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

Motorsports Monday: 1984 Volkswagen GTi 1.8T

While last week’s Corrado SLC track car sure checked the right boxes for me, for some it was not extreme enough to be considered a “race car”. Fair enough, it was a track car at heart for high performance driver’s eduction or perhaps some solo/time trial events, but it was mostly just a stripped Corrado. Well, for the Volkswagen faithful today I have a much more extreme example – a GTi ready to tackle just about anything you’re ready to toss at it. Stripped down, beefed up and widened, this GTi sure looks the racer part – check out that cage! But to make it go like it promises outside, the heart has been replaced by a turned up 1.8T motor. Having been in a similar package on track, you’re mind can’t fathom what a light car like this with that much power will do compared to the original:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Volkswagen Rabbit GTi 1.8T on eBay

Motorsports Monday: 2005 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup

The fall from grace of the 996 has resulted in some stunning deals on pretty incredible cars. They’re not without their problems; the 996 isn’t the most attractive Porsche produced and there are known engine issues to combat. But if you’re looking for an inexpensive track weapon with and impressive amount of speed, it’s pretty hard to best the 996 package. While you can get a very nice example of a GT3 – Porsche’s then pinnacle of dual-purpose street and track package – for around $50,000 and drive it to the track, if you’re willing to spend just a bit more you can look at leaping into another level of performance with the “Cup” car. Stripped down and stiffened up, these factory racers are simply stunning with their speed and were cutting edge less than a decade ago, yet today you can find an excellent example like this 2005 model for less than $80,000 – only a third of what a new one would cost you.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup on eBay

1986 Porsche 911 Turbo DP 935 – REVISIT

After failing to meet reserve last time it was auctioned in August, you have another opportunity to turn the boost up to “11” on this 1986 911 Turbo DP935. The modifications and look can be a bit polarizing but this one has been updated nicely and it’s too garish in the realm of heavily modified 1980s cars. Last time there were two bids that hit $95,000 – this time, the seller opened the bidding at $95,000 with the reserve still on. I don’t expect it to sell at this amount this time around either – these DP cars take a special kind of buyer and some of the updates have unfortunately taken away some of the originality. What would you pay for this turbocharged wonder?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Porsche 911 Turbo DP935 on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site August 19, 2014:

Über Rarität: 1999 Alpina B3 3.2 Cabriolet

When BMW upped its game in the E36 chassis with the introduction of the M3, specialty tuner Alpina answered with the B3 3.0 and later 3.2 in step with BMW. The successor of the slightly less powerful B6 model, the B3 kept many of the same improvements to the E36 chassis – unique stabilizers, springs and shocks, and larger brakes. Inside the B3 received the normal Alpina-style shift knob, steering wheel and seats, and in their typical style Alpina provided unique front and rear spoilers along with their own badging. Of course, the package was rounded out by some of the best looking wheels ever fitted to a BMW. While the B3 was down on power to the European M3 3.2, it wasn’t really much slower – again in typical Alpina fashion, the car was tuned to make the most of the power that was available rather than just provide a shockingly high output number. A reported 1,000 of these ultra-exclusive B3s were produced, with about 2/3rds of those being the earlier 3.0 model. With only 342 of the 3.2 produced, the pool is already very exclusive on these. Add a manual transmission when most are automatic, special order Dakar Yellow paint and a cabriolet model, and this is among the most exclusive Alpinas ever made.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 Alpina B3 3.2 Cabriolet on eBay