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The story can often be as special as the car itself. This gem of a barn find in the UK led to a new lease of life for this abandoned Bimmer.
Everyone loves a bargain. That incomparable feeling when you stumble across a part or component for much less than you were willing to pay. But when you manage to acquire a full car for the price of a dinner out for one, now that is something very special indeed. Even more so, when the car is an iconic 1985 BMW 635 CSI. This was the case in Auto Alex's latest video, where he meets with one of his friends, the lucky owner of this very car. The story of a car can often be as special as the car itself and this case is no different.
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Meet Taylor Hetherington, a young man from Hertfordshire, a lovely county in the west of England. He always loved cars and on a video on of the new Autoalex Cars Youtube channel, you'll see his garage still contains his first car, a MK2 Fiat Punto. His whole shed is pretty cool, with plenty of automotive memorabilia, posters, models, and a few cars too! Amongst the pair of Fiats, the Punto, and a Coupe 20v Turbo LE (good choice, Taylor), there are 3 BMWs, an old mini, and a Porsche 928. Taylor is already proving to be a man of good taste.
First of the 3 BMWs is an E39 5 Series Touring, a 540i with a manual gearbox. If you know BMWs, this is about as rare as a car from this model can get. Before he bought it, the car was sat since 2014 but had some lovely touches like an Alpina front spoiler, BBS split wheels, and most important of all a manual gearbox. Sat next to it is an E23 735i Auto. Both of these cars need some restoration, but judging by the next car, Taylor has a pretty good idea of what to do.
Back in 2011, Taylor had experienced the most important coming of age moment for all gear heads – passing your driver's test. When he turned 19, he began renting a council-owned garage to store his little Punto. Until one day he saw that the garage opposite his was half open. Being a young and curious man he decided to poke his head in to see what was inside only to be left in awe of what was in there. What met him was the rear end of a BMW 635 CSI.
He recalls there being a mattress on the roof and 3 of the glass windows on it had been smashed through. Anything of value inside the car had already been taken. Taylor decided he didn't want anyone else going in and taking what was left, so he shut the ropey old door and screwed it shut so nobody else could vandalize what was in there.
A year went on, and the garage was yet to be opened, then Taylor received a letter from the local council informing him that the set of garages where he was storing his Punto (and where the 635 was) was set to be demolished and that he had a month to remove all the contents. It dawned on him that the BMW's future was uncertain.
So, he re-opened the door and ran some history on the car, and it turned out to have been sitting there for 13 years. He reached out to the council who informed him that the garage had not been rented for over 10 years. The car had been forgotten. Legislation meant that if the council were to find the vehicle in there, they would not be allowed to sell for a profit if they were unable to track down the original owner. The looming future would be that the 635, one of the most badass BMWs ever, would go to the scrapyard.
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At that moment, he decided to apply for a logbook (vehicle title). The total cost of this was £25 (around $30). The DVLA, UK's vehicle officials, will then try to contact the original owner, and if they don't hear a response, you will automatically get a log book in your name. Three weeks later a title in Taylor's name for the car arrived. The next step was going to the local BMW garage to get a set of keys made at the cost of another $20.
After that was sorted it was time to get her going. So equipped with a can of fuel and a battery, Taylor gave the key a turn. Incredibly, after 13 years sat still, the straight-6 fired to life and idled perfectly; the joys of German engineering. The next step was to track down the previous owner, and his name and address were on the title. After finding the owner's ex-wife at the address, Taylor told her that his intentions were to offer some money for the car. She gave Taylor the owner's new address, which he tried countless times to no avail, letters, knocking waiting around, still nothing. It turned out that the original owner had sadly passed away.
Taylor then gave the car some necessary love to make it roadworthy but being an 18-year-old, he never thought he could get insured on it. Luckily for him after one phone call, insurance on the BMW was $1100 less than what he was paying for his 1.2 liter Fiat Punto. And just as he was about to set off, it lost drive. The auto gearbox had given in. After a new clutch pack though, it was good as new.
Taylor has now had the car for 8 years, in which he has done quite a bit of work. The biggest of which are a manual gearbox swap, a re-paint, and a completely re-upholstered interior. Now, the car looks mint, and it will no doubt be Taylor's forever car. We can't being to imagine the joy he has when behind the wheel of something he saved from imminent scrap, sometimes metal, leather, and rubber combine to create something incredibly special.
Pedro is a writer based between London and Mont Blanc, he specializes in German and Japanese cars and culture.