Craig finally buys a 300SE, but it’s not all plain sailing …

As readers will know, I’ve been on the lookout for a 300SE for a while now. In fact, one of the first cars I wrote up for GCFSB was a 300SE, which should tell you something. After a couple of false starts, I finally have a W126 I can call my own.

I found it on Craigslist while looking for cars to write up for the site. It stood out because it was in exactly the spec I’d been looking for. It was a 1989, a Gen II car with the more modern looking leather seats and updated exterior side cladding. It was in a great color combination, nautical blue over mushroom cream leather. And, unusually for a 1989 six cylinder, it was equipped with a passenger side airbag and upgraded Bose sound system, options that are more commonly found on the V8s. It also had only 116k miles on it, and was priced fairly. Unfortunately, it was located in Austin, TX, while I’m in Washington, DC.

After a lengthy back and forth with the seller, apparently an enthusiast who assured me it was in excellent running condition, I decided to buy it sight unseen and have it shipped to me. After a couple of weeks of delays on the shipping company’s end (I went with the cheapest option, and it showed), the car finally arrived. At first I was thrilled. It looked great.

But my excitement soon turned to disappointment as the hauler tried unload it. The car wouldn’t start. To be more precise, the car would start with a puff of black smoke out the back and die immediately. It did eventually start on the fourth or fifth try. It then ran rough for a minute or two, like it was misfiring, then smoothed out. My heart sank.

We eventually got it off the transporter and I gingerly began driving it, uncertain what the problem was.…

1989 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa

I suppose I could have put this in Carter’s “What We’re Watching” post since there isn’t a lot of time left in this auction, but I like Carrera Targas too much and this one is pretty nice looking. Plus, the reserve on the auction is unmet so there may still be more options to get it even if this auction ends in a couple days. Regardless, here we have a Slate Grey Metallic 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa, located in Oregon, with Linen leather interior and 66,756 miles on it. As I’ve said, Slate Grey always is one of those colors that I feel like I should say is boring – I mean, it’s grey and grey is by definition dull – but it isn’t boring. It’s beautiful in a stormy way and I think it looks really good here contrasted with the Linen interior. I can’t imagine Linen is easy to keep clean in an open-top 911, but when clean it looks pretty great. Covering the lines of this final year 3.2 Carrera Targa we end up with an attractive overall package and the end of the classic 911 line.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa on eBay

Year: 1989
Model: 911 Carrera Targa
Engine: 3.2 liter flat-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 66,756 mi
Price: Reserve Auction

SUPER RARE 911 CARRERA TARGA
★★★ WITH ONLY 66,756 ACTUAL MILES ★★★
AND DOCUMENTED WITH SERVICE HISTORY SINCE DAY ONE

“1’FAMILY OWNED”
1989 PORSCHE 911 3.2 CARRERA TARGA SPORTS CAR
Powered With a 3.2 Liter Flat-Six Bosch Motronic Fuel Injection Air-Cooled Engine
With 200 HP And Mated With a Getrag G-50 Hydraulic Operation Manual Transmission

⭐ STANDARD EQUIPMENT INCLUDES ⭐
Sport Steering Wheel With Elevated Hub
Power Windows & Locks
Cruise Control
High Output Air Conditioner
Climate Control Air & Heat
Automatic Speed Control
Remote Controlled Outside Rear View Mirrors W/Electric Defrosted
Factory BLAUPUNKT AM/FM Radio/Cassette player
Two 6 x 9 Door Original Speakers And Rear 6 x 9 Speakers
Electric Rear Window Defogger Two Stage
Deep Cut Pile Carpeting
Original Porsche Logo Floor Mats
Leather Sport Dash
Transistorized Tachometer – Trip Mileage Odometer – Quartz Clock – Fuel Consumption Indicator
Front Reclining Sport Leather Seats & Rear Fold Up Seats
Powered Front Seats W/Lumbar Support
Manual 3 Point Front Seat Belts & Manual 2 Point Rear Seat Belts
Electric Windshield Wipers With Intermittent Wipe Cycle,
High Intensity Windscreen Washer
Asymmetric/Halogen Headlamps
Front Fog Lamps
Higher Amperage Battery
Locking (Limited Slip) Differential
Oil Cooer With Fan
Sport Shock Absorbers And Stabilizers
Removable Targa Top
Radial Ply Tires
Rack And Pinion Steering
Transistorized Breaker-less Ignition
Four-Wheel Independent Torsion Bars Suspension With Stabilizer Bars
Front And Rear Four-wheel Vented Disc Brakes Power Assisted
Has The Original And Factory 16” FUCHS Porsche Wheels
With Front 205/55R16 HANKOOK VENTUS S1 NOBLE 2 Tires And 225/50R16 KUMHO ECSTA RSX Rear Tires
Original Spare Tire And Red Wheel

EXTREMELY RARE AND DESIRED COLOR COMBINATION!

1989 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.6 manual

I’m a purist at heart. I like older cars that have survived into the present while remaining practically bone stock and unmodified. But I also realize that there are many different ways to love and appreciate cars, and the stance scene – with its lowered ride heights, deep dish rims and negative camber –  is just another of them. So even though I don’t quite understand it, or find it all that appealing, I respect the craft, and the obsession that goes into creating these cars. This modified 190E caught my eye on the Benzworld classified forum. It’s riding low, but not too low, and while the wheels really don’t quite fit, they are at least very handsome. And with an “Avantgarde” interior taken from a European spec car, the inside on this one’s a bit of a treat too.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.6 on Benzworld

1989 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Coupe

Second 964 in a row for me and this one is a little bit more unique. Given my discussion yesterday of the relative aesthetic merits of the 964 Coupe vs Targa it also makes for a fitting contrast. Like the Carmine Red 930 I featured last week, this 964 comes in one of the red variants that Porsche generally made available. Velvet Red Metallic is not nearly as subtle a contrast as Carmine Red, but it makes for a very nice color that is not quite Burgundy but also not one of the bright reds like Guards Red. The seller states that it’s paint to sample, but that isn’t correct. Regardless, it’s rare and looks great here contrasted with the Tan interior. This 964 comes from the first year of the model’s production, meaning not only was it the all new 911 design, but was also the first-year Carrera 4 that Porsche chose for the 964 debut. At a little under 100K miles it’s a sharp-looking 911.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Coupe on eBay

Year: 1989
Model: 911 Carrera 4
Engine: 3.6 liter flat-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 97,000 mi
Price: $42,000 Buy It Now

In 1989 the Carrera 4 was the most technically sophisticated 911 ever to enter serious production. This C4 Runs, Drives, and Performs Flawlessly, and is a blast to drive.
Shifts into all 5 gears well, and pulls hard our of each shift. No Smoking or funny noises coming from the engine. This is a California Car so no rust, corrosion anywhere. Does have typical 964 oil leaks, nothing major.

Paint and Exterior are in beautiful condition.

With the use of the new stout platform, a redesigned suspension and the marriage of four-wheel drive coupled to the new 3.6-liter flat six, Porsche had achieved the ultimate 911, the “C4”.

1989 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Coupe with 10,604 Miles

Somewhat needless to say, but we don’t see a 964 like this very often at all. Obviously ultra-low-mileage 911s are rare. However, we do come across them with some regularity and, of course, among the limited-production models very low miles is almost the norm. But a fairly standard 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Coupe? I haven’t seen it. I almost wonder how a 964 like this came about. I suspect it was bought with the intention of being part of a collection as the first Carrera 4 model Porsche produced. As a piece of Porsche engineering history it certainly will hold appeal in that regard and here it sits now in original condition as a time capsule from that era. For the very thorough collector it should make for a nice addition.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Coupe on eBay

Year: 1989
Model: 911 Carrera 4
Engine: 3.6 liter flat-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 10,604 mi
Price: Reserve Auction

1989 Porsche Carrera 4

10,604 actual miles from new !!!

European delivery car purchased from Holbert Motor Cars Warrington, Pa, 18976 on 5/15/89.

Original sales receipt and delivery documentation.

Recently service and safety check performed at Paul Miller Porsche 7/29/15 at 10,375 miles.

All original vehicle in time capsule condition.

Runs and drives exceptional great and all power options in working order.

Original exterior paint in show quality condition.

Palomino leather is soft and in showroom condition.

You will be extremely hard pressed to find a nicer and more original example.

Over 80+ photos below.

Located in Central New Jersey 07753.

Contact Dean at 848-459-7776.

With a car like this, our interest lies in current condition and its level of documentation. The condition looks great. The paint is in fine shape with no apparent scrapes, nicks, or blemishes visible in the pictures.…

BMW 635CSi Face-off: High mileage US-Spec vs. Low mileage Euro

With its sharply raked front fascia, long hood and tapering rear end, the E24 6-series is arguably one of the most beautiful BMWs ever made. The grand tourer first arrived in the US in 1977 as the 630, powered by a 3.0 liter M30 engine that produced a not-terribly-impressive 176 hp. While a series of improvements and changes to the lineup would improve things little by little – the 630 was replaced by the 633 in 1978, then the 635 in 1985, and an M6 would arrive in 1987 – the American models would remain saddled with performance-sapping emissions equipment and engines with lower compression ratios than their European counterparts. It wasn’t the end of the world: the E24 was not really about out-and-out performance anyway. Instead, it was for loping across vast stretches of road in comfort and style while conspicuously showing off your wealth. The US-spec 635CSi appeared 1985, bringing with it the 3.4 liter version of the M30 engine and Motronic engine management. Still underpowered in comparison with its European cousin, it was at least significantly torquier than the 633 it replaced. And the performance gap would close almost entirely by 1987 when power output on US-models was bumped to 208 hp. For today’s post, I’ve selected two lovely looking examples of the 635. Both wear Bronzitbeige Metallic paint and come equipped with manual gearboxes. One is a high-milage US-spec example, the other is a low-mileage Euro-spec car with a significant price premium attached.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 BMW 635CSi on Hemmings.com

1989 Porsche 944 Turbo with 36,000 Miles

Where does the 944 Turbo lie in the collector market? That’s a fantastic question. For such a limited model produced over a relatively short span of time, there’s an amazing array of models and changes that occurred over the run that alter the car’s perception, the car’s performance, and – most importantly – the car’s value.

Starting in 1985, the “951” took the idea which had been pioneer with the 924 Turbo and Carrera GT/GTS/GTR and brought it to a much larger audience in a much easier to digest package. Every successive model year saw some changes, from the addition of anti-lock braking in 1987 to the upgraded “S” package in 1988, replete with Cup-inspired Koni suspension and turned-up engine performance for near 250 horsepower. This package carried over, largely unchanged minus the deletion of the S designation, for the entire 1989 model year in the U.S.. Of course, the power, performance and package of the 944 Turbo immediately brings it into comparison with the other two revolutionary small displacement sports cars of the time; the BMW M3 and the Audi Quattro. Each had their own unique character, each has their heavily devoted, mind-can’t-be-changed-that-they-were-the-best-ever fact sheets, and each has their flaws. So how to they stack up in the market today?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay

1989 Mercedes-Benz 300SE


Time for another of my wistful W126 posts. Although it’s generally seen as less desirable than the V-8 powered 420SEL and the 560SEL, I think the short wheelbase 300SE remains the hidden gem in the W126 lineup (though not for much longer if I keep posting them, I guess.) It’s not quick off the line, but that’s sort of besides the point. These are for cruising along on the interstate at 70MPH in quiet comfort, and a six cylinder model will do that just as well as a V8 while returning slightly better gas mileage (maybe 20MPG on the highway, if babied). There’s nothing quite like the way these feel. When the door shuts with a satisfying thunk like only a 1980s Mercedes door can, and you slide yourself into the helm and stare down the long hood to see the three pointed star at the end, you feel richer than your true bank balance suggests. It’s quite intoxicating.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 300SE on eBay

The Porsche 911 Cabriolet – An Air-Cooled Chronology

I don’t know what exactly has lead to my decision to feature Porsche’s various air-cooled Cabriolets. I suppose it was a confluence of circumstances. During one unseasonably warm February weekend, I found myself sitting outside enjoying a beverage and the warm sunshine. As one does. A very pretty 3.2 Carrera Cabriolet drove by. The condition looked very good and it was one of those subtle but interesting color combinations. The exterior was some shade of metallic grey and it had a nicely contrasting green interior. Perhaps the exterior was Granite Green Metallic; I’m not really sure, but it was nice looking. It was a perfect afternoon for enjoying such a car.

Then I started coming across some interesting 911 Cabriolets for sale. After a couple of them I wondered if I could find one from each air-cooled model. I was successful and a post was born. I’ll say from the outset these aren’t from the value part of the 911 spectrum; interesting enough they are all priced within a few thousand dollars of one another. None is inexpensive, but all look in very good shape and promise enjoyable drop-top motoring. We’ll look at them chronologically starting with the first 911 Cabriolet Porsche produced: this Guards Red 1983 Porsche 911SC Cabriolet, located in Illinois, with just 19,016 miles on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Porsche 911SC Cabriolet on Excellence Magazine

Year: 1983
Model: 911SC Cabriolet
Engine: 3.0 liter flat-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 19,016 mi
Price: $69,000

19,016 miles; 1 family ownership; Last year of the 911 SC; First year of the 911 Cabriolet (only 5337 made); Numbers-matching collector car; Guards Red original paint; Meter confirms factory specifications; Full black leather interior; Black leather sport seats; Heated & tinted windshield; Blaupunkt Monterey AM/FM/Cassette radio; Factory alarm
Black top – excellent; rear window – perfect; 16” Fuchs alloys – excellent; Yokohama tires; 3.0 liter engine; 180 hp, 5-speed 915 trans; All tools, air pump, jack, etc.; All books, manuals, touch-up paint, etc.; Window sticker & original dealer paperwork; No winters, no rain, no bad roads; 19,016 mile time capsule; No modifications since new.

Sonderwunsch 1989 Porsche 930 Cabriolet

I’ve come upon this one a little late as there isn’t a lot of time left in this auction, but it’s a wild and interesting enough 930 that it’s worth our time. Porsche’s Sonderwunsch (“Special Wishes”) program provides customers with a wide array of features from which they can build themselves a very unique car. In most cases buyers keep things rather sane and choose a specific color for either the exterior or interior, or they select a couple of interesting interior details. Every now and then a customer goes further…quite a bit further. From the outside this 1989 Porsche 930 Cabriolet shows a few obvious touches with the side strakes and revised front air dam similar to what we see on the Slantnose. When we step into the interior that is when the customization really takes off. Just take a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Sonderwunsch 1989 Porsche 930 Cabriolet on eBay

Year: 1989
Model: 911 Turbo Cabriolet
Engine: 3.3 liter turbocharged flat-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 27,000 mi
Price: Reserve Auction

This stunning 1989 Porsche 930 Turbo Cabriolet is one of just a handful of Sonderwunsch Porsche 930 Turbo Cabriolets produced in that model year, and presents beautifully in black with a green custom leather interior. Sonderwunsch translates to special wishes, and serves as Porsche’s in-house customization program that builds bespoke automobiles at the request of the owner. Their range of available services is all inclusive—drivetrain, suspension, exterior or interior—and nothing falls outside the scope of their capability and quality standard.

This 930 Turbo has been factory customized with the following features: custom body work consisting of rear-fender air intakes with horizontal strakes, a special-order (leather-to-sample) green full-leather interior, a center console with extra gauges, leather dash, and additional under-dash glove boxes.

This car has been babied all it’s life.