Welcome to Little Car in the Big City, where I highlight fascinating cars I found walking around a town that is known for being bigger than everything else, but where every car is fighting to stand out: New York, New York.
The suburbs are a whole different beast from the inner city. Whereas in the depths of Brooklyn or Manhattan car owners try to make keep their cars looking grungy or in top-shape, suburban motorists aren’t beholden to such “fashionable” constraints of a contrived sense of “authenticity.” That leaves them free to do whatever it is they want.
Even if they have an original BMW E24 6-series, including this 1987 M6.
The reason why I’m saying “I think” is mostly because a lot of things are throwing me off about the M-ness of this particular example.
A lot of things are incredibly desirable about the original BMW M6. They’re a rare bird nowadays, especially in the land of snowy winters and salty roads that is the Northeast, so to see one actually parked on the street is an unusual delight. The original M6 sold in North America came with the S38 engine tuned to provide 260 horsepower, which was plenty back then for a car that only weighed about 3,500 pounds.
Unfortunately for us North American M6 lovers, however, the S38 was a bit of a stretch from the engine offered in the original M635CSi offered in Europe, which had an M88 engine very similar to the one offered in the original BMW M1.
It was luxurious, too, as befitting any 6-series and which separated it from the poor man’s M3, despite how beloved it is today. Everything was powered, and there was even a beverage chiller on the inside, which is useful when you need to grab a Big Gulp while you’re rowing your own gears. I guess.
But here’s what’s throwing me off about this one. That exhaust clearly isn’t standard, and those headlights don’t look like they are, either. And if we look at the inside, we can make out a huge tach that might belie some other modifications under the hood.
Now, I’m not one to generally shame someone for trying to customize a car to make it truly their own. If you showed me a ’57 Chevy Bel Air with some extra stuffed under the hood, I wouldn’t blink. But an original M6?
Yes, I suppose it’s possible, but most BMW owners would look at it as sacrilege.
Then again, it’s got all of those BMW M6 badges. And those would never lie, right?