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Thread: BMW Veteran with some Sharknose buying questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    335i 328i, 535xit, ++

    BMW Veteran with some Sharknose buying questions

    Hello All,

    This is the first time I've posted in this thread, but I've posted quite a bit elsewhere in Bimmerforums. I've had nearly every "E" body BMW model made since my first '74 2002tii back in 1976. I have 6 now (including 2 2002s) and really enjoy working on and restoring them meself. Why am I telling you this? Just to let you know my background. I've had every 5-series model made but I've never owned a 6. Now I find myself considering one.

    I am looking at 2 cars.

    The first is a 1979 European version 635csi with an M90 engine and a dogleg 5-speed. This seems to me to be a pretty rare version of E24, but I don't know for sure. Is this a standard spec for the euro version or have I found something interesting? Was the dogleg 5-speed an option for the euro spec cars or was it swapped in? (This car also has what looks like E21 sport seats instead of the big US spec seats) European bumpers. This car has very little rust but needs a pretty complete refresh.

    The 2nd car is a 1988 US Spec 635csi with a 5-speed. It is in OK shape. Rebuilt motor. Good body. US bumpers, which I don't mind. Aftermarket seats. BBS RS wheels. Also needs a complete refresh. If you walked the back lot at Oktoberfest/PVGP, you might have seen it there.

    I'll look elsewhere in the forum to see what kind of things I need to look out for but would appreciate your thoughts on the advantage/disadvantage to these two vintages.

    Thanks in advance for your insight!

    Thanks,

    Scott
    Current cars: '12 X5, '09 E93 335i convertible, '08 E93 328i convertible, '08 E61 535ix wagon, '75 2002 sedan, '10 Toyota Highlander Limited Hybrid, '67 Alfa Romeo Duetto, '07 Dodge Ram 1500 toy hauler.
    Prior BMWs: '07 E90, '99 E39 (120k), '94 E34 (220k), '93 E34 Touring (320k), '85 E30 (275k), 76 E12 (175k), '74 E10 tii (110k)
    BMW's run forever. The more you learn about how they tick, the more you save!

    I would post an image here but so many 3rd party image links are broken that you probably wouldn't see it anyway.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Pittsburgh, PA
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    My Cars
    '86 635CSi, '91 318i
    You can't go wrong either way! I've had both and they are honestly very similar cars. The E12-based chassis is less refined, simpler, slightly heavier. The E28-based chassis is slightly smoother, a little lighter, better electronics and has far more mechanical & electronic parts shared with other BMWs. The early cars can be quite difficult to restore. Many parts are scarce, especially dashboards, trim, front fenders, Euro bumpers, foglights, etc.. I'm sure you've discovered that they're two more or less totally different cars that happen to look similar, just like the E12 & E28 that they are based on.

    The early model E12-based car is probably a real treat to drive; it'd be my personal choice. The Euro 635 is the fully-loaded spec for the early cars AFAIK. The really didn't have many options for the early cars. It's more or less an E12 M535i under the skin (with a few hundred pounds of extra sound deadening). I'm surprised by the number of Euro E24s floating around, but that M90/dogleg/sport seat combination is pretty near the top of the pile. The M90 has a reputation for revs & power, and the close-ratio dogleg 265 makes it very quick. IIRC early cars had the option for genuine Recaros, Scheel buckets, or buffalo hide BMW seats but not the BMW 'sport seat' version as featured in the E28 535iS. If it's FS in the Pittsburgh/Bethel Park area we know that car pretty well.

    The 2nd car sounds very typical, I do prefer the cleaner looks of the late-model US version. BBS RS are never a bad choice. Spare parts are a LOT more common for the later US cars. Parking lots & traffic are also a lot less dangerous to the US bumpers.

    Was that '88 Polaris over black? I'm only saw two or three E24 at PVGP, but that's the one I recall the best.

    Lots of fun details & trivia on all things E24 over here: http://e-24.ru/eng/
    Freude am fahren (nach der freude an reparaturen)
    1986 635CSi with lots of goodies (dirty M30 running Motronic 1.3 & WBO2, Getrag 265, torsen diff)
    1991 318i also with lots of goodies (COP setup, 3.64 LSD, cruise control, power sunroof, leather sport seats, rear headrests & ski pass, Premium Sound)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Scottsdale, Arizona
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    81 euro 635, 4.4 X5
    +1.Configuration is pretty standard for a Euro 635. Rather than aftermarket or E21 seats, the odds are they are real Recarros, which were a factory option. If you look along the seat base there should be Recarro stickers. The Euro will also have Ljet injection which was on the pre 81 Euro cars with an M90. That changed in 81 with the last year of the M90 and first year of Motronic, that being a rare combination.
    81 Euro undergoing total nut and bolt restoration
    pictures at: flickr.com/photos/bertsphotos

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Boston, Ma
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    86 635,72 E3, 88M6,73 E9
    Some were having difficulty with their BMW dealers declining ordering parts for Euro cars because of some DOT thing, not sure if that is still an issue.
    Rob E3

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Melbourne, Australia
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    M3evo-Twin Screw/M635csi
    I’d mainly favour the later model e24’s (with the updated chassis from the e28 base) as parts are more easily obtained and you can enhance the chassis to perform excellently
    BMWs
    74 2002 2.3ltr
    84 E24 M635csi
    86 E23 735i
    94 E34 540i/6 SC 14psi
    97 E36 M3 euro SC

    OTHERS
    02 Landrover D2 td5, 08 Holden Ute 6.0, 11 Audi S5 APR


  6. #6
    Join Date
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    81 euro 635, 4.4 X5
    I have found mechanical parts very easy to come by for my euro. Mechanically US parts will inter change as long as they are for the same chassis designation. Rob Scheiman is correct in saying the parts that need to bee DOT compliant are pretty much not dealer available. Blunt Tech Industries in Canada has been a big help to the E12 and E28 euro guys as they can bring the parts that are not DOT compliant into Canada, where they are located, and then ship to the States.
    81 Euro undergoing total nut and bolt restoration
    pictures at: flickr.com/photos/bertsphotos

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Rust would be a concern, but you are a long time owner of older BMWs, so that's nothing new for you. The e12 based car will be faster and more nimble in stock form by far. The e28 based car, easier for parts sourcing. I had a 79 635 with that dogleg and it was pretty quick and had long legs as well. Make sure the rear calipers are not frozen, even then a grease gun will get them apart usually

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
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    My Cars
    335i 328i, 535xit, ++
    Well, the early one is gone already and the 88 has a little more rust than I am comfortable with. Thanks for the info. As for parts and handling, I have owned both E12s and E28s and prefer the E28, but can appreciate that the earlier 635csi is the rarer car. As always, these searches are never easy and I'm sure it will take a while to find the right car. I'll keep looking!

    Thanks,

    Scott
    Last edited by hodgess; 08-10-2018 at 09:44 PM.
    Current cars: '12 X5, '09 E93 335i convertible, '08 E93 328i convertible, '08 E61 535ix wagon, '75 2002 sedan, '10 Toyota Highlander Limited Hybrid, '67 Alfa Romeo Duetto, '07 Dodge Ram 1500 toy hauler.
    Prior BMWs: '07 E90, '99 E39 (120k), '94 E34 (220k), '93 E34 Touring (320k), '85 E30 (275k), 76 E12 (175k), '74 E10 tii (110k)
    BMW's run forever. The more you learn about how they tick, the more you save!

    I would post an image here but so many 3rd party image links are broken that you probably wouldn't see it anyway.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
    Posts
    22
    My Cars
    335i 328i, 535xit, ++
    Dave,

    It was red with BBS wheels. Had a sign and a number on it. Car is on PGH Craig's list now. It was at PVGP on the back of German hill in the overflow area (There was an M635csi for sale back there too...)
    Current cars: '12 X5, '09 E93 335i convertible, '08 E93 328i convertible, '08 E61 535ix wagon, '75 2002 sedan, '10 Toyota Highlander Limited Hybrid, '67 Alfa Romeo Duetto, '07 Dodge Ram 1500 toy hauler.
    Prior BMWs: '07 E90, '99 E39 (120k), '94 E34 (220k), '93 E34 Touring (320k), '85 E30 (275k), 76 E12 (175k), '74 E10 tii (110k)
    BMW's run forever. The more you learn about how they tick, the more you save!

    I would post an image here but so many 3rd party image links are broken that you probably wouldn't see it anyway.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    1,154
    My Cars
    '86 635CSi, '91 318i
    Oh yeah, I saw that one on CL. It's been up for a while - hard to tell what these cars look like in person but it presented well. I though it looked good despite the really high mileage.

    Must have missed it at PVGP, but I didn't get a lot of time there this year. Due to various non-automotive reasons (teen boy child was too tired, it was too hot, race cars are too loud, etc.) we called it a day a little too early.
    Freude am fahren (nach der freude an reparaturen)
    1986 635CSi with lots of goodies (dirty M30 running Motronic 1.3 & WBO2, Getrag 265, torsen diff)
    1991 318i also with lots of goodies (COP setup, 3.64 LSD, cruise control, power sunroof, leather sport seats, rear headrests & ski pass, Premium Sound)

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