If you want a recession-proof 1980s investment automobile, you want an E30 M3 or any original 911, right? Well, while that might be a smart idea, there’s consistently been one car that’s been worth even more than those market stars; make that the 3-pointed star. When I was a young man in 1987, Road & Track ran a top speed competition between some poster pinups. At that time, I was a super fan of the Porsche 959 in particular, and I was pretty confident before opening the magazine that the technological wonder from Stuttgart would thoroughly outperform the competition, which included a Lamborghini Countach, a Ferrari Testarossa and twin-turbo GTO, a few modified 911s and…a Mercedes-Benz sedan? Yes, it was that test in that magazine that cemented two names into my brain; one was the stunning and surprise winner of the competition, the illustrious “Yellowbird” Ruf CTR which bested Porsche’s own supercar by an amazing 13 miles an hour, and the boxy E-class from Affalterbach – faster than the pinup Lamborghini Countach and million-dollar GTO and just bested by the Miami-Vice superstar Testarossa. Though I don’t know for sure, I’d wager that single test did more for the reputations of Ruf and AMG than any other single article or event. Since that time, the AMG products from Affalterbach have enjoyed a near-legendary status amongst German car fans, but even amongst them there are special models – the 6.0 “Hammers” and the W124 and W126 Widebody models:
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If you want a fast tuner small sedan from the 1980s, you basically have two options: Alpina is the go-to favorite, and if you’re a bit different you find a Hartge. That’s it, really, because while companies like Abt modified Audi 80/4000s and occasionally you might run across a Callaway Turbo Jetta GLi, there just wasn’t much else out there. For Mercedes-Benz, you could of course buy their in-house tuned Cosworth 190E, but AMG seemed to focus on the larger W124 and W126 chassis instead of the W201. That is, of course, except for their 911-fast 190E 3.2 and 3.4 – cars seldom seen. Before we go any farther, this isn’t one of those mega-motored cars, from everything I can tell. What it appears to be, though, is a clean and tidy looking 190E in a quite rare color with some pretty awesome period AMG details; in this case, the ultra-rare widebody kit from Affalterbach:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 190E AMG on Craigslist
I was watching a very interesting piece about mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders last night; a trend which started in the 1980s, some people have been thrown into jail quite literally for the rest of their lives for being involved – even in a minor role – in the war on drugs. In drew into sharp contrast the dichotomous nature of the 1980s, where as a society we declared that drugs were a horrible thing while simultaneously celebrating a community of music, art and even Wall Street that was built around them. In some aspects, one can see that dichotomy in some of the tuner cars from the 1980s, and I think that the mega Mercedes-Benz products are a great example. Starchy, upright and conservative, Mercedes-Benz used to be the standard by which engineering was measured; the automotive bar for luxury automobiles. Yet, at the same time, various tuners took them and turned them into monsters; lowering the suspension, fitting giant wheels and motors, they transformed the conservative Republican into a Punk Rock idol. Some of these creations are more celebrated than others; AMG, for example, has a near faultless reputation which is backed even by Mercedes-Benz themselves, who decided to buy them later in life. Others are…well, not so highly regarded, such as the numerous Koenig specials that were created from otherwise unassuming ’80s Benzs:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC Koenig Widebody on Autoscout24.it
Last week we took a look at the big boy of the R129 Mercedes-Benz SL lineup, SL73 AMG. Sandwiched in between the first year the SL73 was offered and the last few years of its production is the SL70 AMG that we see here. As the badge denotes, this SL has a 7.0 liter engine under the hood, a V12 in this case, producing 490 horsepower. The SL70 AMG was a little more common than the SL73 AMG, but not by much, with only 150 produced over a two year production run.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Mercedes-Benz SL70 on Mobile.de
I’ll get this out of the way right off the bat, this car has a salvage title. I’ll get this out of the way as well, I don’t care. For what the seller wants for the car, and what you could likely get him to come down to, you’d be getting enough car for the money that a salvage title shouldn’t matter. The way I see it this is a car you buy and drive into the ground. It is not an investment, it is not a collectors item, it’s a W202 Mercedes that happens to be an AMG car. Even if you paid what the seller is asking I think you’d be getting a fair deal. The car appears to be in great condition now and depending on what earned it a salvage title, this could be a real steal, especially with a little big of negotiating. Salvage title cars are really hard to sell these days, given that everyone has access to the internet, and has seen those commercials with the smug Fox. I agree that 9/10 it is a bad idea to buy a salvage title vehicle, but there are exceptions, and this might just be one of those.