A couple days ago I featured a 911 that had undergone a bit of a transformation into what we might best describe as an off-roader. I thought it seemed like a potentially interesting project, but in its present condition seemed somewhat incomplete. The pricing also didn’t seem great all things considered.
Here we can look at something similar though nearly the opposite. This is a Burgundy Metallic 1977 Porsche 911S Targa and unlike the 911S Safari, as it was dubbed, this one appears in nearly original condition, was under long-term ownership, has very low mileage, and looks pristine. At its best, this is what a mid-year 911 can look like. As I noted in the Safari post, the general lack of desirability of these models makes them good candidates for unique projects. With this one maybe we’ll see just where the market presently lies for an original example.
Yesterday I looked at 1992 Mercedes-Benz 300E for the pure fact that is it the Sportline option that is pretty rare. Though Mercedes made about four billion W124 300Es, it feels like almost none of them are Sportline. Well, when it rains it pours, because I happen to come across the even rarer 1992 230CE Sportline. Before everyone rushes down to the comments and starts typing ”If only it had a manual transmission!”, hold your fingers, because it does. We North Americans were not graced with this model and surely never in the 5-speed even if it had come, so this one is a rare bird to say the least. Somehow, this 230CE Sportline is up for bid outside of Chicago. I just wish it was a better example.
Last week I went back-to-back with Mercedes-Benz V8 W124s with a high-mileage 500E and a 400E that ended up selling to one of our readers. I thought the 400E was a hell of a buy for the price it went for and probably one of the better deals I’ve seen in a while. Today, I figured I would round out the W124 sedan lineup with a 1992 300E. As you might have noticed by the title, this isn’t a standard 300E but rather the 300E Sportline. I’ve gone over what makes the Sportline special about a year ago, but the short of it is a bunch of suspension and steering changes along with a few interior bits to make this car feel, well, sporty. Sadly, no engine changes from the standard 3.0 liter M103, but you take what you can get when it comes to special editions and Mercedes-Benz. This example up for bid in Phoenix isn’t the most pristine Sportline I’ve come across, but it is rare enough to re-visit. As for the price, I think this one can be had for very little money.
Update 9/13/18: This 1991 Audi 200 20V quattro sold for $7,900
Although 60 Minutes had disasterous effects on its U.S. sales, the confabulation by the television program failed to halt Audi’s rapid developments in the late 1980s. First to launch was the V8 quattro in 1988. Although we wouldn’t see the model emerge until late ’89 as a 1990 model year car, Europeans got a jump start on Audi’s top-tier luxury performance sedan. However, Audi simultaneously upgraded the 200 model with a new performance version, and in 1989 launched the DOHC 20V version of the model. This car sat in between the V8 and normal 200, with the familiar 2.2 liter turbocharged inline-5 just where you’d expect it but now with more spunk. Producing 217 horsepower and 228 lb.ft of torque, it was down on grunt to the PT V8’s 240/258. However, at 3,350 lbs, it was also down on weight nearly 600 lbs and equipped solely with a 5-speed manual, and consequently the 200 20V could scoot to 60 in around 6.5 seconds and the boost didn’t run out until 150 mph. The V8 and 200 20V shared some bits, such as the front “UFO” floating rotor design, forged 7.5″ BBS wheels and some interior trim, as well as the obvious body similarities. However, the two cars had remarkably different character and driving styles thanks to their drivetrain and engine differences.
Both have become hard to find in today’s market; the V8 because of expensive repairs, and the 200 because of scarcity and parts pilfering. Because the 3B came only in the 200 to these shores, plenty have been used as a basis to build S2 clones or upgrade an older 4000 quattro chassis. Audi claims they built a total of 4,767 sedans and 1616 Avants worldwide, Audi sold around 1,200 total 200 20Vs here, with the vast majority being sedans like today’s example:
This is pretty much my favorite 911. I can’t say there is any particularly great reason it’s my favorite since there are probably more rare, more iconic, and better performing 911s in existence, but since the day I first saw one I’ve been in love. Some of the appeal for me is timing and because the 997 was the first GT3 RS sold in the US. Though it obviously was not the first RS entirely. There also is something about the 997 GT3 RS’s looks that I really like and prefer over newer models and, probably not surprisingly, over the 996 GT3 RS. And it’s Orange. When I say this is my favorite 911 I don’t just mean the 997 GT3 RS in general, but specifically the Orange over Black option that we see here. I have a model of one that my wife begrudgingly allows me to display on our bookshelf. I love it.
Here we have what happens to be a really nice looking example of these great cars and to make things even better it’s an example an owner actually has driven. Imagine that!
Perhaps 2019 will be the year of the E21? Along with the early 7-series E23, these relatively unloved BMWs remain solid values in the classic car world. Why? Well, it’s pretty simple. The E21 didn’t have the spunk of its E10 predecessor, nor the looks, power or handling of its E30 replacement. Even without those bookmarks, if you’re looking at late 70s to early 80s BMWs, the star power still is firmly planted in the E24 while the E12 and early E28s are more classic and practical. That leaves the E21 in a strange limbo of value, making it hard to justify restoration or keep miles off a clean chassis.
So herein lies this comparison; both Henna Red 1982 BMW 320is, I found a pretty clean light restoration candidate and a reasonably clean high mileage “S” package. Traditionally, the Sport package has always been the star in this Washington Generals lineup, so will that hold true today?
There isn’t a whole lot left to be said about the Mercedes-Benz W126 coupe and especially the 560SEC. But, I keep finding really nice examples of them for sale, so more words are needed. If you at the main body line in the photo above, you see how everything is perfect until you run into that big, clunky door handle. The designer of this car, the legendary Bruno Sacco, said that it is the only flaw in an otherwise nearly perfect design. Those door handles were not his idea, but rather the engineers that focused on safety and all the other stuff that ruins fun. Supposedly whatever the original design on paper was for this coupe wasn’t deemed safe and functional in a crash so they had to go with what you see today. Sacco even went as far as saying he wanted to have those door handles modified on his personal 560SEC just because it bugged him so much. I see his point and who am I to argue with the guy who designed some of the most iconic Mercedes ever?
Let’s get weird. I’ll admit, when I see a 911 my first thought has never been, “Alright, now how do we get that off road?” Granted we are nearing three decades since Porsche began offering all-wheel drive on the 911 so I suppose off-roading isn’t that far-fetched a pursuit. But still. The 911 we see here, a 1976 Porsche 911S converted to what the sellers have called ‘Safari’ configuration, doesn’t even have all-wheel drive yet here it is looking fully ready to trek through the savannas of Africa in search of the nearest lion.
Of course, the impetus for a build like this probably didn’t stem from some desire to go on safari in a 911, but rather from Porsche’s own rally exploits in the 911. Those exploits began early in the 911’s life and while rallying hasn’t really been Porsche’s forte they were quite competitive in those early years. I also understand the desire to have a 911 that stands well apart from the crowd. Not all racing is road racing and not all enjoyable driving must occur on smooth roads. For those looking for a 911 to take them to more obscure destinations an off-roader might be just the ticket.
I feel as if I have been neglectful. Truth be told I have not been overly enamored with a lot of the 911s I’ve been coming across lately. I think that is because I have been spending a lot more time looking at very nice (and very expensive) modern 911s, which has colored my view of many of the older examples that I typically hold so dear. When you spend day after day looking at pristine, never driven, garage kept, cars fewer than five years old it becomes easy to find flaws in older cars and dismiss them. But of course those older cars have more flaws! They’ve been driven and enjoyed and they are just older. Plain and simple.
These “flaws” shouldn’t dissuade me though and I’ll look a little closer. The one we see here, a Blue Metallic 1983 Porsche 911SC Coupe, I like quite a bit. I don’t know if I view it as pristine and “spectacular” as the seller, which isn’t too surprising, but it does look quite good and appears to be in very original condition. It isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t have to be perfect and that’s just fine.
Update 8/30/18: A year after I originally wrote this car up at $20,000, it is back on a no reserve auction format and should sell this time if someone clicks the opening bid point at $7,500.
A decade on from the takeover of Hans Glas GmbH, BMW put the Dingolfing production line and engineers to work on their new big coupe. This allowed them to build the design in-house, instead of subcontracting construction of the 2-door as they had with the E9 to Karmann. The E24 was released in 1976, and compared to the Glas V8 they had borrowed for their premium product in the late 1960s it was thoroughly modern. Paul Bracq penned the lines as he did for all BMWs of the period, and but while there was a strong family resemblance between the 3- ,5- ,6- and 7-series cars, the E24 was where the long, low lines and sweeping greenhouse worked the best.
While initially the car was introduced to the world with many of the items from the E9 carried over, the U.S. got a special one-off for its introduction year. The 630CSi was brought in 1977 with a D-Jetronic fuel injected version of the M30B30 which itself had also seen duty in the E9. With slightly lower compression and emissions equipment fitted, it produced 176 horsepower and was shared with the contemporary 530i until 1978. But in late 1977, BMW yanked the 630 from the U.S., replacing it with the more powerful 633CSi.
While BMW’s sales between 1970 and 1977 had doubled (14,574 total vehicles to 28,766), the number of early 6s that made the journey was still relatively small. Couple that with thermal reactor failure that was a demise of many of the early U.S.-bound 3.0s, and of course the big nemesis of the 70s BMW – rust – and finding a lovely example of the early E24 here in the U.S. is quite difficult: