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Prime Find of the Week: 1980 BMW 635 CSi

Is the 6-series the most beautiful BMW ever? It’s certainly not the most expensive.

– Today, that is. When the new 6-series (or in BMW-code: E24) was introduced in March 1976 it joined the 7-series in an attack on the upper echelons of the automotive world. The E24 superseded the former CS-series, as it (codename E9) was getting a bit long in the tooth. It was after all essentially based on the 4-cylinder 2000CS of 1965. The newcomer took over in even more comfort-focused fashion: The E24 was larger and heavier, and in its original carburetted 630CS form actually slower then the lighter and (in famous 3.0 CSi-guise) more powerful predecessor – but also roomier, more comfortable and incredibly even prettier.

The 635CSi from 1978 set out to rectify the speed deficit: The bigger engine was now always injected, and more torque as well as power meant performance to just about match the competition from Mercedes, Porsche and Jaguar. Although the BMW was the cheapest of the group, you’d still pay almost 50.000 Deutschmark for the privilige of the Bavarian coupé. But then it held its own for many, many years – it’s longevity testiment to a brilliant design. Longevity of design, that is – rustwise it was not much better than the predecessor, which is why you must always start with that aspect in any E24-purchase.

A competitor is searching for all the typical downfalls on this weeks Prime Find, but did not find anything.

And so I did: I encountered this lovely Alpine white BMW 635 CSi at the Bremen Classic Motorshow yesterday, and could not help myself from being drawn to the big and elegant coupé. Straight panels, good paintwork, 3 former owners, 141.000 kilometers and an absolutely original appearence seduced me. It all seemed very solid and Euro 17.500 was enough to make you the next owner.

Upon closer inspection I found that the lower bodywork had been repainted to a good standard – and that “good standard” could actually be the key word for the car in general: The interior was very clean, the leather seats in great shape, no problems around the sunroof, and not just was the gearbox a manual but in actual fact the rare and sought-after 5-speed dogleg. Everything seemed to work. Although the engine bay had not been detailed to any great degree all seemed fine and dry. And the sellers were eager. The car was not perfect – which the price reflects – but it seemed an honest car in great spec. I recalled my former 628 CSi with warm sentiments, shortly considering this one – but decided instead to pass the offer on to you, dear ViaRETRO-readers. Find the contact details on the below photo and please answer me this: Isn’t this a huge amount of supercruiser for the money?

Actually, white paint and black leather suits the sharknose BMW very well indeed. The striping was icing on the cake.

It’s 0049 for Germany – just in case you are now reaching for your phone…

Full report from Bremen Classic Motorshow coming up!


With our Saturday instalment of Prime Find of the Week, we’re offering our services to the classic car community, by passing on our favourite classic car for sale from the week that passed. This top-tip might help a first-time-buyer to own his first classic, or it could even be the perfect motivation for a multiple-classic-car-owner to expand his garage with something different. We’ll let us inspire by anything from a cheap project to a stunning concours exotic, and hope that you will do the same.
Just remember – Any Classic is Better than No Classic! We obviously invite our readers to help prospective buyers with your views and maybe even experiences of any given model we feature. Further to that, if you stumble across a classic which you feel we ought to feature as Prime Find of the Week, then please send us a link to


5 Responses

  1. Tony Wawryk

    While I wouldn’t say no to a 6 series, it’s some way short of being the most beautiful BMW for me – the E9 and 507 win those accolades. The 6 has always seemed a bit arse-heavy to me, especially when compared with the wonderfully elegant and even delicate lines of the rear of the E9. Nevertheless, as classic BMWs go, they are a bit of a bargain, and at EUR 17,500 this one does seem good value, and Sixes seem to be starting to follow E9s up the price scale – probably never be better value than now.

  2. Anders Bilidt

    Tony, I will agree with you that the E9 is prettier and more elegant than the E24 – but in my eyes it’s only by a smidgen. My mother used to drive a black 635CSi with factory sports seats and all the toys back when I was only 20. Well, I say she drove it, when in actual fact, I probably put more miles on it than she did. So I should probably just say that she owned it – not drove it… ;-) I soooo loved that big coupé!
    On that note – and considering the current prices of the stunning E9 – if only I had a spare Euro 17,500 lying about, I would be dialling that 0049 number within a heartbeat!

  3. Claus Ebberfeld

    Right, Tony – I agree with the 507, which is a truly beautiful car. To be honest I forgot it as I see it as being in a league of its own. Which is also the case financially.

    However I honestly think the E24 with its long, low and flowing lines is a more coherent design than the E9. What this DOES mean, though, is that the E9 has more edge than the E24. More attitude in its little peculiarities, so to speak. But as a whole its is not as supremely elegant an automobile as the E24, methinks.

    Personally I still prefer the E9, though – but that really has more to do with it Sixties-period-incredibly cool style than it outright beauty.

    That I don’t actually have one is a matter of bad timing: Ten years ago would have been a good time, I now realize. And it is not least in the light of E9 prices that a good 635 CSi seems to represent an lot of car for the money.

  4. Dave Leadbetter

    Oh, that is nice. Ten years ago they were giving them away, but compared to 911s and such they’re still good value. Unless I sell some stuff I think I’ve missed the boat on these and the spectre of accidentally buying a rot box could turn into a very expensive nightmare but this article isn’t helping…

    I see this one is a rare manual, but these are one of the few cars where I think automatic transmission suits the character more. Controversial.

  5. Tony Wawryk

    Claus, I did own an E9, a 1976 registered one in silver, from 1994 to 1998, and how I wish I’d kept it…I had been offered a new job in The Netherlands that came with a company car (I chose a then-new Alfa Romeo 156 2.5V6 with all the bells and whistles – the only Italian car I have ever run and by a huge distance the least reliable – 8 breakdowns in 2 years, the last being a failed power-steering unit, which sealed it’s fate; it went back and I bought a 520i Touring) and couldn’t see the point in keeping a RHD car in a LHD country, with nowhere to keep it. I’d bought it for £7500, spent about that much on keeping it in good nick, especially replacing the rotten sunroof area plus re-upholstering the worn seats, and then sold it for the same amount. When I got my classic car itch again about 3-4 years ago, my first thought was to look for another E9, but they were already heading into prices beyond my then-budget, which is how I ended up with my tiiLux. Of course, after what I’ve spent on that car, I probably could have got a reasonable 2800 or even a 3.0CS…


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