changed little over the course of its run, it switched platforms mid-way through, moving from sharing components with the E12 5-series to that of the revamped E28 in '82/'83.
If you are a real Bimmer-head you can tell the differences from yards away - a tip is that the wheel arch on the E12-based cars rolls into the fender well below the accent line while that of the later cars almost touches it. Along with the suspension upgrades, the E28-based cars enjoyed a slew of other practical updates, and in fact while looking almost the same, there are a ton of parts that can't be shared between the series.'
Today's 1988 635CSi comes from the second to last year of the E24's production run, and is claimed by its present owner to be one of only 185 cars to come to the U.S. that year rocking a 5-speed stick. Meting out the ponies through that Getrag box is a 3,430-cc SOHC straight six - the M30B35 - that the factory said put down 208-bhp.
The ad says that the engine runs great and drips not. It also notes that like the most desirable of hotel rooms and match.com participants, it's a non-smoker. There's also a litany of new maintenance and replacement parts (dipstick?) that have been put into not just the engine but the rest of the drivetrain as well.
One of the cool deals with this car is that while it presently has a number of aftermarket pieces bolted to it, the seller has kept the originals and is including them in the sale. That's a straight up stand-up guy way to sell a car, and that means that you not only get a nice set of BBS alloys presently under the car, but the original TRX wheels as well, because those might be making a comeback.
Visually, the car looks tits in the pics. I mean, this is one of BMW's great achievements so it has a good start, but the Alpine white paint and clean trim here do accent that canvas well. The seller says that the car has had a pair of resprays, and that there has been a replaced fender over the years, so keep that in mind, and points to him for honesty and attention to detail.
Is it all puppy snuggles and beer-flavored ice-cream? No, there are a few niggling issues including a crack in the dash, a broken seat ratchet cover on the passenger side, and a couple of tears in the leather upholstery. Plus, where'd all the trunk tools go? You can see all of that in the car's Flickr set to determine how serious each might be. Also, it should be noted that the 6-series back seats are among the most comfortable that I have ever had the pleasure to plant my ass in, so there's that.
Considering the care that seems to have gone into this car's stewardship over the course of at least the present owner's time, this seems to be a pretty well sorted Six. And as it's a quarter of a century old and has seen more than 200,000 miles, you'd expect it to require some replacement and rebuilding. You might not however expect it to look as good as it does seeing as it's claimed to be a daily driver and not some sort of trailer queen.
With that all in mind it's now time to give thought to this 635CSi's $7,500 price tag. Do you think that's pretty attractive for a car of such caliber? Or, does that price make this BMW DOA?
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