While the BMW 635csi remains on our all-time bucket list, is it worth spending your hard earned cash on this barn find 1987 project?
We’ve all been there. Snapping up a new project that you’ve secretly yearned after for ages, only to find your dream restoration project then appear in the classifieds. It’s very much a petrolhead problem, but it plights us nonetheless. Such is the story with this 1987 BMW E24 635csi.
Purchased recently by a recognised Ford enthusiast to kill time between renovations of the blue oval, the rare BMW was lined up for some TLC – primarily hunted down for the seldom-seen colour combo with contrasting black Recaro interior. Yet, with an arrival of the current vendor’s ‘dream project’, the 1987 E24 635csi automatic must go. Listed at £5700, this rare BMW project has landed on eBay.
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That's a huge chunk of money for a car in need of renovation. Yet is it worth your time, effort and expenditure? The 635csi has been off the road for several years, lurking in a barn since November 2010, and will require hefty dollops of recommissioning to gain legality for the road. However, unlike other ‘barn finds’ of this type, the 3.4-litre engine starts upon the first turn of the key and structure appears to have escaped nature’s tin worm.
While the car reportedly drives under its own power without protest, the brake lines have corroded away almost entirely. We can imagine that the fuel pipes and coolant hoses will also have perished, alongside tyre sidewalls and window/door seals.
The odometer reads 125,000 miles – roughly 5000 miles per year before being placed in storage – and the accompanying service booklet records a number of stamps. While this was no garage queen, it was certainly looked after during its time on Britain’s tarmac.
We should point out that, regardless of previous care, this BMW will require an entire bumper-to-bumper inspection amid a full service. While the engine reportedly runs, it doesn’t sound as though the 635csi has been driven for more than eight years – and this is the worst thing you can do for an engine and its drivetrain. Especially the automatic gearbox.
Oil will be sludgy, coolant will be infected with grime and any surviving petrol will be stale. Finicky and pumped full of flaking electronics, you’ll have five miles of wiring to scrutinise when fighting electrical gremlins, but would the end result be worth it?
With prices on the increase and a sharp spike in values over the last five years, some would view the cult 635 as a necessity; grab one while they remain (relatively) affordable.
Even basket cars now command strong money, with replacement components increasing in cost and specialist garages doubling the inflation rate. Make no bones about it, despite enjoying a cosseted life, this BMW will not make you an easy buck. You’ll need to bring it back to life – and that won’t be cheap.
The less you spend on massaging the 635 and tending to its every whim, the higher the tendency for German-infused financial insanity. Trying to sort this vehicle out on a shoestring will lead to cut corners and the dangerous potential for things to go horribly wrong when out on the public highway.
However, if you’ve got the time, money, and knowledge, then this stalwart of 1980s European styling could just be your ideal new project. Get a closer look here.