As far as I was concerned, Bruce Willis could never top David Addison. When I was 16, I had no idea that thinning hair and patterned sweaters could be so cool. I tried to emulate him, but it became obvious that such a look only suited those 25 years older than me, and what self-respecting teenage girl would look twice at a boy in a wool neck sweater?
However, David and his employer Maddie Hayes’ champagne-colored CSI Series 6 would have suited me just fine. God, how I loved that car, even though it was brown. From that moment on, my love affair with the 6 Series began. I lusted after CSI, and as a teenager it was the first car I mourned when the series ended. I remember feeling guilty for even considering looking at another car.
A few years later at a London motor show, I managed to sneak into the driver’s seat of an M6 and was convinced that I did indeed have a six, but a modest 628. I needed something more nimble for my imaginary trans-European trips. I still joke to this day that I succeeded. But really, the stains and poor dress style sense must have been writ large and the seller took pity on me.
The last E24 635s rolled off the assembly line in Bavaria in 1989.
Thus, these cars are at least 34 years old. Obviously, my favorite is the M6. They are by far the most expensive and all came with a manual transmission, which is fine with me.
Its power seems paltry compared to cars offered today. In the M series, the power was 286 hp (210 kW). If you find an American version with a catalytic converter, which was introduced in 1987, the power is even less. The 635’s power output was only 215 hp (160 kW), less than a modern hot hatch these days. However, the smoothness, handling and sheer driving theater of this, undoubtedly the most beautiful Bimmer ever made, is well worth it. They were designed to be a Grand Tourer, so they eat miles for breakfast and spit their driver out after hours behind the wheel with unnoticeable back and leg pain.
Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to find M6s in Australia.
Most of them made their way to the States, so it might be worth looking there. However, a few years ago you could find the odd M635CSI for around $38k. Today, however, that price has gone up considerably, with just one car selling on Car Sales for $98k!
CSIs are much larger, and range from $50k to $30k with mileage up to 165k. As always, it’s best to spend as much as you can afford, as being cheap can be a two-way stick.
And the costs?
You probably guessed it coming: maintenance on these cars can be expensive unless you’re handy with a wrench. Remember that prevention is always better than cure, so finding a good local professional will pay dividends.
From what I understand, if you change the oil every 8-10k miles, you can expect the engine to last a long time.
The automatic transmission is probably the weakest link and often gives out after about 160,000km. So keep this in mind if the car you’re considering has more than 130,000 miles, and include the potential cost of a new transmission in your negotiations.
The transmission is sturdy, but the universal joints probably need checking. Regular maintenance, especially on an M6, is very important, paying particular attention to valves and timing components.
Rust can affect the seams on the sides of the engine bay, check the shock absorber struts for corrosion. If the car was imported from the UK, the situation will be much worse.
Make sure all the electrics work, such as the windows, seats, dashboard lights etc.
Having said all that, I still want a car like this and after writing this article, reasons and ways to loot my overdraft, forget about having too many people in my family and swap my Skoda for something more Teutonic are brewing in my head. Although Skoda is technically German these days, isn’t it.