#FailFriday – 1990 BMW M3

Last week, Nate wrote up a 1991 Volkswagen Corrado G60 that we summarily picked apart. It was horrible. But what was great was Nate’s critique and the universal comments that agreed. One of our readers, Ry, suggested that we make it a habit – and so enter a new segment we’re going to call #FailFriday. My nomination to open this segment is one of the darlings of the car world right now, a 1990 BMW E30. This car looks pretty good from afar, but get closer and in my opinion it’s far from good. Calling all backseat drivers, keyboard warriors and internet vultures – let’s pick this one apart:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 BMW M3 on eBay

BlueMWs – A Roundup of Newer BMWs

If I’m brutally honest, I’m not a huge fan of most of the newer BMW designs. As my wife says, I’d be happy if Journey was still on the radio and everyone was walking around with a mullet (that’s only half true…). But that’s not it; as I was saying to her just yesterday, I just don’t get excited about most of the new designs that come out. It wasn’t always this way – I remember eagerly awaiting the next issue of the multiple car magazines I subscribed to so that I could immediately flip to the section I found most exciting – the upcoming cars feature. But that enthusiasm has waned as cars have grown more complex, isolating and expensive. Sure, they’re faster – and even basic models do everything much better than even some “supercars” from the 1980s. But I don’t look at them and get excited like I did when the S4 first launched, for example. But, a thought occurred to me – while I’m not the biggest fan of these cars, proportionate to what you used to receive they’re simply a better value and better cars. We can pontificate about the virtues of the E30 M3 to no end, but the reality is that even around a track, the bone-stock 328i all-wheel drive wagon below would give it a run for its money without much difficulty – and in every other aspect, it’s a better car. We’re really still in the midst of a horsepower revolution, but that power is translated to the ground better than before with more sophisticated transmissions and computer aids along with all-wheel drive available in most packages. But it’s not just speed – not only can these fast cars get you to the Alps, they are like the luxury resorts when you get there, with fine materials and fit and finish that are really top quality.…

Double Take Handbuilt Drivers: 1991 and 1993 BMW M5s

As M prices continue to soar, one of the safe havens if you want something special that isn’t outrageously priced is still the E34 M5. The E34 is often overlooked by enthusiasts because it’s the slightly conservative filling in a legendary bread sandwich. With the bookends of the E28 and E39 M5s, the E34 in comparison seems understated and perhaps even a little boring when you first look at it. It doesn’t visually look much different than the rest of the production line other than two M5 badges (do you read that BMW? You only need TWO badges to make us take note. TWO!). But that understated presence hides driving dynamics that are second to none – this is a Q-Ship in the greatest sense, perhaps even better in its execution of that goal than the E28 was, and certainly less showy than the E39. For those who want a great driver from one of the best periods of BMW history with a legendary engine, excellent build quality and enough luxury to make you and your 3 friends feel very special on your weekend getaway while staying on a reasonable budget, look no further:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on eBay

1983 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC AMG – REVISIT

Following up on our trio of AMG-equipped cars Tuesday, a W126 500SEC AMG that I wrote up last year has resurfaced on eBay. Last time around the car sold for $13,100 – but there’s a twist this time, as it appears that the current seller (who, it should be noted, has zero feedback) is offering the car at a discounted $10,000 with a non-running engine after having driven it less than 1,000 miles. Condition appears to be equal to December’s auction with some better photos this time around. I’m still not a fan of the chromed wheels, but refinish them in graphite with polished lips, tone down the tinting and in my opinion this car would be a stunner. Is it worth the rebuild? I hope someone thinks so!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC AMG on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site December 17, 2013:

1986 BMW 535i

I know not everyone agrees, but I think that the U.S. mandated 5 m.p.h. bumpers that were fitted to many of the 1970s and ’80s import cars were just horrible. Some manufacturers had sorted it out by the mid 1980s; Mercedes-Benz and Audi, for example, had managed to integrate the new bumper designs well into their updated large and small sedans so that by 1985 there were only minor differences between the ROW models and U.S. models – and importantly, the bumper covers didn’t look like an afterthought. But BMW seemed to stand in defiance, refusing to update any of its models until nearly the end of the decade. The result of that was that by 1987 BMW’s lineup looked quite dated in comparison to the competition. While switching those BMW models to the ROW bumpers doesn’t necessarily update the look, it certainly refreshes all the models and brings them closer to their original design – something I’m personally a big fan of. While all of the 1980s BMWs benefit from this, one of the most popular to swap European trim onto seems to be the E28 5 series. A classic since new, the great package that was the E28 is lightened and tucked in Euro guise, making an already good looking design sportier and more compact in just the right ways:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 BMW 535i on eBay

2015 Audi RS5 Cabriolet

Audi’s decision to launch a convertible S4 was interesting to me for a few reasons. First, the concept of a really fast 4-seat convertible is sort of odd to me; I can understand why a roadster would have its appeal, but even then really fast ones are sort of odd. It’s just not very pleasant getting buffeted by the wind at 130 m.p.h. and chopping the roof off tends to make the offending car all bendy. In order to combat that, manufacturers add support and strengthening in the floor – but that makes the car heavier and not handle as well. So, your very fast coupe – or in the case of the S4, sedan – is now a slower, more-ill handling car that musses your hair. On top of that, the idea of Audi’s strength – all wheel drive and adverse conditions – failed to mesh with the intention of most convertibles – sun and fair weather. But the S4 cabriolet pointed towards a future in the S range: Audi’s crack unit quattro GmbH produced them, because they were the only 2-door variant of the S4 at that time. Of course, more recently we’ve seen the introduction of the coupe version of the B chassis, the “A5” and accompanying S5 – but first, Audi went all high performance and made a RS variant of the B7 A4. Great! Then they offered it as a ultra-exclusive, $85,000 2-door, 4 seat convertible. Huh? I mean, the concept of paying 85 large for a trumped up Audi A4 is staggering in and of itself, but then why do it? You already had a S4 convertible. You were about to introduce a new lineup of the “5” series, along with convertibles there – including the replacements for the RS4 – the RS5 coupe and cabriolet.…

1970 BMW 2000

If the 2002 has developed a following far outside of the cult-status of many of the other BMW models, it’s sister is still relatively forgotten. Add two doors to the 2002 and you got the BMW 2000; with slight styling changes to the front and rear in addition to the 4 doors, these often-overlooked sedans are nonetheless equally stylish and neat to see. However, because they’re not in the limelight, a clean 2000 sedan will set you back significantly less than the nearly identical 2002; mid-range values on good examples of a 1970, like this one, are around $12,000 while the 2002 pushes closer to $18,000 or more. For my money, I actually prefer the look of the 4-door like this Granada Red survivor example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1970 BMW 2000 on eBay

1975 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9

What, the 500E AMG 6.0 AND 500SL AMG 6.0 weren’t enough? Okay then, how a 6.9, this time lumped under the long hood of a W116? Well, if I’m honest I’m disappointed, as this spot was originally supposed to be filled by a rare 1990 560SEC. It’s not that the 6.9 isn’t rare, it’s just that particular SEC was a claimed AMG widebody 6.0 with full documentation. The highlighted text brings you to the auction. You know when they put “seller reserves the right to end the auction early”? Well, apparently that’s true. In any event, though I’m fairly disappointed that car disappeared early, it does give us the chance to look at this lovely early European-spec 450SEL 6.9:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1975 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 500SL AMG 6.0

If earlier’s 500E AMG 6.0 got your blood boiling but is disappointing because it’s out of reach, have no fear! The 500E, after all, shared many components with the R129 500SL – so it’s no surprise that AMG had its hand in the convertible as well. While 1992 would see the launch of the more official SL60 AMG, there was also a 1991 version. The 1991 was nearly identical but retained the 500SL moniker; underneath, that M119 6.0 was the same and was more than enough to motivate the SL to near supercar levels. However, what’s really spectacular for enthusiasts is that for the loss of two doors and the Porsche connection, you can put the top down and save a bit of money; this 6.0 equipped SL is on the market now for less than half the asking price of the 500E:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 500SL AMG 6.0 on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1994 Mercedes-Benz 500E AMG 6.0

Pulling together enough legendary names to nearly create it’s own “Justice League”, the Mercedes-Benz 500E saw the combination of two of the most storied names in German automobiles – Porsche and Daimler-Benz. The 500E was sure a serious car out of the box with 320 horsepower and torque to match; but for some, that wasn’t enough. For those enterprising individuals with deep pockets, their Stuttgart superhero saw the introduction of a third legendary name; AMG. AMG had been placing larger displacement engines in Benz models for years, and the 500E proved no different. It even became an official product since Daimler owned a major stake in AMG; the merger would see a new range of high performance out of the box Mercedes models like the SL60 and E60. With a 50 horsepower boost in horsepower and 75 more lb.ft of torque, the 6.0 brought the 500E to another level of performance, chopping nearly a second off its 0-60 times and giving close to Porsche 911 Turbo levels of straight line performance. But while the E60 and SL60 models are pretty rare, it was more common to do what this owner did – ship the car to AMG for a motor swap after purchase:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Mercedes-Benz 500E 6.0 AMG on Classic Driver