In the mid 80s, the benchmark car for Touring Car racing was the BMW 635CSI. The M6 road going version is very rare and to find a 100% original one, rarer still. Here is one which could be the classic supercar buy of the year
Some shapes seem timeless and the BMW 6-series coupe is one of them. Even now when one drives past (an unusual occurrence) it warrants more than a second glance. For a body which was first on the streets in 1976 as the 633 CSi and at the time built by Karmann, it is hard to believe that the design really is almost 40 years old.
When BMW decided to go Group A racing, the M88 24 valve twin-cam six from the mid-engined M1 was dropped into the hole up front and the 635 grew horns, 282 hp, a stronger 5-speed Getrag gearbox and a limited slip diff. to handle the extra power and torque. This was 1983 and the M6 was a seriously quick car. Zero to 60 mph took 6.1 seconds and the top speed was 255 km/h (155 mph). Compare this with the Porsche 911, which in 3.2 litre form was only making a “mere” 234 hp and was flat-out at 152 mph.
When Paul Frere, Belgian sports car racer and correspondent to Road and Track tried one of the first of the M6 coupes he was impressed.
“This is much better than any BMW I’ve driven before. It’s fast, civilized and the engine is beautifully smooth. And the car feels quite stable at high speeds.
“It is an excellent high-speed touring car and I very much like the prompt responsiveness of the normally aspirated engine. In addition, the ride characteristics are not at all harsh, while the handling is the best of all the BMWs we had here for this test.”
Historic touring car fans will probably be aware of the stunning black and gold JPS liveried Grp. A BMW 635, the ex- Jim Richards ATCC car which is a regular sight on both sides of the Tasman, often in the hands of Jim himself, or sometimes driven by proud owner, Peter Sturgeon. What most do not know is that in the back of Pete’s garage lurks a completely original 1985 M6. Pete wanted one to go alongside the Group A car but he also was fussy. There are not many out there and even fewer which have not been “improved” in some way by wellmeaning previous owners. Then, four years ago he struck gold! This 1985 M6 was sold new to a doctor in the UK. A Kiwi living in London at the time then bought it and when he moved back to New Zealand, the BMW coupe came with him. It then changed hands again and Pete bought it from the second New Zealand owner after making sure it was the original car he wanted.
It still wears the correct BBS alloy wheels, on a new set of metric Michelin TRX tyres and comes with a spare set of wheels as well. The exhaust is still the proper BMW M-spec item and hasn’t been played with at all. Inside it is exactly as it left the factory, right down to the Blaupunkt radio cassette unit and trip computer, a very expensive item in 1985. The brown buffalo leather seats don’t look to have aged at all and the carpets and hood lining are in equally good condition.
The speedo reads 90,000 miles and Pete has every receipt for every bit of maintenance ever done on the car. In the four years Pete has owed the car, he has barely done 4000km in it and probably the longest run in it was actually done by Alex Mitchell and me when we “stole” it in February of last year and took it down to Teretonga for the classic racing. We both came back absolutely impressed with the car. It drove, handled and sounded like a supercar, yet had the luggage space and ride quality of a sedan. And it certainly turned heads when we drove through the Teretonga pits in it.
While Pete is still smitten with the car, he just has too many now and he doesn’t get the opportunity to drive it often enough to justify owning it, so he has decided to pass it on to someone who will equally enjoy and cherish what is a spectacularly original example of one of the 80s greatest cars. While I should remain unbiased, as Pete mentioned, I have actually done almost as many miles in the car as he has so I am pretty well qualified to talk of the condition of it. Pete is asking in the region of $45 000.00 for the BMW and can be reached on 021 222 6680. If it is 1980s practicality and power you want, here it is.
Photographer Alex and I took this car to the end of the earth last year. We didn’t want to give it back
The dash features the original trip computer and Blaupunkt radio-cassette unit
The buffalo leather interior is in an amazing condition
BMW M-Power and plenty of it! 282 horsepower