I’ve looked at my fair share of Mercedes-Benz G-Wagens here. From the rusty 1985 280GE for $12,950 to the street-legal monster truck 2017 G550 4×4² for over $250,000, I’ve covered nearly all of them. They all make sense in one way or another as you can basically find a G to do anything you really need it to do. Need a military vehicle? Here is a 1991 230GE. How about a fire truck? Another 1991 230GE. Topless beach cruiser? I’ve got a 1992 300GD for you. But this 2001 G500 3-door for sale in Hampshire, England is a mystery to me and I wish I knew the full story. Let me explain.
I’ve previously made fun to the term “Unicorn” as it relates to selling…well, pretty much any of the cars we feature on these pages. Truth told, as special as you think your car is, it’s really just one of probably a fairly large number of cars just like it out in the wild. Yet that doesn’t stop the P.T. Barnum’s of the used-car market from touting how unusual it is to see their particular circus attraction. In fact, many times it seems to be considered the main selling point:
Salesman: Now that you’ve selected all your other options, I’m going to tell you about one final “dealer special” option we can offer you – but it’s only for select, and discerning customers!
Rich Plebian: Uh, okay, what is it?
S: It’s the not offered to public “Unicorn” option
RP: “Unicorn”? Like, horned mythological beast?
S: Yes, exactly. The Unicorn Package is option code 785.
RP: Okay, what does it get me?
S: You get to tell everyone how unique your mass-produced car is.
RP: Wait, it gives me special powers?
S: No, you just get to say that your car is more special than the other cars that are exactly like it.
RP: Well, people have always told me how special I am, so sign me up!
So here we are again. In the sales pitch for this 2006 Audi S4 Avant, “Unicorns are real” appears. The question is – is this really something you never see, and is it the horned mythological beast you’ve been looking for?
I give a lot of love to the Mecedes-Benz W123 and rightfully so, some think it is the best car ever produced. A few even claim that in these Benz models will be the only survivors of in a post-apocalyptic world. I’m not one to argue as I own a 1983 240D and drive it on a regular basis. It is far from perfect and has it flaws, but when I’m driving down the road in it I can’t help but think how satisfied I am in it. When I really think about it, my most my complaints are from the powerplant in the 240D. Sure, it is as dead simple and reliable as the day is long. But on the other hand it is loud, not that smooth, is dangerously under powered at times and leaves a film of diesel residue from the exhaust on the interior when I drive with the windows down. (I’m sure that isn’t great for my lungs either.) The 5-cylinder OM617 solves some of the problems, but it is still unrefined at times. So what are the other options then? How about a silky smooth inline-6? Luckily, Mercedes-Benz offered that option in the W123 and while not nearly as common as the diesel cars, they are still out there.
This 1981 280E for sale in Maryland offers up that inline-6 option. It has everything great about the W123 but also a 2.8 liter that makes a very respectable 185 horsepower! This is a far cry from the 84 horsepower in the 240D and the 125 horsepower in the 300D. The M110 engine uses a Bosch K-Jetronic injection system that is reliable, not overly complicated and though it won’t return diesel-level gas mileage, it won’t break your wallet either.
For the second of my somewhat disheveled 911s we see one that may be in slightly lesser overall condition, but still makes for a much more interesting model. Unlike yesterday’s Signal Orange 911T this one is not just about the color, but rather it’s about all the little details. And on a ’65 911 it is all those little details that consistently brings us back to them.
Here we have a Signal Red 1965 Porsche 911, located in New York, with a beautiful black interior with pepita seat inserts. It’s just come out of long term storage so while it may not be the prototypical barn find, it does fall somewhat within that realm.
As we drove home in our E61 the other day, an E60 M5 with temporary plates sat in front of my wife and me at a light. She commented “Are those getting cheap? Because I’m seeing them more often…” She’s right. The E60 M5, with its screaming 500 horsepower V10, now can be had for around the same price as an entry level Hyundai. Pound for pound, they’re now the cheapest way to get into an M-branded 5-series. But though we own a fifth generation five, I’ll admit frankly that it’s not a car that’s for everyone. It’s big, heavy and complicated – and can be quite expensive to fix. Couple that with any M engine and drivetrain, and these cars are capable of draining your wallet as fast as they can accelerate.
So although the power levels are lower and they’re not as flashy or modern, for many the E39 model that preceded the one we saw is still the epitome of M5s (though they’re often challenged by an equally vocal group who says the first one is the only one!). We’ve seen them start to trend upwards after dipping a bit low over the last few years, and now places such as Enthusiast Auto Group have a plethora in the $35,000 – $80,000 range depending on mileage. So you missed out on this fan-favorite, as well?
Not so fast.
Today and tomorrow I’ve got a couple cars to post that are quite a bit less pristine than what I typically like to feature. Both will need some work, but each provides a nice base with which to begin that work. And, more importantly, both are interesting enough that there should be a desire from some to return them to their full glory.
I’ll begin with this one: a Signal Orange 1970 Porsche 911T Targa, located in California, with 126,868 miles on it. This one is all about the color as it’s one of the best on an early 911. That it’s a 911T in need of work also should mean that the selling price falls very much on the reasonable side of the spectrum. At least, it should. Will it?
In the early 1980s, there were precious few options for open-air German motoring. Sure, there was the tried and true Mercedes-Benz SL; a luxury car aimed more at boulevard cruising and polo club grand-standing than the Sport Licht moniker would indicate. Porsche’s 911 Cabriolet was certainly more sporty, but also too expensive for most to contemplate as a fun second car. BMW and Audi? The latter was over a decade away from having a factory convertible, and the former took until the mid-80s to introduce its drop-top 3-series. For the plebeians, then, the only real option was Volkswagen’s Rabbit convertible.
Rabbit Convertibles were produced by Karmann in Osnabrück, Germany – about a two and a half hour drive west from Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg plant. As they did with the Scirocco, Karmann’s distinctive badge adorned the model, here on the front fenders. The intensive construction process laden with chassis strengthening and bespoke items like the added roll-over bar meant that VW’s normal production line couldn’t handle the task. Although these were the heaviest of the A1 models, compared to today’s metal they were downright lithe; a manual early Convertible like today’s, even with air conditioning optioned in, weighed less than 2,300 lbs. While never the most powerful in the lineup, the light weight and manual transmission made the original Rabbit convertibles one of the more entertaining ways to experience compact German engineering and open-air motoring in the notoriously malaise early 80s.
While the persona surrounding the model, and more generally the people who bought the model new, tends to steer away from the typical ‘enthusiast’, the Rabbit Convertible has nonetheless moved solidly into collector territory. It’s a smart-looking, practically packaged and fun to drive convertible that can be run on a budget, fit four people in relative comfort and generate smiles throughout. In a world of increasingly serious automobiles, the Rabbit Convertible and Cabriolet models were just simple fun. Because they were so good at what they did, they’ve often been treasured more than the standard Volkswagen. But even then, few appear on our radar like this 1983 example:
Once again, we’ve got a hefty load of sales over the past month. For whatever reason they seem particularly biased towards Volkswagen and BMWs, but a bunch of fan favorites crossed the block and sold. Notable was the 1977 Scirocco hitting a new high at $17,700 with a bunch of other A1 models generating strong bids, but also the Alpina replica 528i brought a very strong money. Which was a deal by your measure?
1984 Volkswagen Jetta Turbodiesel – $2,641 Article
1979 Volkswagen Dasher Hatchback – $1,636 Article
1980 Volkswagen Scirocco – $9,300 Article
1982 Mercedes-Benz 380SL – $12,900 Article
1987 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V – $4,799 Article
2001 Volkswagen Eurovan MV Westfalia – $13,100 Article
2004 Volkswagen Phaeton – $5,000 Article
1978 Volkswagen Scirocco – $17,700 Article
1984 Volkswagen GTI – $11,600 Article
1987 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC – $10,600 Article
1997 BMW M3 Sedan – $5,600 – Article
1995 Mercedes-Benz SL320 – $7,300 Article
I saw this 911 GT3 on Rennlist a while back and kind of went back and forth on whether to feature it. The car itself looks phenomenal so that wasn’t really my hesitation. My hesitation was with the price because it’s quite high for a GT3. Also, I figured it either would sell almost immediately, even with that high price, or sit for a good while. Well, here we are and it’s still available. The price has come down a bit, though it’s still very much on the high end. But what you’re getting definitely has value.
This is a Carrara White 2004 Porsche 911 GT3, located in California, with 25,500 miles on it. It has been extensively modified to both lower its weight – the seller claims a weight of around 2,780 lbs – and improve the performance of the engine and suspension. They say the devil is in the details, and here there are lot of details with a mixture of aftermarket and Porsche Cup or GT3 RS parts.
There are good and bad ways to sell a car. You can provide a wide array of pictures under different lighting and from different angles utilizing shots taken from a distance and detail shots close up. You can show all of the body panels, the full interior, and while not always useful a shot of the engine never hurts. The ad text could follow a similar tack: details on the model, history, and available documentation. There’s no need to go overboard, but you put yourself in the buyer’s position and provide the answers to the questions you’d expect to ask were you buying the car.
Or, you can take a seemingly random array of photos under poor lighting and provide only the barest details in the ad. This seller has chosen the latter course for the photos and a mix of the two for the ad text. So it definitely could be less informative, but from a picture perspective there’s a lot to be desired here. But we shall persevere because the point of this 911 is the exterior color and that we get to see: Mexico Blue.