Remember when you could take people at their word? Yeah, me either. But you get my point. The reason I bring this up is because when someone tells you something about a car you hope you can take their word at it, but ultimately it is your responsibility to do your due diligence. Enter this 2003 Mercedes-Benz C320 SportCoupé.
As you might have noticed, this W203 is far from a stock car with quite a bit of modifications done to it. It has a wing, some 19 inch BBS wheels, a DTM-inspired splitter, a carbon fiber hood and of course some special paint. Inside, the seats have been redone with Mercedes logos stitched in them and if my eyes are correct, an original Xbox gaming system in the passenger foot well. At first glance, I thought it was just a modified car from a private owner. Then I read the eBay description and saw a story with the words ”McLaren” in it. Needless to say, my eyes lit up and I became very excited. Could this car really be associated with the F1 great? Then a few moments later I had to ask myself ”Why did McLaren want an Xbox in a C320 SportCoupé?”
We feature the 996TT pretty frequently. Even as prices have risen they remain fantastic performers for the money and definitely one of the best performance values you can find, especially when you find one with the factory X50 package raising those performance heights even higher. I wouldn’t say most of those we feature come in the best colors though. There’s the odd Speed Yellow or Guards Red Turbo and, of course, there was the very rare Signal Green Turbo S, but most are in the standard shades of gray and silver that seemingly dominated the 996 line.
This one clearly is an exception. Here is a Cobalt Blue Metallic 2003 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe, located in Georgia, with a Graphite Grey leather interior and 64,008 miles on it. Cobalt Blue was a standard color for the 996 so I have no idea why we don’t see more of them, but for some reason it seems we don’t. That makes this one a particularly pleasant find.
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?
Ever check out a car and think ”How can they possibly make it better?” Well, this is what we have today in the 2003 Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG Brabus 6.1. What started life as a CLK55 AMG – already a really good platform – was transformed by German tuner Brabus into something much more unique and much more powerful. The beauty of these creations is that while almost every piece of this car was tweaked and the dial turned up, you’d be hard pressed to find any faults in them. The unity of the package retained the understated but aggressive nature of the stock example. The craftsmanship and quality are just as good if not better than what comes out of the Mercedes factory and the livability is retained just as you were driving a totally stock car. But all the little details are what makes this car so special. Scratch that – the big details are pretty special, too! This one up for sale in Dallas is no different.
News broke this morning that the brand new RS4 Avant is unsurprisingly not coming to the United States. While this is no doubt disappointing to the twelve people who actually would have bought it and the 1.8 million who claim on the internet they would if given the option, it follows a long tradition in German motoring of leaving the best of the breed in the homeland. When it came to the GTI, not only did we have to wait several years before we got the hot Golf, but indeed it was a bit watered down and heavier when it did arrive. The same continued in the next two generations; more weight, less power. Both in the second and third generations we also lost out on supercharging, all-wheel drive and special body kits available in the European market.
Once again in 2001, a neat Golf was launched that – of course – wasn’t coming to the United States. But of all of the special editions that weren’t sold here, perhaps this one made the most sense to be excluded. It was called the 25th Anniversary Edition and you didn’t need to be good at math to realize that there was no GTI sold here 25 years before 2001. Since the “18 year Anniversary Edition” didn’t make much sense from a marketing perspective even in spite of Volkswagen’s continual spotty judgement in that regard, it was no surprise that it wasn’t offered. That was too bad, as it had a lowered suspension, better brakes, a bit more power, fantastic Recaro seats and the best looking BBS wheels fit to any Volkswagen, ever. Volkswagen enthusiasts in America drool inwardly and shouted openly, so in 2002 Volkswagen finally did bring the special edition here. Again, since “19th Anniversary” didn’t make any sense, we instead got the “337” Edition.…
There are a few select automotive tuners who can take an impressive package and refine it into an even better entity. That group includes legends such as AMG, Alpina and Ruf – all of which are staples of this segment.
Yet they are far from alone. Given the task of improving on what is generally considered to be one of the greatest sedans ever made is no small feat, but if there was one group up to it, it was Steve Dinan’s eponymous company in California.
While just about anyone can take a turbocharged engine and crank up the boost, slap a few stickers on it and call it done, the E39 M5 didn’t come with forced induction. On top of that, it was a motor which wasn’t exactly underdeveloped before it went into production. Nor were the brakes, suspension, or any other aspect of the third gen M5. But Dinan thought they could improve upon them, and with a tremendous amount of work, did.
Dinan went to town on the S62 from start to end. Out came the factory air boxes, air meters and velocity stacks, replaced by Dinan units of larger diameter and better flow qualities, along with larger throttle bodies bored out by the company. This necessitated reprogramming of the computer controls for the engine to match the new flow characteristics. To help the exhaust side of the motor, unique tubular headers were fit to a free-flowing, lightweight exhaust system. While this sounds a bit like old-school engineering, it was successful; the result was an additional 76 horsepower and 51 lb.ft of torque – basically, this was like adding a 1980 Rabbit’s worth of power to an already powerful car.
Dinan coupled the engine mods with a shorter final drive and higher rev-limiter to reach fantastic speeds. The S2 was capable of 0-60 runs around 4 seconds flat and, in unrestricted mode, geared out around 190 mph in 6th.…
I’m sticking with my two running themes here: yellow, in this case another example of the very vibrant Speed Yellow, and value 911s. As I’m sure you can guess I love Speed Yellow. If you’re still reading this I’d guess you’re at least somewhat a fan because with yellow cars in general they’re usually love/hate. For me, part of what makes Speed Yellow work is because it is so bright. I suppose I figure if you’re going to go with a bright exterior color there’s no reason to go half way. Own that brightness and enjoy every minute of it.
Here it looks quite stunning on this 2003 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Coupe, located in Virginia, with 57,900 miles on it. It looks to be in pretty good condition and it’s up for auction with no reserve. So if you’re in the market for a more budget-friendly 911 and you happen to like bright colors this one should be worth checking out.
The Audi S8. Still, this car ranks as one of my favorite automotive designs from the company, from the 1990s and 2000s – heck, maybe even overall. While I’m not a huge sedan fan in general, there was just something so right about the proportions and presence of the D2 S8. Did it help that it was in a movie I also loved? Sure, without a doubt. But even without that aspect I think this car, and specifically the 2003 model year, are my favorite U.S. bound Audi.
I especially like the 2003 model year because of the limited Audi Exclusive package. Special colors and interiors were fit to the car, along with updated “RS” design wheels. Limited to only 100 copies each. my favorite for the past decade and a half has been the Avus Silver Pearl with Burgundy interior and I think I’ve pointed that out…well, more than a few times. However, at nearly 15 years old, these cars are far from new and we’re deep into a territory were plenty of neglected examples are coming to market. As a result, rather than just find one in the color you want, with the D2 S8 in today’s market condition and history needs to trump other considerations like location and color.
For fans of the GTI, the 4th generation offered a few “greatest hits” editions for the model. The first to launch was the 2001 “25th Anniversary Edition”, built to commemorate a quarter century of hot Volkswagen hatches – in Europe, at least. Since the GTI wasn’t launched in the U.S. until 1983, a “18th” anniversary wouldn’t have made much sense here. However, what was basically the 25th Anniversary Edition was brought here in 2002. The “337” Edition ran in 2002 with Votex bodywork and great BBS RC wheels, along with a cozy set of Recaro seats. Only 1,250 were sold out fairly quickly, so in 2003 Volkswagen continued the greatest hits parade with the release of the nearly identical 20th Anniversary Edition. Each was numbered and a total of 4,200 were made, each now available in three colors and with OZ-made Aristo wheels in place of the BBSs as well as different interior fabric over the same Recaro seats. They were popular new and have remained the Mk.4 to get outside of the R for the past 15 years:
For those who may be speculating on the 996TT market we have another example that should provide more insight into whether we can expect much collector interest to arise for what are typically our go-to-examples of performance value. Here we have a Seal Grey Metallic 2003 Porsche 911 Turbo with only 12,017 miles on it and, crucially, the factory X50 performance package. These very low mileage Turbos optioned with the X50 package, along with the very similar 2005 911 Turbo S, tend to draw a good bit of attention when they come on the market and the question as always is where we should value them. We aren’t told much about this particular Turbo, but the overall condition looks excellent so we at least have a nice place to begin further inquiries.
Model: 911 Turbo
Engine: 3.6 liter twin-turbocharged flat-6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 12,017 mi
Price: Reserve Auction
Stunning 2003 996 Turbo Coupe X50 Package – 3 Owners – 12,017 Miles – 100% Original Example.
2003 Porsche 911 Turbo X50 2-Door Coupe
A while back I featured an even lower mileage (~4,500 miles) X50-equipped 996TT that came up around the same time as a couple examples of the Turbo S. The X50 car originally was priced at $72.5K before coming down to just below $70K where it eventually sold. The two Turbo S I featured provided further data points. One had very similar mileage to the car we see here and was priced at $76.5K. It sold, though whether that was for the full asking price, we aren’t sure. The other had higher mileage (~48K miles) and bidding ended just shy of $60K.
So, where does that leave us here? As noted above we need more information on this Turbo’s history, but assuming there aren’t any problems lurking I’d guess high-$60Ks is probably the ballpark.…