Saturday, October 30, 2010

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 ///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.

Donald Robichaud's BMW 635CSI

In the winter of 2008 I started with a client an older gentleman who was a car enthusiast and in the spring of 2009 we showed up at my office with a 1989 635 M6 that looked like the red one I’d seen many years before.

In a 13 year run these cars were limited production and of the 80 thousand made40 thousand were shipped to North America.

The standard model 635csi were fully loaded and mainly shipped into the US were for the yuppie market for approximately $50K and 60K plus for the M series.

In doing some researched I realized that theE24 635CSI is a much sot after car. The models from Japan are shipped around the world and are a premium due to 40 thousand shipped originally. Remember half of the E24 models which are most wanted by collectors around the world are sitting in North America.

After much looking in the fall of 2009 and the spring of 2010 I was able to procure a 1988 Charcoal Grey 635CSI from Japan with only 114K on the odometer.

The car was purchased in Kelowna by a young man in 2005 and once certified he drove the car only in the summer time. He loved the styling but did not have the capital to take the car to the next level.

I felt that this was a worthwhile investment. I had my garage Dynamic WestSide Auto in Kelowna install a new front end then I took it up on the Coachella and hit 220 kilometres without a problem.

The Japan models have approximately 215 horsepower and will reach 220 kilometres.

This summer I switched out the cloth interior to a leather interior and it now looks great. We also fixed up the exhaust and changed a few belts and hoses which make it run a lot quieter.

The car has been lowered and it performs really well into the corners.

The cars a real head turner and we always get people checking it out. They can’t believe that it is 23years old.

BMW 5 Series 535i

I was able to get in touch with Greg a dealer who was selling cars privately and gave him a call. He had a connection in Japan and was importing BMW’s. These cars are 15 years old or more and are shipped in to BC and then certified for the Canadian Market.

In Japan the cars are certified every two years at a cost of $1500.00. The owner decided not to continue the inspections and put the car up for auction. The cars are container shipped to North America. This car came from a fleet of cars for American executives in Japan.

I was able to buy a 1989 535i in gun metal gray for $6500.00 dollars. This car was a real deal with only 74K on the odometer and a left hand drive to boot. These cars are not driven allot so the seals around the valve covers and transmission needed to be changed.

The car was a dream to drive but was a little soft in the corners. In the summer of 2008 we installed new struts and the car preformed under all driving conditions. Presently the car has 134k and is a very dependable driver.

With a total investment of $10K over three years we are driving BMW and it’s a keeper.

The original automatic is rated at 208 hp. It has been upped by a performance chip to approximately 248. I recently had the car up to 220km with no issues.

It was purchased at a fraction of the cost of new cars. It drives and handles like a dream!!!.

My History with BMW’s

The first time I remember seeing a BMW was with an old friend of mine Drew Bricker. This was back in 1977 and we were both working with DYLEX at one of their retail operations called Tip Top Tailors. They are a large men’s wear retail chain and we both work at Square One in Mississauga.

Drew was the store manager and had a new BMW 2002 and it was a real driving machine. Having been brought up with American cars I was pretty ignorant at the time of other driving pleasures. I hung around allot with Drew and he became a mentor in many ways.

As much as I loved BMW’s the price was always beyond my grasp and I stayed with Honda and an assortment of other cars that I do not care to recall.
In the last six years we moved to Kelowna BC and I was introduced to automobiles from the west that last forever due to the fact that salt is not used. Classic cars and others are in really great shape.

The next time I remember seeing a BMW that made an impression on me was around 1996 when I was waiting for my wife Donna. A red BMW 635csi pulled into Fabricland on Herron Road in Ottawa and I was very impressed with the styling. It had a forward stance and that classic shark like nose. It became a car that I always appreciated when I came upon its path.

I was out at a local car show with my 1969 Mercury Cougar on a rainy night and a conversation began about local dealers brining in cars from Japan. So I started to keep an eye out for BMW’s that I liked and after taking our much high mileage BMW’s and others I decided to hone in on BMW’s from Japan.