The beautiful M3 Convertible I looked at yesterday was a reminder that I often skimp on drop-tops entirely. On top of that, I’ve been ignoring one of the most popular options in the classic German car market – the E30.
Introduced midway through E30 production, the Convertible you see here was the first factory BMW convertible since the 1950s. It showed in the execution; BMW’s slick top folded neatly away under a hard cover, in stark contrast to Volkswagen’s Cabriolet which looked like it was sporting a neck support pillow in back. Little trunk space was lost in the execution, meaning you had a fully functional 4-seat convertible replete with storage for the weekend. Base price was nearly $29,000 in 1987, but that included leather sport seats, electric windows, anti-lock brakes, cruise control and an on-board computer. For the U.S. market, there was only one engine option, too – the M20 2.5 liter inline-6, meaning no “E” model and plenty of spin on the tach, along with 168 horsepower. This helped make up for some additional weight from the top mechanism and structural strengthening, resulting in around 3,000 lbs of curb weight. But while the E30 was the benchmark as a driver’s car, many more of these were used in a relaxed manner; top-down luxury cruisers to enjoy the sun:
This Porsche 944 sold for $7,800
I don’t often look at plain 944s, especially late examples, for a reason. By the end of the run, the standard 944 was overshadowed by the introduction of the 944S and 944S2 with their twin-cam motors and even a Cabriolet. Of course there was still the 944 Turbo and for 1988, the pumped up Turbo S. Then there was the Special Edition and the 944 2.7. Nevermind that there was also the lightweight 924S Special Edition, too. In short, there aren’t too many reasons to look at a “normal” 944 from the late production run. But with 924 Carrera GT/GTS DNA pumped into it, this particular 944 is anything but normal looking:
When I saw this 1988 Porsche 928 S4 my first thought upon seeing the price was that the interior better be pretty special because, while nice, the exterior seemed fairly standard. Good condition, but a standard color. Well I won’t say the interior blew me away, but given that it too is in fairly standard colors I do think it looks really good and the overall combination of everything looks really nice. There’s a simple elegance about all of it. There’s no flash, but it’s a place I’d definitely enjoy spending time behind the wheel. I guess it’s a little odd because I can’t say it is quite what I was hoping, but I found myself quite happy with it nonetheless. It helps that everything looks very well cared for. I’m not sure it’ll all be enough to get someone to pull the trigger at this price, but we’re at least looking at a nice example of the breed and one that departs somewhat from some of the more usual contrasts.
Update 9/26/18: This 928 S4 sold for $15,211.11
In a recent post of a 928 GTS there was a comment wondering about their pricing relative to that of one of its not-too-distant predecessors the 928 S4. It’s a good question to ask if you’re looking at the 928 in general as the value of a GTS is significantly higher than any other 928 out there. Heck, the GTS has shown higher values than even a few of the turbocharged 911s from similar periods. Before considering one you do need to know what you’re getting into.
Why the GTS is so much more expensive is pretty straightforward: they’re quite rare and they are the last of the 928s. They also are arguably the best looking 928, though I’m not sure that really has a huge impact on value. For the buyer thinking about an investment and long-term value a GTS probably is the way to go, assuming you can afford that initial cost of entry. However, if you want to drive and enjoy a 928, or simply don’t have $100K to spend on a ’90s Porsche, then one of the earlier models provides nearly as much performance for far fewer dollars.
Case in point: this 1988 Porsche 928 S4, located in New Mexico, with 117,456 miles and the desirable 5-speed manual transmission. Unlike just about every 928 GTS this S4 is up for auction with no reserve and bidding sits at only $8,100. That’s a much easier pill to swallow.
More questions. Always more questions. We know the basics about this 1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe and by that I mean we can see what it is and we know the mileage. But the seller has provided little else in the way of description so we are otherwise left in the dark. In many cases I’d move on from such a 911, especially with such a high asking price, but there is something about this color combination I find so incredibly striking that I had to have a closer look. A Carrera with a blue exterior over a white/linen interior isn’t something incredibly rare so either the lighting is enhancing everything here or this is a paint-to-sample blue that is working beautifully with that very light-colored interior. This is where the lack of description from the seller really lets us down, but at least on the surface I do like what I see here.
This 930 might be in the best condition I can recall seeing one. The mileage is pretty darn low at only 11,300 miles so maybe this shouldn’t come as a surprise, but even still low miles does not always equate to excellent condition. I know not everyone likes the Slantnose option on these cars, but like it or not I think we can all appreciate how good this one looks. And for those us, myself included, who are fans of the Slantnose, this 930 provides you with something to spend a good deal of time inspecting.
It’s a Cassis Red Metallic 1988 Porsche 930 Coupe with the M505 Slantnose option. It’s stated to be only 1 of 2 such cars painted Cassis Red Metallic (I have no idea if that’s true) and it has a contrasting Linen and Burgundy interior. Pretty much all of the Slantnose 930s are rare and the Coupe easily is the best looking of the various models. This one is immaculate.
In 1987, BMW wowed the U.S. market with the introduction of the S38-powered M6. In the shadowline of that model, though, was another special E24 – the L6. Essentially, the L6 was a standard 635CSi with a very special all-leather interior. Produced in small numbers for only the 1987 model year, they proved to be a bit of a headache for BMW. Like the all-leather dash M6s, the leather upper cover had a tendency to deform and BMW had to replace quite a few under warranty. The L6 also had leather-wrapped center console, the rear air conditioned storage compartment like we saw in the M6, and even a leather headliner. The L6 generally matched European models referred to as “Highline” packages.
When the revised ’88 E24 launched, the L6 was officially dropped as a model. However, you could still opt to get all of the L6 bits installed in your 635CSi, and that’s what we have here:
Update 5/25/18: After apparently selling in mid 2016 for $9,500, this rare 1988 924S Special Edition is back on the market with a new seller, 1,400 more miles and a much higher price – now it’s listed for $14,975.
Why the enthusiast world hasn’t thoroughly warmed up to the Porsche 924S is a bit beyond me, and that’s especially true of the 1988 model year. Not only was compression slightly up resulting in 160 horsepower channeled through the rear wheels, but Porsche also signed the model out with a fantastic lightweight special. The 924S Special Edition was also marketed in Europe as the 924S Le Mans; limited to 500 copies in each market, the U.S. models were black only. In classic Porsche “add lightness” style, the 924S SE had manual windows, no air conditioning or sunroof, and they even dropped the passenger mirror off the car. While power didn’t increase, the car did get more suspension in the M030 factory Koni suspension and wider ‘Phone Dials’ in the back with integrated mud flaps. Also lightweight was the interior fabric, which was so thin it doesn’t seem to be able to actually cover the seats even on a low mileage example like this:
I will admit high prices on cars will almost always attract my attention. Or I guess I should say relatively high prices, meaning an obviously high price for that year and model. Those prices stoke my curiosity. I wonder what is so special about them that such an asking price would even be suggested. Unusual colors, interior, very low mileage? Maybe that’s part of the point. Without the very high price I might not take extra notice. After figuring why the price is so high my interest then turns to whether it might actually sell for such a price. That element of curiosity mostly is instructive rather than anything of particular interest, but it can be helpful nonetheless.
That is more or less why we are here and why I’m featuring this Cassis Red Metallic 1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe with Burgundy interior. Cassis Red is a very nice color that works well on the 3.2 Carrera’s lines so I likely would have been drawn to this 911 regardless of the price. But the very high asking price caught my eye almost as quickly as the color.
So why such a high price? Because this Carrera has a mere 7,700 miles on it.
The M5 might not have been the original super sedan. It wasn’t even the first hot 5-series. But just like the GTI is synonymous with the hot-hatch segment, the M5 became the standard by which all other super-sedans were judged the moment it rolled onto the scene in 1985. Power seemed other-worldly; 280 plus horsepower from the race-derived M88/3 hunkered down with beefy suspension upgrades and huge (for the time) alloy wheels linked with a limited-slip differential. At a time when “fast” cars had 180 horsepower, BMW’s first M-offering in the sedan range might as well have been a space ship.
BMW promised limited production for the U.S. market, too – and, indeed, only 1,200 were produced for the U.S. with the slightly de-tuned S38. Unfortunately, that was 700 more than BMW had promised to make, and that led to a lawsuit. It also wasn’t very long before the M5’s power reign was eclipsed; first by its replacement E34 model, then by the whole range of new V8 models emerging on the market, from the 1992 Audi V8 quattro to the 500E. Values quickly fell as these old-looking (even when new) boxy rockets fell out of favor, and they remained there for quite some time.
But recently there’s grown a much greater appreciation for all things 80s M, and though the E30 has grabbed the headlines as the market star, outside of the M1 it is the E28 M5 that was brought here in fewest numbers. Even fewer have survived, and finding clean, lower mile examples can be tough. It can also be very, very expensive – Enthusiast Auto Group currently has four great ones on offer, but the lack of listed prices is an indication of some of the market volatility. Hagerty now values condition 1 cars at $98,000, and even poor examples are quite pricey. So is there room in the budget to improve upon one that’s listed at a bargain rate?