Are we tired of seeing these big two-door BMWs yet? This is the ninth post on this model, so perhaps we’re hitting CC bedrock here, contents-wise. Fortunately, this one is a bit special, being an Alpina version. Will that be enough to keep the reader interested? Or the writer, for that matter?
As far as the writer is concerned, shorter would be better. There aren’t that many ways to skin this kind of cat, and I’ve already had a bash at it last year. So let us be brief and to the point. Ahem.
The BMW E24 was designed by Paul Bracq and launched in 1976 as the 630 CS and 633CSi. This was back when BMW’s alphanumerics actually had meaning to them, so when the 628CSi and the 635CSi joined the range in 1978-79, folks understood that these were the 2.8 litre and 3.5 litre variants, respectively, of the 6-Series coupé.
The 635CSi was the main export model – certainly for places like North America and Japan. But for folks who still thought that was too “normal,” there were a couple of options available.
One was the M, which arrived in the range in 1984 and provided a 3.5 litre 286hp DOHC straight-6 that was actually different from the 3.5 litre SOHC 6-cyl. found in standard E24s. But starting in early 1982, Alpina put their B9 engine in the E28 saloon and the E24 coupé.
The B9 was based on the M30 straight-6 that powered the standard-issue 635CSi, but thanks to Alpina’s wizardry, the power went up to 245hp. They also tweaked the suspension, added a rear spoiler and larger front air dam, as well as a special set of alloy wheels to complete the look.
Most Alpinas also received the well-known external decoration package still used on their current productions, but this one seems to be missing them – perhaps a delete option, or perhaps it was re-sprayed at some point in its life.
Either way, the presence of an automatic gearbox does raise additional questions, such as “Why” and “But seriously, why?” – adding all that cavalry at the front only to have it pass through a lot of slush doesn’t seem like a very competent combination. So perhaps this is a regular 635CSi posing as an Alpina?
Who knows. This is Tokyo, so anything is possible – literally. Someone could have ordered this car as is for delivery here 40 years ago. Or it’s a normal 635CSi that’s had a few Alpina bits added along the way. If it is a genuine B9, it’s a rare bird: they made 75 of these until the end of 1985, when the B10 took over.
These are beautiful and impressive machines, but the Alpina pedigree makes this one a bit more special, if that’s your thing. Personally, the fewer add-ons the better, so I’d rather get an early model E24, without all those bits tacked on and make do with a more modest 200hp motor. Less is more – except perhaps when it comes to CC posts about these BMWs.
Curbside Classic: 1989 BMW 635 CSi – Hand-Me-Downs, by Joseph Dennis
COAL: 1983 BMW 633csi, Beginner’s Luck, by Matt Spencer