1977 Mercedes-Benz 280SE Euro-Spec – REVISIT

The awesome looking 4-speed 280SE from 1977 that I wrote up in late July has reappeared on the marketplace, having not sold the first time around. This car appears to be really unique and well presented and would certainly turn heads at any show. I especially love the AMG-spec wheels and Euro-goodies that slim down and beef up the S-Class just a bit. At $12,000, this seems like a good deal for a great vintage Benz:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Mercedes-Benz 280SE on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site July 26, 2014:

Feature Listing: 1996 Volkswagen GTI VR6

I’ve owned and loved modified Volkswagens now for going on twenty years, so I’m certainly not new to the scene. Obviously, being a popular tuning and performance platform since its launch, the GTi has undergone just about every conceivable permutation of modifications. Despite what would seem to be an endless pool of candidates, though, I often find examples lacking a clean, well put together look. I’ve also found as I’ve gotten older that the cars that really stand out to me aren’t the wildly modified cars, but the subtle cars; cars that manage to integrate their modifications well into what already was a good platform. Let’s be honest; modifying cars is a very personal endeavor, so of course there are going to be varied opinions about what looks good. To me, find a clean VR6 Mk.III in close to original spec but with just the right hints of spice to make it stand out and be a little less vanilla, and it’s perfect. Make sure those mods are on one of my favorite colors – Windor Blue – and it’s one of the rare cases where I think the seller got it just right:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen GTi VR6 on craigslist

Fast Fives: 1991 BMW M5 v. 2002 BMW M5 v. 2006 BMW M5

As has happened with other series of cars, such as Audi S4s, there are currently several generations of BMW M5s that are converging on value, leaving you with some hard decisions as to which you’d prefer. Indeed, from their start through the E60 M5, the sports sedan got larger and heavier, but gained 2 cylinders per generation and corresponding power levels. The E34 BMW M5 was a refinement and softening of the E28 original design but kept the race-bred S38 inline-6. Purists eyebrows raised when the new E39 M5 launched with a 5 liter V8, but the 400 horsepower soundtrack has subsequently has become a serious legend and fan favorite. Purists once again held their breath as the E60 M5 launched, now with a 5 liter V10 – a high revving, howling banshee of a motor. All of them are serious forms of motivation, and the value of the first 4 generations are all coming into line. While I wasn’t able to find a good example of an E28 M5 for this writeup, I have the subsequent three generations to check out – which would you choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on eBay

1992 BMW 850i 6-speed

The numbers would suggest that there are many better performance options than the BMW E31. Even in top-spec CSi trim, there are faster, flashier cars that are available for less – sometimes much less. For example, you could have a much quicker 996 Turbo today for less money than the asking price of most CSis. Indeed, if you’d like to save a lot of money, there are other options too; countless AMG Mercedes, 928s – even a stray E24 M6 will give the CSi a run for its money. But the combination of style, presence and the promise of exclusivity have their own draw much as they do with other notorious under-performers, such as the Grand Touring Ferraris. Can you buy a Corvette that’s faster? Yes, but that’s not the point. However, the CSi is still a lot of money for most people to consider, especially for an occasional car. Back down your expectations a notch, though, and you can get 85% of the CSi if you look in the early 850i 6-speeds:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 BMW 850i on eBay

1983 Audi Quattro

In the spectrum of things you wouldn’t expect to see parked next to a tired Ford Taurus at a second-tier used car dealership, to me an original Audi Quattro would rank pretty highly. Couple the exclusivity of the few that were imported with the avid followers that seem to know the movements of virtually every model and you have a recipe for stalker-status enthusiasts that snap up every good example. And a good example this car appears to be; Tornado Red with upgrade 8″ Ronal alloys in rally white and Euro-lights, but otherwise mostly original condition this Quattro looks like one of the best examples that has come to market recently:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Audi Quattro on eBay

1978 Porsche 911SC Slantnose

Modifications to cars can either be a tremendous improvement or a spectacular failure, and the Porsche 911 has occupied both sides of the coin. We’ve certainly seen our fair share of lovely slantnose 911s and 930s, but they can also verge on the tasteless in their excess. It seems that the 1980s really was a period where cars that were the envy of most suddenly became the outward expression of decadence; a cry for help even. There was a great Dave Chappelle skit called “True Hollywood Stories”, where Charlie Murphy recounted some tales of Rick James – describing him as a “habitual line stepper”. To me, tuners in the 1980s were habitual line steppers with how far they would push cars. They passed nip and tuck in order to achieve the dipped look. Thankfully, this all-steel slantnose 911 has avoided the color-matched windshield wiper arms – but still, outwardly it’s a reminder of how Rick James explained his behavior, eerily laughing the whole time; “cocaine’s a hell of a drug!”

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Porsche 911SC Slantnose on eBay

Wednesday Wheels Roundup: RS Edition

Though there was a brief period where they were considered a little past their prime, BBS RS wheels have come roaring back as a popular fan favorite once again. Expensive wheels when they were new, amazingly in some cases they’re even more expensive when fully polished and restored than they were originally. Here’s a roundup of a few different colors and options; gold wheels for your Porsche 930 – is there any better fit? Then a fully restored 4x100mm set that would look great on a BMW E30 or Volkswagen GTi. I also found a few sets that need some work; the white set appears to be originally for a Porsche 928 but needs restoration, and the silver set is missing a wheel for your BMW. Finally, a set of black wheels for a Mercedes or Audi and a set of the newer variant – the Super RS, for your new BMW M car. What is your favorite?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: BBS RS 131 16×8.5,9.5 5×130 Wheels on eBay

1989 Volkswagen Jetta Diesel

Back in 1989, if you showed me a brand new diesel Jetta, there is zero probability I would have been excited about anything regarding it. Gas was relatively cheap, so having a diesel getting great mileage was really for fringe people. There were no spoilers, great alloy wheels, or even mud flaps to get excited about. The diesel Jetta was pretty basic transportation by even 1989 standards; plus, it was noisy, stinky and slow. Park it next to a GLi 16V, and it would be a no-brainer which one would be my choice to check out. But 25 years on, I was genuinely excited to find this listing pop up on eBay. Isn’t it crazy how time changes your perception? Finding a mostly or fully original 1989 Jetta that isn’t a rusted, beaten basket case with lower miles has become such a rarity that it makes me smile to see one, especially when it’s the same color combination as my 1986 Golf was:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Volkswagen Jetta Diesel on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC “AMG” Convertible

We’ve talked before about how pre-merger AMG cars are a bit of a mixed bag; some are well-documented, fully built cars while others claim heritage without being able to back it up, seeming rather to just be a collection of parts. In the 1980s, there were a glut of aftermarket firms chopping the tops off of just about every luxury coupe you could imagine, and the SEC Mercedes was one of the popular ones as a base. Here’s one such car; a black with black leather 500SEC with AMG wheels and body kit. It’s claimed to be one of ten produced by AMG, but outside of the wheels and kit there doesn’t appear to be any other AMG pieces here – which is a bit odd. There’s also no documentation of the history shown despite the high asking price. Even stranger, this car appears on several sites – most recently Mecum Auctions, where it is recorded as being sold in the August 14-16 auction – but it also appears on another site much dirtier and with a period AMG badge on the right side of the trunk. Still, it’s an impressive looking car:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC AMG Convertible on eBay

1998 Volkswagen GTi VR6

For most enthusiasts, last week’s 1997 BMW 318ti M-Sport represented too little car for too much money; sure, the M-Sport looked great, but as pointed out by one of our readers the performance didn’t necessarily live up to the badges. The M-Sport was fast in appearance and carried a hefty price tag to go along with it. A fully optioned 318ti M-Sport in a special color would set you back around $25,000 – a steep asking price considering the M42 engine with only around 140 horsepower motivating it. So the 318ti M-Sport was a bit of a sheep in wolf’s clothes; a good car, but with the promise of more performance than it could deliver.

On the other end of the spectrum was the original giant-slayer hot hatch, the GTi. While not all versions enjoyed great performance, if you opted for the VR6 variant you got a handsome, well built and good handling package capable of out-drag racing, out-turning and out-carrying the 318ti. Best of all, it was about $5,000 cheaper than the BMW. Outwardly, aside from the wild-colored Jazz Blue or Ginster Yellow examples, to many the GTi VR6 was virtually indistinguishable from the standard Golf – for many, part of its huge appeal. It was, simply put, the wolf in sheep’s clothing:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Volkswagen GTi VR6 on eBay