Upon its unveiling, the 635 CSi kept its promises and showed that it has been well worth the wait, showing big improvements over the rather mundane 528i. The older car could only squeeze 240 hp from its 2.8L straight six engine, proving to be rather uncompetitive. At that time, BMW still hadn’t committed to a full factory effort, and let specialists Alpina and Schrick have their development of the engines, while final assembly fell into the very capable hands of Team Schnitzer. In the effort to counter the 400 horsepower V12 Jaguars, the 3.5L six from the 635 CSi was taken as a starting point and tuned to produce 295 horsepower at 6900 rpm, which was still showing a 105 horsepower deficit over the Jaguar. Luckily, Group A rules featured an equivalency formula based on engine displacement and the size of the engine affected minimum weight requirements and maximum allowable tire width. With these rules, the 635 CSi had 1185 kg (2612 lbs) minimum weight and 250-section tires on all four corners, leaving the BMW resulting 222 kg (489 lbs) lighter over its British rivals with their massive 5.3L V12s. Furthermore, the 635 CSi was equipped with a five-speed Getrag 265/5 transmission, whereas the XJ-S had to make amends with a four-speed unit. The weight advantage would pay dividends to BMW, as the 635 CSi could brake later, corner faster, use less fuel and have less tire wear than the Jags. These aspects showed their advantage during the longer rounds of the ETCC, like the 24 Hours of Spa. Thanks to its reliability, the 635 CSi became an immediate threat to the Jaguars. Furthermore, TWR fielded only two cars, whereas BMW could count on a veritable armada.Along with semi-works Team Schnitzer and Eggenberger-BMW Italia, the 635 CSi was used by Hartge Motorsport, Juma, Motul, Chiazzaro, and a few other ones. As there were now other competitors in the top level Division 3 over 2500cc, BMW stood a very real chance of defeating the fast but fragile Jaguars, winning six races instead of the Jaguar four victories. The 635 CSi even managed to win on its debut outing with Team Schnitzer’s Dieter Quester and Carlo Rossi at Monza, before winning at Vallelunga with 1981 ETCC champions Helmut Kelleners and Umberto Grano of Eggenberger Motorsport-BMW Italia. Between them, these teams took five of the six wins scored by BMW, but the sixth was arguably the most special.Although it was unable to defend its title against the improved Jaguar XJ-S in 1984, the 635 CSi moved on to other great things with success! In Germany a new series was launched to accommodate Group A cars : the Deutsche Produktionswagen Meisterschaft was the immediate predecessor to the later Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft. Despite lacking power in comparison to its opponents, the big Beemer’s sheer tenacity, bulletproof reliability and lovely handling gave it the ability to conquer virtually every inaugural Group A season on the planet. With total race wins in the dozens and 12 major national and international titles, the BMW 635 CSi is one of the single most successful Group A touring cars of all time.
Our 635 Group A, chassis E24 RA2-49, is the former car of the private team Müllerbräu by Fritz Müller. He started his racing career in 1974 in the Touring Championship, first on Porsche 911 Carrera RS. From 1975 to 1978, he switched to the DARM Championship, and then moved to the Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft (DRM). Always in Tourism, he drove a Ford Capri III 3.0 S (1979), followed by a Mazda RX-7 (from 1980 to 1983) and this BMW 635 CSi from 1983 to 1989, in Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft -DTM from 1984. He finished in 10th position of the 1986 Championship. Ready to drive and delivered with an extra set of rims, our car has benefited all the possible evolutions and is the fastest of the BMWs 635, as its lap times show: 2:07.906 at Imola, 2:33.623 at Paul Ricard, 2:57.510 at Spa. Definitely a front-runner for the next HTC racing seasons.