While 1990 ushered in a new SL roadster, the S-class sedan and SEC coupe would hang on for another two years before their replacements arrived. Considering all generations of S-class over the last 40 years, the W126/C126 is perhaps one of the most timeless. As with every new generation of Mercedes-Benz, new technologies became available and integrated bumpers eliminated the bad proportions which we saw during the crash bumper era of the 1970s. Toward the end, these cars were still a formidable opponent in the luxury class war, standing up in performance and luxury even against some new competition from Japan. This 560SEC for sale in California looks smart in black over palomino livery and has covered less than 80,000 miles in its lifetime.
All posts tagged 1990
An old friend emailed me the other day for advice on getting his own adventure van. We ran through the whole gamut of options, from the classic Westy to Sprinters to Ford Sportvans to Transit Connects. We had some good discussions examining various priorities and rationales, and he had a hard time envisioning shelling out $35k for a nice 25 year-old van, even if Volkswagens are clearly the most stylish and sentimental choice. So, we looked at some other options and kept the discussion going.
Then this van came onto eBay, and I was right back in a puddle of Vanagonlove. The High Tops have grown (no pun intended) on me a lot recently with even greater sleeping and storage space than the standard Westy. They still have a small-van footprint, but bring big-van capability, especially with Syncro. This van has had some very interesting modifications, most importantly a turbocharged Ford Zetec conversion by well-known Van converters Bostig mated to a rebuilt transmission. You could spend days reading the aggressive arguments on forums debating the pros and cons of different engine swaps – 1.8T keeps it OEM+, Subaru has the most power potential, the Ford has the most parts availability, and then there’s the one guy in the corner shouting “911S! 911S!” I move on as soon as people start saying THERE IS ONLY ONE GOOD OPTION, as it seems like all can result in awesome vans as long as the work is well-done and holistic. All of this to say that I have no issue with a Ford engine in a Vanagon and see it as a reliable, reasonably efficient way to more power.
The other modifications are not nearly as contentious or involved as the motor swap, but they do contribute to creating a unique and attractive van. The interior has been swapped out for that from a top-of-the-line Carat, creating an OEM-plushness the Syncro never received. One of the coolest and most resourceful modifications is using the passenger-side jump seat mounts to hold the stove and fridge combo but leaving it detachable, so it can be placed outside the van under the awning when camping. Genius! Other aesthetic and mechanical bits abound, from the always-lovely (and trendy) South African grille and headlights to big brakes and Emu shocks. A very tidy and sorted package that, despite hot bidding even as I type, is way below normal Syncro Westy prices.
Click for details: 1990 Volkswagen Vanagon Adventurewagen Syncro on eBay
When it comes to cars of the 1980s, some may drool over the side strakes of the Ferrari Testatossa or the scissor doors of the Lamborghini Countach, but one of my favorite styling themes to emerge from this decade was the widebody look. Popularized on cars such as the Porsche 911 Turbo, other vehicles adapted this design cue to mixed reviews. One of my favorites though was the widebody Mercedes-Benz C126 AMG coupe. This 1990 560SEC AMG Widebody for sale in San Diego is the stuff dreams are made of for me, looking mean as ever on those color matched AMG Monoblock alloy wheels. The wheels aren’t the only thing that is mean, though, as the asking price is sure to scare off the casual punter.
Click for details: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC AMG Widebody on eBay
Coming from what appears to be the same New Jersey importer/seller as yesterday’s Golf Country is another Syncro special, the beloved Transporter DoKa. This one eschews common add-ons like lights, bullbars, and bumpers for a unique aluminum rolltop utility body over the bed. The rest is just clean, straight, and like-new. Bucket seats up front give a slightly more comfortable look to the interior than the common work-truck bench seen in DoKas, and from the roof to the undercarriage and the under-bed storage bin in between. One thing I can’t figure out is the zippers in the headliner; any ideas, readers?
Overall, it’s as nice as T3 VWs come without too many frills but plenty of capability. With no-reserve, we should get an interesting look at how hot the market is getting for the now easily-importable DoKa Syncros.
Click for details: 1990 Volkswagen DoKa Syncro on eBay
The Mk2 generation of the Volkswagen Golf holds some of my favorite Euro-only forbidden fruit. The proto-R Rallye Golf is a sexy little beast with flared fenders, all wheel drive, and a supercharged G60 engine. They sold 5000 of them, a remarkable number considering they were twice the price of a GTI. Even rarer than the Rallye is the Golf Country, an outlier whose influence could perhaps be seen in the Audi Allroads but really has no modern analogue. A revised suspension gave it 8.25″ of ground clearance with Syncro making sure traction was never a problem. Bullbars and skidplates give protection against rocks and limbs, including extra protection for the Syncro system. This all combines for a hatchback that’s even a little more rally-ready than the Rallye. The one unfortunate area of inferiority is under the hood, as the Country only came with the standard, naturally-aspirated 1.8-liter with 98hp.
This example is a recent beneficiary of the 25-year importation rule, though we don’t know exactly where it comes from. With just 25k miles, it’s about as nice as you’re going to find anywhere in the world. The only flaw I see is some potential scuffing/repair under the bumper on the right rear; otherwise the exterior and interior look outstanding. Many, including this author, think the 25-year importation rule is draconian and ridiculous, but the upside is that forbidden fruit like this excellent Golf Country becomes that much sweeter when finally available to us. With a very reasonable starting bid and a no-reserve auction, this is an incredible chance at some new-to-the-US rare.