Euro cars always hold a special appreciation for me, especially from the 1970s and 1980s. First off, they were much better looking, generally with slimmer bumpers and larger, more clear class lights. There were colors and interiors that we didn’t get in the U.S. as well, helping to set yourself apart. Sometimes there were low-spec engines not imported, but usually the output of the motors that were similar to U.S. cars was higher, giving more performance to enthusiasts. Sometimes that gulf was huge; while usually around 10% higher, a great example is the Quattro which was a full 25% more powerful in Europe than the U.S. restricted version. But as we got towards the late ’80s, the gap inbetween both the looks and performance of the Euro models versus the U.S. models closed steadily. True, in some cases we still didn’t get the full-fat versions of cars like the M3 until the E46 chassis. But for most models, there was a negligible difference. When it came to the BMW E31, in fact, there were almost no differences between the U.S. models and European models; styling was exactly the same, as were the wheels, most of the colors and interiors, and the basic suspension and engine. So, it’s just not nearly as exciting to see a European-spec newer model like this ’91 850i pop up for sale, though it is a bit odd:
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There were a few things missing from the earlier Alpina E21 post; notably, some of the details of the car were missing like the all important unique engine, suspension, and documentation that would help support the story of its existence. The same cannot be said for this car. Let’s go down the list of what makes this car really and truly special. First, it’s one of the last of the classic 560SECs made. Already these cars are appreciating in value, but this car also has quite low miles at only 37,500 covered since new. That low total is matched by near perfect condition inside and out. But the real value lies in the modifications; super tuner AMG, on its way into the Mercedes-Benz fold, went out with a roar with the M117/9 6.0 32 valve V8 pushing nearly 400 horsepower. While that may seem trite today, the numbers produced by the AMGs in the 1980s were enough to get your into the halls of true supercar royalty. Additionally, this car features with wild widebody kit, massive 3-piece BBS/AMG wheels and some wicked interior alterations. On top of that, there’s documentation to support it – does it get more collectable in the AMG world?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC AMG 6.0 Widebody on eBay
Provenance is something very important to many consumer goods; slap a brand name on any good and it increases the value of an otherwise ordinary product exponentially even if it’s the same formula as the budget no-name product. People are attracted to names that they recognize, and of course therefore more likely to buy those products even if they are more expensive. And in the BMW world, if 1980s BMWs were increasing in value that takes a backseat to the microscope on Alpina models. Yet, as with many tuners of the 1980s, not only is it possible to buy replica parts today, but even in period you could buy all of the pieces and slap them on just about any car. In those cases, though outwardly they look identical at times to the “real” cars that were assembled at the factories, they don’t tend to hold the same value. That’s why today’s European-spec 1982 320i is an interesting case – is it an Alpina?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 BMW 320i Alpina on eBay
While it’s not unusual to see the same car pop up more than once on these pages, usually we see new listings when over a year has passed. Yet the customized, Laguna Seca Blue supercharged 1992 Volkswagen Corrado SLC from last year is back with nearly the same listing and only a slight drop in price just over one year later with no claimed miles accrued. We also get effectively no updated photos and no interior shots. While it’s not to everyone’s taste, is $9,800 still too much for the amount of work that went in to this coupe?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Volkswagen Corrado VR6 Supercharged on eBay
The below post originally appeared on our site March 4, 2014:
Well, GCFSB faithful, “ExoticCarsJapan” has provided us with a bit of a headscratcher today. I’m continually mystified by the seemingly endless amount of original and perfect condition Alpina, Hartge, AMG and Ruf cars that come out of Japan. It’s as if they were all bought and stuck in a storage container, awaiting their certain increase in value. And right now, it doesn’t get much hotter than the E30 market is in terms of number of people interested and number of cars coming to the market. Like some of the rare Alpina models we’ve previously covered, here’s a real-deal Hartge. The strange part, from what I can tell however, is the badge which matches the VIN plate – it reads H26 SP. What’s strange about that is that this car appears to be slightly different than most of the H26s – and I can’t find any actual information on the H26 SP: