1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 Estate

About a month ago I checked out a 1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 Estate up for sale in California. It was a really clean example in a nice color combination but the asking price of $9,500 gave me a little pause considering the 156,000 miles. I understand that wagons demand a premium and those that want them usually will pony up the cash for the right example. The seller did lower the price by to $8,500 a week later, but still that seemed a little high to me. Today, we have another 1995 E320 Estate from California but this one in checks in with just a little under 60,000 miles and a laundry list of repairs and maintenance. The price? You can probably guess it isn’t going to be cheap.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 Estate on eBay

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1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 Estate

Last week I checked out the ultimate Mercedes-Benz W124 Estate in the E60 AMG. It was everything and more in a wagon that not only laid down impressive power numbers even for today, but shows its longevity with nearly 250,000 miles on the setup. Of course, this all came with a hefty price tag of nearly $75,000. Today, I have a another W124 Estate up for sale in California that is a little tamer in the power and styling department, but surprisingly isn’t as inexpensive as I thought it might be.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 Estate on eBay

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Feature Listing: 1995 BMW M3 Dinan S3-spec

It’s interesting to consider how enthusiasts today view the E36 M3. Generally speaking, you’re either a completely devoted fan who insists that the E36 is not only the best M3, but perhaps the best BMW ever made. Why stop there? Why not go straight for best car in the history of the world, ever? On the other side of the coin, detractors love to point out that the second M3 was softened up for the U.S. market, that it wasn’t as potent, as pure, as Motorsporty as the original curb-hopping, box-flared legend.

Arguably, they’re both right. It’s certainly true that BMW made the decision to tone down the M3 for North American consumption. That was a really good thing for two reasons: one, that we got it at all, and two, that it remained affordable. Consider, for a moment, that the E30 M3 had grown quite expensive to sport all of that motorsport heritage. By 1991, the base price of the M3 was $35,900. Of course, it was competing against even more expensive cars like the Porsche 944S2, which was a further $10,000 more dear. While we can talk about driving spirit all day long, if we look at the fact sheets what you got was a bit soggy in comparison to today’s cars. Inflation corrected, the M3 would be around $62,000 – pretty much spot on the entry price for today’s M3. The new car has more than double the horsepower of the original and enough tech to launch all of the Apollo program missions.

So what was really exciting when the new M3 was launched in late 1994 was that price point; $36,000. That was some $14,000 less expensive than the European model, and yet performance was within a few clicks thanks to a revised version of the 325i M50 engine. In fact, many – including notoriously BMW-savvy Car and Driver – suggested that the U.S. spec M3 was a better choice than the more exotic Euro model for our roads.

Today, the E36 M3 remains for many the smart choice within the lineup. Long overlooked as the obvious choice, prices have remained low relative to its predecessor and even its replacement. Modern comparisons often skip the E36 entirely. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get exotic performance and looks from the middle child:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 on eBay

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1995 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet

A little while back I wrote about the joys of top-down motoring. And, of course, the weather has not been cooperative since then. Nonetheless, sunnier days are ahead so I shall return to that theme with what looks to me like a pretty nice example: a Black 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet with just under 61,000 miles on it. Of particular note on this 911 is its interior, which features beautiful Flamenco Red leather throughout with just the right amount of black contrast in the dash and carpets. That interior is a pretty rare find on a 993 and it looks really good here. As always, its contrast with the black exterior shows very well and serves to liven up the atmosphere created by that dark exterior color. That the Cabriolet makes the interior extra visible just makes it all the better.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet on Excellence Magazine

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Tuner Tuesday: 1995 Mercedes-Benz ”E36 AMG” Estate

I’m a really big fan of OEM+ modifications on cars. Something always feels good about grabbing a part from a higher trim level or even another model and seamlessly adding it to your car to make even better. Lots of times it is something small like a piece of trim or a grille. Other times you go totally crazy and swap in an entire engine from another car. That is what we have today with this W124 Mercedes-Benz Estate up for sale in Atlanta. What started life as an already really nice E320 with the M104 3.2 liter inline-6 was swapped out the M104 3.6 liter inline-6 from a C36 AMG to make a pseudo E36 AMG Estate. As you might have noticed, that wasn’t the only thing that was changed on this wagon.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Mercedes-Benz ”E36 AMG” Estate on eBay

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Double Take: 1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 Cabriolet

In my long affinity for the Mercedes-Benz W124 Cabriolet, I have featured all kinds of examples. Rare color ones, expensive ones and even ones with V8s swapped into them. So naturally when I come across one in my cruise around the internet, I usually take a quick peek at it. Today’s W124 Cabriolets, a Signal Red example for sale in California and a black one listed in Connecticut, are both prime examples of these amazing drop top cruisers. You’d probably have a tough time finding any faults at all on either of these cars, but what if I told you that one was literally twice the price as the other? Yes, I’m serious.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 Cabriolet on Hemmings

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1995 BMW M3

An interesting counterpoint to yesterday’s no reserve M3 is, obviously, how much other generations of M3s cost. Like yesterday’s E30, today’s follow up needs little introduction as it’s been a fan favorite since day one. So how does this car compare to yesterday’s market hero?

Well, on paper the E36 is a better car. It’s quicker because it’s got more power. It’s cheaper to maintain. It’s no less adept in corners. And while it wasn’t quite the benchmark on international courses that the first generation was, the E36 was no slouch at the track either and is still a favorite weapon of amateurs and professionals alike.

This particular M3 stacks up pretty well against yesterday’s car. As with yesterday, it’s claimed to completely original though it’s clearly had some modifications. It’s also got about the same mileage at 126,500. And attract attention? Surely few will have difficulty spotting you in the stunning shade of Daytona Violet, here equipped with manual black leather Vaders. But the key yesterday was price, and here it is again:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 on eBay

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1995 BMW 325iS

The takeaway from my recent E36 M3 Double Take was that many sellers were looking for strong money, but if you looked you could still find some deals on the third generation 3-series M. Some searching yielded a 70,000 mile Boston Green ’97 M3/4/5 Sedan. Clean and a desirable model on its own, it still sold for only $10,800. With asks for normal E30 325iS generally higher than that, where does the follow-up model lay?

That model is this E36 325. Launched in 1992 for U.S. shores, the third generation 3-series instantly cemented itself as the new benchmark. In fact, for all of the attention fawned on ‘God’s Chariot’, the reality is that the 3-series didn’t appear on notoriously BMW-leaning Car and Driver until the 1992 model year. Equipped with the M50 DOHC 189 horsepower inline-6, the modern yet still driver-oriented design would go on to become a regular thereafter. They were a sales success too, and like the E30 was for some time, they’re currently being largely ignored in the used market. After all, if you can get a clean M3 for $11,000, why would you buy a 325iS?

Because they’re a damn good car in their own right, and they’re also damn cheap – if you can find a clean one:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 325iS on eBay

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White Christmas Double Take: 1995 BMW M3

Update 1/25/2018 – the first of this duo has dropped in price from $19,997 to $17,997.

Recently I found myself looking through some old car literature I had amassed over the years. In particular, I was completely enamored with the brand-new E36 M3 when it launched on U.S. shores. I’m not sure why, but of all the E36 variants that were produced, that first-year M has always stuck out to me as the most desirable in the lineup. And now as these cars are on the verge of being considered “antique” and with the E30 market still silly (and the E46 market rising), these early Coupes seem like a great balance of driving, collector-potential and somewhat reasonable pricing.

I say ‘somewhat’ because sellers have steadily been raising the bar to the point where it almost feels like price fixing. When I looked for ’95s on eBay the other day, I started laughing – there were five listed, and their prices were all within $1,000 of each other – and none were cheap. So with that in mind today I’m looking at twin Alpine White ’95s. They’re almost identically equipped. They’re priced within $2 of each other. That’s not a misprint – only a small coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts divides the asks on these two. But there’s a huge difference in mileage; some 60,000 between these two. So clearly the one with lower mileage is automatically the better bet, right?

Not so fast…

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 on eBay

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Double Take 540i/6: E34 or E39? 1995 BMW 540i Sport v. 2003 BMW 540i M-Sport

My recent M5 v. Alpina B10 post took a look at two exotic versions of the E34. Of course, BMW offered their own alternative to the M5 late in the production cycle, as the introduction of the M60 V8-powered 540i produced nearly as much usable power as the more expensive M variant. Such was the success of the 540i that BMW initially judged the M5 dead in this market; it was removed from the U.S. in 1993 after slow sales and wouldn’t return until the new millennium.

As a result, the 540i flew the 5-series performance flag for two generations and still is very popular today. Especially in Sport versions, the E34 and E39 540is offered power, refinement and outstanding chassis dynamics in a package that was attainable for more people. So which is the better buy today – the first or second generation?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW 540i M-Sport on eBay

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