A few weeks ago I looked at a 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300CE that I felt was really well priced. Granted, the car did have some cosmetic issues as well as over 230,000 miles on it. Still, under $3,000 for a presentable W124 Coupe is a good deal in the grand scheme of things. Today, I want to look at another W124 Coupe, but as you might have noticed by the photo it is much nicer than the car from two weeks ago. This 1994 E320 Coupe up for sale in California has just a little over 80,000 miles and looks every bit the part. The price? Well, you aren’t going to be able to take this one home for $3,000. Not even close.
I would like to make an argument for subtlety and I will use this 911 as my cue. Granted this is still a 911 so it’s not like we’re talking about a sleeper sedan or something of that sort. But within the realm of backdated 911 builds I do think this one has taken a much more subtle approach and the result might just be my favorite of the bunch. There are no decals, there is no ducktail spoiler, there are no fancy Recaro seats in the interior. It isn’t crazy wide or a wild color. This 911 is built in such a way that those with only passing familiarity with the car might not even realize it has been modified at all. I think there is appeal in that.
The 911 design is a beautiful design on its own even when stripped of many of its more aggressive cues. These are performance cars, there’s no doubt about that, but that pedigree doesn’t always need to be shouted. Sometimes simply letting an attractive design look its best is enough to stop observers in their tracks. And I do think this 911 accomplishes that quite well. It’s well balanced, appearing both elegant and sporty, maximizing the better parts of the long-hood 911 and the 3.2 Carrera to produce something that might be better than either one on its own.
Fresh off last weeks bit of random Mercedes-Benz facts about the 1990 300E that came in both a 2.8 and 3.2 liter, I’m back again with some information that might be useful every once in a blue moon. From 1990 to 1993, you could purchase a 300SL with a dogleg 5-speed manual gearbox. Yes, the same dogleg from the 190E 2.3-16v cars. You might think this is the best news ever, but not so fast. This gearbox in this car has often be described as sloppy at best and really isn’t an enjoyable experience. The throws are long and vague, with any hope of fast gear changes being wishful at best. Rumor has it that there were only 166 examples of these 5-speed cars bought to North America which make this a pretty rare car to say the least. But if no one wants it, does this make it valuable?
A fair chunk of the collector world shrugs their shoulders when an Audi rolls by. There are some exceptions, obviously; the Quattro and Sport Quattro have gained notoriety, and of course because it was touched by Stuttgart, the RS2 still has some serious street cred.
Pull up in this RS4, though, and most would have a tough time telling it apart from the 1.8T with vape clouds billowing from the windows. Their dismissal would be unfortunate, because the B5 RS4 is a serious machine. Quattro GmbH turned to corporate partner Cosworth Engineering to modify the 2.7 liter V6 twin-turbo, and the result was pretty astonishing for 2000: 375 horsepower in a manual wagon! Audi’s skunkwork quattro GmbH then gave the car a fitting set of modifications, from a unique interior with Recaro seats to wider track and flares – and, of course, the gaping guppy lower grills. Produced in low numbers, it’s even more rare to see in the United States since none were imported here originally.
Yet a few individuals have gone through the effort of Federalizing their RS4, and when they come up for sale it’s cause for a celebration!
I’ve featured the 911 Speedster quite a bit over the years. Enough so that these days they usually only catch my eye when there’s something pretty unique about them. While I like them a lot, and love the original 356 Speedster, there’s a degree to which they all blend together and are more or less the same: Black, White, or Red with very low miles and seemingly pristine condition. There’s little more to say than, “Here’s another 911 Speedster for sale.”
The version produced for the 964 is itself a little more unique. It’s narrow body reminds us much more of the original 356 compared with the Turbo-bodied 3.2 Carrera-based 911 Speedster. The color palette also appears to be more diverse, though that may be anecdotal rather than based on actual production. There are still plenty of Red, White, and Black.
This one shines through those colors like a beacon beckoning you to drive it. And driven it has been! Here we have a Speed Yellow 1994 Porsche 911 Speedster, located in St. Louis, with factory painted sport seats and 81,516 miles on it. 81K miles may not seem like much for a car that’s nearly 25 years old, but for the Speedster, a 911 always coveted by collectors, it’s a good chunk of mileage.
About a month ago I checked out a really nice and really gold 1984 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC. That was a European-spec car with all the nice upgrades over the North American-spec’d cars at the time but as you might have guessed, carried a hefty price tag at $35,000. Today, we have another C126 that wasn’t originally destined for American in a 1990 560SEC. This car comes to California from Japan in a non-factory paint color and some other interesting touches. The price? Probably not as high as you might guess.
This 911 absolutely screams “Beach!” to me. Of course, with 580 hp coming from its 3.8 liter twin-turbocharged flat-six this Turbo S will scream just about anywhere. But all of that power isn’t really what attracted me. The 911 Turbo S is Porsche’s ultimate luxury performance machine and in Cabriolet form it certainly slants further to the luxury tourer side than a Coupe would. The power always will be there lurking beneath your right foot in case you ever need it, but for those who want all of that power and fewer amenities Porsche offers the GT2. That’s not what this 911 is about.
And it is in that regard that I think this Turbo S was put together quite well. There’s a nice attention to detail in this build and for those looking to cruise and be seen I don’t know that you’d find a better option from Porsche. This is a Miami Blue 2017 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet, located in Houston, with Chalk over Graphite Blue interior and 8,760 miles on it. With over 8K miles and barely a year old its previous owner certainly seems to have enjoyed it!
Recently, my mechanic picked up an interesting car. It’s a Golf GLS 2.0. Immediately, it’s a car that most will dismiss as being perhaps the least exciting Volkswagen produced in modern times, if not the least reliable. He tossed me the keys when I turned up with a broken front spring in the Passat (Thank you, Rhode Island Department of
Pothole Management Transportation) .
Stepping into the Mk.4 from the B5.5 Passat, you’ll feel instantly right at home. The two share a majority of switchgear and the layout is identical. However, the quality of the Golf is lower, and it’s immediately evident the moment you turn the key. There’s less noise isolation, there’s more plastic, and the feel of the car is not as refined as the Passat. There are fewer options, too.
However, there are redeeming qualities. I can get the 1.8T in my Passat to return well over 30 mpg. But, to get those numbers you really have to go easy on the throttle. Not so in the Golf, which returns well over 30 mpg seemingly regardless of what you do with the loud pedal. And though the Mk.4 has gained a reputation for being unreliable, what immediately struck me was that everything still worked. Cruise control, power mirrors, seat heaters, air conditioning, radio, sunroof – it was all working on this relatively loaded GLS model. That was especially curious when I looked at the odometer, because still on its original engine, his 2003 Golf had an almost unfathomable 273,000 miles on it – yet it looked, ran and drove like it had less than half that amount.
For a car he picked up for around a thousand dollars, I’m not sure what more you could ask, so I decided to keep an eye out for one to pop up. It did, in nearly the same configuration as my mechanics. Except it is the more desirable turbo diesel model, known for going ultra long distances on nearly no fuel. So is this the one to get?
To this point, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen the E39 M5 referred to as the “first of the robot-builts”. Sound ridiculous? So does dismissing a car because it was produced in mass quantities. While the original run of 4- and 6-cylinder M-cars got the trend rolling, there are quite a few who’d argue that the recipe of the super-saloon was better achieved in the third generation M5 rather than the first two. It was still very understated, yet with 400 horsepower and instant torque it was quite a bit faster than the prior generations had been. It retained the ability to demolish back roads, keep up with super cars, and bath its occupants in luxury. Despite not being assembled ‘by hand’, it was also the last of the “analogue” M5s, with limited computer intervention and interface. And, they only came as manuals. This certainly sounds like a recipe for success.
It was. BMW sold nearly 10,000 E39 M5s in North America – triple the combined total of the E28 and E34 models. So there should be a lot of really great examples out there to consider. Yet many are starting to come to market with upwards of 150,000 miles a a laundry list of maintenance to catch up on. Where does a low-mileage example fall these days? This beautiful Royal Red one in California gives us a clue:
Buried underneath all of my posts of brightly-colored Porsches exists a seeming enigma: my undying love of black cars. I don’t care if some think they’re boring; heck, my wife thinks they’re boring! Nothing will make me stop in my tracks more quickly than a well cared for black sports coupe. Sure, show me something in a wild color and I’ll definitely stop and look, but I don’t know if I’ll really lust after it. I can’t explain these reactions. This is just how it is.
Which brings me to this car: a 2011 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS, located in Chicago, with 22,413 miles on it. We can’t really call this completely blacked out since the interior is tan, but with the black GTS wheels and a beautiful looking black exterior it really looks phenomenal. As a 911 for cruising somewhat unnoticed it would make for a fantastic choice. Oh, and it has a 6-speed manual transmission, something that is not easy to find on these 911s. I’m in love.