All posts in Tuner Tuesday

Tuner Tuesday: 1982 BMW 628CSi Convertible with 11,000 Miles

While tuners like Ruf, Alpina and AMG captured the hearts and minds of performance-oriented enthusiasts in the 1980s, turning normal or even fast versions of standard cars into custom creations capable of supercar levels of performance, others took a very different route. The affluence of the 1980s coupled with the near extinction of convertibles between the mid to late 1970s meant that there was an active community of aftermarket companies ripping the tops off everything from Ferraris to Fords. Some of the companies are more notable; in the BMW world, for example, companies like Baur enjoyed a long history of converting coupes to convertibles for the firm, but there were new companies giving it a go, too – Oldenburg, RPM, ABC Exclusive, Schulz, and Lorenz & Rankl all made custom drop-top version of the E24. It was neither cheap nor pretty to remove the roof structure; look under this 628CSi and you’ll find giant steel girders welded to the floor for support. And while the mechanisms for the top varied by design, non of them every looked completely at home top up or down. The origin of this particular conversion isn’t clear from the listing; the seller mentions Euler but they were better known for a custom E23 Touring we previously featured. One thing is for sure; this convertible Euro-spec 628CSi is surely a rare bit of kit:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 BMW 628CSi Convertible on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC AMG Widebody

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:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC AMG on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1989 Alpina B10 3.5/1

Alpina is a name which holds as much weight in enthusiast’s minds as names like AMG and Ruf, and for good reason. Since the infancy of BMW’s mainstream involvement in both motorsports and road cars, Alpina has been intrinsically linked to the marque and has developed some of the more memorable fast alternatives to BMW’s own M series. They have a different character; you could say they were less aggressive, but the signature Alpina Blue with large turbine wheels, character stripes and spoilers paired often with the combination of specially upholstered interiors replete with rich woods results in a package that many view is more special than the standard production cars. Their complete reworking of models right down to special engines and suspensions has resulted in a bespoke BMW made in limited quantities and with its own unique character:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Alpina B10 3.5/1 on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1968 Volkswagen Beetle

For all the Alpinas, AMGs and Andials we might feature, there is one German cars that has remained a favorite of automotive customizers for years: the original Volkswagen Beetle. There’s an infinite amount of ways you can go with Beetle modifications, from dune buggy to dragsters. One popular modification is the Cal Look, consisting of a lowered suspension, aftermarket wheels and sometimes removal of the bumpers. This freshly restored 1968 Beetle for sale in Arizona has shades of that style, but retains the original bumpers. Wearing a bold shade, it looks great sitting on Empi style wheels.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1968 Volkswagen Beetle on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 190E AMG Widebody

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

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