1979 Mercedes-Benz 300SD

I love a really well-kept Mercedes-Benz W116. Maybe because I own one, but I can’t be alone in feeling this way. These cars feel as solid as anything when everything is sorted and won’t cost you a ton of money to buy and maintain one. All the gas-powered W116s are fine cars and the first ever production turbo diesel car to go on sale in the United States in 1978, the 300SD, was a gem as well. I have a hard time justifying ever selling my 300SD because for the money, nothing can replace it equally and frankly, there is nothing wrong it. So when I see these W116 300SDs come up for sale now and then I always take a closer look to see how other owners treat theirs. Today’s 1979 model for sale in Oregon has me envious and jealous thanks to a few OEM upgrades.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Mercedes-Benz 300SD on eBay

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1998 BMW 540i Sport

Following on the lineup of 540is I’ve featured recently, I ran across this early production 540i Sport package car. It’s interesting for a few reasons. First, I’ve always really liked the clean look of the early sport package cars with either the turbine Style 32 wheels or the multi-piece BBS Style 19s as shown on this example. Something really worked for me about this wheel on this body style. An early 540i Sport, it’s missing some of the later additions I covered last time around, but still carries the aforementioned 17″ wheels and M-Sport suspension. However, this car is a bit different than the usual one that you’ll come across.

Having covered only 65,500 miles in its life, the seller claims the car was special ordered for European delivery. It also doesn’t have the standard sport seats that would have accompanied the sport package. It was ordered in fetching Canyon Red Metallic (343), too. And, of course, it’s got the all-important 6-speed manual transmission. Here, the pre-facelift orange directionals and less fussy taillight design work in harmony with the lack of body kit and beautiful exterior hue. Is it a winning combination?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 BMW 540i Sport on eBay

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2005 Porsche 911 Turbo S Coupe

Last week I featured this Cobalt Blue 996TT. I said in the post, and most of you agreed, that even with its rare and eye-catching color the price was too high given its mileage. Some of you thought it was way too high. Much of the problem is that it’s a Turbo without the X50 performance package, but priced like a Turbo with the X50 performance package. If you’re looking for performance value, you might as well maximize the performance side of that equation, right?

Another similar comparison is with the car we see here: an Atlas Grey Metallic 2005 Porsche 911 Turbo S Coupe, located in Delaware, with Grey natural leather interior and 29,700 miles on it. Outside of its single-year production there isn’t too much difference between a Turbo S and an X50-equipped Turbo. While the comparison with the Cobalt Blue Turbo isn’t really direct given this Turbo’s much lower mileage it still makes for an interesting point to consider. And, of course, it is also interesting enough in its own right given how rarely we see a Turbo S Coupe come up for sale.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Porsche 911 Turbo S Coupe on eBay

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1991 Porsche 911 Andial/Porsche Motorsport Pikes Peak 3.8 Turbo

I’ve seen this car for sale for a little while and have kept meaning to come back to feature it. There’s just so much to take in initially and I’ve pulled up the listing a few times. It’s obviously far from anything original and is an extensive build, though it does possess interesting historical characteristics that should give it appeal beyond the typical custom build. It’s very bright, probably pretty loud and raucous, and sure to be very fast.

So let’s get the basics down. Effectively it sounds like this build began as a way to find a home for a very special engine: a 3.8 liter single turbo flat-6 producing 550 hp developed by Andial that served as the engine in a Pike’s Peak winning 964 Carrera 4 back in the ’90s. To house the engine a 1991 Porsche 911 Turbo with around 90K miles on it was found and work began. Those are excellent pieces to build upon. A suitable paint was needed so the designers reached back to the ’60s to source one of Porsche’s earliest pastels to show up on the 911: Pastel Blue. Combine all of that with a whole host of parts to improve upon the suspension and braking, along with a new interior, and you get the final product we see here.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Porsche 911 Andial/Porsche Motorsport Pikes Peak 3.8 Turbo on eBay

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Double Down – Vegas Style: 2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus

We’re pretty used to the formula here: take a limited edition or special production 911, slap a neat color on it, and watch the price rise. Even brand new cars – ones that you can roll down to the dealership and order up yourself – are demanding a strong premium in the used marketplace. Insanity? A ‘bubble’? Bad economics? It doesn’t matter what the cause is, it’s the way life is for the foreseeable future.

But it’s not a trend which follows across the board. Take today’s twin Audi R8 V10 Pluses. The ‘Plus’ adds a serious amount of sport to the standard V10 R8, itself no slouch. Kicked up 70 horsepower to 610 and driven through a 7-speed S-Tronic it’s capable of sub-3 second sprints to 60, can obliterate a standing quarter mile in less than 11 seconds from a 5.2 liter normally aspirated V10 capable of spinning north of 8,500 RPMs. Both can hit 205 mph flat out. Both are presented in the searing shade of Vegas Yellow that will generate enough stares to make a GT3 jealous no matter how red its wheels are. . Both feature the upgraded 20″ wheel option and a host of other special carbon fiber touches that come along with the ‘Plus’ package. Despite being able to rip your face off and producing supercar performance from just a few years ago, both are also able to be used in a daily commute – even in winter. They’ll even return above 20 mpg on the highway. They’re astonishing automobiles.

And yet, both are ‘affordable’.

Look, they’re not really cheap. In fact, they’re massively expensive for any car, but many would argue especially so for an Audi. The sticker price on the V10 Plus is $192,000 before options, taxes and destination, after all. Yet with less than 3,000 miles on each of their odometers, this duo hasn’t appreciated like the 911 market – it’s fallen quite substantially. And don’t think I took the cut-rate approach here; I selected the two most expensive used R8s I could find from two of the most expensive dealers on eBay. And yet, combined their asking price is still $80,000 less than the 911 Turbo S Rob looked at over the weekend.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus on eBay

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Federally Fixed: 2001 Audi RS4 Avant

From time to time, we look at European-market cars. Considering the number that were brought here through ‘Grey Market’ channels, we actually get to sample the more original versions of these cars on a semi-regular basis. But that pool of Euro candidates dries up once you crest the 1986 model year. And for that, you can thank the ‘Fed’ and their kill-joy laws, right? Well, sort of. But left to their own devices, they likely would have never done anything. So why did the government get all antsy in the mid-80s to put an end to importation of what amounted to a pittance of cars? For that, you can thank Mercedes-Benz.

It turns out that Mercedes-Benz was more than anyone annoyed by the second-hand importation of its more powerful and prettier European-specification cars. To a lesser extent, BMW was also losing market share, and the two importers – who, it should be noted, paid a fair amount of money to the government in importation duties and taxes on the sale of their cars – claimed they had lost in the vicinity of 50% of their sales to the alternate European crowd. Now, in a true ‘Free Enterprise’ market, one would have looked upon these complaints and said “Well, Mercedes and BMW, produce better cars at a lower cost for your consumers and you’ll solve the problem!” But, of course, the United States is not a free enterprise market, and there are lots of regulations and rules which have been in put in place in part by high-paid lobbyists for certain industries. Mercedes-Benz and BMW had these lobbyists on their side, and the importers did not. As a result, in 1988, the Motor Vehicle Safety Compliance Act was passed. Also called the Imported Vehicle Safety Act of 1988, it’s what you know better as the ’25 Year Rule’, which basically excludes you from individually importing any car on your own unless it’s really old. Many of the perfunctory reasons behind the “safety” aspect of H.R.2628 – they didn’t have DOT-mandated safety headlights, the bumpers didn’t meet U.S. regulations, they weren’t emissions compliant – have since been eliminated, but the law remains. Even if the car is effectively identical to what’s sold here – and many of today’s Euro cars are – while it’s possible to petition for an exemption for certain models, it’s neither easy, nor is it cheap. And that means that since 1988, fans of the hottest models have an agonizing 25-year long countdown until it’s “easy” to import a car they want. And even then, it’s not really very easy, so most U.S. based fans even if they claim they’re interested are just too lazy to actually go through with it.

So that leaves it to a few official importers to go through the not unsubstantial task of locating a car, shipping it overseas, paying heavy duties, and filing all of the paperwork associated with importation. And you can, despite what many claim, legally import car newer than 25 years old to the U.S.. It’ll just cost you:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi RS4 Avant on eBay

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1997 Porsche 911 Turbo S

I’m going to move from yesterday’s Cassis Red Carrera, a 911 that I think we can all appreciate and which sits in a somewhat reasonable spot in the market for those currently looking for a classic 911, to this Forest Green Metallic 1997 Porsche 911 Turbo S. With a price tag above $400K this 911 is one that I think most of us will be able to do little more than admire from a distance. It’s a heck of a car to admire though: 424 hp delivered through a 6-speed manual transmission to all four wheels. Yellow brake calipers, quad exhaust, carbon fiber peppered throughout the interior, and a redesigned rear wing. Your friends definitely would take notice.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Porsche 911 Turbo S on eBay

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2002 Audi TT Coupe 225 quattro ALMS Edition

If the minor nomenclature differences between what constitutes a BMW with sport items, a Sport model, and a M-Sport model can be confusing, the ordering of model designation in Audi’s TT lineup is downright infuriating. Technically, I think the correct order for the model is as shown above – Audi TT Coupe 225 quattro ALMS Edition.

Maybe.

And here’s the trick. First you needed to differentiate if you ordered a Coupe or Roadster. In 2002, you could get a front-drive coupe with the 180 horsepower engine, and you could also get the 180 horsepower motor with optional Haldex quattro all-wheel drive. But if you selected a Roadster, you couldn’t get a 180 quattro. Now, if you went for the upgraded 225 horsepower motor, you automatically got quattro – there was no front-drive option. That makes the “quattro” moniker after any 225 model redundant. Even more redundant in this case is the “Coupe” moniker, because if you opted for the ALMS appearance package in the 2002 model year, the hardtop was your only choice. So if you referred to this as a TT ALMS – as many do – the rest would follow – you’ve got by default a 6-speed manual 225 horsepower quattro Coupe. For many, this makes the ALMS one of the most desirable 8N TTs, and the limited run of 1,000 examples in either Misano Red Pearl with Silver Gray Nappa leather or, as show here Avus Silver Pearl with contrasting Brilliant Red Leather tends to command a premium over other examples of the first-gen Golf-based model:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi TT 225 quattro ALMS Edition on eBay

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2001 BMW 540i Sport with 1,890 Miles

Sport, M-Sport, Sport, M-Sport, Sport, M-Sport. Choose your title! More research and some comments from our astute readership seems to confirm that the official title of this car is 540i Sport in the USA, though it includes items labeled as M-Sport within that package. Thanks to everyone for their commentary and following!

Starting in late 1999 for the 2000 model year, BMW replaced the “Sport” package on the E39 with the newly recycled “M-Sport” moniker. Of course, the M-Sport had been seen on the E34 before and carried M-bits over to the normal 540i model. This was much the same for the E39; moving forward, the M-Sport models not only got the upgraded suspension and larger wheels associated with the sport package, but also gained a M-Sport steering wheel, shift knob and door sills. However, it wouldn’t be until the 2003 model year that the M-Sport reached its full potential when BMW slotted the M-Technic bumper covers on to create a ‘M5 light’ once again.

In between, there were minor changes mostly notable for different wheel designs. In 2001, for example, the Style 66 wheels were used. Staggered at 17×8 in front and 17×9 in the rear, the wheels mimicked the design of the Style 65 18″ M5 wheels minus the second set of split-5 spokes inset. These wheels were also coincidentally the optional winter wheel package for the M5. But without the bigger bumpers and M-Parallel wheels associated with the 2003, the 2000-2002 models were much more understated in their approach and to most aren’t quite as desirable as the M-Tech’d models.

Of course, when you find a showroom fresh one with only 1,890 miles, maybe that doesn’t matter?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 BMW 540i M-Sport on Phoenix Craigslist

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1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa

If you feel like you have seen this car before, you’re not wrong. I have come across it a couple of times recently for sale, though that’s not quite what I mean. When I saw it I didn’t immediately feature it precisely because I thought it looked familiar and I planned to come back to it and see what was up. As it turns out, we’ve featured it before making this somewhat of a revisit.

About 2.5 years ago we featured this Cassis Red Metallic 1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa when it was offered for sale by one of our readers. It’s now come back up for sale. I think it is in the hands of a new owner – based on the stated location of the car – and the mileage is up slightly from last time. It now sits at a still very reasonable 72,450. Mostly, I thought it was worth another post because it looks really great!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa on eBay

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