Sunday, April 7, 2013

5k: Shark Bait: 1986 BMW 635CSi 5-spd

The BMW E24 6-series is one of those 'in-betweener' 80s classics; it isn't quite a collectable classic, but un-restored examples are starting to show their age.  We think the sporty versions of the E24 in manual transmission form are destined to be future collectibles, but they are cheap and easy to find for pocket change today.  Find this 1986 BMW 635CSi 5-spd for sale in Summit, NJ for the bargain price of $3,500 via ebay.  Thanks to tip from the original DT tipster (OG DTT), Scot.

If you have any affinity at all for traditional BMW styling, it is hard not to like the long hood, tall greenhouse and pointy nose aesthetic of the E24 "shark." The US Federal Gov't mandated giant diving board bumpers do detract from the purity of this coupe's lines, but slimmer Euro bumpers are an option if you want to shorten your car by about f├╝nfundzwanzig Zentimetern (one foot to us 'murricans) overall.

This nice black-on-black example of the 635CSi looks to have been reasonably well kept, and is powered by a 3.5 liter inline six that puts 215 horsepower into a 5 speed manual transmission. Expect extremely well balanced handling, lively communicative steering, and that signature straight-six wail.

DT's recommendation for this morning is to pick up a 635CSi while values are still low and before they become the "next 911" and start bringing megabucks at the big auctions. These cars were made when providing maximum driving enjoyment still mattered to BMW. As a bonus, this one looks like a great daily driver. 

See a better manual trans sports coupe? send us an email:


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. So tempting. Anybody have any experience with these? Do they require small fortunes to maintain?

    1. I've owned two, one was very high mileage but purchased from the original owner, 230k, and the other had 70k but came from Detroit and was kind of a heap. Both were dirt cheap to own. I honestly dont think I ever spent more than $100 to fix anything. I took the first car up to around 300k and never had any real problems. The trick is finding the right car.

  3. ~ @ Rod,
    . as a California car the tin worm may not be as much of a worry as you otherwise hear. the damage to the snout, hood & grille doesn't actually look especially serious, but both mechanical and rust need a thorough personal inspection and assessment by an experienced BMW E24 expert. i think they drive wonderfully. it is a grand tourer rather than a sports car, very comfortable, still agile. and gorgeous! just gorgeous. lots of on-line support, too. if it's as nice as the listing says it is $3500 leaves some room for maintenance and repair.

  4. I have always loved the sharks. One day I'd like to have one and this one looks like a great deal. I'd be interested if I didn't just pick up a 1970 2800 Euro Spec to give me my 70s chrome fix. Yes I am going to use it as a daily driver. I also can't wait to pick up a sweet BMW hat, jacket, shoes, key-chain. Socks (do they make BMW socks? I don't want to be laughed at by other BMW-philes if I don't have them).

    (so if anyone wants my Honda Element...psst:

  5. This would make a nice driver - beat up enough that you don't mind running it in the Northeast, but nice enough to enjoy the driving experience. If the price stays low (unlikely), it might be worth it.


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