A few months ago, we’ve started a new series of articles that focuses on cars owned by our readers. We called the series, “The Driveway”, and it has been a successful one so far. We’ve seem some interesting cars so far, yet the one day, might be the icing on the cake. From Brazil comes a 1978 BMW 635CS built on the E24 platform. It’s not only a very rare model worldwide, but it has been also tuned by the folks at Hartge.
Car (Year/Make/Model): 1978 BMW 635CS E24 Hartge
Time of Ownership: 4 years. I live in Brazil and I had a regular silver 635CSI E24 that is already a rare BMW in Brazil since importing cars was not allowed between 1974 and 1989. Then a owner of a mechanic shop offered another E24 whose owner died and the widow wanted to sell. I thanked him and said no, I was very satisfied with my car. Then he insisted me to check out the car and sent me a picture of it. Then I couldn’t believe when I saw the engine: it was a E24 phase I tuned by Hartge with a tri-carb Weber, a unicorn of E24 worldwide.
What Made You Buy It?: I knew that was a lifetime opportunity considering the car specs. It has Bistein shocks, M technik accessories, Getrag gearbox, sunroof. But on other hand I don’t like to buy cars without a clear track record. I tried to gather information about the early tuned Hartge, but found almost anything. I knew the car had a lot to offer, so I decided to face the challenge together with my father, my partner in crime when it comes to the exotic cars.
Things You Like: The snoring is unique. The design is timeless, mainly with the BBS wheels and the color combination: black with cream interior.
Things You’d Change: I’m not into modifications as the car was already a tuned one. I liked absolutely every and each details.
Modifications Done: After I bought the car, I realized the wheels and tires had a metric size, the same from Ferrari Testarossa. The car came with two set of tires but all of them were very old even if little used. The Michelin TRX tires were very hard to find and absolutely expensive so I decided to adapt the wheel to 17″ rims with a former engineer of Embraer. In the end I was not confident with the outcome service and decided to get another set of originals BBS wheels with regular dimensions. Most of the other modifications were related to restoring the car.
Any Adventures?: When I bought the car I decided to directly make a trip to my father’s city where the coupe would be restored. At that time, it was not in a safe condition for a 600km trip and it was quite adventurous to run the car with bad tires and suspensions.
Costs: The effort to revive the coupe was higher then expected. In Brazil is very hard to have a qualified manpower in a decent budget. The car parts are difficult to import and you have to pay high taxes on it. So it was very time and money consuming. But all the stress is offset when I hear the car snoring and I step the Getrag gearbox.
What’s Next (Next car, next adventure, etc.)?: Right now I am doing an MBA in Germany and all the cars are in Brazil. So I don’t have that time to enjoy the toys. Of course we cannot have all the dreams at the same time. To experience new cars we have to sell some of the current.