This 1980s Group A BMW 635 FIA Comes Ready To Race
Dominating most Group A podiums in the Finnish Touring Car Championship throughout the 1980s, this 1983 BMW 635 FIA is now looking to race once more …
You won’t require a specification sheet to acknowledge that this BMW 635 is one serious bit of kit. Castrol and Blaupunkt sponsor stickers, and a large racing number mated to the bright diagonal striping, confirm this BMW has pure racing pedigree at its core.
Originally delivered to Sweden in 1983 as a 630 Csi saloon, this BMW was quickly snapped up by Swedish racing driver Tuisku Urpiala. Like many keen drivers, Tuisku would likely have appreciated the handsome lines, square flanks and shark nose that formed the look of the first BMW 6-series. Black B-pillars sneakily gave the appearance of continuous side windows, a feature so subtle that many fail to notice until it is pointed out.
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Even in standard road-going form, the initial embodiment of the 6-series was a car that looked stylish, purposeful and brooding. Combined with robust high-performance straight-six engines and a limited slip differential, the 6-series was said to be beautifully balanced – even if the steering was a little heavier than most of its rivals. It’s no wonder that so many were eyed up by racing drivers.
Early in this BMW’s life, it found itself on route to Schnitzer – BMW’s works team – where it benefitted from an upgrade to a 3.5-litre engine. If someone was going to race-prep a BMW well, it had to be Schnitzer, who had extensively prepared a variety of models from the German manufacturer since the late 1960s.
In addition to engines, Schnitzer could also tune chassis, gearbox and suspension in line with Group A specification. BMW Motorsport front and rear axles were fitted as well as a 5-speed Getrag 265/3 gearbox. This 635’s capabilities would be tweaked beyond 300bhp courtesy of an engine rebuild from performance specialists Alpina; making an already competent motor truly stunning.
Group A racing was popular as it allowed motorsport fans to enjoy high-pace, competitive racing in vehicle models that they could picture themselves owning beyond the edges of the race circuit. As a spectator, you could watch the race over the weekend and buy the road-going version of your favourite competitor’s car the following Monday.
During the mid-1980s, this 635 race car probably sent a good number of new customers in the direction of BMW dealerships. Racing extensively between 1983 and 1988, mostly in the hands of Tuisku Urpiala, it was a regular on the Group A podiums in the 2000cc + category. In 1986, Tuisku claimed 3rd position in the championship.
As the E30 M3 became the model of choice, this 635 retreated from circuit racing. Sold to a new owner in 1988, the 635 rested up for over two decades, apart from a track day in 2004 – the same year that welcomed in the second generation of the 6-series.
Now selling for £205,000 ($268,000), this 635 comes fully rebuilt and race ready with an FIA approved roll cage, new air jacks, Avon slick tyres, a new foam filled fuel cell, a Bosch 044 fuel pump with new fuel lines, new Tilton clutch and flywheel as well as new safety equipment all round. Find out more and see period race results here.
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