Col­lecta­bles Re­view - Page 14 - - Contents -

Clas­sic M Cars .... Not many of these left in the world. We drive and pho­to­graph a 1984 BMW M535i back to back with its lat­est sib­ling from Bavaria.

To the un­trained eye this is an old box from way back when Thatcher and Rea­gan were fa­mil­iar house­hold names, snack­wich ma­chines gave you gourmet like sand­wiches and if you were af­flu­ent, you made use of a so­das­tream when your friends came over. A se­lect few that had deep pock­ets and en­joyed a spir­ited drive had the priv­i­lege of own­ing a BMW and the luck­i­est of them had the grand­daddy of the M gen­er­a­tion of sa­loon cars, the BMW M535i.

Step in and turn the key to light up that 3.5 litre straight 6 sin­gle cam mo­tor. The un­trained ear will regis­ter that this is some­thing spe­cial and those petrol heads amongst us will feel a spine tin­gling one gets when there’s mo­tor­ing nir­vana lurk­ing by. Head­line fig­ures are 160kw, 215bhp and a 7 sec­ond 0-100km/h. Not that quick you might say how­ever this is 1984 and if you re­quired some­thing quicker you had to look up ex­ot­ica from Maranello or Stuttgart. The av­er­age fam­ily sedan took a week to get to 100km/h and sounded wheezy get­ting there. The M535i is still warm­ing up at 160. In the early 80’s none of the big names made a su­per sa­loon. This was the first sedan from the ma­gi­cians at M, and is the car that kicked off the range of M cars we are able to savour to­day. This here is the orig­i­nal BMW halo car and this par­tic­u­lar ex­am­ple from the boys at SMG Col­lec­tion Umh­langa is pris­tine beyond be­lief. The paint­work; the gor­geous deep dish wheels to the Re­caro M em­bossed seats.

I have seen cars that are a few months old in far worse con­di­tion. This car was cher­ished by an en­thu­si­ast and con­tin­ues its pam­pered life at SMG. How­ever, I doubt that it will be there for much longer. Some of the most pre­cious gems can be seen and pur­chased from the mul­ti­tude of shop­ping malls around the cor­ner. Try find­ing an M535i in this con­di­tion, and you will strug­gle to do so at well-known auc­tion houses from around the world. Some of the best in­vest­ments to­day are prop­erty, crypto cur­rency and art. Mo­tor­ing art does not come any bet­ter than this. BMW made just 1650 in its life cy­cle and the M535i was only seen in Ger­many and South Africa. The front

spoiler is a dead give­away that this is a pur­pose made track fo­cused ma­chine. Then there’s the Re­caro sit-in-me seats that hug you like a wrestler would. The 3 spoke steer­ing wheel is straight out of the BMW M1. That 70’s 2 door coupe that Lam­borgh­ini and BMW col­lab­o­rated to build be­fore BMW de­cided to do so in-house. Nev­er­mind that the M1 looks a lot like a Lam­borgh­ini from the 70’s. That’s a story for another time.

Speak­ing about be­ing track fo­cused, the stance of this car on its sports sus­pen­sion is men­ac­ing and the gear­box is a close ra­tio dog­leg where the first gear is down and to the left. 2nd and 3rd are in line as well as 4th and 5th. The the­ory be­hind this was on track, one used the 1st gear for the stand­ing start. There­after you would use 2nd and 3rd more often through the cor­ners, so they de­cided that these should be in a straight line which would save you time and re­duce the risk of er­ror. Only M could think this up and I am begin­ning to think that M should stand for Master­class Magic from Mu­nich.

This is a 34-year-old car and the gear shift is slick and pre­cise. There’s no hint that this car packs 160kw and drive­abil­ity is of ease and flu­id­ity. The slightly heavy feel on the steer­ing wheel is pos­si­bly due to those ag­gres­sive look­ing wheels and tyres. The steer­ing feel tends to lighten up while on the move and the ped­als are per­fectly placed with enough room for size 12’s. If you want to be taken se­ri­ously, you have to have the voice. The M535i sounds glo­ri­ous in ev­ery gear through the en­tire rev range from a bur­bly idle to the higher top end. There are only a few fac­tory pro­duc­tion cars that sound so good and this is one of them. Its creamy and smooth that only a 6 cylin­der can de­liver. No need for the pe­riod cas­sette player which many have for­got­ten and many have no clue about. Who needs one when you have those dou­ble pipes singing for you all day?

If you like the way some­thing looks, has a drive that gets the senses go­ing and is a sure fire in­vest­ment, why not? This car has pres­ence that no mod­ern mo­tor ve­hi­cle can muster. Is it the orig­i­nal M stripes, the fat takkies or the spoil­ers front and rear? No, It’s the sum of it all.

Bravo M!

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