Words & Photos by Henry Phull
I’d like to welcome a new addition to Slam Sanctuary, a car I have dreamt about owning for years, ever since my dad had an M635CSi during my childhood. From that moment I was hooked on BMW’s, with the E24 forever stuck in the back of my mind. It’s that classic shark nose that does it for me, a timeless shape. Anyway, I was originally on the hunt for an E34 540i, another personal favourite. Having looked at a couple, the search was proving difficult. Then out of nowhere, a friend mentioned he knew of an E24 coming up for sale. He sent me some bad phone photos and I saw that it was white in colour, pretty rare especially in the UK. I phoned up the seller immediately and arranged to have a look…
I drove up to view the car with hardly any details or specifications, other than it had a few issues. It happened to be a 1990 635csi. Yes, a 1990. They stopped production of these in 1989, so this would probably have been sitting on a forecourt somewhere before it was registered, making it one of the very last E24’s. I gave the car a test drive, inspected it with a friend, and the deal was done. She drove home with no issues whatsoever.
When I picked up the car, it was sitting on a very tired set of original metric wheels with tyres nearing the limit, so I had to change them as soon as possible. I had a set of BMW Throwing Stars in the garage, waiting to go on an E34 I had planned to buy. After a bit of googling, it turns out these bolt straight on to E24’s, so I sent them off to be refurbed. The guys at The Wheel Specialist Bournemouth did a fantastic job on them. I’ve already had mixed opinions on the wheel choice, but they’ll do me for now until I am ready for some deep dish splits.
After a bit of DIY at Coltech Classics, we have the 635 temporarily sitting a little lower than when it left the factory. The ultimate question for the future is, bags or coilovers? A difficult decision for this car!
On the whole, the car is a little rough in places and its going to need a bit of TLC. I’m already in the process of replacing the brakes all round. The tappets are pretty noisy, there’s an oil leak, quite a few bushes need doing, the fuel pump is on the way out, and countless small issues to add to the list… but to be honest it’s not surprising with such an old, expensive car.
Inside is the definition of 80’s luxury, with the full leather interior including the dashboard, door cards and headlining.
The 4 speed automatic gearbox suits the 6 series as a cruiser, but maybe one day I’ll look at a manual swap, which isn’t too difficult on an M30 engined car.
As much as I was looking forward to 540 V8 ownership, It feels great to finally be driving my dream ride. The looks this thing gets literally everywhere is incredible. I think everyone can appreciate a 635csi, even if you hate BMW’s, this shape just oozes ‘cool’. I can’t wait to get it how I want it, and on the floor of course. Keep your eyes peeled for updates in the near future and come and say hello at shows, the 6 will be there!