The 280SE 3.5 and its siblings, value added.

Rarity and classic lines can make prices of some vehicles sky-rocket. When most people think of ultra expensive vintage Mercedes the 300SL gullwing springs instantly to mind or they may think of really old models like the 540K. The previously sleeping beauty of vintage Mercedes in my mind is the 1971 280SE 3.5. Several years ago these cars could be had for far less than their almost unbelievable $100,000 to $200,000 sale prices the cabriolets now bring.

With the 28SE, opposite the gullwing, the cabrio is far more valuable than the hard top coupe. So right now non-convertible 280SE 3.5s can be had at a small fraction of the cost. You still can have all the classic lines and purchase a car that, in my mind, is a fantastic investment. Just don’t by a hard top with the intention of turning it into a convertible, that sort of shenanigans frowned upon. Beware of nice looking outsides with scary rusty under body.

The 108 coupe body style could be had as a 250SE, 2.5 liter inline 6, 280SE, 2.8 liter inline 6, or 280SE 3.5, 3.5 liter V8. Just over 1000 of the 3.5 cabrios were made and all 280 3.5 models combined totaled less than 5000 during their run.

The similar 112 chassis 300SE is also a place to look if this design appeals to you, but the price of the 3.5 does not.

Here are a couple of nice no reserve examples on eBay of several of these models.

Euro spec 1972 280SE Coupe hardtop

Unique black over red color combo. Mercedes occasionally made black roofed cars (My 1970 250C was black over silver), which added to an illusion of being a convertible, particularly when the windows are all down in the pillarless coupe.  This one appears well maintained. The no reserve and low starting price will guarantee a sale and provide a view of market value. Less than 100,000 miles can be considered low, my 250C ran strong and quiet with 200k. The 2.8 from this era was quite indestructible, (the same can’t be said for the later twin cam 2.8 model) and provides a wonderful thrumming yacht/cabin cruiser like sound. Tell me this isn’t a pretty car:
1972 280SE1972 280SE21972 280SE3

1966 250SE Coupe hardtop with 4 speed manual

German diplomat owned vehicle here so you can be sure it was optioned out. Again another example of the two tone paint job here with cream on top. An amazing 24,000 mile original being sold at no reserve, with a low starting price. Not as powerful as the 280, but the look remains. Interior shows class with wood, cracking can be a major problem, that still looks great and has a working Becker radio.  The four speed adds to this car’s already great value.
1966 250SE1966 250SE21966 250SE3

And for the high end a pair of stunning 1971 280SE 3.5 cabriolet models for sale to you at a bargain $139,000 for the first and a mere $175,000 for the second.

Both are restored column shifted automatics, you could get it with a floor shifter which is more fun. Very neat compact V-8.

The 63,000 mile car:
1971 280SE 3.51971 280SE 3.5 21971 280SE 3.5 3

The 35,000 mile car:
1971 280SE 3.5 blue1971 280SE 3.5 blue21971 280SE 3.5 blue3

The movie the Hangover brought these beautiful cars back into the attention of the masses as the ultimate Vegas boulevard cruiser, though the producers insanely thought it was necessary to destroy at least one for the films “intricate” plot to be properly told. Photos courtesy of locutus on fuzzyshot.com:
hangover1hangover2hangover3

While it is always nice to buy the best example you can afford, Mercedes paint on cars like this during this era can be exceptionally well done from the factory. Finding one that has lost its luster and at first looks sad and faded may be a perfect opportunity for a deal. Spending a good amount of time with a series of correct polishing compounds and elbow grease can yield stunning results on faded Mercedes paints. Check out these photos courtesy of M-100.cc:
Mercedes paint1Mercedes paint2Mercedes paint3

~Evan

Interested in a 964 RS America? There’s 6 on eBay Right Now!

While we never got the true 964 RS in this country, we did get the lovely 911 Carrera RS America. The RS America community is an exclusive one with only about 700 copies created. And they know it. I’ve determined that prices for this particular model border on crazy after browsing the classifieds on RSAmerica.net Many of these are in Turbo territory. Or even very, very nice 993 prices. Or higher!

Enough of my ranting, judge for yourself and lets see if the market is self-correcting after these auctions finish:


While this one isn’t a true factory RS America, it does include most of the options that adorned the real deal. Unfortunately it also has the tiptronic gearbox, which I believe dilutes it’s value even more. The seller seems aware of this with a buy-it-now of $24k and a recent motor rebuild. Check out this :

1993 Porsche 911 Carrera with RS America Options For Sale


At the other end of the spectrum is this . But also features a nearly $80k buy-it-now! I know I’m not a collector, but I have to imagine that most enthusiast would spend their $80k differently. It is very shiny though!

1994 Porsche 964 RSA For Sale with 15000 miles


Next is this (starting bid is $35k with no current bids). I remember when this color was all the rage. Still looks pretty good on this car honestly.

1993 Porsche 911 RS America in Teal For Sale


RS America Race Car For Sale


And two more! Both are red 93’s, one with and the other with .

13856(2)!BYCVzMQ!Wk~$(KGrHgoH-EIEjlLlzEZJBKfcrw567w~~_3

dc

1979 450SEL 6.9 AMG on eBay

The ultimate autobahn cruiser of its time and then some. Nothing could touch the Mercedes 6.9 in terms of might and comfort. Following in the tradition of the Mercedes 6.3, this was also the fastest four door sedan in the world when new. 100 MPH on the highway could be enjoyed as long as the fuel in the tank held out. The 6.9 liter (417 cu. in.) engine made bursts into the 140s attainable if needed.
The car’s impressive hydro-pneumatic suspension, operating at over 2000 psi provided silky smooth road manners and kept the car on an even plain on hard launches and braking. The system is however expensive to service if not maintained properly. Unmaintained 6.9s can be spotted by their lowrider like appearance as the suspension settles. Vacuum operated cruise, door locks, and trunk were nice features as well. Also of note is the car’s impressive 12 (!) quart dry sump lubrication system. This allowed for better oiling during a spirited workout and made it possible to cram the monster engine under the hood. The oil reservoir is mounted near the fender instead of in a pan underneath. Taking this car in to your local quick oil change place was not considered a viable option as you would either end up with a drained transmission pan or an engine short half a case of oil.

Genuine AMG vehicles of this era are hard to document. The factory didn’t keep great records so knowing a cars history is important.
is an interesting case since it has been restored and has a new engine rebuild.  The seller seems to know his stuff in terms of the 6.9, so likely there is no deal to be found here, just a chance to take ownership of mighty Merc. This car is also unique in that it is a a U.S. delivery Euro car. It has the good looking Euro headlights, but does that mean it has the Euro engine horsepower. With the new pistons it probably doesn’t matter. It also has leather which Euro cars did not have. Cali 6.9s were restricted down to 250 horsepower with emissions garbage. While full blown Euro spec cars hit nearly 300 with a meaty 420 lb ft of torque. Torque figures like that were scarcely seen anywhere outside muscle cars or dump trucks, neither of which could compete with a 6.9 in terms of all around enjoyment.

This car has some neat AMG options like the correct AMG steering wheel and 300 KPH speedometer, as well as an old style AMG trunk badge. Mercedes offered the 6.9 with debadging as an option. You could go super stealth with nothing on the trunk lid or just leave the small 6.9 tag minus the 450SEL label.

Full on AMG 6.9s with complete mono color body kit, blacked out trim, the Penta wheels and engine add ons like AMG cams are extremely rare and extremely good looking creatures. This one definitely qualifies as a stage 1 AMG, but doesn’t have the full treatment.

Having owned a full euro spec 6.9 I can attest with great vigor to the pleasure of driving these cars. The road manners and power are just amazing particularly considering the time period these cars were produced, think gas shortage and American luxo-barges.

There is plenty of information online about the 6.9 if you want to go look, but quickly here is a look at the 6.9 suspension being operated manually (the lever sits on top of the steering wheel):

and here is a link to the famous Brock Yates article about his experience thrashing a show room stock U.S. spec car around Road Atlanta for 100 miles. This is a fantastic article and reminds us that all cars are not created equal. Make sure to note the part about getting 5.9 MPG.

Below I’ve included a picture from one of my vintage AMG brochures, one of the only AMG brochures to show a 6.9, and a Flickr photo showing how the full 6.9 AMG package compares to this eBay listing in terms of looks. The sturdy lines of the 116 chassis Benz with AMG accoutrement in my mind are still some of the best and coupled with the formidable engine this is a package that 30 years later is still surprisingly sophisticated.

Lastly just for fun here are some 6.9s in the movies showing their stuff.
Ronin, scroll to about 4:50 for the good stuff:

Lost Highway, gets good about 1:00, R for language:

And of course Claude Lelouch’s C’etait un Rendez Vous, the film that started the “getaway” movie genre. Though the sound dubbed in is that of a Ferrari the car actually used was a 6.9. View the making of video to see the 6.9 with the camera mount.

~Evan

1984 Rabbit GTi with only 517 Miles For Sale

1984 Volkswagen GTi with 517 Miles For Sale

Saw this on the Autoblog feed this morning and my jaw dropped. That’s no typo, this car only has 517 miles on it!

:

quote from seller’s listing:

This 1984 GTI Rabbit is my father’s car. He is the one and only orignal owner. He bought this little slot car in Jan 1985 brand new from the dealer. It was driven home and later driven to CMC Stereo Center to upgrade the stereo to a Blaupunkt stereo and four Alpine speakers, this was top of the line back then. The car was later rustproofed with the LATEST WAX treatment in his garage by a persponal friend. We have ALL documentation. Within two weeks my dad had back surgery. The car sat in his garage for months hoping to fully recover from surgery.Years went by….two more surgeries, 25 years later it is time to sell. He simply can’t drive a stick shift anymore.My father had owned a Shell Service station for 50 years, he knows how to maintain a vehicle LOL and is quite the perfectionist.

You won’t find a newer GTI like this anywhere. It still smells new inside. It should be in a VW museum somewhere. This car is truly a “TIME CAPSULE”. All original, original owner, all original documents, blue car cover in trunk, 515 original miles, nothing needed but a set of license plates. We have put three new batteries in the car over 25 years , second set of tires . We have started this car monthly . All rubber is like new! Everthing is like new. Never driven in the rain snow or anywhere as a matter of fact. We garantee you will not find a newer one than this. the only flaws are a couple of bicycle handle bar nicks ( two small dings , one on front fender and the other on the rear). Nothing difficult to repair. This car starts perfect…….runs perfect ……….looks perfect…..It never sat out in the sun for any ammount of time. New, it sold for $8799.00 it should have held it’s retail price. .LOL IT NEEDS NOTHING!!!! But someone to drive it, it handles like a slot car. I owned a similair one 18 years ago, they are a blast to drive and carve the curves like a true sports car.

There is quite a spirited discussion in the Autoblog comments and also a 4+ page thread on VWVortex about this car and what it’s worth. I can see both side of the argument. Where do you think it will end up?

dc

Nice Original BMW e30 M3 For Sale in San Diego

You know I can’t help myself when these come along! Check out this
BMW e30 M3 For SaleBMW e30 M3 For SaleBMW e30 M3 For SaleBMW e30 M3 For Sale

quote from seller’s listing:

70,768 Miles
All Regular Scheduled Maintenance Performed
Have Service Records
Have Original Manuals
No Known Mechanical Problems

The market seems to have softened a bit, so I’ll be curious to see where this auction ends up. With the low miles, documented history, and a great color combo, someone will end up with a rare find that looks like it has been well cared for and unmolested.

dc

2001 RUF RGT For Sale in Texas

According to the listing on eBay from Ruf Auto Centre, this is a real RGT with matching VIN code. A rare sight indeed and especially with only 2400 miles! Check out this :

quote from the listing:

The RGT is equipped with a RUF 3.6 Liter flat six producing 385HP. This dry sump engine was derived from the European version of the GT3 and was not available in the US until 2004. The RUF version of this engine has ported heads, larger valves, RUF catalytic converters, RUF mufflers and a RUF tuned ECU.

Some of the highlights on the car include:

* RUF Coil Over Suspension
* RUF Big Brake Setup
* RUF Integrated Roll Cage
* Sunroof Delete
* Rear Seat Delete
* Full Leather Interior
* GT3 Sport Seats ( OEM RUF Seats are available )
* Custom Estoril Blue Paint

Covering only 2400 miles since new, this car has been extremely well cared for by it’s previous owner.

This car has some very impressive engineering and figures to back it up. Not to mention it makes this noise:

dc

Cash for Clunkers Weekend Reading

You may remember my “spirited” post over the Cash for Clunkers program a little while back.

Well as a follow up here is the official government list of  cars sent to their deaths through the program.

Of note are the 63 BMW 6 series cars, including 13 635csi models, a 850i, a M3, and a M5.

Mercedes suffered as well, can you imagine over 100 560SEC s crushed? That is literally tons of usable parts from one of the greatest Benz engines gone. Looks like 11 Merc V12 engines also have made their last trip. No wonder parts are so expensive. A pair of AMG cars, a C36 and a C43, were sent away too and gasp a 500E.

A number of high end Audi models also are on the list and a sprinkling of Porsches.

Most surprising, though not German, on the list is the 1997 Bentley (listed as a Rolls Royce) Continental R and great oogley moogley a Buick GNX, listed under ASC. If that was a true GNX it could have been rolled and burned and still probably brought more than the CFC allowance.

Post your thoughts or interesting finds after you peruse the list.

~Evan

1989 BMW 325i Widebody Convertible

This is not the first time I’ve posted a BMW 3 series oddity on this blog. This 1989 325i widebody convertible is pretty unique. The seller gives minimal description in the eBay auction. No mention of where the widebody kit parts come from or where they were installed. I’d hazard a guess at them being Zender parts maybe. The kit doesn’t look too shabby in my eye, but remember I’m a guy who likes Koenig Miami Vice style 80s Benzs. Love it or hate it those fender flares would be put to better use on something with a bit more power under the hood that could take advantage of the wide tires. $5,000 no reserve with questionable mileage in the 100,000 range.

~Evan

Weedy 1974 Porsche 911 Racecar

Who out there is brave? If taking risks on vehicles is your sort of thing, how about pulling this 1974 911 racer from the weeds in Japan? Seller says the car used to sport a 3.2 liter, but now has a new 3.6 liter engine. It is clearly race setup, but also seems to need a thorough going over. The lack of description, shady pictures, some dated 2005, and fact the car is in Japan makes the $27,500 ask price way out there. (Even considering the current exchange rate) The seller does have lots of high res photos here and here. Who’s feeling daring?

~Evan

1988 BMW M5 For Sale in Portland, Oregon Black on Black

My friend Chuck emailed to let me know that he’s giving his e28 M5 one last chance at sale for a newly reduced price of $16500. Check out his latest listing on Portland Craigslist:

1988 BMW e28 M5 with Black Leather Interior For Sale in Portland, Oregon

quote from Chuck’s listing:

Lower price but still including $1000 of spare/extra parts. This is a classic BMW that really gets attention at any BMW event it is at. The black interior is something most BMW enthusiasts are caught by surprise with. Beautiful condition, great driving car and performance hard to match even in 2009 for a 4 door sedan. Had a very complete PPI performed that is available to inspect when viewing the car.

All engine checks were great, cam chain/rails looked “very good”

Leak down results were 6%-8%-4%-6%-6%-6%

Parts that were flagged have been replaced: fuel filter, coolent hose, lower ball joints, clutch slave cylinder.

I have also replaced the catalytic converter with Magnaflow unit

It now has 140,000 miles on it.

I chose to repost the picture of the driver’s seat because a) it highlights the very rare black leather interior on an e28 M5, and b) it really exemplifies how clean this car is — a real enthusiast owner takes care of the leather too, and you can expect the rest of the car has been cared for the in the same way! I just recently saw this car in person at a local track day event (Chuck wasn’t driving at the event by the way, just shooting pictures), and everyone at the driver’s meeting stopped and turned to see what was making that fantastic M powered sound! This car is really a great example and Chuck is hoping to find an appreciating enthusiast home for it.

Good luck Chuck,

dc