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Seeking advice: 1983 633csi

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Seeking advice: 1983 633csi

Post by dirklc » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:09 am

I am new to the forum - have been reading up on 6-series coupes and this forum is a great resource. I am hoping to get some collective advice from the group. I am not sure if I'm posting this topic in the right area (moderator, feel free to move me out if I should be elsewhere :D ).

I guess my main question is: Would you pay $6k for a 1983 633csi (USA spec) with zero maintenance history?

Earlier this summer, I started to keep an eye on ebay/craigslist/BAT/etc for a potential fair weather daily driver. I am considering E24/E28/E30 but the E24 is most the lines of the E24 and feels like I can get the most 'bang for your buck' with a E24 in the current market for 1st/2nd gen BMW's. I have some flex in my budget but would like to keep it below $8k for a sorted driver (could go higher for something exceptional). I came across a 1983 633csi near me on CL; it's the first one I have been able to test drive and check out in-person. Here are my observations...

1983 633csi (USA spec 5 spd) unknown miles (odometer stuck on 79k). VIN search indicates that the odometer claimed at 75k in 2000 but unclear if it was already stuck at that point. No title issues. Hennarot exterior with black interior. Zero maintenance history. Current owner acquired it last year in a trade; he has stored it indoors but not driven it much. Price is $6k firm.

Black leather seats are in pretty good shape. No cracks in seats. Front cushion padding is worn expected for its age. A couple seat seams are coming undone but presentable and suspect it would be easy to refinish the seats. Dash is cracked in multiple places and would need to be covered/refinished/replaced. Area behind rear seats on the rear deck is peeling up but otherwise not cracked. No sign of water in the interior (including glove box, truck). Aftermarket radio but otherwise unmolested interior. I liked the manual seats (vs. powered seats in latter models).

Paint is tired but presentable at a distance. I was surprised that there is only one relatively small rust spot on the passenger rear wheel well (inside the lip of the wheel well, just under 4 inches long and not rusted through or bubbling on the exterior of the panel). Shock towers, spare tire well, door sill/rocker all look solid. I didn't have the car on a lift but I was expecting more visible rust from a car that has lived its life in Maryland + Ohio. I hate rust which is a problem living in the Midwest and having a soft spot for 1970/80's automobiles.

Started and drove relatively well. No alarming smoke or obvious leaks. Temp never above half on the gauge. No idiot lights once it warmed up. I did notice a high idle (1200-1500) when warmed up (vacuum leak?) and the center yellow '!' light flashed a few times when I started it up (I believe it went off when I tapped the accelerator). Some noise shifting into 2nd and 3rd when warmed up and under power (clutch slave? worse?) but went through the gears otherwise without incident. Steering and braking was straight and uneventful. Fun car to drive even with the USA spec low compression 3.2L.

Front passenger up window button requires repeated pushing to get it to work. A/C blows but no cold air. Power mirrors don't work. Sunroof works. Test button lit up all the warning lights which all went off when I let go of the button. Aforementioned broken odometer. Engine bay shows no sign of electrical or other 'shadetree' modifications.

Thoughts? I would need to have a mechanic really go over it but the seller is stuck on $6k which feels a bit steep for a 633 with no maintenance history. Some of the issues I feel comfortable tackling myself (e.g. odometer; window switch) with the help of this forum and other resources but I would want a mechanic to help me understand what I'm getting myself into. $6k feels like a decent deal if any issues are minor but wouldn't feel so great if I'm immediately pouring money into the car to resolve serious issues that I might not have the time/ability to tackle. Any advice would be most appreciated.

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Re: Seeking advice: 1983 633csi

Post by GRNSHRK » Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:52 pm

Well dirklc, it seems odd that the seller is steadfast at $6k, with little proof of the car's mechanicals, life history in fact :-?

You would need to have a very complete PPI performed, including not just a compression test, but leakdown test as well, so that you really know what's going on inside that M30B32 :-k

This is an early series II based on the E28 chassis, so suspension bits are known to become compromised over time, so this should be part of the PPI as well :-"

And you absolutely need to get her on a lift and inspect for, amongst other things, rust :shock:

Bottom line, sounds a bit steep, until you know a LOT more about her condition [-o<

Sure, the ///M cars are really starting to pull some serious coin, Euro models holding their own, but the run of the mill US cars are still lagging behind :(

Oh, and as a board moderator, I am going to move this post to the Saloon, where we can BS till the cows come home #-o

Hopefully, we will be welcoming you to the madness sooner than later :shock:

You already know you're in the right place \:D/

1980 633 CSi
Cypress Green/Pearl Beige
2011 F10 528i
2005 E46 330 Ci ZHP Cabrio

You can never have too many BMW's

Steve M6
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Re: Seeking advice: 1983 633csi

Post by Steve M6 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:26 pm

Price sounds a bit steep for this car since it needs some attention in quite a few areas to get it back to 100% working.

I would hold out for a '85 to '89 635CSi with no major issues. Might need to look out of state for it, but I think you will find that worthwhile.

Happy hunting,

'86 635CSi 5-sp
'88 M6 Canadian
'03 530i 5-sp - ordered new, now gone, victim of someone else's spin-out on I880
'03 530i auto - now my daily driver-
'96 Ford F-150

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Re: Seeking advice: 1983 633csi

Post by dirklc » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:49 pm

Thank-you for your perspective, guys. I'm definitely open to traveling for the right vehicle (roadtrip!). Opportunistically, this one was close and a good chance to get a better look at one in-person. At the right price and PPI, I would probably bite but it just doesn't make sense to me for $6k and unknowns.

I'm in no rush and have plenty of projects in the driveway to occupy my attention :wink:

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Re: Seeking advice: 1983 633csi

Post by BlackBetty » Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:01 am

Just for a reference, I payed $6250 for an '88 with 100k on it, with no rust, in Dayton about 3 years ago. Had extensive maintenance records. Overal condition similar or better than what you described...Came with a bunch of extras..That price was probably on the high side of things at the time, but like you indicated rustfree is hard to come by in this part of the world..I was willing to pay for that....I would keep looking.... there are some deals to be had if you be willing to do a roadtrip to the southwest.... check the Craigslistings for LA, SF SD etc..Carolinas also another place to look......plenty of members out there probably willing to take a look for you....personally I would keep looking for an 88-89..
1988 Black 635 csi, 130 k miles

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