Guy Allen's BMW 635CSi: Our shed

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Guy Allen's BMW 635CSi Guy Allen's BMW 635CSi Guy Allen's BMW 635CSi
Guy Allen's BMW 635CSi Guy Allen's BMW 635CSi Guy Allen's BMW 635CSi
Guy Allen's BMW 635CSi Guy Allen's BMW 635CSi Guy Allen's BMW 635CSi
Guy Allen's BMW 635CSi Guy Allen's BMW 635CSi Guy Allen's BMW 635CSi
Guy Allen's BMW 635CSi Guy Allen's BMW 635CSi Guy Allen's BMW 635CSi
Guy Allen's BMW 635CSi Not suppliedGuy Allen's BMW 635CSi Guy Allen's BMW 635CSi
Guy Allen's BMW 635CSi Guy Allen's BMW 635CSi Guy Allen's BMW 635CSi

Our online guru is more used to motorcycles but this Bavarian beauty won his heart.

Guy Allen's BMW 635CSi: Our shed
Our cars: Guy Allen's BMW 635CSi

 

BMW 635CSi

Readers of Unique Cars’ sister title Motorcycle Trader will recognise respected two-wheel journo Guy Allen’s byline but here at UC he’s primarily responsible for our website as well as contributing the odd feature. Despite such a long bike background, Allen’s a car bloke too and with good taste. Take his rare 1978 BMW 635CSi.

"The BeeEm is probably the first enthusiast car I’ve bought," Guy confirms as photographer Stuart Grant snaps away at the pretty German coupe. "I wanted a manual car, something a bit different, and this one came up. It’s a really early ’78 model with a Getrag dog-leg gearbox and two-valve 3.5-litre six with early Bosch electronic fuel injection. It’s number 24 and possibly the oldest surviving right-hand drive one in the world."

Of course, rarity doesn’t guarantee a trouble-free purchase but it was too late for Guy, he was already hooked. "I bought it from a bloke in Brisbane who had run out of money to keep fixing it and I now know why," Guy laughs. "I just loved the look of the car. He knew it was rare but it took him ages to sell it - they really haven’t caught on here yet. I bought an RACV membership before drove it home to Melbourne (just in case) but to my considerable surprise it held together and was actually good to travel in. I knew it would handle reasonably well but the suspension was clagged out and it needed a few things done underneath but it was basically okay."

It might have been okay but some remedial expenditure lightened Guy’s wallet considerably as he brought the car up to scratch.

"Whatever you think you’re going to spend, it’s going to be double that," he shrugs. "I’ve done up a few old bikes in the past and I know there’s no such thing as the $1000 job, it’s always going to be more. But that’s old vehicles; they kill your wallet eventually.

"It’s got new Bilsteins and springs, the head had started to fall apart so we ported and polished it, put in new valves and resealed it and did the injection and ignition. It made a huge difference; we picked up 50 horsepower. BMW claimed 218hp (162kW) when it was new and it’s probably got most of that now.

"The body is really good and has almost no rust so I’m really lucky. Apparently rust kills these things because they have a lot of double skins and once they go they’re screwed."

Short-term financial pain has turned into long-term enjoyment for Guy who gets it out rain or shine. "It’s done about 150,000 miles and I drive it about once a week. If I’m going on a long trip it’s the car I take. I love to drive it. It’s comfortable for me, it’s got a great ride, it handles nicely, and I just feel good when I’m in it. You sit down in the thing and think, "Yep," and forget about all the bills you’ve paid."

 

Model 1978 BMW 635XCSi

Purchased 2008

Mileage 150,000

+ It has the rare Getrag dogleg manual 'box

- They are not cheap to restore

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: BMW
Production: 1976–1989, 86,216 built
Predecessor: BMW E9
Successor: BMW E63/E64
Body style(s): 2-door coupe
Layout: FR Layout
Engine(s): 2.8L-3.5L I-6
Transmission(s): Manual, 4 speed, 5 speed, Automatic, 3 speed, 4 speed
Wheelbase: 2,626 mm (103.4 in)
Length: 4,755 mm (187.2 in), 4,923 mm (193.8 in) (US)
Width: 1,725 mm (67.9 in)
Height: 1,365 mm (53.7 in), 1,354 mm (53.3 in) (M6)
Curb weight: 1,450 kg (3,200 lb)–1,520 kg (3,400 lb)
Designer: Paul Bracq

 

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