Is the BMW Six Series the Best Sports Beater Ever?

The early Uberbird gets the worm

Tempting as it may be, we promise we won’t let the site devolve into a pre-1989 BMW fansite (although…it appears is available), but we need you to bear with us on this one. This was originally going to be a post about a certain pair of 6-ers: one shell with no drivetrain and another with a built motor and wrecked body, but then we came across a cornucopia of e24s with impressive condition for their price.
The thing is, finding piles of sub-$10k or even sub-$5k Sixers in great shape is a remarkably common occurence. So common, that we may declare the Six as the best budget sports car out there. Hit the jump for an examples and explanation.

Straight away, the e24 Sixer‘s mix of styling, handling and power is hard to beat. The parts commonality with the 5-series means there’s no shortage aftermarket, replacement and salvage parts offerings. This is no 68 Nova, but it’s dang close. The M30 six cylinder can easily be modified to over 300hp and is nearly indestructible in stock form. Bosh Motronic fuel injection’s no Holley four barrel, but with a basic understanding of auto electrical systems (and some help from the forums), it’s rather easy to work on.
Follow along as we indoctrinate you into our cult.

Starting at the bottom end, for $1700 you can have not one, but two stick-shift 633csis. One runs, the other’s a no-title “parts car” special that’s currently not running. LeMons gold, right here.

Taking it up a notch, we’ve got this gorgeous burgundy-on-black example, running, with a bunch of recent work done for $2200

Provided you’re willing to travel to Hesperia, you could have this (admittedly “well loved”) example for under $2 grand

“Sure, but Southern California’s full of amazingly cheap rust free older cars,” you say. This is true, but for $2750, you could have this stunning example from far-away Annapolis. Seriously, black paint over a deep red interior? Yes, please. No, it’s not perfect, but based on the seller’s description, we’d wager all the gauge cluster woes could be debugged in an afternoon.

Let’s say you’d like to take it up a notch, and throw a little M in the mix. The M635csi in Colorado has all the sweet M-spec chassis and suspension goodies, but has since lost is S-series engine for a more basic 3.4L M30. If you’re not a stickler for originality, the aftermarket’s full of goodies that’ll bring that “lesser” motor up on par with the 280hp the original motor made. We’re climbing way up, price wise to $4500.
Maybe you’re not interested in screwing around with this low-end stuff and you want to a beast of a touring machine. But remember, this is Hooniverse, so there’s partial assembly required…

In one corner we’ve got a gray-market 1984 Euro M635 chassis, done up with a stripped interior and “95% complete” cage. No motor, no transmission, and the gorgeous black wheels are extra. In the other corner, we’ve got a 1979 Korman-built turbocharged 633CSI that rolled (on its wheels) down a hill into a tree. When built new, this engine ran 340hp on the dyno. The roller’s listed at $1500, while the Korman-built one is a “$1” special. We suspect the “well over $60K in receipts for the build” has the owner thinking absurd sums. The trick is to stay focused on the end result: a 340hp turbo track-ready 6 series. Maybe do it up in classic livery:

Jagermeister e24
We look for any excuse we can get to post this picture

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  1. highmileage_v1 Avatar

    Very appealing. Hmmm, buy one as a sports beater? Maybe. I just sold the Eldosaurus and need a replacement toy. The 630 might do the job because Mrs highmileage does love the Bimmers. I could borrow it for the local track day if I play my cards right. My '82 528 was a hoot just because it was a Q-ship. 4 doors, 280,000 km's and it could still top 220 kph on the 'bahn.

  2. BGW Avatar

    Based on the job she did on Chuck Finley, I'd say Tawny Kitaen might just be the best sports beater.

  3. M44Power Avatar

    I still kick myself for not buying one (a late 635CSi) when I had the chance. These are magical beasts.

  4. ladle666 Avatar

    i want those inner lights(covers…. whatever they are) in a way that i cannot express in words…

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      Sort of a German spin on the classic KC HiLites covers.

    2. joshuman Avatar

      Those are so badass they make the deer afraid. This is good in an age where the pedestrian safety incorporated into modern vehicles also saves the lives of many deer. So much so that they have become overpopulated and complacent.

  5. muthalovin Avatar

    I enjoyed this write-up. The 6 is dirt cheap pretty much all over, and has classic BMW lines. That is until you put a big blue beak on it and a condor-sized wing (also blue).

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      I love the Uberbird as a LeMons theme, but without the body kit, it looks really mean.
      <img src="; width=500>

      1. muthalovin Avatar

        I like it!

  6. damnelantra™[!] Avatar

    get the tree one!
    get the tree one!

  7. Benito Avatar

    Funny you posted this today. I've been mulling over this ( fine example for a few days. I just don't have the cash right now… and it's an auto…

  8. Jo_Schmo Avatar

    I am a sucker for a 6- or 7-series from the early 80's. Found this low mileage gem on KSL the other day for only $2k
    <img src=""&gt;

    1. Jo_Schmo Avatar

      I really have an unhealthy obsession with this car too:
      <img src=""&gt;

  9. Thrashy Avatar

    I've already got a perfectly good sports-beater in the CRX. No, I'd take the 635CSi (or its chassis-mate L6) when it's time to look classy. Nothing says "Legitimate Businessman" quite like a good-looking landshark:
    <img src=""&gt;

    1. blueplate Avatar

      It's posts like this one, and photos like that one, that are slowly pulling me away from thinking the 1988 "E28" M5/5-series was the Greatest BMW of All Time… I'll admit it, it's a tie.

  10. Rockford_Brodie Avatar

    Hesperia is a place? I thought it was a Def Leppard album.

  11. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    Impossible to argue with this choice. Another few years and the prices will probably start climbing.