Perhaps it’s fitting that if you hit the shift key on the keyboard when attempting the M-Stripes in script you get three questions marks. We’ve recently had a few features questioning whether or not you need the ///M Badge on your 5-series; most recently, Paul looked at the E34 lineup with his M5 v. 540i post. The question has remained throughout the various iterations of the 5-series; while there was a pretty big gap in performance between the E28 535is and M5, those gaps have narrowed in subsequent generations. Couple that with the increased costs of ownership of the M-branded 5 and the higher residual value, and there are some good arguments to look at the top-of-the-range normal 5 versus the Motorsports version. When it comes to the E60, that’s especially true in my mind; the M5 had that great screaming V10 motor and many are fitted with the 7-speed break-your-neck-shifting SMG gearbox. Those are great items to have when you don’t have to pay the bills to repair them, but now the best part of a decade on despite the inexpensive entry price for E60 M5s relative to the performance you’d get, they just seem like a nightmare to undertake ownership of. The answer, then, may be to find a lightly warmed over 550i:
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It is not hugely surprising that the RWB 993 was a bit polarizing; understandable given the now near cult-status of the 993 and the extreme crafting of the body. Today I have a different modified 993 to look at; this time, instead of a Carrera 2 we’re looking at a 911 Turbo that has been externally modified to look like a Ruf but it’s no poser with a claimed 659 rear wheel horsepower. Is this sacrilegious too, or are the modifications just right here?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Porsche 911 Turbo on eBay
Since new, the Volkswagen Corrado has been the object of desire of many a VW enthusiast – each with a long list of modifications that they’d perform. When the price began to drop on used examples, those dreams started turning to reality and a few years on, we now regularly see these modified Corrados pop up for sale. Some of them are really done well even if a bit over the top like the supercharged 1992 I wrote up last Spring; others are intriguing but probably would be more valuable if they had remained stock such as the 1992 I looked at last Fall. Nevertheless, in the world of tuned Volkswagens there don’t seem to be any more proud owners of these modified sport coupes and another tuned example – this time turbocharged – has popped up for sale:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Volkswagen Corrado SLC Turbo on eBay
In the 1980s and early 1990s, Dinan was still on the cutting edge of performance tuning. As with Reeves Callaway, Steve Dinan had started turbocharging BMWs to create supercar-slaying sedans and coupes. At that point, Dinan was a lesser-known tuner than the likes of Alpina and Hartge, but the results of their turbocharging the S38 in the BMW M6 notably gained the car the nickname “The Annihilator”. That should tell you something of the level to which Dinan Cars brings their creations to whilst retaining the original attributes of the base car. It’s a special combination that resulted in Dinan being incorporated into the BMW dealer network; today, cruise down to your dealership and you can buy Dinan products and software upgrades for just about any model and retain your warranty. Because of that connection, an appreciation for early Dinan cars continues to grow though in general they remain more affordable than their German tuner counterparts. They are, however, just as rare to come across – especially when they come in the condition of today’s 1991 535i, one of the last of Dinan’s inline-6 turbo creations:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW 535i Dinan Turbo on GCFSB
I know that we don’t spend much time on newer Mercedes-Benz products. Well, truth told we don’t spend much time on any newer cars. There are a few reasons; for one, they’re more readily available. I mean, pop on eBay right now and you can have your choice of color, transmission, year, wheel selection and packages of any newer Porsche, BMW, Audi or Mercedes-Benz. So it takes something special for them to stand out a bit for us to take notice. Unfortunately, in my mind most newer Mercedes-Benz models stick out for all of the wrong reasons. Have you ever seen one of those commercials for a local ‘Octoberfest’ celebration? Predictably, they have some poor interpretation of an Oom-pah band in traditional clothing playing a semi-Germanic tune. It always seems a bit forced, much like humor coming from a native German. To me, the newer Mercedes-Benz products are like those commercials. “Ja, of course vee are German!” they seem to shout – while to me, the still retain vestiges of the merger with Chrysler. They’re a bit ostentatious, and while I know they’re motivated by some serious Nimitz-class firepower it just doesn’t really make them appealing to me.
It wasn’t always this way. Go back a generation or two and the cars were still much more refined. I wouldn’t describe them all as the most attractive cars that were on the market, but they retained the understated approach that made Mercedes-Benz famous. In fact, you had to bring your Merc to a tuner to make it ostentatious back in the 1990s. One of the best at making over-the-top Mercedes back then was Brabus. So what do you get when you take an already over-the-top CLS63 AMG and let bonkers Brabus breath on it today?