Two Visions of the Future: 1963 BMW 700 LS and 1990 BMW Z1

Normally, our dual posts have two comparable cars to consider. But while typically that manifests itself in one model, one price point or one performance group, today it’s something very different.

Although both of today’s cars come from one marque – BMW – there is literally and figuratively a huge chasm of development between them. There’s also a vast gulf between performance, desirability and price. Yet each reflected the time point in which it was made; the austere 1960s, emerging from the fog of war into a bustling economy when average Germans could for the first time contemplate automobile ownership, and the exotic 1980s, with its new computer designs and technology rapidly forcing car designs forward. For the company, each car represented the future in many ways even if the results and their impact was so vastly different.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1963 BMW 700LS on eBay

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Signal Yellow 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4

I had one thought when I first saw this 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4: “Please let it be Signal Yellow.” From the thumbnail it looked like it might be, but lighting and small pictures can deceive and don’t always yield what appears at first glance.

It is Signal Yellow.

Like many of Porsche’s vintage pastels Signal Yellow is a long time favorite and one of the colors that always will attract my notice. Though it doesn’t always work as well on modern Porsches as it did on the early models on which it debuted. A while back I featured a Signal Yellow GT3 and while the color looked great on that car, it just wasn’t quite as great as on an early 911. It’s the lack of contrasts. Those early cars had chromes and blacks on various exterior pieces that complemented well that bright yellow paint. The GT4 is similar to the GT3 in that regard, but the color still looks really good and its brightness combines well with the spirit of the machine to produce a phenomenal result.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Signal Yellow 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 on eBay

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1999 Mercedes-Benz G500 Cabriolet

Another week, another G-Wagen. Last week it was the crazy G55 AMG limousine and the week before that it was the short wheelbase G500 for sale in the UK. Today, we have another short wheelbase G but as you might have noticed, this one has a little extra feature. This is a 1999 G500 Cabriolet that was federalized by Europa (read more here about them) for sale in New Jersey with a little over 65,000 miles. It’s a no-frills G outside of that slick power top that will make any Wrangler or Defender owner as jealous as can be. But the price, are you sitting down?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 Mercedes-Benz G500 Cabriolet on eBay

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1983 Volkswagen GTI

Over the last few weeks, we’ve gotten to see the rewards of a new trend in water-cooled Volkswagens. For a long time, years if not decades in fact, if you wanted a clean A1-up chassis your only hope was that you’d stumble across an unknowing candidate. But the advent of the internet and a greater appreciation for 1980s automobile designs has finally resulted in a market where it’s become possible to restore these cars and not (entirely) lose your shirt. What does that look like? Well, we’ve seen some lightly restored Sciroccos bring pretty good money:

Wild or Mild? Double Take: 1978 and 1980 Volkswagen Sciroccos

But what about the heavy-hitter from Volkswagen? The GTI has name recognition outside of the brand; heck, even outside of European cars. Guys with Camaros and Ram Trucks know what a GTI is. They may not like it, but often I think they respect the hot hatch. As a result, outside of mega-clean Sciroccos and camper vans, GTIs have generally been the best bet for bringing strong money at an auction and if you were hoping for a resto-flip, it’s the likely candidate to choose to come out on top:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Volkswagen GTI on eBay

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1994 Porsche 911 Turbo S Flatnose with 162,905 miles

Typically when we make a fuss about a car’s mileage it’s because it’s some insanely low-mileage garage queen or barn find. While we may all wonder how the owner could have such a great car and never drive it, the collectors go in a frenzy for the chance at such a rare time capsule. We see a lot of those cars; they’re neat to see.

This one probably is actually more rare. Start with one of the rarest models Porsche has produced: the 1994 Porsche 911 Turbo S Flatnose. Only 76 in total were produced worldwide with only 39 making it to the US. Then drive it. Then keep driving it. And drive it some more. Over the first ten years of its life this Turbo S was driven seemingly how any other car would have been driven putting on an average of around 14K miles per year. That’s your typical daily driver. Can you imagine the immense joy that would come from having such a car as your daily driver?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Porsche 911 Turbo S Flatnose on eBay

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1999 Mercedes-Benz S500 with 6,101 miles

Who says you can’t go back in time? I think all of us at one point or another wish we could go back in time. Sure, we’d take care of all the things we regret in life but after taking care of that I think I know where the majority of us would turn: cars. Some might hurry and snag up cars that were cheap for a period of time but now are very expensive (I’m looking at your air-cooled 911s and E30 M3s) while other might go back and experience cars when they were factory fresh. A time when the problems of leaking valve cover gaskets and ripped leather seats didn’t exist. Well today, we are in luck with this car. This is a 1999 Mercedes-Benz S500 with just 6,101 miles. That’s it, an average of a little under 340 miles a year. Some of us drive that in a week. The thing is, this just isn’t a run-of-the-mill W140, the interior in this car is something I very rarely see. What is it?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 Mercedes-Benz S500 with 6,101 miles on eBay

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1987 Porsche 911 Carrera Carat by Duchatelet Cabriolet

What do we have here? This 911 is really rare and I’ll admit I was a little stumped by the designer until after some searching. This is a Black 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet with a Carat by Duchatelet interior. It’s located in New Jersey and has only 48,000 miles on it thanks to hanging around in storage for more than a decade.

So who is Duchatelet? A company out of Belgium well-known for their Carat by Duchatelet high-end interior work performed principally on Mercedes-Benz and Rolls-Royce cars of the ’80s. Apparently they also worked on Porsches. From the outside their designs are pretty subtle, so much so that when I first was looking through these pictures I couldn’t figure out what was so unique about it. When you get to the interior, it all becomes quite clear!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera Carat by Duchatelet Cabriolet on eBay

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1988 BMW 535is “M535i” Clone

As I mentioned in the M635CSi post recently, some of the confusion about these “M” branded models came from the nomenclature between the E24 and E28. While the M6 and M5 co-existed in the United States market, they did not in Europe. This left the M635CSi to be the equivalent of the M6. But the same was not true of the M535i. This model was sold as a more affordable alternative to the M5; most of the look of the Motorsports model but without the bigger bills associated with the more exotic double overhead cam 24 valve M88/3. Instead, you got a 3.4 liter M30 under the hood just like the rest of the .35 models. The recipe was a success, selling around 10,000 examples in several different markets – but never in the U.S..

Instead, the U.S. market received the 535iS model. The iS model was specific to the North American market and gave you the look of the U.S.-bound M5, with deeper front and rear spoilers, M-crafted sport suspension and sport seats. It, too, was quite popular – between 1987 and 1988, just over 6,000 examples sold in the United States alone, and of those, a little more than half were the preferred manual variant. One of the nice aspects of the 535iS was that if you enjoyed colors other than black you were able to order the lesser model in any shade you wanted, unlike the M5.

Today’s 535iS is a bit special, as it’s combined the two models into one in an exhaustive recreation of a European market M535i starting with a Zinnoberrot 535iS:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M535i on eBay

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1973 Porsche 911S Coupe

I wasn’t really looking for this 911, but it was impossible to pass by. This actually makes two straight posts of 911s too striking and pretty to ignore. Here we see a Gold Metallic 1973 Porsche 911S Coupe, located in Massachusetts, with Tan leatherette interior and a claimed 71,721 miles on it. It has sports seats and a sunroof. It also is said to be well documented with records going back to its inception. It looks stunning!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1973 Porsche 911S Coupe on Excellence Magazine

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2.Slow Double Take: 1996 Volkswagen Jetta and 1998 Volkswagen GTI

I was thinking about how to relate my feelings about the first few generations of water-cooled small VWs, and I came up with the analogy of the BBC Doctor Who! reboot in the 2000s. The first generation was Christopher Eccleston; edgy, completely different from the prior generations with a fresh face, impossible not to view with a smile but also something you didn’t completely trust. The second generation? David Tennant took ‘The Doctor’ to new levels of popularity; more refined, more fun and with an infectious smile, he was quirky but somehow much easier to live with than Eccleston had been. He also developed a rabid fan base that consider him the best (this author included) even if he had some faults.

Then came Matt Smith. There’s certainly a fanbase who appreciates Smith’s rounder, softer and…well, weird portrayal of the Doctor. I’m not a fan personally, and often find myself pleading with other Who watchers to go back farther because the earlier variations were much, much better. Yet floppy and oddly proportioned, Smith was nonetheless very popular and took the show to a wider audience. See the Mk.3 VW.

Not really the best at anything aside from being pretty expensive relative to its contemporaries, the 2.0 inline-4 ABA-equipped VW’s nonetheless outsold the prior versions. The were poorly built and even more poorly owned; this was clearly a move towards disposable automobiles for the company, and it worked. I never really got the appeal of the third generation until I somewhat reluctantly owned one. And you know what? It wasn’t as good-looking as my ’86 Golf was to me, but in every aspect it was better. It was more reliable (amazingly), got better mileage, had a nicer interior, was faster and had both heated seats AND air con. And both worked! Plus it had fog lights and more stuff fit inside. In short, it was just better at being a car.

While I still don’t lust after Mk.3 VWs, I can appreciate them much more when I see them today. They’re affordable and fun transport that’s quite efficient. In 1993 they felt huge compared to their predecessors. But today? They’re downright tiny. And though this duo has high mileage, they don’t often come to market looking anything like these two anymore:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen Jetta on eBay

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