Tuner Tuesday: 2001 Mercedes-Benz C320 Brabus C3.8S

One thing that I always admired about Mercedes-Benz tuner Brabus is that they weren’t afraid to touch anything. Oldnew, big, and small, they aren’t afraid to put their touches on any product to roll out of Untertürkheim. Today’s car is one of those where I question was it even worth it to spend a ton of money into making something that atleast right now, isn’t all that desirable. This is a 2003 C320 that was converted by Brabus into what they call a C3.8S. As you might have guessed, they took the 3.2 liter M112 V6 and transformed it into a 3.8 liter making around 300 horsepower to the rear wheels. In typical Brabus fashion, the added front and rear bumpers, a new exhaust, some wheels and finished it all off with some interior touches that differed from the standard W203 offering. All of this time and money left you with a 0-60 time of 6.8 seconds. Yeah, not that impressive.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Mercedes-Benz C320 Brabus C3.8S at MB World

Bruised & battered: 2001 Mercedes-Benz SL500

In my never-ending quest to show everyone the best Mercedes-Benz R129s I run across, I present something a little different. This 2001 SL500 looked just fine from smaller photos and a number of feet away. The price was lower than average but it had some higher miles so I guessed it might just be that and a motivated  seller. It wasn’t until looked at the enlarged photos and took a good look at everything until I really saw why this car was inexpensive. The once very valuable SL500 is a now a giant pile of battle scars and neglect. I’d even wager this one of the worst condition R129s I’ve ever come across. But it still runs and drives, so if the price is right, is it worth it?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Mercedes-Benz SL500 on eBay

2001 Audi S8

Only a week ago, I looked at a great example of an Audi S8. Granted, it was not perfect; but, the maintenance and ownership ticked the right boxes for proper consideration. Still, the unique Cashmere Pearl paint coupled with the Ecru interior weren’t most people’s favorite, nor were the C6 Speedline wheels the best match for the design. Does the cost of ownership mean you have to accept a good maintenance history at the expense of the color you want? Not necessarily, as witnessed by this Brilliant Black 2001:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S8 on eBay

2001 Audi S8

Like more than a few Audi fans, my love affair with the S8 now spans 20 years since it first ‘shoved’ its way into my imagination via the thriller Ronin. It still seems to have set the bar for the most epic and reasonably realistic car chase movies out there, though Bullitt gets more attention and notoriety. That the S8 then came to the U.S. three years later made the dream more of a potential reality. Unfortunately, the S8 stickered for $78,000; approximately $76,000 more than my typical budget for Audis. It might have been geographically closer, but ownership was still a long way off.

Thanks to depreciation in the luxury market, though, over the past two decades these mega-S models have come tantalizingly closer to a price point that I can afford. But I’ve owned cheap executive Audis before a few times, and…well, it’s seldom a great idea. As the addage goes, ‘there’s nothing more expensive than a cheap (insert brand name here)’, and that certainly can apply to the S8. So while it’s very tempting to briefly consider repeatedly look at that $2,000 example on my local Craigslist, the logical side of me says the one to get is one that’s been gone through. One, perhaps, just like this Cashmere Gray Metallic example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S8 on eBay

2001 Audi S4 Avant

Perhaps one reason that the S6 Avant didn’t really take of on U.S. shores was because of the shoes it had to fill. Enthusiasts had enjoyed the B5 S4 in Avant form for a few years, and consequently as a popular model when the B6 launched it was almost sure to make a return, almost certain to have more power, and almost certain to be available in a manual. Those premonitions came true, and so if you were willing to wait two years between the B5 and B6 S4 Avant production you were rewarded with the 4.2 liter V8 mated to a manual and even more sporty feel. For lovers of fast Audi wagons, the S4 was the answer to the things that the S6 wasn’t.

But as time has gone on, the “OMG it’s got a V8 and a manual!!!” shine of the B6 has waned slightly as long-term problems have reared their heads with the powertrain. Like the Allroad and S6, those problems are probably overstated by the “‘Exaggernet’, but they nonetheless exist. So while the B5 to B6 represented a huge jump in power, there are quite a few fans of the older generation still. That grunt deficit is easily overcome with the twin-turbocharged V6, as well, thanks to clever tuning potential. Like the B6, you could of course have the B5 with a manual. And, in some wild colors:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S4 Avant on eBay

2001 Audi S8

The D2 Audi S8 is no stranger to these pages, as it’s one of my favorite designs from Ingolstadt – and considering my devotion to the brand, that’s actually saying something. So it’s no surprise that here I come with another. But this one tests my love of the model in several ways. First, it’s one of my least favorite color combinations on the S8. Light Silver Metallic over black, while classically understated and perhaps in keeping with the model’s character, is just plain boring considering some of the beautiful tones offered on the short production run. The mileage isn’t super low, either – while not the highest I’ve seen, with 138,000 miles on the odometer this is no spring chicken. It shows in several condition issues; worn seats, slightly scruffy bumper covers, and a few tack-ons like the rear spoiler and Brembo caliper stickers that are a little too boy-racer for the model. Though OEM wheels, the TT RS stock also seem out of place here to me.

So I really shouldn’t like this car, right?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S8 on eBay

2001 Mercedes-Benz S500 Pullman

Finally. After so many times looking at aftermarket limousine conversions (with questionable build quality) on Mercedes I finally found a real factory Pullman. This is a 2001 S500 Pullman six seater with the AMG Advanced Mobile Media System. And here this whole time you thought AMG was just good at making cars that burn tires. This is a fully mobile office computers, desks, live televisions, DVD players and 43 kbps internet service. Well, maybe stick to your smartphones for the internet service. But this car is a great example how well a limo can be done with the right materials and planning. Lets check it out.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Mercedes-Benz S500 Pullman on eBay

Federally Fixed: 2001 Audi RS4 Avant

From time to time, we look at European-market cars. Considering the number that were brought here through ‘Grey Market’ channels, we actually get to sample the more original versions of these cars on a semi-regular basis. But that pool of Euro candidates dries up once you crest the 1986 model year. And for that, you can thank the ‘Fed’ and their kill-joy laws, right? Well, sort of. But left to their own devices, they likely would have never done anything. So why did the government get all antsy in the mid-80s to put an end to importation of what amounted to a pittance of cars? For that, you can thank Mercedes-Benz.

It turns out that Mercedes-Benz was more than anyone annoyed by the second-hand importation of its more powerful and prettier European-specification cars. To a lesser extent, BMW was also losing market share, and the two importers – who, it should be noted, paid a fair amount of money to the government in importation duties and taxes on the sale of their cars – claimed they had lost in the vicinity of 50% of their sales to the alternate European crowd. Now, in a true ‘Free Enterprise’ market, one would have looked upon these complaints and said “Well, Mercedes and BMW, produce better cars at a lower cost for your consumers and you’ll solve the problem!” But, of course, the United States is not a free enterprise market, and there are lots of regulations and rules which have been in put in place in part by high-paid lobbyists for certain industries. Mercedes-Benz and BMW had these lobbyists on their side, and the importers did not. As a result, in 1988, the Motor Vehicle Safety Compliance Act was passed. Also called the Imported Vehicle Safety Act of 1988, it’s what you know better as the ’25 Year Rule’, which basically excludes you from individually importing any car on your own unless it’s really old.…

2001 Mercedes-Benz G500

I’ve looked at my fair share of Mercedes-Benz G-Wagens here. From the rusty 1985 280GE for $12,950 to the street-legal monster truck 2017 G550 4×4² for over $250,000, I’ve covered nearly all of them. They all make sense in one way or another as you can basically find a G to do anything you really need it to do. Need a military vehicle? Here is a 1991 230GE. How about a fire truck? Another 1991 230GE. Topless beach cruiser? I’ve got a 1992 300GD for you. But this 2001 G500 3-door for sale in Hampshire, England is a mystery to me and I wish I knew the full story. Let me explain.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Mercedes-Benz G500 on Hemmings

2001 Volkswagen Jetta VR6 Smyth ‘Ute’

I’m sure you’ve seen it once before. Someone takes a regular sedan or wagon, grabs a sawzall, then three months later out rolls a car with a bed on it. Usually the rear window is something out of a truck at the junkyard and is held in by some leftover bathroom caulk. The entire car now has the structural integrity of a pool noddle and it’s only a matter of time before the entire thing collapses. But what if I told you that there is now a way to make a ute from your VW or Audi without risking your life and everyone elses lives on the road? Thanks to this 2001 Jetta ”Ute” in Detroit, I now know there is an entire market for these conversions.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Volkswagen Jetta VR6 ”Ute” on Detroit Craigslist