1985 BMW 735i

1985 BMW 735i

The E23, produced between 1977 and 1987, was the first iteration of the 7-series. It set the standard that BMW has followed, more or less, with each subsequent version of its luxury flagship. Large, comfortable, conservatively styled and packed with the latest technology for the time (ABS brakes, an onboard computer, electric seats and climate control, for example), these autobahn cruisers were for those who had arrived but couldn’t quite afford a Mercedes, or preferred the driving dynamics of a BMW. Sadly, very few have survived the ravishes of time and they’re quite a rare sight on today’s roads. And that’s a shame, because these are truly very handsome and classy cars, sharing a lot of styling cues with the gorgeous E24 6-series, including a sharply raked, shark-nosed front end. So it’s refreshing to come across a low-mileage, nicely kept example like this one.

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1985 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC

1985 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC

Last week I wondered what kind of W126 S-class you could buy if you had an unlimited budget and wanted one in practically brand new condition. That search yielded a gorgeous, pearl black on black, ultra-low mileage ’89 560SEL, which ultimately sold for a very respectable $21k. I thought I’d play the same game this week, only this time I went on the hunt for a coupe. The SEC (or “C126”), designed by legendary Bruno Sacco, was based on a slightly shortened version of the sedan chassis. While the car retains many of the same graceful and elegant lines of its four door sibling, the coupe sports a sexy, pillarless profile that changes the character of the car. If the 80s stock broker was chauffeured to Wall Street in the SEL during the week, he drove the SEC to wild parties in the Hamptons on the weekends.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC on eBay

1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe

1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe

Not too surprisingly, the German car market has quite a lot of Porsches running around. Looking through the listings shows us all kinds of rare models or interesting colors and option packages. In some of the best cases, I’ll come across configurations that I’m completely unfamiliar with and this will lead down a long rabbit-hole of reading and history. Those are a lot of fun and generally involve cars that never made it Stateside. However, most searches just show us cool versions of cars we’re used to seeing. Here, I’ve stuck with that theme as this is a standard 3.2 Carrera, but I was really taken by the color combination and the condition does look quite good. I’m not sure this asking price would make sense for anyone in the U.S. given the additional costs of bringing it here, but who knows. Here we have a Meteor Gray Metallic 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe with Burgundy leather interior and around 39K kilometers on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe on Classic Driver

1985 Mercedes-Benz 280SE

1985 Mercedes-Benz 280SE

The other day, Carter wrote up a gray-market, Signal Red 280SE. The Euro options and unusual color made for an attractive proposition, but that particular car had some mechanical needs making it a light project. This car, on the other hand, appears to be in need of no such work. Available in Europe but not sold in the US, the 280SE paired the 2.8 liter, six cylinder M110 gasoline engine with the short wheelbase version of the W126 chassis. While that might seem a small motor for such a large car, it made about 185 hp in Euro guise, a perfectly adequate, though certainly not blistering, amount of power. Like the US-spec 300SE/SEL, it might need a bit of shove at the low end, but once up to highway speeds it should cruise around capably.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 280SE on eBay

Paint-to-sample 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet – M491

Paint-to-sample 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet – M491

This 911 will take some work to get our heads around. There are a whole host of interesting details to this car, but also plenty of questions. Let’s start with the basics of what we’ve got and then we can get to the questions. This is a 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet with a paint-to-sample exterior and interior to sample. Those points on their own are of some significance, though we must admit that while these colors may be special order there isn’t really a lot that is special about them. Don’t get me wrong, the burgundy interior is great and the exterior is a nice shade of metallic paint, but if you didn’t tell me they were special order I wouldn’t have immediately thought that. But we don’t end there. It also has sport seats, which are a nice addition, and more importantly comes with the M491 Turbo-look package. As if all of that is not enough, attentive readers will also notice that it’s a Turbo-look package with the spoiler delete. That last point is perhaps the most important aspect of all as the Turbo-look with spoiler delete is very rare. We almost never see them and on the Cabriolet especially it makes for a really attractive change. Combining all of these options creates a very rare 911 and one that should attract a lot of attention. If it can all be verified….

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet on eBay

1985 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 Euro-Spec

1985 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 Euro-Spec

1I’ve posted several 190Es since joining GCFSB, making no secret of my love for the W201. But I haven’t yet written up a 2.3-16, the high-performance version developed in conjunction with Cosworth to go racing at the DTM. It’s not because I don’t like them. Far from it; I lusted after one of these when I was in the market for a W201 a few years ago. But the 16v models in my price range were all wrecks and so I settled for a stock 2.6 instead. (I did, however, get my hands on a full 16v body kit but, as some of you will know, I crashed my car before I had the chance to install it). The reason is rather that many of these come to market in poor shape, and it takes a special car to pique my interest. This one has it’s faults but, being a European market gray import, it also has a few redeeming features.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 on eBay

1985 Audi 90 quattro

1985 Audi 90 quattro

No, it’s not a misprint. Though you may not have been able to buy an Audi 90 in the United States until the B3 in 1988, in the rest of the world the same model you could buy here as the B2 4000S/CS quattro was marketed as two different models – the basic 80 quattro, and the more upscale 90 quattro. Differences between the two were bumpers, lights, wheels, and interior options as well as different power plants. The 90 was closest to the more “loaded” U.S. spec 4000S/CS quattro, and in fact looking through this model you’d be hard pressed to see many differences – consequently, few even ponder importation of a European model. However, differences are there – so let’s go through them and see if this B2 is worth the steep asking price:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi 90 Quattro on eBay

1985 Mercedes-Benz 280GE

1985 Mercedes-Benz 280GE

1I have a love-hate relationship with the G-Wagen, the 4×4 from Mercedes first introduced in 1972 as a military vehicle. I think that the contemporary, blinged-out AMG versions driven by celebrities and Hollywood moguls are an abomination, a crime against motoring humanity. But on the other hand, I’m quite partial to the older, more humble trucks on which they’re based. (I clearly have a thing for boxy old SUVs: I adore vintage Range Rovers, and used to own a Jeep Cherokee XJ, though the less said about that the better.) The original trucks are honest in a way the modern behemoths are not. The G-class was never supposed to be nice to drive, luxurious or a status symbol of wealth and conspicuous consumption. It was a spartan, utilitarian vehicle intended to transport soldiers across inhospitable terrain or, when sold to the public, farmers across boggy marshes.

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1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe

1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe

When I first began writing for GCFSB it was just before the air-cooled 911 market took off. Suddenly nearly every 3.2 Carrera I’d see would set a new benchmark for value. Long-hood models, which already had been expensive, began to reach well into six figures for the 911S and rare variants seemed to leap into the stratosphere. We saw quite a few interesting examples hit the market as sellers tried to capitalize on these gains and almost any time a well-maintained 911 came up for auction with no reserve it would sell well before auction’s end, sometimes in a matter of one or two days. Those times are behind us as the air-cooled market has settled down and while the gains haven’t retreated much for many of these cars the classic 911s of the ’80s have taken some steps back into much more attainable territory. This is especially the case with higher-mileage basic Carreras. And I don’t mean this as a bad thing. These are wonderful cars meant to be enjoyed so ideally the prices will be such that owners don’t feel conflicted about opening the garage just because it’s a little cloudy. I mention these things because I’ve begun to notice a lot more nice looking examples of the 911SC and 3.2 Carrera popping up for much more reasonable prices. These aren’t necessarily the 911s in great color combinations or low mileage, but nice honest looking cars none the less. At times the reserves remain too high, but even that should work itself out with time. The example we have here seems to fit this bill: a Black 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe, located in Memphis, with 111,000 miles on the clock.

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1985 BMW 528e

1985 BMW 528e

1The 528e is a bit of an odd duck. The product of the oil crisis of the late 70s and early 80s, this was essentially a gasoline engined car that attempted to mimic the frugality of a diesel, at a time when BMW was yet to bring a diesel engine to the US market (the e stands for “efficiency”). Powered by a 2.7 liter, de-tuned version of the inline-six cylinder M20 motor, what you got was a car that offered all the good looks of the E28 5-series, but with none of the performance to back it up. In other words, you bought this car to drive cheaply and slowly with a bit of German style and sophistication.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 BMW 528e on eBay

1985 BMW 745i

1985 BMW 745i

4The E23 7-series is already a bit special, for two main reasons. First, as I mentioned when I wrote up a 733i a couple of weeks ago, you don’t tend to see them on the roads anymore. Second, the beautiful design, which shares a number of features with the shark-nosed E24 6-series coupe, matches anything put out by Mercedes-Benz in the same era in terms of elegance and style. That is not something that could always be said about BMW products, even if they were more fun to drive than their counterparts from Stuttgart. But this E23 is even more special, since it’s a gray market 745i.  Not available in the US, this high-performance model represented the top of the E23 lineup in Europe and came with a turbocharged version of the 3.4 liter inline six cylinder M30 engine (here called the M106) and a host of luxurious and high-tech (for the time) accessories. Very few of these come onto the market, and rarely do they do so in the kind of condition shown here.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 BMW 745i on ebay

1985 Mercedes-Benz 300SD

1985 Mercedes-Benz 300SD

2Another day, another old diesel Benz. I know, I know. But when I saw this one I couldn’t resist. Yesterday I wrote up an ‘87 300SDL. While that car presented very nicely, in truth the better W126 diesels are either the early, short wheelbase models (’81-’85), like today’s car, or the very late ones (’90-’91), during which time the short and long wheelbase diesels shared the same engines. As noted yesterday, the diesel motors in the cars in the period in between had a few design faults that could potentially affect their longevity (quite unusual for a Mercedes product). This particular car is an ’85, the last year in which you’d find the legendary OM617 engine under the hood.

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1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe – M491

1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe – M491

Here’s another favorite of mine from the ’80s and this particular 911 is really captivating me more so than I would normally suspect it should. Part of the allure is the color, but that’s also why I wouldn’t expect it to look as good as it does. I mean, grey isn’t terribly exciting as exterior colors go, nonetheless it’s attracting my eye here. The rest, however, does make for an attractive model. The Turbo-look 911 served as a popular option for US buyers unable to get a 930 during the years in which that model was on hiatus. As the moniker suggests, the package provided the various attributes to modify the appearance most notably the wider rear of the Turbo. Significantly, the package also included the Turbo’s suspension and braking serving to provide not only a unique look relative to the narrow-bodied 911, but improved performance in certain areas. Generally speaking, the M491-equipped cars have been more desirable than other 911s and the Coupes especially garner a good bit of notice. Here we have just such a beast: a Turbo-look Meteor Grey Metallic 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe, located in California, with 113,709 miles on it.

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1985 Porsche 944 with 40,000 Miles

1985 Porsche 944 with 40,000 Miles

While Porsche 944s are no stranger to these pages, early models rarely appear here. There were many variants of the 944 over its life cycle, and in many ways the improvements over that time make the 1982-early 1985 models the least appealing. Launched in early 1982, the 944 sported essentially most of a 924 with Carrera GT-inspired flares and half of a 928 motor. In mid 1985, Porsche heavily revised the model with a refreshed interior, air condition system, larger fuel tank, relocated windshield antenna, and new cast aluminum control arms among a host of other small changes. 928-esque “Phone Dial” wheels replaced the original “Cookie Cutter” alloys, though Fuchs forged alloys remained an option. Obviously, there were then the multitude of upgraded models that followed; the 944S, the 2.7, the S2, and of course the Turbo. The result is that it has to be a pretty special early 944 to draw much attention, and today’s early 1985 is just such a car:

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1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe

1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe

Wednesday I featured a pretty nice 911SC and now we’ll take a step forward to its successor the 3.2 Carrera. And I’ll say from the start that I already like this Carrera better than that SC. What a difference a day makes. Given that this is an early Carrera there aren’t many significant differences between this and the 911SC. The engine, obviously, is the most significant change, but aesthetically the differences are minor and this still sports the 915 5-speed transmission that served the 911 so well for so long. I like this color a little better than Guards Red, I like the interior contrast better, and overall it just strikes me as being in better condition. I’m not sure I can pinpoint why, it’s really just the overall sense of everything we see. So here we have a Garnet Red Metallic 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe, located in Michigan, with Champagne leather interior and 57,000 miles on it.

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