Back in the 1980s, the M division was still in its infancy. One of the first cars to wear the most powerful letter in the world was the BMW M635CSi, otherwise also known as the first BMW M6. That’s because while the European version had a long and tedious name, the U.S. alternative was a lot simpler overall and had small mechanical differences on board.

Overall, they were the same car and the M635CSi is, to this day, a special machine. One of the reasons why is highlighted by the BMW Classic team in the video below. Out of the 90,000 E24 6 Series models ever built, only about 5,855 units were wearing the M635CSi badge. Furthermore, of those, few are still running and cared for as they should be. This used to be the boss in BMW’s range back in the 1980s, the racing version of the M635CSi competing in a number of championships, to great success.

As a matter of fact, the folks at BMW Group Classic also had a race car alongside the street legal version, so that we could observe the differences easier. We’re not referring to the design changes alone, of course. The race car is actually the BMW Original Teile model that won several championships back in the day and wore a special livery. That livery featured all the parts under the sheet metal as if you were looking at an X-ray. Quite stunning in real life!

On the technical side of things, the racing M635CSi came with a much lighter construction, tipping the scales at just over 1,200 kilos, whereas the road-legal model weighed over 1,500 kilos. Under the hood of the latter you could find the M88 engine which, in this case, made up to 286 HP which was already 9 HP more than the original BMW M1 where this mill was initially used.