1988 BMW 635 CSi HIGHLINE

Adrian is entering his third decade with a last-of-the-line 6-series that benefits from classy Highline treatment.

The main reasons you bought this car? 
My father used to take me to the motor racing when I was a youngster, and these were the cars that dominated the touring car scene in New Zealand and all over the world in the mid-1980s. The sight and sound of them racing through the streets of Wellington at the Nissan Mobil 500 made a lasting impression on me. Jim Richards won the Australian Touring Car Championship in 1985 in a black JPS-sponsored one, which I thought was the ultimate race livery, so one day I had to have a black one. 

Where did you find your 635 CSi? 
This one came up for sale in Wellington and was a Highline model, meaning it was one of the last ones produced in 1988 and 89, so it came with a few extras like full leather (not just on the seats but also the door panels and dash) and fully-electric Recaro seats. It also has more modern bumpers and the last development of the M30 engine. And, of course, it’s black which made the decision to buy an easy one! 

When did you buy it? 
20 years ago, back in 1999. 

How do you rate the overall condition, out of 10? 
Probably an 8.5. 

The design feature you like most? 
The shape, from the shark nose through to the pillarless roofline and the chrome trim which highlights the roofline through to the C-pillar. I think it looks such a well-balanced car. Modern cars now have such a high waistline whereas the 635 has plenty of glass and looks well proportioned. 

How often do you use it? Approx annual mileage?
It was once my daily driver, but it’s seen very little use in recent years since doing it up and having kids. As the kids get older I hope to use it more often.

Your longest trip in this car to date?
I’ve done few trips over the years from Auckland to Levin and back.

Have you made any improvements to it?
I had it stripped right back and repainted, and had the leather refurbished. I’ve added Motorsport suspension with new springs and Bilstein shocks, which have stiffened the car up and lowered it about 35mm, and it now sits on new-style BBS style 5 wheels.

The most complex service or repair job to date?
Apart from the modifications mentioned, nothing out of the ordinary. Before I had it repainted, it was my only car, so general maintenance included the usual things like radiator, exhaust, bushes etc.

Has the car exceeded your expectations in any ways?
After 20 years I still enjoy looking at it, driving and cleaning it, so I guess it has. What has become more apparent over the years is just how solid are the BMWs from this era. It was a time when build quality was the focus rather than it being all about technology, as it often is nowadays.

Have you owned any other special-interest vehicles?
No, this is it. My daily driver is a Golf GTI which is practical and a lot of fun but maybe not yet a special-interest vehicle.

Which car would you most like to test-drive, given the opportunity?
Too many to list. Any front-engined 1960s Ferrari or Lamborghini would be nice to experience.

What was the very first car you drove, and where did you drive it?
I got my licence in my parents’ Alfa Romeo Sprint which I think was the first car I drove. I remember it was a beautiful, crisp-sounding car and recall bunny-hopping across the main street of Levin when I was learning.

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BMW E24 635 CSi HIGHLINE

YEARS PRODUCED 1988-89

MILEAGE approx 115,000 miles

ENGINE 3430cc straight-six

POWER 160kW (215bhp)

TRANSMISSION 4-spd auto

DRIVETRAIN rear-wheel drive

WEIGHT 1460kg

LENGTH 4.80m

0-100km/h 8.0 secs

WHEELS 17-inch BBS alloy

COLOUR Diamond Black

UPHOLSTERY Tan leather

OWNER Adrian, Auckland

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