We just saw Harry Metcalf testing out a near perfect-condition BMW M635CSi. It was a stunning car that really proved to be the spiritual precursor to cars like the BMW M8. However, in this new video, we get to see a BMW M635CSi that’s in far worse shape.
Mat Armstrong, who you may have recently seen speaking with Richard Hammond, recently bought a BMW 635CSi for very, very cheap. You’ll understand why he was able to get it for so cheap the moment you see it. For starters, it hadn’t run for about 17 years, prior to Armstrong buying it. Which makes me feel old because I remember 2005 and it doesn’t feel lie 17 years ago. Sheesh.
When Armstrong starts digging into it, you begin to understand why it hadn’t run for so long. It was a mess. The disconnected and dry-rotted coolant hoses were the least of its problems. It had wiring issues galore, missing relays, and a bad ECU. The latter of which was the reason the car wouldn’t start, as it wouldn’t allow spark to the distributor. Although, of course, Armstrong didn’t think to check that until he replaced many other things. Typically, ECUs don’t just go bad, unless they get water or wiring damage, of which there seemed to be neither. However, as Armstrong points out, there was a red kill-switch on the battery, with a thick lead running to it, which may have confused someone trying to jump start the car and they jump started it improperly, frying the ECU. That’s one theory, at least.
After replacing the ECU, the old 6er actually started. Its power steering fluid was basically empty, and what was there was basically Jell-O, so it needed some of fresh stuff. But after that, it actually ran and sounded pretty good, all things considered.
Armstrong has interesting taste in his project cars, taste that isn’t always shared by the BMW community. He likes his cars vibrant, flashy, and heavily modified. However, you can’t fault his enthusiasm for working on and reviving old beaters. Without him, that old M635CSi would have been scrapped and crushed at some point. Because of him, it’s going to live again and that’s a very good thing.