Featured: The BMW 635 CSI Is A Gentleman’s Coupe

The BMW 635 CSI Is A Gentleman’s Coupe

By Andrew Schneider
August 29, 2013
13 comments

According to Michael Chasteen, of Los Angeles, the 1986 BMW 635 CSI is a “gentleman’s coupe”. The car has fantastic handling, a luxurious feel, and beautiful angles. The E24 maintains an even balance of a modern ’80s feel while still holding to a vintage aesthetic. The steering is tight, making it comfortable at high speeds—this car is truly about power and control.

Michael inherited the car from his father-in-law, who originally became interested in BMWs after living across the street from Max Hoffman, one of the first men who brought BMW to the states. When Michael first picked the car up in Reno, it was in near perfect condition. Michael’s father-in-law kept letters from Max Hoffman, which Michael has continued to keep safe over the years. Since he acquired the car, Michael has driven it from Reno to Los Angeles several times, claiming this drive as his favorite. As much as he enjoys the pretty scenery with its mountains and rivers along the way, above all Michael loves to go fast, and on this drive are a fair share of straight-aways where he can allow the 3.5 liter stretch its legs.           

Michael replaced the stock wheels with the BBS set, because he liked that the BBS wheels offered more options in regards to tires. These wheels also give the car a slightly more aggressive tone. This car has been Michael’s daily driver for about a year now, and in his opinion, it’s a perfect daily driver due to its great visibility.          

Whether a person owns the car or not, there is a certain feeling of class one feels when sitting behind the wheel of this classic BMW, like putting on a suit that’s tailored to one’s exact specifications and measurements. Sitting in the drivers seat, this car feels sturdy and sometimes large but not too heavy. It’s easy to see why Michael enjoys driving this car day in and day out.

Photography by Andrew Schneider

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13 Comments on "The BMW 635 CSI Is A Gentleman’s Coupe"

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DUDE
DUDE

can anyone tell me about the pros/cons of an ’82 635 CSI Euro model.

I bought an west coast car with no rust good solid body with 97k miles seems solid, runs well. Price was $6500, is this the right price.

David Jackson
David Jackson

No question, the bumpers are a killer. Ugly and just wrong. But so are the lattice wheels.
Seriously – someone at BMW said: “Let’s put on these brake dust catching, filthy mess of a wheel, which REQUIRE a knuckle busting cleaning every 3 days…Over time every owner will give up… and the car will sit around on streets looking uglier than an AMC Pacer…”

Everett Wilson
Everett Wilson

Very nice but mine is much nicer. Totally original and near perfect condition.

Jeff Dreibus
Jeff Dreibus
Our 5-speed ’84 633CSi is very quick; I really can’t knock its power . . . or the big bumpers, either. Since it was many years before I saw a Euro version with the thin bumpers, I sort of became used to the big ‘uns. And [b]John[/b], you [i]can[/i] afford one of these beauties if you are patient! My wife and I waited over two years to find a nice, rust-free, low-mileage 5-speed example . . . but then one fell into our laps for less than $2,000! Yes, it needed paint a a little mechanical work, but it was… Read more »
Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson

The E24 is such a beautiful car. However, and I’m sorry to say this, that 5mph impact bumper is absolutely killing the looks. Both the bumper from the slightly less powerful versions and the euro-spec 635is’ is a big improvement. I’m not beating down on this particular car, it is absolutely immaculate and extraordinarily nice, I just feel bad for the Americans that had all the cars from this period uglified because of some government decision.

rem83
rem83

Absolutely correct, which is why I went looking for one of the somewhat improved late model cars. However, the cars with the improved bumpers were only slightly less powerful than the Euro-spec cars – they were quite a bit more powerful than the big bumpered, US-spec cars (208 vs. 182 HP, euro-spec was rated at 218 HP).

Emmanuel von Hartman
Emmanuel von Hartman

I couldn’t agree more. Such a shame US bumper and headlight regulations managed to hurt some masterpieces such as the beautiful early Paul Bracq W114 coupé.

Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson

Yes, the W114 is yet another example of a beautiful car made ugly. Unfortunately there are a lot of them.

Doug Churchill
Doug Churchill

RS – If you want a really fine 535i contact the owner of this one http://bringatrailer.com/2013/05/23/bat-exclusive-alpina-enhanced-1981-bmw-m535i/

RS Anthony
RS Anthony

Unforunately it is an ocean away from me, but thanks anyway! It’s always great to see an old timer that has been babied for decades!

RS Anthony
RS Anthony

What a vehicle! It just oozes character. Presence. Quite effortlessly too. given my preference for 4 to 5 door cars, this article makes me want an E28 535i now. Good job Petrolicious!

John Cochran
John Cochran

I want a classic bmw so bad!

Jim Bair
Jim Bair

As an E24 6 series owner I should recuse myself, in the interest of avoiding bias, from commenting about how great these cars are to own and to look at, how classic the design is, and the copious amounts of pride one feels from caring for these classics.

Oops, said it anyway. 🙂

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