Double Take: Mercedes-Benz 300CE – One cheap, one not so much

Double Take: Mercedes-Benz 300CE – One cheap, one not so much

To some, the W124 might look like just another Stuttgart taxicab. But to those in the know, the 80s/90s era E-class stands for all those traits that once made Mercedes-Benzes the best cars in the world: over-engineered, incredibly safe (for the time) and remarkably durable, capable of cracking over half a million miles if properly cared for. While I’ve written up a number of sedans in the past, I haven’t posted many coupes. That’s a regrettable omission; the coupe offers all of the aforementioned characteristics only repackaged into a stylish, pillarless two-door body shape. The 300CE, produced between 1987 and 1995, was built on a slightly shortened version of the sedan chassis. Initially powered by the SOHC 12v, 3.0 liter version of the M103 engine – good for about 180 hp – cars sold from 1990 onwards came with the DOHC 24v M104 motor instead, pushing output to around 217 hp.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Mercedes-Benz 300CE on Ft. Myers, FL Craigslist

End of the Shark Era: 1988 BMW 635CSi

End of the Shark Era: 1988 BMW 635CSi

We have not written up an E24 in the past few months.

‘For shame!’ you should be shouting at your screen, and you’d be right. Quintessentially an 80s car (though designed in the 1970s), the BMW 6-series offered performance, elegance, presence and practicality to the 2-door luxury market. While the Mercedes-Benz SEC might have enjoyed a better reputation and the Audi Quattro was technically more exciting, the E24’s resilient staying power has meant that some 28 years after production wrapped these lovely coupes are still eye catching.

This particular car caught my eye because of a unique combination of factors; the Cirrus Blue Metallic exterior mated with the later bumpers is a rare sight, but inside was a 5-speed manual. How rare is this combination? Well, prepare yourself for one of the most exhaustive (and entertaining) listings we’ve seen in a while:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 635CSi on eBay

1988 Porsche 924S with 25,000 Miles

1988 Porsche 924S with 25,000 Miles

Strange though it may seem, the 1988 Porsche 924S is not a model we often write up. We do feature just about every Special Edition 924S I find, as they’re a really neat fly-under-the-radar package. This isn’t one of those cars. It’s a “plain” 1988 924S, which you can immediately identify by it being Guards Red (all the SE models were black). But as I said in my article about limited 924 models back in September, the 1988 S is a subtle upgrade and the one to have if you don’t go with a hard-to-find SE. The compression bump meant 160 horsepower, and coupled with the 944 driveline bits underneath it was a fun, sporty car. However, best of all – and unlike most of their other watercooled brethren of the same ilk, these 924S models are often overlooked by the market.

But there are a few reasons to look at this particular 924. First, the ’88 models are pretty hard to find. They accounted for only 2,190 sales (including the 500 Special Edition models) compared to the near 7,000 1987s sold. But above scarcity, it’s in pristine condition with only a claimed 25,000 miles covered since new. And while it seems most of the really nice late 924s that come to market are automatics, this one is a 5-speed manual:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 924S on eBay

1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC

1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC

Last week I looked at a low mileage 1991 560SEC and explained while I think they are amazing cars, buying a ultra low mileage one isn’t the best decision if you want to fully enjoy them. Today’s C126 for sale in New York has a little more miles and is a little less pricey that maybe makes it a little better option if you are looking for a great SEC.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC on Craigslist

Litmus Test: 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo S with 37,700 Miles

Litmus Test: 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo S with 37,700 Miles

Following up on Rob’s “presence” post about the 928, here we have the embodiment of presence and speed in the 944 Turbo S. But we have much more than that, too, in this particular example.

As I talked about at length in the last 1988 Turbo S post, there was a lot that made this car more special than the regular Turbo – and, arguably, more special than the 911, too. But the market on 944 Turbos has been all over the map, with nice examples struggling to break $10,000 at times and excellent examples three to four times that. So where does this Turbo S lie?

Well, we have a great combination of factors that make it quite desirable. First, it’s one of the S models. Second, it’s a claimed one owner car that appears to be close to 100% original. Third, it’s got very low mileage, with only 37,700 accrued. But the coup de grâce that beheads the typical unrealistic asks in the Porsche world is that this is a no reserve auction. Rarely do we get to see all of these things combine and get a real feel for the market.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo S on eBay

1988 BMW 535i

1988 BMW 535i

With its shark nosed, classically cool styling the E28 is a firm favorite among fans of 80s BMWs, but it’s the M5 and 535iS variants that get most of the attention. It’s not hard to see why. The M5 based on this platform was one of the first super sedans, laying down the classic formula for all modern Q-ships: supreme performance packaged in a stealthy, unassuming exterior. Meanwhile the 535iS appealed to those who wanted a bit of flash but couldn’t quite afford the full cream M-car, and was really just a 535i with firmer suspension, bodykit and sport seats. That isn’t a bad thing. The underlying car, introduced as a range-topper in 1984, was a winner, marrying the bulletproof M30 3.4 liter straight six engine (good for about 182 hp, in US emissions restricted form) with a tractable and responsive chassis. A regular 535i with a manual gearbox therefore offers a fun and relatively affordable alternative to the more expensive E28s out there.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 535i on eBay

1988 BMW 325iS

1988 BMW 325iS

1The E30 market is undoubtedly a little overheated. But it’s not hard to see why these cars are so beloved, especially in the configuration seen here. With a tight, sorted chassis, willing six-cylinder motor that sends power to the back wheels, and a snick-snick manual gearbox, it has all the vital ingredients of an 80s German sporting coupe. Simple, fun, unadulterated. The Ultimate Driving Machine. And with high miles, this one may even be relatively affordable.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 325iS on eBay

1988 Audi 90 quattro

1988 Audi 90 quattro

The B3 was a much needed update to the very old small Audi chassis in the late 1980s. Although the addition of the 4000 quattro was only a few model years old and the Type 85 B2 had undergone a pretty comprehensive update in 1985, the reality was that it was a chassis which had been designed in the mid 1970s and was antiquated compared to the BMW E30 and Mercedes-Benz W201 chassis, both of which it was out of sync with in terms of launch. While both of those cars were in mid-life in 1986, Audi launched its new B3 platform with a heavily revised, updated and aerodynamic replacement for the popular 80 and 90. This was interesting, as the B2 would continue alongside in production for several years – notably in Coupe form – until the new 2-door was prepared.

The U.S. market’s offerings also didn’t mesh with Europe either in nomenclature or trim scale. The 4000 quattro had only come in one form – 4000S in 1984 and 1985, and 4000CS in 1986 and 1987. They were relatively loaded and all powered by the venerable JT inline-5. However, Europeans had enjoyed several different configurations; the basic 80 and more upscale 90, with many different options. Audi would continue the 4000CS in 1987, but in 1988 the new models rolled out, with two options like the Europeans had. As in the Fatherland, a prospective buyer could get the basic 80 quattro or opt for the more luxurious, upscale 90 quattro. Many of the design elements of the U.S. spec 4000s carried over into the 80 – such as the rear urethane flush spoiler and even the standard Ronal R8 alloys. But the 90 came with nicer bits, such body color bumper covers with integrated fog lights, wood trim inside, a more pronounced rear spoiler and BBS alloy wheels.…

1988 Porsche 944 Turbo S Silver Rose

1988 Porsche 944 Turbo S Silver Rose

Porsche is famous for launching a special edition just about every six minutes, and in the late 1980s they launched quite a few for 1988. First off, they created a special edition of the 944 Turbo. The new option M758 “Turbo S” included a new turbocharger with redesigned vanes and a remapped DME which increased boost to a max of 1.82 bar. The resulting M44/52 had 30 more horsepower and 15 lb.ft torque to a max of 247 and 258, respectively. But the “S” package was far more than just more boost, as the cooling system was revised, the clutch and transmission were beefed up with hardened first and second gears.

Brakes were borrowed from the 928 S4 and now measured 12″ in front with four piston aluminum calipers. Wheels were Club Sport 16″ forged, polished and anodized units measuring 7 inches in front and 9 in the rear. Suspension was also beefed up with the M030 package; this included adjustable rebound Koni shocks and adjustable perch coilovers in front. Limited slip differentials (Code 220) were not standard, but a must-select option.

Within the already limited edition S (of which about 1,900 were shipped to the US), there was another special edition. The “Silver Rose” launch cars took all of the special aspects of the M758 S package and added a unique color (Silver Rose Metallic, LM3Z) and a very unique Burgundy Studio Check interior. Outside of the Turbo Cup cars, these very limited original models have become the most desirable of the 944 Turbos:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo S on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300E AMG 6.0 ‘Hammer’

Tuner Tuesday: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300E AMG 6.0 ‘Hammer’

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You probably know all about the W124 AMG ‘Hammer’ cars by now. A normal 300E that was transformed by then independent company AMG into a four-door monster thanks to the punched-out 6.0 liter M117/9 and various other à la carte options depending on the owners desires. They didn’t call these cars the ‘Hammer’ for nothing with 375-ish horsepower and even more torque. Because of this, the values have held strong at nearly 10 times and sometimes even more than what you’d pay for a normal W124 300E. When one of these cars come up for auction, it’s usually a big deal. This 1988 Hammer heading to the block at the end of the month will probably fetch a pretty penny, despite what Sotheby’s is predicting. So let’s check this monster out:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300E AMG ‘6.0 Hammer’ at RM Sotheby’s

1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa

1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa

I am going to continue my current theme of rooting around for driver quality classic 911s so as to establish a firmer grasp on where we can expect these models to sell on the current market. I’ve seen a lot of the earlier examples of the 911SC and where they are being priced and here I want to move to the other end of the spectrum to look at a late 3.2 Carrera. The price is higher, as we’d expect, but remains somewhat reasonable given other facets of this 911. Here we have a Marine Blue Metallic 1998 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa, located in California, with Grey interior and 119,250 miles on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa on eBay

1988 Porsche 930 Coupe

1988 Porsche 930 Coupe

Time for something that’s a bit rare, but doesn’t necessarily seem like it. As I have said in the past, I’ve noticed that dark blues, especially of the non-metallic variety, seem pretty uncommon on late-80s 911s. I rarely see them, even though the color itself seems common enough in general that I feel like I should see more of them. Why that might be, I’m not sure, but I’d guess it just comes down to the popularity of certain colors at certain periods of time, kind of similar to how we don’t see Guards Red nearly as often once we reach the ’90s and later. Here we have one such beast, a 1988 Porsche 930 Coupe, located in Dallas, with 69,217 miles on it, and that the color is worn by a 930 makes it all the more special. We aren’t told the specific names of the exterior and interior colors, but given what was available at the time my guess is that this 930 sports a fairly ubiquitous sounding Dark Blue (Dunkelblau) exterior and a Linen interior. Assuming those colors can be verified as original that will make it a fairly rare thing amongst 930s.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 930 Coupe on eBay

1988 BMW 735i 5-speed

1988 BMW 735i 5-speed

1BMW introduced the E32 generation 7-series in 1987. The car’s design was a successful blend of the old and the new. Traditional styling cues – the four headlights, square kidneys and angular lines – kept the car looking fairly restrained and clearly part of the BMW stable. But it was also eminently more modern-looking than its main competitor, the W126 chassis S-class. And perhaps a bit less stately too. If the Mercedes was a car for high level officials and diplomats, the BMW was a car for the young, new titans of the 80s and 90s; Wall Street bankers, lawyers and real estate tycoons. Both cars still look good today, and each can give even the most budget-conscious, contemporary owner a frisson of ultra luxury, albeit 30 years after the fact. But there are hardly any E32s left on the road these days. Whether because of finicky electronics, poor paint and interior materials or just wayward owners who didn’t care for them as they should have, most have been left to rot in junkyards. This makes this low mileage, nicely specified car an attractive proposition.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 735i on eBay

1988 Audi 80 quattro

1988 Audi 80 quattro

While the move from the B2 to B3 chassis brought many changes to the small Audi lineup, it was also very much a case of ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’. Some of the features of the 4000 were gone; you could no longer opt to lock the center differential, for example, since the manual locker had been replaced by a more sophisticated Torsen unit. You could still opt to engage a rear differential lock, but electronics overrode that at 15 m.p.h.. That change was indicative of movement in the marketplace and where the B3 was aimed – slightly more upscale from the B2. Interior quality was greater, and production was broken into two categories as it had been in Europe. Selecting the top-range 90 quattro got you nicer BBS wheels, color matched bumpers and mirrors, a sportier raised spoiler, a better leather interior and wood trim. The downscale 80 would channel more of the outgoing 4000, with savory Serret Velour and a more plastic-heavy interior. They even opted to keep the same Ronal R8 wheels as the old model early on, and the subtle rear spoiler was a near copy of the B2. The more basic 80 was closer in performance to the 4000, too – the luxury and safety items of the B3 meant more weight, and the 90 tipped the scales at nearly 3,000 lbs. Mechanically identical, the 80 quattro was about a hundred pounds lighter and anyone who has driven 80s normally aspirated Audis knows that 100 lbs. makes a difference in performance. Motivation for both was the same NG-code inline-5 that was seen in the last Coupe GT Special Build models, meaning 130 horsepower and 140 lb.ft of torque – smoothly adequate, but certainly never overwhelming. As with the 1988 5000S I looked at the other day, these models came to market at a time of crisis for Audi, and consequently few were sold.…

Tuner Tuesday: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300CE AMG Mosselman Twin Turbo

Tuner Tuesday: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300CE AMG Mosselman Twin Turbo

There is a fairly substantial problem with pre-merger AMG products: documentation. At this point, the newest of the pre-merger cars are on the verge of being considered antiques in many states, and with Mercedes-Benz takeover of the Affalterbach company, much of the documentation of the early models production numbers is lacking. They’ve often changed hands multiple times as styles and tastes have changed, and the paperwork accompanying their builds isn’t always present. Further complicating this was the model that AMG followed. Unlike, say, a Ruf BTR, there was no specific mold to most of the AMG products. Instead, individual taste and monetary resources determined how many of the à la carte options would be tailored to your individual Mercedes-Benz. Also unusual was the AMG authorized dealer-installed model, which meant that you could get an authentic AMG install in California, for example. You could also apparently claim your AMG heritage with as little as three accessories installed, leaving a broad interpretation of what makes a “true” AMG build. Lastly, the popularity – especially in recent years – of AMG products means that there are a plethora of replica kits and pieces that are available. And, at first glance, this W124 would seem to be the product of just that – replete with “custom” AMG seatbelt covers and an ill-fitting C126 hood conversion, for example. But this W124 is much more:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300CE Mosselman Twin-Turbo on eBay