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Opinions on BMW 635 CSi (Classic Shape)

Hi all,

I have always fancied the old bmw 6 series. Never really had the opportunity to get one but I now feel like treating myself to one.
I have around £1500 to spend.
Is that enough.
Is this a good car to buy?
How reliable are they for day to day use?
What would genral running costs be like?

Any opinions appreciated.


Armitage Shanks {p}    on 1 August 2006

£1500 won't buy you anything worthwhile IMHO. There is a 23 year old one on e bay at £2000 which hasn't had any bids and at £2000 hasn't met its reserve. There is another with 200K miles on it, described as a rolling restoration, at £650, Plenty of rust and faults like the oil pressure warning light doesn't work! Really useful! I think a worthwhile one, that isn't going cost loads to get running or keep running, might easily be up to £5K.

bell boy    on 1 August 2006

as Armitage Shanks says at £1500 you will only buy a shed,dont do it..........

nick    on 1 August 2006

As I think Aprilia once advised me when I was considering something similar, with a old car that was expensive new, the purchase price is merely the down payment.

Armitage Shanks {p}    on 1 August 2006

This looks like a good one but check the price!

Make: BMW

Model: 635csi

Year: 1989

Mileage: 109,000

Colour: Royal Blue / Grey Leather trim

Engine: 3430cc Straight 6

BHP: 220 bhp

Performance: 135 mph 0-60mph - 8.4 secs

Automatic Transmission with Sport gearbox. Air Con. Very recent TRX tyres. Grey Leather everything interior! Cat 1 immobiliser. BMW service Sept 2002.

History: Full service History

Price: £7,450 (GBP)

For more details:

madf    on 1 August 2006

An MD I worked for had one as a company car in early 1980s. I drove it a few times. I can recall a very smooth engine, comfortable but acceleration disppointing. He replaced with a XJS - which says it all I suspect.

I lloked 10 years ago at buying one. Terminal rust was the problem.

Have you the odd £3k to keep it running if rough? By £3k I mean every year as you weld it/ rebuild everything , stop the leaks etc?

Buy the best you can afford is my advice and if that is only £1500 you can't afford to run it. Period.

Sorry to be so negative.

mike hannon    on 1 August 2006

The gloomy forecasts of future hits to the wallet are probably true but I have to say, it's the most exciting car I have ever driven (and I once took a Countach round the block at 25mph!), not to mention one of the best looking.
The dealer had a 635 in and thought it might appeal to me so he threw me the keys (they were the days).
After about five miles to get used to it I started trying deliberately to hang the tail out! I've never again been in such a driver's car.
I didn't buy it though. (These are the words that will appear on my tombstone, if they don't have room for 'they don't make 'em like that any more').

Roger Jones    on 1 August 2006

Speaking as someone who has bought two old MBs in the past year or so, the advice above is good. A cheap old BMW (or MB, or whatever) will be a money pit. One of the good 'uns may cost four times as much and will still make demands on your wallet. Many older cars are put up for sale when the owner knows something is likely to require expensive repair; many owners simply don't know that anything is wrong, because they skimp on servicing and don't look closely enough themselves.

So, do find the best one you can and do get an independent specialist expert to check it out before you part with your money. That may cost you £200 but save you £2000. No matter how good it looks, it will almost certainly need things fixing.

A friend of mine had a 635 CSi and had serious rust problems around the front end, and later the back window gave out somehow or other. He didn't help the car by using it only for short trips to the railway station. In the end he was glad to see the back of it. All that said, I have always thought they were attractive cars and I might well have been tempted in the past (too wedded to MBs now).

DP    on 1 August 2006

The MD of my old company had an M 635CSi from this era that he'd owned from new. It was serviced by the same BMW dealer that supplied it new religiously as soon as the indicator came up, yet it was constantly going wrong towards the end. And this was a cherished car. It's hard to imagine many people being so diligent maintenance wise on such an old car. Even he admitted it made no sense, but he was sentimentally attached to it. He estimates the final year cost him about £2,500 in servicing, repairs and upkeep.

None of this made sense to any of us until it got literally run over by an artic when parked outside the office. The guy actually broke down and cried. I guess that's how you have to feel about this kind of car to stomach the bills.

Altea Ego    on 1 August 2006

An M 635CSi ? run over by a truck? I can feel the tears welling up in my eyes myself.
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >

Nsar    on 1 August 2006

Fond memories of being on a stag weekend in Reeth in the Dales with a mate who had one and was also an amateur rally driver and due to hold-ups on the A1 it was touch and go if we'd get there for last orders on the first night. Memory is fuzzy but I think we had to achieve a mile a minute along 20 miles of twisty A roads to be sure. We were on our 2nd pint by the time the bell rang - but happily it turned out to be an academic excericse.

John24    on 2 August 2006

One of the biggest problems with these is the tendency of the front wings to rot through above the bumper line - built-in rust trap. Second hand wings are like hen's teeth because of this and when I last checked the factory had 11 new wings in stock and none in the pipeline. (several years ago) Then, they cost £800 each plus VAT plus painting plus fitting. Think long and hard.

jonno    on 2 August 2006

This is worth a read if you haven't already:

Collos25    on 2 August 2006

The 635 alpina in Germany was called the widow maker and for good reason

No FM2R    on 2 August 2006

What's "widow maker" in German then ?

Armitage Shanks {p}    on 2 August 2006

Roughly it is

Witwe Hersteller

Collos25    on 2 August 2006

Witwe macher

Armitage Shanks {p}    on 2 August 2006

Hey, thats better AB! I used an on line dictionary and the time I spent in Germany made me think that Hersteller wasn't right! Thanks for the correction!

SjB {P}    on 2 August 2006

I well remember my uncle's 635CSI that he owned from new for a few years in the late seventies.
What a lovely looking car with a wonderful engine.
I also remember as a then teenager egging my aunt on to max it out on the M5 motorway one day; she bottled at an indicated 120MPH but it still sounded lovely!
Happy days.

Given garage space, the spare wonga, and one in mint condition I would still give it garage space today.
One of my all time favourite Beemers.

bell boy    on 2 August 2006

the only machine known as a "widow maker" was a..........
kawasaki KH750 H 1
a 3 cylinder 2 stroke with wrist snapping on off power circa 1973.......

says the pensioner behind my left shoulder.........discuss..

No FM2R    on 2 August 2006


The H1 was 500cc.Had one. Almost died.

Altea Ego    on 2 August 2006

I thought *the* widow maker was the Shelby Cobra.
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >

DP    on 2 August 2006

I always associate the term widow maker with this.

Built purely for air racing. Chronically overpowered, chronically unstable, 800 horsepower and 252 mph. In 1932!! Didn't exactly have a flawless safety record as you might imagine.

What an absolute animal though.

Sorry for the OT, but the Gee Bee is pretty special.


SjB {P}    on 2 August 2006

For me the term is associated with the BAC Lightning (aka The Frightening) and Lockheed CF-104 Starfighter.

JH    on 2 August 2006

agree, the Starfighter. Killed several hundred I believe (yes hundred) pilots in Germany. I've never heard of the Lightning being referred to like that.

Altea Ego    on 2 August 2006

Bout 110
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >

bell boy    on 2 August 2006

that photos mint ............and ive never seen that plane before...didnt get the OT bit though

No FM2R    on 2 August 2006

>>The 635 alpina in Germany was called the widow maker

I think you made that up.

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