1991 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC

There isn’t a whole lot left to be said about the Mercedes-Benz W126 coupe and especially the 560SEC. But, I keep finding really nice examples of them for sale, so more words are needed. If you at the main body line in the photo above, you see how everything is perfect until you run into that big, clunky door handle. The designer of this car, the legendary Bruno Sacco, said that it is the only flaw in an otherwise nearly perfect design. Those door handles were not his idea, but rather the engineers that focused on safety and all the other stuff that ruins fun. Supposedly whatever the original design on paper was for this coupe wasn’t deemed safe and functional in a crash so they had to go with what you see today. Sacco even went as far as saying he wanted to have those door handles modified on his personal 560SEC just because it bugged him so much. I see his point and who am I to argue with the guy who designed some of the most iconic Mercedes ever?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC on eBay

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1991 Volkswagen GTI 16V

Without a doubt, for me the best change ever to the GTI lineup was the revision in mid-1990 of the GTI 16V. The DOHC screamer was already a pretty potent performer, but Volkswagen pushed the desirability over the top for the end of the run. The result was what many – this author included – consider the best of the breed. The original may have been more pure, and subsequent models are a lot faster and more dependable. But none of them got it quite as right as the 2.0 16V.

Outside the GTI built on its legend with wider European-market flares and deep rockers. Like all of the A2s, new ‘Big Bumper’ covers integrated fog lights and brake ducting. Yes, they looked heavier than the previous slim bumpers, but they also matched the design well. Iconic round headlights returned, now with inner driving lights too. But arguably the best change was the addition of 15″ wheels – in this case, the BBS RM multi-piece units. New colors also were introduced, including the equally iconic and signature ‘Montana Green’. Inside the interior was bulked up with large bolster Recaro Trophy seats. To match the wicked looks, under the hood was improved with a new 2.0 version of the 16V motor. The 9A introduced CIS-E Motronic fuel injection, while the bore was increased from 81mm to 82.5 and the stroke from 86.4 mm to 92.8. Compression was increased slightly from 10.5:1 to 10.8:1 and the result was 134 horsepower at 5,800 RPMs and 133 lb.ft of torque at 4,400. The engine was still matched the the 2Y close ratio transmission with a 3.67 final drive. While the GTI 16V couldn’t match the Callaway Turbo GTI we saw yesterday on sheer acceleration, it was generally reviewed as the best GTI yet. Finding a clean example today is always cause for celebration, and this one looks ready to party. Does it hold up?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Volkswagen GTI 16V on eBay

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1991 Mercedes-Benz 300TE 3.2 AMG

Update: The 300TE didn’t sell at the high bid of $48,000 but is now relisted by the seller with a Buy It Now of $52,000.

Of the hundreds of Mercedes-Benz I end up looking at a week, you wouldn’t believe how many sellers claim some kind of AMG connection to them. Sometimes they are as simple as someone throwing an AMG badges on the trunk lid (usually crooked), to some kind of dubious bodywork with an AMG logo stamped on it, all the way to just having nothing to do with AMG at all but throwing the association out there because the car is kind of sporty. Very rarely, actually almost never, do I come across a real pre-acquisition AMG car that has all the documentation along with all the parts still actually on the car. Well, never say never, because today we have one of those cars.

This 1991 300TE was built by AMG for subsidiarity AMG Japan as a M103 3.2 liter car with all the goodies, both inside and out. It has all the paperwork and maintenance records you could want. The best part? It’s already in the United States. The not-so best part? It is going to be really expensive.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300TE 3.2 AMG on eBay

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1991 Audi V8 quattro 5-speed

Update 8/8/18: An interesting follow-up to the clean V8 quattro I posted the other day, this 1991 V8 5-speed has returned in a no reserve auction format with a $5,500 opening price – down $1,000 from May.

Back to big Audis! The early 1990s were, as I’ve described in the past two posts, a period of change for the Ingolstadt firm as they closed down production on the Type 44 to introduce its new replacement, the C4. That led to a dizzying assortment of models from the one chassis. There was the aforementioned 100 and 100 quattro. You could move up to two turbocharged models, too – the 200 Turbo gave you 165 horsepower through the front wheels, and the new-and-only-for-91 in the U.S. was 200 20V quattro. Europe and the rest of the world got even more options; production lasted right up through 2006 in parts of China, where they even made a crazy long-wheel base 4-door convertible version of the Hongqi.

But the top of the heap for the U.S. market was a derivative of the Type 44, the D11 chassis. Of course, that was Audi’s foray into the top-tier luxury market with its new all-aluminum 32 valve double-overhead cam V8. Body revisions to the front and rear along with flared fenders made the V8 quattro seem like a completely different car to the slab-sided 100. V8s had, and have, serious presence. Big news, too, was that for the first time Audi was able to match its all-wheel drive quattro setup with a new 4-speed automatic transmission.

For die-hard Audi faithful, though, for a short while you could still opt to row-your-own with the 240 horsepower 3.6 liter V8 singing to your right foot. These manual V8 quattros are legendary because of their rarity and that they are the only car Audi brought to market with twin Torsen differentials. The combination of a more rearward weight bias, big and instant torque from the V8 and those clever diffs made for one of the best driving experiences in a big sedan from Audi:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi V8 quattro on Grand Rapids Craigslist

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1991 Volkswagen Jetta GL

In a recent ad campaign, I’ve been interested to see Volkswagen roll out its older Jettas to somehow link their DNA to the new model. That’s an interesting ploy, since most people I know who have had experiences with a Jetta of this ilk usually remember the calamity rather than the positive aspects of the model.

Back in March, I took a bemused look at the confusing Jetta lineup by considering the oddly placed Carat model. It fell somewhere in between the GL and Wolfsburg model, yet most of the major items remained optional. Today, we get to look at the base model – the GL. The GL and Carat shared the same motor and running gear, but instead of the ‘upscale’ wheel covers borrowed from the Passat, the GL had steel wheels with center covers and trim rings. It was one of the better looking wheel options Volkswagen had at the time, and though it was the base wheel it somehow looked neat. Inside the seats were not quite as upscale-looking as the Carat, but otherwise equipment on the two was basically the same. But there remains an inherent draw to the second generation Jetta even as a base model, and this clean GL looks ready for some serious swapping action:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Volkswagen Jetta GL on eBay

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1991 Porsche 911 Turbo

Here we have a Polar Silver Metallic 1991 Porsche 911 Turbo, located in Oregon, with Black interior and 73,940 miles on it. We don’t see the 964 Turbo come around for sale all that frequently, at least not compared with its longer lived predecessor the 930, but for whatever reason I’ve been seeing some nicer ones pop up for sale lately, one of which appears to have sold quite a bit more quickly than I’d have expected. There are a few up on eBay right now, including the very pretty and gradually becoming less expensive Coral Red Metallic example I posted a year ago, but I chose this one for a couple of reasons.

First, I think Polar Silver looks fantastic on the 964 in general and especially the 964 Turbo. Silver isn’t typically a color I prefer on most cars, but Polar Silver is an excellent variant of the color and it just works on the 964. I don’t know why, it just does. I also like that this one has a few modifications that should make it just that extra bit more fun to drive. Obviously, how much appeal that work has will vary by buyer, but fun is fun and more power generally is more fun. So why not?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Porsche 911 Turbo on eBay

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1991 Audi Coupe Quattro

Update 7/15/17: Due to lack of payment, this Coupe Quattro has been relisted, again with a no reserve auction format.

Time to consider another Audi icon – the Coupe Quattro. Of course, it was quite hard to follow the original act, but in Europe alongside the RR Quattro 20V was the all-new B3 generation S2. Performance was about par between them, but they had intensely different character. The new car was safer, more quiet, more round, and a lot more practical. For while the original Quattro had always looked like it had a hatchback, it was the successor that actually had one.

Of course, in the U.S. we didn’t receive the S2. The Coupe Quattro made due with a thoroughly upgraded 2.3 liter DOHC 20V motor – the 7A. Deep in the middle of the recession and not fully recovered from Audi’s 60 Minutes debacle, the very expensive Coupe Quattro sold slowly. A total of approximately 1,700 of them were imported at over $30,000 each. Considering the cost, the performance was rather soft; the heavy Coupe sported only 164 horsepower and though it was smooth and reasonably quick on the highway, off the line performance was lackluster at best. Still, though the internet fora would have you believe otherwise, performance between the U.S. spec Coupe and original Quattro was pretty similar.

Options on the Coupe were limited to the Cold Weather package, 8-way power seats and Pearlescent White Metallic paint – all seen here on this ’91. ’91s also had the upgraded glass moonroof rather than the early steel panel, though they lost the infamous “Bag of Snakes” tubular header early models carried. ’91s also gained rear sway bars and are the rarest of the bunch, with only 364 sold in the model year and a further 58 traded as leftovers. Like the original, finding a good one is key – and difficult:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi Coupe Quattro on eBay

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Affordable E34 Face-Off: 1990 Alpina B10 3.5/1 v. 1991 M5

Update 6/15/18: After not selling last year with a $14,500 Buy It Now, the Alpina B10 3.5/1 part of this duo is back up for sale having finally been washed at the same asking price. Will it find a buyer this time around?

Just because it’s got an exotic name or badge doesn’t mean it’s automatically out of your reach. That’s the lesson for today’s twin E34s. If you’re willing to undertake a bit of a project you can certainly save money up front. Just like we saw with the S65 AMG Andrew wrote up, the initial cost you pay only going to be part of your total outlay but for the price of a small economy car, you can grab another league of luxury, performance and exclusivity that a Nissan Versa could never dream of matching. So which of these project E34s is the one you’d chose, or are both busts?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Alpina B10 3.5/1 on eBay

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1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL 5-Speed

Fresh off last weeks bit of random Mercedes-Benz facts about the 1990 300E that came in both a 2.8 and 3.2 liter, I’m back again with some information that might be useful every once in a blue moon. From 1990 to 1993, you could purchase a 300SL with a dogleg 5-speed manual gearbox. Yes, the same dogleg from the 190E 2.3-16v cars. You might think this is the best news ever, but not so fast. This gearbox in this car has often be described as sloppy at best and really isn’t an enjoyable experience. The throws are long and vague, with any hope of fast gear changes being wishful at best. Rumor has it that there were only 166 examples of these 5-speed cars bought to North America which make this a pretty rare car to say the least. But if no one wants it, does this make it valuable?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL on eBay

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1991 Mercedes-Benz 300CE

I’ve said this before, but I want to reiterate it once again. The Mercedes-Benz W124 Coupe has quickly become the next classic Mercedes that everyone is searching Craigslist and their neighbors garages for clean examples to snatch up. For the longest time these were just another old Mercedes that was a really good car in its heyday but time soon passed by for newer cars. Well, now that it is very clear that cars like the W124 won’t be made again and the gold rush has started for the pillarless coupe. Some of these really nice cars, especially face lifted E320 Coupes, have been bringing five-figure prices regularly and there doesn’t seem to be a short of willing buyers — myself included. Thankfully, there still seems to be a few of these cars out there for sale that represent good value if you want to get in one of these. This example up for sale in Eastern Pennsylvania seems to be just that. Don’t get too excited though, this one is far from a showroom example.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300CE on eBay

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