Fast Five-Door Face Off: 2005 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Estate vs. 2007 E63 AMG Estate

Fast Five-Door Face Off: 2005 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Estate vs. 2007 E63 AMG Estate

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Fast wagons are perhaps one of the most cultish of vehicle genres to date. There are those like me who have disdain for most SUVs and realize there are alternatives to moving your stuff around. As a single person without children, minivans are overkill for my demographic. It was Jeremy Clarkson who was quoted as saying a minivan signals to the world that “I’ve done my breeding. I’ve served my biological purpose, and now I’m waiting to die.” So ruling out a small van, where is one to turn for their hauling needs? How about Mercedes-Benz? Unlike Audi, Mercedes-Benz has not given up on a segment in the US market which it began to popularize decades ago. There are still loyal fans of the five-door variant of the E-class, now on its sixth generation if you count the W123 T-modell which started it all. Luckily, Mercedes-Benz has been kind enough to bring AMG tuned variants to a market with otherwise vanilla tastes when it comes to family cars. Today we’ll look at two very similar looking but different beasts, the E55 AMG and E63 AMG estates, both wearing the same shade of Graphite Gray Metallic for sale for sale from the same dealer outside of Philadelphia.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Estate on eBay

Tuner Tuesday Twofer: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC AMG v. 1987 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC Koenig Widebody

Tuner Tuesday Twofer: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC AMG v. 1987 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC Koenig Widebody

Coupe versions of the Mercedes-Benz W126 chassis are popular fodder for these pages, and in particular we love to look at some period modified versions. Just last week Craig looked at a 1989 560SEC with period AMG bits, though that car was not an originally modified car. Today I have a comparison of two different directions modifications took in the 1980s on the C126, and in many ways it is a commentary on both how to properly present a car and…well, how not to. Whether these cars are to your taste is another matter, but we can certainly see the divergence in style pretty quickly. Which one is the winner? Let’s take a look at the European specification AMG model first:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC AMG on eBay

Tuner Tuesday Double Take – Boosted Gems: 1995.5 Audi S6 Avants

Tuner Tuesday Double Take – Boosted Gems: 1995.5 Audi S6 Avants

Though they may not generate the gasps and pleasure groans of the RS models Craig and Andrew wrote up last week among enthusiasts outside of the brand, classic Audi fans in the U.S. still regard the original S4 and S6 one of the best models produced by the company. Indeed the S6 Avant has gained notoriety as a “Holy Grail” for fans of the marque here, as it offered the ultimate development of the C4 chassis and inline-5 coupled to analogue all-wheel drive offered in this market. Only a few hundred of these wagons made it here, increasing the mystique and desirability of the package. Both of today’s examples are presented in the defacto signature color of the C4, Emerald Green Mica (Smaragdgruen Pearl) with Ecru leather and both have been turned up a notch from stock. The first example has all the wizz-bang completed, while the second has been maintained and is ready for further upgrades. Which is the one you’d like?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995.5 Audi S6 Avant on quattroworld

Silver Narrows: 1985 Audi Coupe GT and 1986 Audi 4000CS quattro

Silver Narrows: 1985 Audi Coupe GT and 1986 Audi 4000CS quattro

Though they share many components, each different variant of the Audi B2 chassis took on a character that made them all feel quite unique. Obviously the big headline for the chassis was the turbocharged Quattro model that has gained much more notoriety and respect in the marketplace over the last few years. However, the narrow-body variants still remain very affordable and entertaining options for enthusiasts. Today I’m going to look at two similarly priced 2nd tier options, both in Zermatt Silver Metallic. Let’s start the throaty 5-cylinder up with a KX-code 1985 Coupe GT:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi Coupe GT on eBay

Drop-top Double Take: 1996 and 1997 Audi Cabriolets

Drop-top Double Take: 1996 and 1997 Audi Cabriolets

Every semester at the culmination of my teaching experience with the college students who have selected my course rather innocently, I let them in on my super-secret double agent identity as your author here. Having suffered through a few too many of my lectures already, most treat the news with about the same amount of enthusiasm and interest as they do when I tell them about the Sudanese Kush Pharaohs – which is to say, none (seriously, it’s a very interesting topic. Egypt basically denies they existed!). But occasionally I get a student who is much more interested in my double-life than in my lecture notes. One such student passed through was perhaps as unexpected to me as I was to him. He nonchalantly aced the class with seeming little difficulty, but upon seeing my announcement regarding German Cars For Sale Blog, he excitedly emailed me about his shared love of Audis. He revealed that he owned a ’97 Cabriolet, which proves two things: first, smart people buy Audis, and second, Audis turn up where you least expect them. And the Cabriolet might be the least expected Audi Audi made – coming from a manufacturer renowned for turbocharged inline-5, manual all-wheel drive coupes, sedans and wagons came a front-wheel drive, automatic only (in the U.S.) V6 2-door convertible. Expensive, a bit slow and soft compared to the competition, the Cabriolet sold slowly with only around 1,000 units moved per a year during its availability here with a total of 5,439 imported through 1998. I think a fair amount of fans view the B4 Cabriolet as the least interesting of the Audi lineup in the 1990s, but to me it’s always been a very pretty and underrated car. In particular, the rear 3/4 view is very attractive and the shape changed little with its progeny.…

Tuner Tuesday: A Tale of Twin Tornados – 1990 Volkswagen Corrado Magnum Wagons

Tuner Tuesday: A Tale of Twin Tornados – 1990 Volkswagen Corrado Magnum Wagons

We live in a world of soundbites and short attention spans. Some days it seems like a bit of a coup to remember just what you had for breakfast or where you left the keys last night – never mind to go back a week, a month, a year, or a decade. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a history teacher when I’m not doing this, and I’ve found it increasingly difficult to keep the attention of my students through the 1.5 hour lectures and if it’s a night class, forget it. The proliferation of the internet – the promise of limitless and immediate information – instead seems to be a flood which has washed away the interest, the researching, the enthusiasm for finding something new. But I came across something very interesting when looking for more information about an interesting duo of Corrados that our reader Jesse sent in. It was an internet thread on a forum – nothing special there. What was special was the timeline that thread covered and the subject matter. It started with the announcement of the purchase of the two prototype Corrado Magnum wagons in February, 2007. What followed was 15 pages of comments that spanned an amazing 9 years in what must be one of the longest threads out there documenting the owner trying to get these two unique G60 Corrados to the U.S.. If you want a snapshot of the development of the internet fora in one spot, look at the comments here. In typical VW Vortex style, there are insults tossed, claims the cars don’t exist, that the seller is a liar, threats to steal the cars and that they’re ugly. But there’s also adoration for the buyer who endured an arduous 7 years of storage in the Netherlands before finally getting the clearance to bring the forlorn Volkswagen prototypes to the U.S..…

4 Turbos, 10 Doors and 12 Speeds – Double Take: 2001 S4 Avants

4 Turbos, 10 Doors and 12 Speeds – Double Take: 2001 S4 Avants

With recent looks at both B7 and C4 S-cars, it was time to take a look at the middle child of the run – the much loved B5. For some time these were considered too heavy and complicated for long-term enjoyment, but a resurgence of interest in the model has been driven by a very active aftermarket that supports them. In the U.S., the most loved models are the 6-speed Avants and we have two to consider here today for a double dose of forced induction family fun. Which would be the 5-door you’d choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S4 Avant on eBay

U.S. v. Euro Double Take: 1977 and 1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9s

U.S. v. Euro Double Take: 1977 and 1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9s

Tuner Tuesday posts usually focus on cars that have been turned up a few notches by aftermarket companies, but for some time Mercedes-Benz did all the magic internally. Indeed, if you go back to the 1920s and 1930s, Mercedes-Benz had a habit of taking the largest motor they could reliably produce and sticking it in their luxury cars. Such was where the legend of the 500 and 540K specials came from, but while the War postponed many further developments Mercedes-Benz were back at it in the W109 300SEL 6.3. Apparently not satisfied by that factory hot rod, engineers conceived its replacement with an even larger 6.9 liter V8 – mind you, in the midst of an international fuel crisis. Churning out 286 horsepower from the now legendary M100 V8, the 450SEL 6.9 was effectively a land-bound aircraft carrier and about as powerful. Long ignored by the market, the 6.9s have heated up over the past few years as large classic Mercedes-Benz models have become increasingly sought after and the rare 450SEL with the big motor is a solid draw. Today I have two examples to consider – a desirable European version and a less powerful and not quite as attractive American-spec car. Which is the one to choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 on eBay

Tuner Tuesday “What Not To Wear” Porsche Faceoff – 1977 911 Turbo Cabriolet v. 1994 Strosek 911 Turbo S Widebody Speedster

Tuner Tuesday “What Not To Wear” Porsche Faceoff – 1977 911 Turbo Cabriolet v. 1994 Strosek 911 Turbo S Widebody Speedster

Here’s something a little different for Tuner Tuesday! Last July and September respectively I wrote up two terribly expensive and terribly tuned 911 convertibles. The first was a Strosek 911 Turbo S Speedster back in July, and the second was a 1977 911 Targa that was converted into a 993-bodied turbo cabriolet that was simply marvelous if you believed the interior. In a not particularly surprising development, both are back up for sale having had no takers the first time around. The question I pose to our readers is which is a better (or worse?) deal? I’ve put my original posts below starting with the 1977 and I wasn’t particularly complimentary to either, but let me know in the comments which is really “what not to wear”?

The below post originally appeared on our site September 1, 2015:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet…ish on eBay

Going up? Double Take: 1990 and 1988 BMW M3s

Going up? Double Take: 1990 and 1988 BMW M3s

That the E30 M3 has been on a stratospheric price rise is old news. So are the stories of “I could have bought one for $400 20 years ago”. You know what? I could have bought a really nice piece of land near the coast in Rhode Island for 10% its current value 30 years ago, but I didn’t. Old, too, are the stories of what floor some ex-M3 owners got off at; for unlucky examples, it was $10,000 a decade ago, but smarter sellers have cashed in on E30 mania in the past year. Thanks to some big number sales late in 2015, the E30 M3 market is stronger than ever which raises the question of how high it will go. At what point will people say “You know what? This is a 4-cylinder near-luxury economy car that I’m paying $100,000 plus for”? It would seem that every time someone raises the flag of THE END IS NEAR another shockingly priced example clears what appeared previously to be an insurmountable hurdle and Mr. Toad’s wild ride continues. While there’s been a slight cooling in the acceleration curve, it’s still pointed directly towards the Moon today. Hagerty’s Condition 1 price valuation for a 1990 M3 is now $115,000, and the average value of those insured is $55,800. But the market has realized that many of the examples coming to market weren’t condition 1, or frankly even condition 2. Lesser than top-tier example’s value has gone almost completely flat, and now it’s the really exceptional models that are rising to the top rather than the entire crop. So let’s take a look at two of the best out there today and muse over whether this trend will continue to new heights:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 BMW M3 on eBay

Double Take – High Mile Heros: 1991 BMW M5s

Double Take – High Mile Heros: 1991 BMW M5s

Let’s say you want to buy a 1980s BMW M car. Great! You have style, class and enthusiasts everywhere will applaud your discerning taste. You don’t just want to pose, you want race-track bred performance and build quality second only to Mercedes. Great! Now, look at the market. Shit! You missed the bandwagon by about 2 years. Not to worry, though – German Cars For Sale Blog is full of budget advice today! If you want the best affordable 1980s BMW M product, you just are looking in the wrong decade. You need to consider the 1990s E34 M5, and today we’ve got what should be two more affordable versions of the more affordable version of what you want. So, do either of these high mile heros have what it takes to make your 80s M dreams come true? Cue the theme to The A-Team and let’s take a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on eBay

Nogoff 2: 2014 Audi S4 v. 2015 Audi S4

Nogoff 2: 2014 Audi S4 v. 2015 Audi S4

A good friend of mine rolled up for a visit yesterday in her B8 Audi S4. So much attention has been focused on the launch of the turbocharged M3/M4 that it’s easy to forget that the S4 is still a very good choice in the sport sedan market. If you believe that all Audis drive the same with terminal understeer, you haven’t been behind the wheel of the most recent generations from the four rings, whose clever computers, suspension and differentials have left them turning as well as they go. And they look as good as they go too, with signature top-tier interiors and lovely details. Audi recently offered a brief run of classic Nogaro Blue Pearl Effect on the S4 too, with a special edition that bathed the S4 in the purpley-blue. Today I have two such colored examples to look at – which is the one you’d nog off to?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2014 Audi S4 on eBay

Row Your Own? 2000 BMW 528iT v. 2003 BMW 540iT

Row Your Own? 2000 BMW 528iT v. 2003 BMW 540iT

I have a bit of an interesting comparison today, and I think in many ways it’s harder than it would first appear to be. If you said to most enthusiasts “Would you rather have a manual or automatic?”, the collective ire of autophiles towards self-controlled cars is akin to suggestion a revision to the 2nd Amendment at a NRA rally. And outwardly, today’s two E39 5-series wagons seem quite similar. But they represent two different directions for BMW and I think it will be interesting to see which foot enthusiasts land on. So, what would it be, then – a 5-speed 528i Sport Touring or a 5-speed (automatic) 540i M-Sport Touring?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW 528i Touring on eBay

Double-Take: Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera Cabriolet

Double-Take: Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera Cabriolet

I have been enjoying my jaunt through the world of classic 911s looking at examples of the 911SC and 3.2 Carrera. We’ve seen a few nice, and reasonably priced, Targas, a couple very nice Coupes, and a very pretty Carrera Cabriolet. That last model will take our focus in this post as we look at examples from both the beginning and end of the 3.2 Carrera’s model run. 1983, the last year of 911SC production, was the first year Porsche produced a 911 Cabriolet and since there was only one year for those models, it is to the 3.2 Carrera that we typically must turn when looking for the combination of a fully-open cockpit with that classic 911 design. I wouldn’t classify the two we see here as especially rare colors since each is more a subtle variant of a common color, but the color combinations are not ones that we come across very frequently. Those combinations definitely bring with them an extra level of scarcity with these. We will begin with the example from the first year of 3.2 Carrera production, a Slate Blue Metallic 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet located in California with Grey Beige leather interior and 48,133 miles on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet on eBay

Two For T: 2001 and 2002 Audi TT 225 quattros

Two For T: 2001 and 2002 Audi TT 225 quattros

I’ll get this out of the way off the bat; not everyone likes the Audi TT, and yes, it’s not really a sports car. But excusing that it’s not a 911 although it’s similarly shaped, is it really that much of a pretender? Tight body curves that were really avant garde in the late 1990s reveal a beautifully crafted interior with lots of special details to let you know you were in a premium product. Under the hood, in its most potent form the 1.8T was quite capable as well, with 225 horsepower resulting in mid-6 sec 0-60 runs in stock form and punchy delivery. And while the Haldex-driven but “quattro” branded all-wheel drive wasn’t as slick as Audi’s other all-wheel drive systems, it works just fine in most conditions. So let’s take a look at two nice examples of these budget sports coupes:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi TT 225 quattro on eBay