Words: Aron Norris | Photography: Andrian Svet
1979 Was A Good Year.
Some cars are just special, if you ask me. As car enthusiasts, we connect to cars in so many unique ways and for so many different reasons. Personally, I'm a sucker for 80’s and 90’s cars because I grew up around what are now, I guess, considered “retro” cars. This has pretty much hardwired my brain in such a way that whenever I’m around cars of this era it takes me back to my earliest car memories as a car-mad kid.
I know there will be a fair few people reading this who, like me, had posters of F40s, Diablos and EB110s all over their walls as kids. Aspirational? Yes. Obtainable? Well, not yet, which is why for me, cars like the E24 BMW 6 series really hit the spot. A desirable car yes, but within reach of someone wanting an classic weekender without selling a kidney.
The E24 is widely regarded as the prettiest of all the “shark” nose BMWs. The beautiful lines of the E24 look good on any backdrop and have done since this model was unveiled in 1976. I remember seeing these cars when they were 15 or so years old and this shape BMW have been seriously cool to me ever since. Fast forward a few years and I now have the pleasure of writing about Ivan Pardinas’ 1979 BMW 635csi.
Ivan, from Bilbao, Spain has re-written a classic with his 635csi in very rare Baltic Blue. Ivan’s journey with this car started out with him searching not for an E24, but actually for an 8 series E31 (another on my own personal want list). Whilst on the lookout for the perfect E31, Ivan found himself noticing E24s more and more and was seduced by this particular 635csi shark when he saw it for sale back in May 2014.
Luckily for Ivan, the original owner ordered this car with the M-Pack styling kit, so the deeper front splitter and rear spoiler have been on this car since new. Also, being an early E24, the chrome bumpers and side trims make a refreshingly classy impression among more modern metal (and plastic) at shows like Northernfest and Cold Days at Burgos in Spain.
You’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat.
Keeping a classic car maintained and on the road is enough effort, but modifying one, that’s another ball game. In Ivan’s case, challenge accepted, this car oozes originality whilst being a representation of Ivan's personality through carefully chosen modifications.
Under the bonnet, the original M90 3.5 litre engine remains in all it’s 6 cylinder, single overhead cam glory. Not to be confused with the later M88 engined cars, this car produces 215bhp and is still the brilliantly balanced drivers car it was in the 80s.
The first aspect of the car to go under the knife was the ride height. BMW did a pretty good job with the suspension from new, but 30 year old components just won't cut it in 2017, so upgrades was always going to be required, plus, every car looks better lower, wouldn't you agree?
Swayed away from the more traditional static coilover route, Ivan needed his car to do everything well, with the versatility of being low yet completely driveable on any roads, something which could only really be achieved on air.
Ivan went with Bilstein struts adapted to air bags by 13Lowride, which have been modified by Sirius Tuning in Bizkaia, near Bilbao, Spain. Ivan’s brief was to get his E24 “as low as possible” which was always going to pay dividends. Coupled with his wheel specs, Ivan's E24 sits rather nicely.
Too Many Captains On This Island.
Talking about wheels, these are the real deal. Another set of BBS RS I hear you cry? Yes, but with good reason. Ok, so perhaps some of you are getting bored of seeing RS’ by now, but few can argue with their pedigree and classic style.
Let’s face it, BBS RS look good on everything, there are really no exceptions. In Ivan’s case, it was actually possible to spec BBS RS’ directly from BMW on the later 635CSI highline models, so if an excuse was ever needed to bolt a set of RS’ on a car, Ivan’s E24 has it.
Of course, following Ivan’s blueprint for a more aggressive E24, his BBS RS 198 (5x120) have been built out to 9.5” (tyres: 205/45/17) at the front and 10.5” (tyres: 225/45/17) at the rear. This equates to some seriously low offset, deep dish three-piece goodness in the wheel department. Silver centres, gold hardware/polished dishes and red BBS centre badges work perfectly against the Baltic Blue paintwork.
Ivan’s future plans include upgrades to the air ride setup and switching things up inside the cockpit with period correct Recaros and plenty of leather. This is one shark we will most certainly be keeping our eyes on.