I get really excited when I come across a nice W116 Mercedes-Benz. Full disclosure, it is probably because I own one and enjoy it a lot. When I caught a glimpse of this 1973 450SEL up for sale in Chicago, my ears really perked up. Being a 1973, the first year for the W116 in North America, it meant that this car had its proper slim bumpers and not the diving boards they put on these cars from 1974 to 1980. Not only that, but I saw some red leather peeking out from inside the car. Now I was really interested! Come to find out, this 450SEL had just 54,000 miles on and looks to be in exceptional shape. Of course the gears in my head started turning and I started to guess how much this prime example was going to command. When I found out, I wasn’t too surprised, but I also knew that this car wasn’t going to be a quick sale just because of what the W116 is.
Like more than a few Audi fans, my love affair with the S8 now spans 20 years since it first ‘shoved’ its way into my imagination via the thriller Ronin. It still seems to have set the bar for the most epic and reasonably realistic car chase movies out there, though Bullitt gets more attention and notoriety. That the S8 then came to the U.S. three years later made the dream more of a potential reality. Unfortunately, the S8 stickered for $78,000; approximately $76,000 more than my typical budget for Audis. It might have been geographically closer, but ownership was still a long way off.
Thanks to depreciation in the luxury market, though, over the past two decades these mega-S models have come tantalizingly closer to a price point that I can afford. But I’ve owned cheap executive Audis before a few times, and…well, it’s seldom a great idea. As the addage goes, ‘there’s nothing more expensive than a cheap (insert brand name here)’, and that certainly can apply to the S8. So while it’s very tempting to
briefly consider repeatedly look at that $2,000 example on my local Craigslist, the logical side of me says the one to get is one that’s been gone through. One, perhaps, just like this Cashmere Gray Metallic example:
I wasn’t sure I wanted to post another yellow 911. I’ve come across a lot that I’ve liked lately and while I might love the color, it’s definitely way too bright for most people. The appeal is somewhat limited and that’s not exactly what I’m going for here. In the end, I couldn’t pass this up. It’s probably my favorite Porsche color and the GT3 RS is my favorite of the water-cooled models. It’s also been spec’d pretty nicely and in a manner I might choose myself. As an ultimate 911 it’s close to perfect.
This is a paint-to-sample Signal Yellow 2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS with radio delete, a whole host of deviated stitching in the interior, and 3,055 miles on it. While perhaps a strange thing to say about a car at this price, I also think it is priced very reasonably.
Last week I checked out probably one my favorite R129s, a 2000 SL500 Designo that everyone else seemed to enjoy too with its unique paint and interior color combination. Well, turns out we weren’t the only one who fawned over this unique SL. Recently decrowned richest person in the world, Bill Gates, seemed to have an eye for this R129 too. According to this seller, this 2000 SL500 up for sale in Silicon Valley no less, was originally owned by the Gates for the first two years of its life. This is wonderful and all, but unlike the car I checked out last week, I’m not totally in love with this specific example. Let me explain why.
A funny thing has been happening recently: I’ve begun to be attracted to the 996. The general design is one I never was a fan of during production and I can’t say those feelings ever changed. Yet here I am unable to take my eyes off of another 996. I do think there are some caveats. It is the slightly altered bodywork of the Turbo, the C4S, and the GT3 that I find very good looking. The standard 996 design still leaves me cold. And the interior is still mostly terrible. But I do find the peculiarities of the design and the way those come through on certain models to be quite alluring. They aren’t clean lines and I actually like that. The 997 certainly fixed much of this, and the 991 extended that even further, but perhaps it all became too clean. Perhaps following upon the beauty of the 993 Porsche thought they needed to make things a little uglier, a little more interesting. I don’t know, but I’m starting to think it worked.
Update 2/12/18: A year after we originally featured it, this ultra-rare S6 Plus is back with 1,000 more miles for $500 less. It’s still a steep price for one of these super-S models, but it’s pretty hard to find them at all, never mind like this.
Audi’s sleeper sedan squared up against some seriously stiff competition in the early 1990s, and to be frank, though it was innovative it came up a bit short in the power department. In turbocharged 20 valve form, the 2.2 liter inline-5 cranked out 227 horsepower and 258 lb.ft of torque. That was impressive by 1980s standards, but in the early 90s you needed to carry a bigger stick. BMW’s E34 M5 brought nearly 100 horsepower more to the party at 311 with the revised 3.6 (and yes, it had more torque than the AAN, too), but Mercedes-Benz really crashed the party with the E500, whose M119 held a full 100 horsepower and 100 lb.ft of torque advantage over the Audi. You could be as clever as you wanted, but a 50% power disadvantage was a bridge too far to cross for the legendary 5 pot no matter how many wheels were driven.
The writing was on the wall, and Audi decided to offer an upgraded V8 model alongside the S4 in the rest of the world. Starting in October 1992, you could select the same ABH 276 horsepower 32V 4.2 liter all-aluminum V8 in the S4. The switch to S6 saw the introduction of the revised AEC, which gained 10 horsepower for the 1995 model year and would continue to be the standard V8 in the S6 until production ended. But the big new was the 1996 introduction from Audi’s skunkworks quattro GmbH of the Plus model.
The Plus upped the ante quite a bit with the reworked AHK V8. Though it displaced the same 4.2 liters and had the same 32 valves, the breathed on motor had 322 horsepower and 302 lb.ft of torque. Power was matched with upgraded suspension, brakes, wheels and some small “Plus” badge details – this was still the decade of stealthy performance, after all. Few who look at this model would see anything other than a C4 sitting on slightly larger wheels. But for those in the know, this was one of the most potent super sedans (and wagons!) of the 1990s:
After seemingly going a while without seeing one it now appears Turbolook 911s are all coming out of the woodwork. I’ve posted a couple that I particularly liked, one of which specifically because it was a coupe as those still aren’t coming around very often. It is still the case that most of those we see are the earlier, and slightly less desirable, models with the 915 5-speed transmission. There are fewer of the later G50 transmission models with the ’89MY naturally leading the way in rarity.
But here we have one of those later models. It’s not a Coupe, but still has plenty of appeal in its own right: a paint-to-sample Marine Blue Metallic 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa with the M491 package and 81,713 miles on it.
Normally I would post this car as one of our Motorsports Monday posts, but since this listing is set to end on Monday that wouldn’t be terribly effective. So today will have to do. Regardless, I expect it still will be available after Monday as well.
This model should need little introduction, but for those unfamiliar with them this is 1 of the 45* U.S. Edition 964 Carrera Cup cars Porsche imported in 1992. The idea was that these cars would all compete in support races for the CART series. Alas, sponsorship for the series couldn’t be secured and these cars were left without a purpose. Porsche, however, had other ideas, converted them to road legal specs, and sold them to customers anyway. In most ways these served as a replacement for the Carrera RS, which the US never received. As the ad below notes some of those were returned to race trim with full roll cage and stripped interior. This is one of those cars.
*A quick about the numbers: there were 45 Carrera Cup cars imported for the race series, so I’m not quite sure what the 1 of 25 mentioned in the ad is in reference to. Perhaps the number of cars reverted to race trim?
The Audi C1 may have introduced the United States to the concept of a large, luxurious…well, Volkswagen…but time hasn’t exactly been kind to its legacy. Every time one comes up for sale, immediately stories will emerge of how one caught on fire, or left someone stranded, or was difficult to maintain, or just plain broke and was left to die. From a generation where cars rarely reached 100,000 miles before their untimely death, the 100 was an interesting addition to the range of German cars available to the public, though not particularly memorable for anything innovative, unique, or superlative. Yet they signaled a new direction for Volkswagen’s range, and would go on to be an important part of establishing Audi’s foothold in the market.
The new B-range and C-range cars ostensibly replaced the NSU offerings like the 1967 TT, and Neckarsulm plant formed the backbone of the new production. Because of their visual similarity to the storied Mercedes-Benz W123, many often believe Audi just copied the Daimler design; however, when the W123 rolled out for production, the C1 was nearly done and due to be replaced with the C2 only two years later. Married with Porsche dealerships, the new Audi products sold remarkably well, especially considering their pricing. At nearly $8,000 in the mid-70s, you weren’t far off the established norm of American luxury cars like the Lincoln Continental. But this car didn’t have the features, or the ‘Murican V8, of those hulks. Still, Audi dealers managed to sell an impressive 146,583 before the new C2 5000 took over in the 1977-1978 model year.
Few of these 100LSs have survived the test of time, because for so long they’ve been considered an also-ran. For some time a friend of mine had arguably the nicest one in the United States, and he couldn’t sell it in the mid-single digits. Then last year something strange just a few weeks ago. His exact car sold at auction for $17,750. Has the world gone crazy? It’s no surprise that, immediately following that auction, here comes another pristine survivor 100LS:
Earlier this week I checked out a great 2000 Mercedes-Benz SL500 with some Designo touches that hit all the right buttons for me. Today, we have another Mercedes-Benz convertible with some Designo treatment, but this one is a little bit different. What we are looking at is a 2003 CLK430 finished in Designo Mocca Black paint with Designo light brown leather interior. I think the thing about the W208 is that it wasn’t really great at anything. It had the enormous task of replacing the W124 Cabriolet that was and still is an outstanding car in more ways than one, but the first-generation CLK Cabriolet was strange mash-up of W202 and W210 parts. Yes, it looked fresh at the time and had a lot of modern updates for its era, but at the end of the day you could really feel that the quality just wasn’t there like the W124. That doesn’t mean it is a bad car, but rather one that you knew from the beginning what you going to get out of it: an average experience.