How ///Mportant is the badge? 1995 850CSi v. 1991 850i 6-speed

The question of badges, badge engineering and car’s values are always interesting to me. Obvious car values vary considerably, but some times enthusiasts really gravitate towards one particular year or sub-model within a lineup and choose that model for value. Yesterday’s 1995 M3 raised that point; while it was a neat color and lower mileage with good overall condition, it was the OBD1 status that had some claiming that it should be worth more than later models. In the case of the E31, it’s obviously the big-dog 850CSi that stands out with its BMW Motorsport heritage and build. But let’s say, for argument’s sake, that there was arguably a nicer example of the lesser 850i 6-speed with some light modifications available at the same time – is the M badge that important?


Motorsports Monday: 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SLR Replica

2014 was an important year for Mercedes-Benz as it saw them return to 1950s form as World Driver’s and Constructor’s Champion with Lewis Hamilton and the incredible W105. The utter dominance of the new Silver Arrows mimicked the victories of the cars for which it was a namesake; notably, the 1934-1939 W25-W139 Grand Prix cars. The team that developed out of the change in the rules in 1932-33 redefined motorsport and indeed what it meant to race. If you’re a fan of modern Formula One, the blueprint was established here. Developed around brilliant designer Rudolf Uhlenhaut and team principal/public relations man Alfred Neubauer, the original Silver Arrows were only matched by their countrymen from Auto Union briefly and were overall much more successful than the other German firm. After the war, the dominance displayed by the German team returned with nearly the same lineup, and as today Mercedes-Benz sought to dominate not only the new Formula One series but also sports car racing. The car that was developed – the W196 – did just that, winning the driver’s championship with Fangio in both 1954 and 1955. While the 1955 season would ultimately see the withdrawal of Mercedes-Benz for many generations, Uhlenhaut utilized the W196 platform to also win at sports car racing. The famed 300SLR was developed and while it looked much like a stylized road going W198 300SL, the truth was that underneath it was really a Formula One car with headlights and two seats instead of just one. Famously, Sir Stirling Moss won the Mille Miglia in W196S 300SLR “722” – his starting time in the race, but a number that still holds weight in today’s world and lent its name to several iterations of the new McLaren SLR. The influence of these cars is undeniable; the modern day McLaren SLR and Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS are Only a handful of original W196Ss were made, and all are effectively priceless – a prime territory, then, for replicas:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SLR Replica on eBay

1983 Mercedes-Benz 380SEC – REVISIT

The clean looking 1983 Mercedes-Benz 380SEC from back in November has reappeared on eBay, this time with a “Buy It Now” of $6,450. As last time it was a reserve auction, we at least now know what the seller is hoping to get out of this big coupe. To me, while the 560SEC may be more fun and the 500SEC Euro cars slightly more attractive, overall this is a nice period package for a reasonable sum and looks like a good way to get into a classic and pretty reliable Mercedes-Benz!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Mercedes-Benz 380SEC on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site November 11, 2014:

1981 Porsche 924 Weissach Commemorative Edition

It seems that Porsche has always been at the cutting edge of “special editions”. In fact, one could argue that the entire idea of the Porsche was really just a special edition Volkswagen. But by the late 1970s, race victories and a growing reputation as the go-to sports car meant that the marketing gurus at Porsche were working overtime. There was the Sebring ’78 edition 924; it looked an awful lot on paper like it was a normal 924, and that’s because effectively it was just a cosmetic package with some ’70s spectacular stripes. There was also a Martini Edition car, that similarly was simply a set of stripes and a unique interior on an otherwise normal 924. There was a further Limited Edition in 1978 for those that had missed out on the Martini cars in 1976-1977 and just couldn’t wait until 1979 for the ’78 Sebring Edition. Confused? Not to worry, because after a short gap in 1980, Porsche introduced another special “Weissach Commemorative Edition” alongside similar 911 and 928 models. While this, too, was primarily an appearance package, there were some small changes. For example, as with the Martini cars the Weissach got a unique interior; brown and cream seats with a brown dashboard. But there were 924 Turbo details that were included as well – the ATS-made alloy wheels from the drum brake Turbo appeared, along with the rear spoiler. The wheels were slightly different than the all-silver Turbo wheels two, as they appeared two-tone machined with black inserts. Painted a platinum metallic color and “limited” to only 400 production models for the U.S., it at least sounded more special than the standard 924 until you realize that Porsche only sold a total of around 2,100 924s (including the Weissachs) in the U.S. in 1981. As with other older 924s, they’re rare to find and not as prized as the 928 and 911 Weissach models:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Porsche 924 Weissach Commemorative Edition on eBay

Perfect or Project? 1982 and 1983 Alpina B9 3.5s

A few weeks back I looked at a Japanese market 1987 M535i automatic. It was a really neat car in many ways; all original, lower miles, great condition and a good color combination – plus, it was a rare to see model. Well, today the same import company is back and upped the ante with matching 1982 and 1983 Alpina B9 3.5s. These are much more desirable than the M535i; both are manuals and these were about as close as you could get to a M5 without actually buying a M5. They’re ultra-limited production models – only around 570 B9 and later B10 models were produced. They were very close to U.S. spec M5 power numbers, with nearly 250 horsepower on tap from the Alpina-modified 3.5 engine. Coupled with upgraded suspension, brakes and bespoke interiors and exterior spoilers – and those all-important Alpina contrasting stripes – they made one heck of a package:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Alpina B9 3.5 on eBay

1986 Audi 4000S

Seeing a front wheel drive Audi 4000S is like running across an old high school photo of a group of friends. You’ve stayed in touch with the high school quarterback E30; he’s more popular than ever even if you find that baffling. The class president W201 is also still in your circle; undervalued and not as appreciated, but still probably the smartest option. But the Audi 4000S was like Judd Nelson’s character in The Breakfast Club; different than the others but popular in his own way. Of course, what’s Judd Nelson been up to lately? Exactly. I have no idea, either. The Audi 4000 front drive model was the bread and butter of Audi’s sales in the 1980s, but like the rest of the lineup they’ve virtually disappeared from the landscape. Back in the 1990s, I bought one in great shape for $300 – probably the explanation for why they’re going extinct. Unfortunately, as much of an Audi fan as I am, I can’t say that I helped the cause. I bought that whole car just for the fender, and then proceeded to take it apart. I’m a bit ashamed to say so now, because looking back it was really a nice car. It was Sapphire Blue with blue velour interior and a rare-to-see 5-speed. The 4000 wouldn’t light any fires under you if you were looking for a M3, but it was actually a really solid performer overall. Almost 20 years after I bought that car, one in nearly equal shape has popped up just down the road from me. Time for redemption?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Audi 4000S on eBay

Afternoon Accessories: Volkswagen Dealer Goodies

It’s always cool to see some rare dealer bits; from big promotional posters to service guides, they’re a neat way to relive the past and have some cool details to go along with your automotive passion. Today I have a roundup of Volkswagen dealer pieces. First off is the neat Global Rallycross calendar that is signed by Scott Speed, Tanner Foust and Michael Andretti. There’s a service guide for 1969 which is cool for aircooled folks. But I love the posters – there’s a 1986 Quantum Syncro Wagon original poster and a more modern Beetle RSi Cup poster. And there’s a cool fleet brochure – can you imagine specifying 1988 GTi 16Vs for your fleet? I’d love to work for that company!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2014 Volkswagen Motorsports Signed Calendar on eBay

2001 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Sport

Audi loves to do things outside of the norm, and one of the odd things that they seem to do is to upgrade a car and then immediately discontinue it. Why they do this is beyond my level of comprehension, but it means that if you know what you’re looking for you can get a slightly more special version of the car you’re after. These half year models, known as the “.5″s, aren’t always the same – nor are they always well documented. The first I can think of is the 1987.5 Coupe GT; also dubbed the “Special Build”, it featured some serious upgrades including a larger 2.3 liter inline-5, 4-wheel disc brakes and a few trim differences from other GTs. Arguably, they’re the most highly sought after GTs with only a few hundred still kicking around. The same goes for the 1995.5 S6; minor trim and some mechanical changes, such as the change from a mechanical locking rear differential to the newer electronic system Audi would use in newer cars. But it didn’t end there, as in 2001 Audi upgraded the outgoing B5 A4 to 2001.5 specs. The changes were subtle; the A4 already had a refreshed front and rear lights in 1999, so you had to look underneath to find the reinforced front strut housings and changed ECUs. While the S4 didn’t exhibit any exterior differences, though, the A4 Sport package was different. Launched in 1999, the Sport package A4s initially had Ronal made “Swing” 7 spoke wheels that were replaced in 2001 by Speedline-made 7 spoke wheels that had a more square design and a center lug cover. But the 2001.5 models gained the “Celebration Package” as well, featuring 17″ wheels for the first time on the regular A4. It was, for all intents and purposes, the beginning of what would become the “Ultrasport” package on the B6 A4 in 2002.…

Wednesday Wheels Roundup

It’s another Wednesday and time for another rare wheel roundup! Today I have some more of my favorites lined up, starting with ones close to my heart – Ronal R8 option wheels. These are the lower offset wheels that have the spokes curve in to create a nice lip; were they 4x108mm, rest assured I wouldn’t have posted them and they’d be in the mail to me. They’re rare to find in either bolt configuration but would suit an early GT/4000, Volkswagen or (gasp!) E21 or E30 well. There are two sets of OZ Racing Vega wheels – one for Porsche, the other for Mercedes-Benz. They’re a neat BBS alternative and rare to see. The Audi A3 S-Line wheels may be one you haven’t seen before as most of the S-Line cars came with either larger 17″ wheels or the more BBS-esque wheels. Boy, they’re cheap – a great rare winter setup, perhaps? The Gotti wheels are so over the top they’re almost cool again! And the same goes for the polished Zenders – a rare find with plenty of character to set you apart. What’s your favorite?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Audi Ronal R8 15×7, 4×100 Wheels on eBay

1994 BMW M5 Individual

Recently, one of our our posts on a Dakar Yellow M3 sedan prompted reader Ry to ask if there were any E39 M5s that were built in the shade. Well, today’s car isn’t one of those, but it’s interesting that so close to when the question was raised an M5 this rare to see shade pops up for sale. Like it or not, the E34 M5 painted by BMW Individual in Dakar Yellow certainly stands out. It’s no surprise, though, that the listing is nearly as eccentric as the person who ordered it’s tastes must have been: