Is the E24 BMW M6 one of the last affordable early M cars?

Colin
By Colin Wood
Jul 6, 2021 | BMW, M6, Buyer's Guide, E24

Photograph Courtesy BMW

Sure, an E24 M6 in No. 1 condition will set you back more than $100,000, but Hagerty also says that ones in No. 4 condition can be had for less than $20,000–that’s less than the price of a new Toyota GR 86.

Sound like a decent deal? Check out our M6 buyer’s guide over on Classic Motorsports now so you can enter the market prepared.

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Comments
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350z247
350z247 Reader
7/5/21 9:59 a.m.

I mean I've seen several excellent driver E28 M5s for sale for less than $30K, but I'd take one of these as well.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/5/21 11:15 a.m.

The old 6 series is just so graceful looking. I have a weak spot for them. 

adam525i
adam525i GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/5/21 9:32 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

The old 6 series is just so graceful looking. I have a weak spot for them. 

Provided it's a euro car (with the factory front spoiler and pin stripes like pictured or Alpina treatment). The NA bumpers and later world bumpers make these cars look fat. I don't mind the NA treatment on the E28 but it doesn't work at all on the E24 for me.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/5/21 11:08 p.m.

Bumpers can be fixed.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
7/6/21 5:37 a.m.
350z247 said:

I mean I've seen several excellent driver E28 M5s for sale for less than $30K, but I'd take one of these as well.

That's interesting - the price has gone through the stratosphere for most M5s that I've seen in recent years.  The M6 has typically lagged behind in value; I'm an e28 guy, but I can't figure out why that is.

350z247
350z247 Reader
7/6/21 7:13 a.m.

In reply to stuart in mn :

I'd guess it's a combination of two things: the M5 being the car that really set up the entire concept of an "M Car", and the 635CSi not actually being called an M6 initially.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/6/21 9:02 a.m.

In reply to 350z247 :

635CSi != M6

 

350z247
350z247 Reader
7/6/21 9:35 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I'm aware of this, but it's just not as well known as the E28 M5 is. I think had they called it an M6 the entire time, they would be worth more with a stronger reputation.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/6/21 9:39 a.m.

But the M6 is not the same as a 635CSi. It's like the difference between an E39 M5 and a 540i. Same body shell, different drivetrain and underpinnings. They could have called it an M6 from the start, but then what would they call the actual M6? The M6 Super? BMW might do that today but not back in the day.

350z247
350z247 Reader
7/6/21 9:47 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

As in, had they introduced the M6 sooner and not messed around with the 635CSi for so long. The 635CSi is much more well known than the 80s M6. You never hear the M6 mentioned in conversations with the E30 M3 and E28 M5.

Also, they definitely did do that "back in the day". The E28 M535i was introduced before the M5; yet, everyone lost their mind when M235i was introduced in 2014.

Slippery
Slippery GRM+ Memberand UberDork
7/6/21 9:55 a.m.
350z247 said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I'm aware of this, but it's just not as well known as the E28 M5 is. I think had they called it an M6 the entire time, they would be worth more with a stronger reputation.

The M5 also came a few years after the e28 was introduced. 

I believe the reason the M6 is less popular is because, one, it was strictly a four seater and the rear was small, two, the price was extremely high back in 80s. 

The M5 stickered for around $45-47k when new while the M6 was around $57k. 

wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
7/6/21 10:52 a.m.

I like sports cars (or sometimes GT cars) in preference to sports sedans. Unfortunately, BMW only made five sports cars that I can recall, the 507, M1, Z3 and Z4, and the i8.

As for M cars, that badge has been devalued since the Z4M as it has been applied M 'versions' of cars that were not designed from the ground up as performance cars.  There are even "M Performance" cars now with diesels.

In a way, the deterioration of the M started with the    E24. In Europe, it was simply called the 635CSi but when they shipped them to North America they got a lower output engine and had an M tacked on to make up for it.

Not a bad car - I've always liked the styling, but not a real M car, perhaps as the usual M treatment included not only a more powerful engine but usually handling, steering, transmission etc. improvements as well.

350z247
350z247 Reader
7/6/21 10:55 a.m.

In reply to wspohn :

Don't forget the (unobtainable) Z8. S62 in a gorgeous 507 retro design...perfect.

LanEvo
LanEvo Dork
7/6/21 11:46 a.m.

Sure, you may find an E24 M6 for under $20k ... but look into how much it will cost to rebuild that S38 engine before you pull the trigger!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/6/21 11:54 a.m.
350z247 said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

As in, had they introduced the M6 sooner and not messed around with the 635CSi for so long. The 635CSi is much more well known than the 80s M6. You never hear the M6 mentioned in conversations with the E30 M3 and E28 M5.

Also, they definitely did do that "back in the day". The E28 M535i was introduced before the M5; yet, everyone lost their mind when M235i was introduced in 2014.

Fair point on the M prefix cars.

I don't think the M6 is any lower profile than the E28 M5 in our world. They're both very niche cars. The main reason the M5 may be higher in the public's consciousness is because there has been an M5 ever since, while the M6 was never really replaced.

wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
7/6/21 12:47 p.m.
350z247 said:

In reply to wspohn :

Don't forget the (unobtainable) Z8. S62 in a gorgeous 507 retro design...perfect.

Of course - did mentally misplace that one.  All of the ones I like (including the Z8) are stratospherically priced. Damn!   The Z8 goes for $200K plus up here.

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
7/6/21 5:59 p.m.

In reply to LanEvo :

Yep, I have come close to picking up an E34 M5 more than once, but I learned the hard way that even old M30 parts are becoming ludicrously priced...I've heard that some individual S38 parts are four figures from BMW now.

adam525i
adam525i GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/6/21 7:15 p.m.

635CSi was mentioned but really it's the M635CSi that should be mentioned alongside the M6, it used the M88/3 while the later M6 had the updated version of that motor, the S38.

M635CSi comes with everything you want as it's a european market car (and is probably what is pictured above) and none of the extra bloat that came to the 6 series later on like leather everywhere, power seats, coolers in the back etc. It will walk all over an M6 with extra power and less weight while looking a whole lot better (especially if it's in Henna).

 

350z247
350z247 Reader
7/6/21 8:06 p.m.

In reply to adam525i :

Which was my point from earlier. The confusion between a 635CSi, M635CSi, and the M6 weakens the value of the car. The M535i was released at almost the same exact time as the M5 being a lower trim package. The M635CSi transitioning to the M6 with the S38 really muddles things. Had it been called an M6 all along, I would guess they would be better remember and valued higher as a result.

rslifkin
rslifkin UberDork
7/7/21 7:58 a.m.

The whole M car ish, but not really an M car thing isn't new to BMW.  They've just gotten a lot more shameless about plastering M logos on the cars with some M sport performance parts, but that aren't a full on M car.  Let's go back 20+ years: my E38 has what's called the M Sport package.  It's in the option list, plus the steering wheel and wheels are considered M parts, so they have the M logo on them.  But the car isn't badged any differently than one without the M Sport package, it's just marked as a normal 740i on the back and the door sticker just says 740iA, so it wasn't indicated any differently than an option for say, heated seats.  And even though it's got different suspension and some other changes, it doesn't have an M division engine, so it's well off the mark to be truly called an M car. 

They've had a hierarchy like that for quite a while.  Looking at the E39, you had the 540i, then 540i with the M Sport package, then the M5 as the top 3 models in that range.  They did it with even older models too, like the E28 M535i slotted in below the M5. 

dean1484
dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/7/21 8:02 a.m.

Former partner had one from new. It was great but at about the ten year mark rust took over with a vengeance. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/7/21 9:35 a.m.

In reply to rslifkin :

I've driven a 540i with the M sport package as well as a 540i Sport and of course the M5. There is a clear differentiation between each, it turns out. BMW did manage to make all of the V8 E39s feel distinct, although the gap is greatest between the M5 and the others.

adam525i
adam525i GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/7/21 11:59 a.m.

Let's be clear here as people seem to be going around in circles, M635CSi is the M6 for the European market but better in every way. The way it was named in 83 follows the earlier e12 M535i which was the first M vehicle based on a production car. The e12 M535i was a special car as it was the only way to get a 3.5 L M90 in that chassis, that's not as good as an M88 motor but still a significant step up in performance. The naming does make sense and follows tradition to that point as the name and letters all actually mean something. 
 

BMW was probably starting to see the confusion this was causing though and likely wanted to differentiate the M cars more which is probably why the e28 M5 came out as that instead of an M535i which would've made sense still at that point.  They likely also knew there would be an M535i coming (not to be confused with the 535is lol) so that influenced it. In 87 though when the M6 came out here the M635CSi was already established so there probably wasn't a point in changing it for their home market. 
 

As for what BMW has done since plastering M on every POS they make now, who really cares. As long as the company survives so I can still buy oem parts when absolutely needed that's  l that matters. :)

350z247
350z247 Reader
7/7/21 12:17 p.m.
adam525i said:

As for what BMW has done since plastering M on every POS they make now, who really cares. As long as the company survives so I can still buy oem parts when absolutely needed that's  l that matters. :)

Exactly! Someone else's M sport X2 doesn't make my M5 any less special. If someone doesn't know the difference between the two, they also don't care there's a difference. The ones who care will know.

OldGray320i
OldGray320i Dork
7/7/21 1:09 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Bumpers can be fixed.

On the E28s, I think Euro bumpers are a bolt on affair like the E30s.

E24s suffer the fate of E21s; if you want Euros to look right, there's substantial sheet metal work involved. 

I like those 6ers, but the big uglies kill it. 

I'd never own any pre-plastic bumper E30 without Euro bumpers on it.   Looks SO much cleaner. 

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/7/21 1:15 p.m.

In reply to OldGray320i :

I need a cheat sheet to decipher that.

OldGray320i
OldGray320i Dork
7/7/21 2:00 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Ooops.  Stream of consciousness writing. 

E28 = Euro bumpers easy to swap, bolt on. 

E24 = Euro bumper swap hard, requires sheet metal work.

The rest is the ramblings of mad man. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/7/21 2:03 p.m.

I was thinking more of the chassis codes. Anything lower than E30 or higher than E46 requires googling for me :) Four chassis codes plus a reference to one under a different name. BMW people are nuts.

adam525i
adam525i GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/7/21 4:09 p.m.

3 Series - E21, E30, E46, E90 blah blah blah these cars don't matter

5 Series - E12, E28, E34, E39 , E60 blah blah blah these cars don't matter

6 Series - E24 (early cars 76 to 82 are based on the E12 5 series and later cars 83-89 based on E28 5 series even though they all look the same)

7 Series - E23, E32, E38 blah blah blah these cars don't matter

That should cover it for this conversation.

ZOO (Forum Supporter)
ZOO (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
7/8/21 9:16 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

I was thinking more of the chassis codes. Anything lower than E30 or higher than E46 requires googling for me :) Four chassis codes plus a reference to one under a different name. BMW people are nuts.

Same sausage, different lengths . . . :)

Or, that's what it used to be.

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