1990 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC with 15,400 miles

Earlier this week I checked out 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC in a vivid Signal Red for sale outside of London. I explained that even though I don’t really love red on Mercedes in general, certain models actually pull the color off pretty well. Today, we have another 560SEC in red although this one is a little more subdued with the shade of Garnet Red. In case you missed the title on this car, this SEC has a mere 15,400 miles on it. But the price? Oh boy, I hope you are sitting down. Maybe grab a glass of water, too.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC on eBay

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1990 Audi V8 quattro

Weather. It’s today’s weather that makes me instantly think back to my V8 quattro. Here in New England this morning I emerged from my weather-proof cocoon hidden carefully under several layers of blankets to reveal the foot-plus of powdery snow, blowing fiercely with a sustained 35 mph wind, and a temperature hovering around 9. Maybe for you folks in Minnesota that’s a nice Spring day, but I think it’s just brutal. Yet when it occurs, I instantly think back to the car I had that made me relish those conditions. It was my ’93 V8 quattro, without hesitation.

When the mercury dipped below freezing and the roads were covered in snow, that car was simply a monster. Audis certainly have a reputation for being good in the snow, it’s true. But here’s a hint – I’ve owned a lot and driven even more, and they’re not all great in the white stuff (ducks). They’re also very tire-dependent, perhaps moreso than other cars. Because with all-seasons on an Audi, you’ll have no problem going fast in deep snow, but you’ll have quite a few problems turning and more problems stopping.

But I had snow tires on my V8. Tiny little A4 steel wheels overshadowed by the widened flares with tires that look fit for…well, an basic B5 A4 rather than a large executive. When that white stuff fell – look out. It was unstoppable, but not in the bad way I just mentioned. And unlike the terminal understeer some of my other Audis suffered from (I’m looking at you, 200!), all you had to do in the V8 if the nose wasn’t heading where you wanted to was to give it a boot-full of throttle. A tremendous roar would emerge as the 4-cam all-aluminum V8 sprung to life, the multi-plate center differential channeled power towards the back, and the Torsen rear diff limited the slip of the unladen tire. The result? Sideways. Totally awesome, controllable drifts at nearly any angle you wanted for as long as you wanted. I drove through a blizzard, seat heaters set at “just so”, automatic climate control dialed in to 70 with the exterior temp suggesting it was Saskatchewan I was in rather than Southern Massachusetts. The V8 ate the miles up leisurely. It was the most comfortable I’ve felt in a very bad driving environment, and I’ve driven through a few in some pretty good cars.

Then there’s the ‘whether’. It’s more than whether or not you live in a climate where my scenario will play out for you. It’s more than whether or not this car is worth purchasing. It’s whether or not you’ll be able to find parts. It’s whether or not all of the items work. Heck, with a V8 quattro, sometimes it’s whether or not it’ll feel like starting. And when it does, it’s whether or not it’ll feel like shifting, too.

Whether be damned, these cars still capture my imagination every single time I see one.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi V8 quattro on eBay

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1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II

We’ve covered the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II here many times in the past and for good reason, it is a hell of a unique car with a price tag to match. You can get your 1990s DTM kicks on the street all while being in the lap of luxury (at the time) with things like air conditioning and leather seats. This car is not shy, it is not subtle and most importantly for everyone, it is not cheap. When this thing launched in 1990, asking price for an 2.5-16 Evolution II from Mercedes was around $80,000. That isn’t in 2017 money, that is in 1990 money. Just to give it some perspective, factoring in inflation and other things, this W201 would have run you around $155,000 in terms of buying power. Yes, for a W201 190E.  Unfortunately, this 1990 for sale in the Netherlands isn’t cheaper either.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II on Hemmings

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1990 BMW 735i

Update 4/20/2018 – the asking price of this neat 735i has dropped from $5,995 in December to just $3,995 today.

Following up on yesterday’s Audi S8, I’m reminded just how good the 1990s were for large executive sedans when considering this E32. Sure, the W126 S-Class led the way in the mid-80s, with BMW and Audi playing catch-up. But catch-up they did, with the unorthodox V8 quattro and sporty, luxurious E32 7-series. Both models were followed up with improved models, too – the E38 and D2 are as much fan-favorites (if not moreso) than their predecessors. And while I’m not as much of a die-hard fan of the 3-pointed star, universally the W140 is seen as a worthy successor to the legendary flagship at Mercedes-Benz, too. All around, it was hard to go wrong with these super-executives in the 90s.

While I did own a V8 quattro and pine over the innovative Ingolstadter, my formative driving years were spent with an E32 in the household. It was a great car; the Claus Luthe styling was refined and carried the size and weight of the new 7 much better than the E23 did. It was more potent, too, with the punchy 3.5 liter M30 rated at 208 horsepower, while you could go upscale to the new 5.0 V12 750i kicking out 295 horses. Both could be specified in long wheel base, too – something Audi did pull off with the V8 quattro, but not for the U.S. market.

Yet, like the Audis, the large BMWs don’t have quite the following or the market appeal of the Mercedes-Benz. Perhaps it’s because they’re more finicky, or that parts are harder to find. More likely, it was that they didn’t have quite the same ‘old money’ buyers originally and were more disposable than the inheritance-quality Benz models. Certainly it’s the case that in the economically hard times of the late 80s and early 90s, they just didn’t sell as well as the competition. Those factors combine to make finding one like today’s example extra special:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 BMW 735i on eBay

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1990 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 16V

Much like the S4 I posted over the weekend, the Jetta GLI 16V is a car which on paper I should like very much. After all, I’m a huge fan of the same-generation GTI 16V, and the Jetta was little more than a trunk added to that formula. Underneath, there were almost no changes between the two. You got the same high-strung 9A 2.0 16V with Motronic fuel injection pushing 134 horses through that open-diff front end. Your only choice was a 5-speed manual, of course, and it was a close-ratio one – enjoy those highway speeds! Brakes were updated to 10.1″ and dual tailpipes emerged from the new ‘big bumper’ A2 refresh. Central locking and a cassette player were standard, while you could opt for many power options including windows, mirror, anti-lock brakes, trip computer, cruise control and of course a sunroof. The GLI also carried over BBS wheels from the pre’90 1.8 models, in this case the 15″x 6.5″ ‘RA’.

These items should have conspired to produce a deeply desirable product for me. And yet, somehow I never really took to the Jetta though many did. I suppose it’s the same as the 4000 quattro/Coupe GT fan bases. Rarely do they seem to cross over, yet there’s a mutual respect between them. I like the Jetta, and in the absence of the GTI it would probably be a great favorite of mine. It was aimed at being a more refined alternative to the racier hot hatch. But ultimately it falls second fiddle to the GTI, which always seems (and, arguably is) just that little bit more neat.

For enthusiasts, though, that means potential value. As GTI 16V prices climb steeply with no real relent in sight and few good examples hitting the market, you can get a bit of a value if you don’t mind the junk in the trunk:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 16V on eBay

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1990 Audi V8 quattro

If there is one German car that is an honorary Alfa Romeo, it’s got to be the V8 quattro.

From the dated underpinnings of the Type 44 chassis, Audi emerged in 1988 with an all-new 4-cam aluminum engine that could be mated to an automatic transmission. While today most enthusiasts decry the death of the manual, it was still a luxury that people paid dearly for at other points in automotive history, and the technical achievement necessary to combine the two was not unsubstantial. It benefited from a new generation of quattro models, which instead of utilizing manual differential locks had a Torsen unit in the center to automatically split power. But the V8, equipped with the automatic, couldn’t use that Torsen in the middle, instead relying on a multi-clutch differential. Instead, the Torsen unit was moved to the rear of the car. Coupled with a more rearward weight bias with the shorter V8 and the gutsy torque on offer throughout the rev range, though much of the car was borrowed from the rest of the lineup it took on an entirely different character. That was matched with new, updated bodywork outside and a wider stance with flared arches. The effect? Magical. And, complicated.

The results of both were that the V8s developed a unique fanbase separate from most of the other models. The Phantoms of the Four-Ringed Opera, these cars have long-lived in the shadows, myths that are only seen rarely, cars no average mortal would consider owning. The social pariahs who do own them are even more strange, lurking in the dark corners of the internet muttering “NLA” to themselves while figuring out creative ways to keep their coveted creations running, mostly though cannibalization of others. It seems Audi managed to pull off the unfathomable achievement of creating a whole new and unique set of VAG problems specific to the V8.

Being a V8 quattro owner isn’t particularly rewarding. No one has any idea that your car even existed – sometimes, not even Audi dealers. And it will break. Often. When (not if) it does, it will certainly be very expensive to fix. But like an Alfa, occasionally it all works and suddenly you have the greatest car ever conceived. It’s comfortable, quiet, sporty, refined, simple in ergonomics but has everything you need. The steering is sublime for a 90s Audi. The brakes were fantastic. The transmission was a big step forward in design for Audi from the venerable 3-speed. It had a great radio, greater seat heaters and one-touch power windows. It was cutting edge.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi V8 quattro on eBay

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Two Visions of the Future: 1963 BMW 700LS and 1990 BMW Z1

Update 6/1/18 – the BMW 700LS has dropped a further $2,000 in ask to $19,500.

Update 2/6/18 – Unsurprisingly, the 700LS remains available on reserve auction (it is $21,900 on their site)

Normally, our dual posts have two comparable cars to consider. But while typically that manifests itself in one model, one price point or one performance group, today it’s something very different.

Although both of today’s cars come from one marque – BMW – there is literally and figuratively a huge chasm of development between them. There’s also a vast gulf between performance, desirability and price. Yet each reflected the time point in which it was made; the austere 1960s, emerging from the fog of war into a bustling economy when average Germans could for the first time contemplate automobile ownership, and the exotic 1980s, with its new computer designs and technology rapidly forcing car designs forward. For the company, each car represented the future in many ways even if the results and their impact was so vastly different.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1963 BMW 700LS on eBay

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1990 Volkswagen Corrado G60

Update 1/6/2018 – The asking price on this Corrado G60 has dropped from $5,200 to $4,800.

While the second-generation Scirocco was a re-body of the first-generation chassis with some upgrades, when it came to the end of the 80s and the launch of a new sporty Volkswagen, they turned to…another antiquated chassis. Prepared for the 1990 model year, the A2 chassis was already the best part of 7 years old and not the most refined unit out there. Despite this, plans moved ahead at cash-strapped VW to produce two “new” models that were adaptations of the A2 chassis.

The result was the third generation Passat and the sporty Karmann-built Corrado. The design was more VAG evolution than revolution; in many ways, the Corrado’s profile and several aspects mimicked the upscale Audi products. Volkswagen again went to the tried-and-true ‘Operation Copy Giugiaro’ plan that worked with the Scirocco. It looks like a shorter, chunkier Audi Coupe GT to me – especially in its original G60 supercharged guise. While the GTI went to the 2.0 16V and slick BBS wheels making an instant classic, Volkswagen relied on the G-Ladder supercharger that was seen in the European Golf Rallye and G60 GTI for the motivation for the Corrado. But the Corrado wasn’t made to challenge its siblings; it was aimed at the 944 crowd, replacing the 924S as a ‘Poor Man’s Porsche’ rather than just an expensive GTI alternative.

Ostensibly, this made it the top-trump at Volkswagen, what with 160 horsepower and good torque. But the heavy weight and complicated nature of the model meant that the GTI retained greater appeal. It seemed as though Volkswagen hit a home run when they finally slotted the even more potent and better sounding VR6 into the Corrado for 1992, relegating the supercharged model to obsolescence and obscurity. Like yesterday’s Audi 5000 Turbo, this model was thoroughly overshadowed by the VR6 and GTI, so values sunk quickly. Often they landed in the hands of those not able to afford the expensive repairs. And, no surprise, the result is that finding clean G60s is pretty tough today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Volkswagen Corrado G60 on eBay

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Rare Righthooker: 1990 BMW 735i SE

The 7-series never really developed the cult following of some of its countrymen or the rest of the BMW lineup. It wasn’t as luxurious as either the W126 or W140 Mercedes-Benz competition. It wasn’t as clever as the Audi V8 quattro. It wasn’t as good a driver as the E30 or E34. There was never a Motorsports division version, and it wasn’t quite as good-looking as its successor, the already legendary E38. As a result, the E32 was – in many ways – a disposable luxury car, much like some of the Audis of the period. They’re mostly gone and forgotten, but every once in a while a really neat one pops up and is worth a look.

I grew up in my formative driving years with a 5-speed 735i E32 in the family stable, and it was a wonderful car. It rode well, it was comfortable, the 3.5 liter M30 was turned up over 200 horsepower and so it was plenty quick. Generally speaking, the U.S. spec 5-speeds are the most highly sought E32s here and it’s easy to understand why. But this particular E32 turns the desirability up a few notches:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 BMW 735i SE on eBay

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1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Coupe – RoW Sunroof Delete

Let’s continue with yesterday’s theme and look at another 911 that originated outside of our shores. Here we have a Japanese market Forest Green Metallic 1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Coupe, located in California, with Black interior and a very low 32,200 kilometers on it. Of additional import this Carrera 2 does not have a sunroof. The seller has listed it as a sunroof delete – and I’ve followed suit – but properly speaking I think we’d say this 911 didn’t have the sunroof selected as an option, rather than deleted. It gets us to the same point though.

We’ve seen a few of these Japanese market 964s come up lately – I’ve even featured one – and they certainly make for a nice departure from the US versions. This particular example looks fantastic!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Coupe on eBay

Year: 1990
Model: 911 Carrera 2
Engine: 3.6 liter flat-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 32,200 km (19,900 mi)
Price: $119,990 Buy It Now

1990 Porsche 911/964 Carrera 2 Coupe
Euro/Rest of World Edition
Sunroof Delete/Manual Trans/LSD
Numbers Matching
Stock #0882

VIN# WP0ZZZ96ZLS403967
ENG# 62L07426 (M64/01)
TRN# 1L03261 (G50/03)
Numbers Matching
19,900 Original Miles (32,200 kilometers)
Forest Green Metallic (L22E) on Black Partial Leather/LT
5-speed G50 Manual Transmission with LSD
Clean and Clear Montana Title
1-Owner from New
Imported by the Famous Mitsuwa Motors of Japan
Porsche Certificate of Authenticity

The Porsche 964 market has caught the attention of collectors and enthusiasts. It was really the beginning of the modern version of the 911. Some of the most significant changes in the 911’s history began with this model. Torsion bar suspension was replaced with an adjustable coil-over setup. Power steering was added. The A/C system was updated and much more effective. The new twin-plug 3.6L engine made these cars wonderful around town with great low-end power. The changes were extensive and really made these examples some of the best all-around driving 911s. In particular, the Rest of World (ROW) models are considered the best. They are lighter, the suspension is better, and they look better. Now with the U.S. 25-year import law in effect, these cars are finally legal for the American market.

This C2 was built on January 3rd, 1990 and imported by Mitsuwa Motors of Japan. This company was the legal importer for all Porsche cars entering the Japanese market for decades. This Porsche was ordered with the following factory options:

Special order paint (Forest Green Metallic)
Rear Wiper
Air Conditioner
Bridgestone Tires
Limited Slip Differential (dealer installed)

This 964 lived with one owner from new in Osaka, Japan. Recently, it was imported to the United States. Prior to being shipped, the Porsche dealer in Japan performed a major service.

Furthermore, the air-conditioning system has also been serviced and it blows cold. The car was fully detailed and a ceramic paint protection coat was applied. This is a process that costs over $3,000 and seals the paint from contaminants.

The exterior looks fantastic and shows minimal signs of use. It is indicative of a low-mile example. The body panels have been checked with a paint meter and verified original except for some paint blending on the right rear fender and right door. The paint work was done due to some dents and scratches. Visually, the match is spot on and the only way you can tell is with a meter. The glass is all original including the windshield and looks near new. The wheels are wrapped in older Dunlop tires that should be replaced soon. The front brakes are new and the rears have about half-life remaining. All the exterior lights function properly. The headlights have HID bulbs. The rear power wing operates as it should and the accordion plastic part is in good condition (see pic). The exterior of these ROW cars looks fantastic. The bumpers are cleaner and the side European marker lights add a nice touch. Also, the ride height is lower and gives it a more aggressive stance and better handling.

The engine compartment is clean and tidy. The engine has recently been serviced by Porsche. All the proper factory decals are in place. The engine sound pad is in excellent condition as well. The underside is also clean and still has all of its plastic undercarriage panels in place.

The interior is equally as nice and also reflective of the low miles. The leather seats are in excellent condition with just some light bolster wear with no tears. The carpet, door panels, and headliner all look fresh. The dash is perfect with no cracks or warping. An aftermarket Japanese stereo has been installed. It powers up and plays, but the FM tuning does not work in the U.S. market. The A/C blows cold. All the gauges operate properly. The clock keeps time as well. All the interior lights and buttons function as they should.

It’s hard to put a finger on why these cars drive so nice, but they feel much tighter and more responsive than their North American counterparts. This example starts easily with the first twist of the key and holds an even idle. The power is immediate and has excellent low-end torque. The lightened flywheel really helps free up the motor’s rpms. The power assisted steering is a welcome addition, yet it still provides plenty of road feel and feedback. Turn in is precise and the car tracks straight. The LSD helps with applying the torque on the exit from turns. Some fresh tires would improve handling even more. The brakes have great initial bite with no fading or pulling. The gearbox shifts smoothly with no grinding or slipping.

This example is truly a rare site to see stateside and would certainly gather a crowd at your local cars and coffee. Meanwhile, it is easy enough to use daily and a blast in the canyons. This would make a great driver for distance touring events or even showing at your local concours events.

This 964 comes with its original owner’s manuals, Certificate of Authenticity, space saver spare, jack, air compressor, extra key, and tool kit.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Paul at 714-335-4911 or paul@autokennel.com

For tons of photos, go to: www.AutoKennel.com

I also should note that this same seller has another non-sunroof Carrera 2 available. In many ways it is very similar. I chose to feature this one because the color is a little more unique so I like it better. But, if you prefer black, there’s one available.

The asking price for both of these 911s is very high and I’ll be pretty curious to see whether either can sell. Even given the condition and very low mileage it’s still tough to consider moving above six figures for a Carrera 2, regardless of its various unique qualities. For comparison, the Slate Grey Japanese Carrera 2 I featured had an asking price of $78K. It sold, presumably for a price close to asking since I don’t think it was available all that long. It also had no sunroof, but at 74K kilometers it’s mileage definitely was higher. So we’ll have to factor that in, but that still leaves me wondering if lower mileage is worth this much of a premium. Nonetheless, this is a really nice looking RoW Carrera 2 and certainly one that will start some conversation with anyone who sees it.

-Rob