'79 BMW 635CSI, for You, We Would Jump Through a Thousand, Million Hoops

1979 Alpina BMW 635csi for sale
Come to Papa...

California’s Smog control policies get a mostly undue bad rap. First off, everything ’75 and earlier is a free for all. Post-’75, you have to pass a visual inspection and the sniffer test. It’s also pretty easy to do engine swaps, provided the new engine is from the same model year or later and still maintains its emissions controls. Alas, things get laborious and tricky when it comes to gray-market Euro imports that have never been registered in California.

1979 Alpina BMW 635csi for sale1979 Alpina BMW 635csi for sale
How laborious and tricky? Think teraforming Mars. Whatever, for this orange and black beauty, there’s no DMV line too long or Smog Referee too strict. eBay Motors, with a $5000 starting bid.
Also, we’ve been looking for an excuse to post this photo:

0 Comments

  1. It is so nice to live in a state with a rolling 25 year emissions exemption and that is only for certain metro areas. Even better to have parents that live outside of said metro areas. All you need to get a tag is a signed lease for an address in the county.

  2. Some days, I've expressed my frustration in living in Ontario, with the winter, and road salt, and rust everywhere. This is not one of those occasions. Never mind that cars from the 80's are mostly exempt (I think the cutoff is '87 or '88), we can do whatever we please as far as engine swaps go, and if I'm honest, it's not a hard test to pass. My Ford Escort barely failed the first try, and it turns out it didn't have a catalytic converter.
    And that is indeed pretty. I don't think I'll feel quite the same level of affection for a late-model 6 series in 30 years. I already feel the same way about the 8 series though.

    1. Don't y'all have a rolling 15-year safety and emissions exemption for gray market vehicles too? As if that stuff you mentioned wasn't already making this California boy fume with jealousy.

      1. Do we ever! There are a few dealers spread across the country (especially in Vancouver, I believe) who specialize in importing Japanese cars. I've got an ongoing list of cars I'd love to bring in (more European, but I'd love a Honda Beat or a few other Kei cars), and for a while, thought it'd be an awesome idea to use a school-organized trip to France as an opportunity to find myself a Renault Alpine GTA to bring over as my first car (I was 16 and overlooking how if I didn't kill myself with snap oversteer, I'd go broke trying to get parts).

    1. Remove the cat and replace with straight pipe? Apparently check as well, as I discovered while crawling underneath my latest acquisition last night.

  3. A colleague from AZ made me jealous when he told me about their requirements: No idiot light on? You pass! You should see what he did to his Mazdaspeed 3 … there's torque steer and then there's his car (+450hp).

    1. They do have some kind of emissions in Phoenix and Tucson, I think, but here in Marlboro Country there's nothing. You can drive damn near anything you want, and do just about anything to it. Hell, a buddy of mine got a Deuce-and-a-Half registered as a Jeep one ton truck.

      1. yes there are emissions tests in Phoenix and Tucson, but they don’t open the hood or look under the car for OBDII vehicles. I have a lightly modded (+60whp) Mazdaspeed MX-5 and they just plugged in, saw that there were no stored codes, and I passed. It was only after I had that paper in my hand that I would disclose what I had done to the car, as the tech was pestering me with “That definitely doesn’t sound stock”.
        I can’t complain much about the emissions testing, it’s pretty easy.

  4. Ooooh…so pretty.
    California's smog laws are ridiculously retarded. If you want to know why California is so screwed up, just look at the smog laws. First, they are set by CARB, which doesn't have to answer to the electorate. Second, they make no sense for what they are purported to accomplish. If your concern is controlling pollution, then just check the pollutants at the tail pipe. Instead, they are draconian in what you can and can't do to your engine. Really, that shouldn't matter. As long as whatever mods you make pass the emissions targets for the year the car was made you should be able to do whatever. But, no, the all-knowing CARB gods know better than you and will choke the life out of every hotrodder if it's the last thing they do. Add on to it a non-rolling exemption time period, and all sorts of other idiotic regs and you have a recipe for disaster.
    Now, take the same ass backwards philosophies of the smog check process and apply them across the state government and you can see why the state has problems.
    Every time I think it might be nice to move back I remember this and my blood boils. Michigan has problems, sure, but none so bad as those in California.

    1. "Michigan has problems, sure, but none so bad as those in California."
      Ummmm: no.
      As someone who lives where the air was once unbreathable but is now just fine, I tolerate CARB as a necessary evil. I'm with you on either restoring the rolling exemption or going to a pass-the-sniffer-only test, particularly on older cars. It'd do wonders for the economy, but still maintain air quality.
      A big problem with the CA legislature is that all the cool/smart people work at any of the many companies that make our economy the 7th largest in the world (at last check). There's simply too many better opportunities here if you've got your shit together. Net result: the only people running for office are those too ideological or nutty to go get a real job.

      1. I'm not completely anti-CARB. I grew up in Riverside and Ontario and remember regular smog days where we couldn't go out and play at recess. However, the smog rules in place are overbearing and do little to fix the problem. Instead they line the pockets of smog check stations and make enviro-nazis happy. Implement a 25 year rolling exemption (few cars older than 25 are on the road and account for only a small percentage of the total tailpipe pollutants) and a sniff test. They can do this because they can't be voted out of office for putting in place idiotic regs.

    2. Yeah.. god forbid you break the seal on your air flow meter to tune your car up so it pollutes less. Allowing that would just be a slippery slope.

  5. We used to see these non-federalized non-Calif. cars from time to time, and it always broke your heart. The owners always had fallen in love with the car(s) over in Yurp and decided to import it and convert it USA specs because the cars were so much cheaper over there and performed so much better. Alas for them, because it's no small matter to bring a gray up to federal, and then Calif. specs, especially as the years progressed and US safety laws got tighter and tighter. I always wondered what happened to all of the grays that the Feds seized and impounded. Probably crushed.
    Those are mighty pretty BMWs though.

    1. Ooh, Sprechen sie Freebase, Baby?
      (I made comment here some time ago about '80s Eurotuners being my automotive "guilty pleasure." This is EXACTLY what I mean.)

  6. That is achingly pretty. I guess my gray market fantasy would be a W126 280SE with cloth seats, crank windows and four-on-the-floor.

  7. We used to see these non-federalized non-Calif. cars from time to time, and it always broke your heart. The owners always had fallen in love with the car(s) over in Yurp and decided to import it and convert it USA specs because the cars were so much cheaper over there and performed so much better. Alas for them, because it's no small matter to bring a gray up to federal, and then Calif. specs, especially as the years progressed and US safety laws got tighter and tighter. I always wondered what happened to all of the grays that the Feds seized and impounded. Probably crushed.
    Those are mighty pretty BMWs though.

  8. When the 1 series came out, I didn’t desire it. Maybe if it appeared to be closer to what the 2002 was and was (much) lighter, cheaper, and had a very superb I4 (turboed or not, I don’t care) then I would enjoy it greater, but whatever. What bothered me a lot more was the predictable M unit that ought to realistically be labeled the M1. I couldn’t help but feel that it just would not be suitable to compare the 2 M1s. Nevertheless, since the 1 series came out in the US, the M division has created 2 SUVs that don’t even come with a manual. The Porsche Cayenne has one, was it that hard? Anyways, times are changing so go on and call it an M1. Greater to create a good, or possibly marvelous, auto than to not build it at all just simply because a mess of fanboys could get damaged.

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