SOLD 12/19

1988 BMW

Exceptional 26,000 Mile M6. Three Owners from New, Books, Tools, and Records.

  • VINWBAEE141XJ2561230
  • Exterior ColorCinnabar Red
  • Interior ColorSilver Grey Leather
  • Mileage26202 Miles
  • Engine3.5 Liter DOHC Inline-6
  • Transmission5-Speed Manual
  • StatusSold
  • StockFJ2275


1988 BMW M6 Coupe
VIN WBAEE141X52561230
Cinnabar Red with Silver Grey Leather Interior

Developed by BMW Motorsports Division, early M series BMWs have become increasingly sought after by enthusiasts and collectors for their rarity, superb engineering, race-derived powerplants, and remarkable performance. The most luxurious of the early M series cars, the M6 remains highly coveted, particularly for their groundbreaking blend of performance and sophisticated big coupe elegance.

M6 was the US and Japanese market designation of the M635CSi, which was introduced in 1983 and created quite a stir by combining the handsome and luxurious 6 series body with a mildly revised version of the fire-breathing dual overhead cam 24-valve M88 inline-6 of the M1. Immediately acclaimed by the automotive press for its exciting blend of performance and luxury, the M635CSi incorporated the now signature “shark nose” styling, made more aggressive through the inclusion of a deeper air dam, rear spoiler, and basketweave wheels. Suspension was also uprated with Bilstein shocks and larger sway bars, while brakes were enlarged and employed four-piston calipers at the front.

US market cars differed in detail, with the most significant difference being the catalyzed engine designated S38, which employed a duplex timing chain in place of the M88’s single row timing chain. 1987 model year M6s used the ungainly US bumpers while 1988 and onward cars featured more neatly integrated bumpers with body-color end caps, which European cars gained at the same time. The 256 hp US spec car ran to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds as tested by Road & Track, which lauded the M6 as one of the ten fastest cars in America. Today, these cars are sought after by collectors who marvel at BMW’s decision to include a race-derived engine with individual throttle bodies in an elegant and luxurious coupe body that is widely regarded to be one of the best looking BMWs ever made.

The particular M6 is a three-owner car which was originally sold by Bellevue BMW in Washington, who delivered it to its first owner in July of 1989 with 79 miles on the odometer. The car remained with the first owner until 1993 when it was sold to the second owner with 13,000 miles showing. Also a resident of the Seattle area, he used the car occasionally, and by the time current owner bought the car in 2007, it had covered 25,000 miles. A resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, the third owner has fastidiously documented every outing with a detailed mileage log. He has maintained the car during his ownership with new batteries as required, as well as a fluid service at M Service in Walnut Creek in 2015. This included new coolant, brake fluid, oil change, and general checkover. While the car was in for service, a drunk driver drove through the shop’s front plate glass window, and while she did not hit this car, the car was showered with shards of glass. The damage to the paint was minimal but affected enough panels that the decision was taken to repaint the car in its entirety, a job which was performed to very high standards.

The car comes with its complete original manual pack, which includes the original maintenance booklet, which shows the car’s original delivery in 1989, as well as regular services until June of 1995 at 17,263 miles. Thereafter, a detailed log of service and records accompanies the car through the past 23 years, carefully documenting the car’s mileage and service history.

Today, this beautiful M6 displays excellent overall finishes and glossy vivid red color throughout all body surfaces. The car sits on desirable vintage BBS RS wheels in excellent condition showing no curb rash or notable marks. BMW roundels are fitted to the center caps for a stock look, and these wheels represent a welcome upgrade over the original metric TRX wheels. The glass, lenses, and emblems are all in beautiful condition, as are the finished chrome and satin aluminum details throughout the exterior of the car. All rubber trim and gaskets are in exceptional condition. Every aspect of the car has been dutifully maintained and carefully preserved by the three owners, determined to retain the utmost originality, while (as minimally accumulated miles indicate) still enjoying occasional driving.

The supple silver grey leather interior is an artful iteration of performance and luxury appointments nicely contrasted against the striking red exterior. The multiple adjustment electric seats are covered in factory leather showing only very minor evidence of use on the driver’s outer bolsters. The contoured door panels and assorted trim are all beautifully preserved appearing essentially as new. Virtually every surface of the interior is trimmed in leather, including the door panels, center console, glove box lid, header panel, and even the sun visors. The notable exception are the door caps and dashboards, which were no longer trimmed in leather after early cars brough a high volume of complaints due of shrinking leather on these sun-exposed areas. The center console continues through to the backseat, rising up to create a bucket seat effect for rear passengers, with rear-mounted AC controls between the seats. A rear sunshade and driver’s seat memory completes the complement of vintage high-end luxury touches. The performance-oriented dashboard is also preserved displaying a combination of black accents with state of the art CD audio and adjustable climate controls. All features and systems function as expected, including the electric retractable sunroof, power seats, and top of the line audio features. The steering wheel, instrumentation, and controls offer original finishes and fastidious detailing. The carpet and floor mats are in excellent condition, showing only minor evidence of use. Overall, the interior presents exceptionally well-preserved finishes reflective of the documented low miles. The trunk compartment has been beautifully preserved, displaying an excellent factory trunk liner and carpeting. The correct trim and difficult to source battery cover for the trunk-mounted battery (unique to the M6) are all in place. The factory tool tray remains in excellent condition with factory tools.

Under the hood, this M6 exhibits continued originality and excellent detailing. The engine and all components retain their correct factory finishes, proper engine components, all factory stampings, correct labels and correct factory markings. All engine, air cleaner, and air-management ducting are retained, with all M specific features remaining in excellent condition. Underneath the car, inspection reveals a properly maintained low miles car with only evidence of typical road use, consistent with the miles accumulated. The floor pan and suspension components are clean and tidy and there is no evidence of structural compromise anywhere. The rear muffler case shows some sign of deterioration. The often-missing self-leveling rear suspension is still in place.

The car starts, drives, and handles as one might expect from a properly maintained, low mileage car. The car has a civilized and easy to drive character, which extends even to the engine, which is tractable and well-mannered. Steering is light and precise, the clutch easy to modulate, and the gearchange straightforward and contemporary in feel. Ride quality is firm at the rear, suggesting that the accumulators for the SLS system likely need replacement. Handling is otherwise commendable, and the car has a compact and driver-oriented feel the belies its size. Acceleration is swift and sonorous, with the inimitable inline-6 music and plenty of grunt from the S38 powerplant. Accessories such as power mirrors and seats (other than the headrests, due to the common cable pulling out of the motor problem, which is easy to fix) work properly, but the AC does not blows cold.

The car comes with factory tools in the trunk, as well as the original BMW owner’s packet including the owner’s manual, service booklet, radio CD combination manual, an original sales brochure, hand written log of all miles from 2008-2018, service records dating back to 1995, previous licensing information, hand written service log covering the period from 1995 to present, a BBS center wheel hub spanner, and a spare set of keys.

An innovative approach to high performance luxury motoring when introduced, the M variant of the E24 became one of the earliest benchmarks for a genre of car that is now de rigeur. This particular example is exceptionally well-preserved, complete, and clean. Exceptional low mile originals such as this example, offering luxury, performance, and rarity are getting harder and harder to find. This truly outstanding M6 delivers on the promise of luxury touring and delightful sporting elegance, as originally offered, and destined to become a contemporary classic.

The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.

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Fantasy Junction  •  510-653-7555  •  1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608