A few weeks ago I checked a wonderful Signal Red Mercedes-Benz 560SEC. I explained that on some Mercedes, red looks pretty good and suits the car well. Other cars, like sedans, red is a pretty tough sell for me. Encase you haven’t noticed by now, this 1991 300E that I am looking at today is painted in that same Signal Red. It is a very clean W124 that has under 100,000 miles and I really dislike it. Let me tell you why.
I’m going to continue on the M3 theme, and again we’re looking at a ’95. Just the other day, I pointed out how the E36 M3 – even in ‘diluted’ USA form – was a great value for a driver-oriented enthusiast compared to the E30 M3. But that’s not true of all E36s. There’s the Canadian M3 – essentially, a Euro import with all the verboten goodies we didn’t get here, one of which we saw sell last year for $65,000. There the M3 GT, which also upped the ‘special’ quotient quite a bit on the mass-produced M, and also will cost you a pretty penny. But for U.S. specification collectors, there’s really only one option in the E36 catalog: the Lightweight.
Over the past few years I’ve written up several of these cars as speculation has continued to grow that this will be the next logical step in market capital following the E30. Asking prices have been, at times, what most would consider outrageous for the E36. But never quite this outrageous. I hope you’re sitting down, swallow and move the drink away from your computer. Consider yourself warned.
I’ve been ignoring the 944. It’s not that I have changed my opinion, or no longer love the thorn-in-Porsche-purists collective sides. But after spending plenty of time telling everyone what an incredible value the 924/44/68 series are for a while, I just capitulated that the market was unwilling to lift these well-built sports cars to a level which they deserve to be. Or, at the very least, I really felt like they should be on level footing with models that were their contemporaries; the Turbo, for example, which still regularly trades well below Quattro and M3 prices despite superior performance.
Yet while my attention swayed, some light has been shed on the model. As insane prices continue to reign in Munich and the Quattro has begun to rise precipitously over the past year, what was once a sure-bet value has commenced rapid appreciation – at least, in some cases. The high-water mark recent was just set with a 66,000 mile Grand Prix White 968 Coupe which sold for $36,250. That’s big money for the big four-cylinder. While not every single example is going to similarly take off, the writing may be on the wall.
So today I’ve got two 944S2 models to consider. Down on power (211 v. 237 with VarioCam) and a gear from the later model, they’ve always played second-fiddle to the Turbo S/89 Turbo models and the updated 968. Both are presented in the neat color of Baltic Blue Metallic. One is pristine, and one’s more of a project. Which is the one to grab?
Almost a month ago I checked one of the best Mercedes-Benz W126s I’ve ever seen in a Concours-level 1987 560SEL. Today, we have another outstanding 1987 W126 that isn’t quite Pebble Beach-ready, but it is damn close. This car comes to us from South Carolina dressed in Smoke Silver Metallic with the rare burgundy leather interior in a condition that isn’t often seen. And oh yeah, it’s a diesel too.
It has been a little while since I’ve featured a W123 so today is as good a day as ever. Today we have a 1979 Mercedes-Benz 300D up for sale in Seattle, Washington. It sports the great color combo of Pastel Blue (with the matching hubcaps) and blue MB-Tex interior. I’m partial to all things W123 (I own one) and I love to see them when they’ve been cared for extensively. Luckily for everyone, this nice W123 looks to be so.
At the beginning of the 1990s, pretty much everyone was stepping away from twin-cam inline-4s. While they had been the rage in the 80s and “DOHC” was nearly as popular as Miami Vice, buyers demanded more power and refinement. Sure, you could make 200 horsepower from a high-strung four-pot; but making it tractable for daily driving, passing emissions, and reliable? That was another ball-game. As a result, most major manufacturers went to larger displacement 6- or 8-cylinder motors in their small performance cars.
Everyone, that is, except for Porsche.
Porsche dialed in the 944S2 a bit more with updated 928-inspired looks and a new ‘VarioCam’ adjustable valve timing on the 3-liter inline-4. Now with 237 horsepower and an impressive 225 lb.ft of torque, it roamed the sports car elite field like a small dinosaur. Porsche added another speed to the mix, but since this was a relatively expensive 4-banger coupe based on a twenty year old design, they didn’t sell particularly well. A total of 2,234 Coupes were imported between 1992 and 1995; the last year was the worst seller, with a scant 259 making the journey. This particular last-year example may just be the best one left in the country:
File this one under another great Mercedes-Benz that you usually see with hundreds of thousands of miles on but for whatever reason has almost none. This 1984 300SD shows a crazy 11,300 miles and looks every bit the part. You can totally see why people plunked down almost $40,000 (over $93,000 in 2017 dollars) for these when they are new. It’s frugal, handsome, secure, has enough to power to get out of its own way and all this won’t cost you a fortune to keep going. Except this car, as you might have guessed, will need a small fortune to take home with you.
Engine: 3.0 liter 5 cylinder
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 11,300 miles
Single owner SD through 2015.
Rare 904 Midnight Blue with Creme leather.
Spectacular preservation from new.
Spotless engine bay.
Runs and drives beautifully.
What is there to say about this car? I overwhelmingly prefer the gen 1 (1981-1985) W126s over the later ones even though they do look a little more dated, but I think that’s the beauty of them. Give me a clean set of 14 inch Bundts with a OM617 and I’m as satisfied as I can possibly be in owning a car. This is a great color combination with the Midnight Blue and tan interior even with those terrible North America spec headlights.
Like I said, all this is going to cost you. $35,000 is a ton of money for any W126 but it’s tough to fault the seller for asking it. The market for clean golden-era Mercedes diesels isn’t slowing down but I wouldn’t bet on this car gaining anymore value once you start driving it. As I’ve said before, miles don’t scare me one bit so I’m really not the guy that this car appeals to.…
Earlier this week I looked at a W124 diesel wagon and explained it’s probably as close are you are going to get to a true successor of the legendary W123 estate. Well today we have one of those W123 wagons that truly show how great these vehicles can really be and why they still command the prices they do. This 1983 300TD in Deep Blue with Palomino MB-Tex for sale in California sports only 71,000 miles and is nearly perfect in every way. But bring your check book, because this wagon will cost you dearly.
Engine: 3.0 liter 5-cylinder
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 71,000 mi
Price: $32,000 Buy It Now
1983 Mercedes Benz 300TD turbo diesel station wagon. Code 900 deep blue with palomino MB-Tex interior. 71,200 original miles. Documented one owner California car with service history. The original owner, Mr. Solomon Levy, was a successful nuclear engineer in San Jose, who purchased the car for his wife. This vehicle has always been garaged and highly maintained. This is a numbers-matching, highly-original survivor, presented in a phenomenal color combination. Equipped with the optional rear facing third seat and roof rack cross bars. Much of the original cadmium plating and cosmoline (shipping wax) is still present in the engine bay and undercarriage. A lot of the factory paint markings are still visible on bolt heads. Every system on this car is fully operational; every button does what it should. The engine starts perfectly when cold, transmission is silky smooth, and steering is tight and straight. This is the best turbo diesel W123 wagon currently available for sale in the United States. It would be an excellent addition to a collection. Located Santa Maria, CA.
The Porsche 944S2 took the twin-cam out which had debuted in the short-lived 944S for the 1987 model year to the next level. Bumped from 2.5 liters out to 3.0, the new motor crested 200 horsepower, producing nearly as much twist as the standard 944 Turbo had only a few years before but with no turbo lag. Beefed up too were the looks, which mimicked the Turbo’s design with smoothly integrated bumpers, brake ducts and fog lights as well as a rear diffuser. Wheels looked visually like the Club Sport, but were a different offset. The new “Design 90” style was also seen on the 928 and 911 model and became the signature Porsche look for a half decade. Though many point to the 968 as the ultimate development of the transaxle 4-cylinder, the 944S2 offers most of that package with the chunkier looks of the 951. Few come to market looking as nice as this example does:
I’ve confessed my love for green cars before and today’s featured vehicle is no different. This 1983 Mercedes-Benz 300CD in Moss Green up for sale in Florida combines my favorite color with one of my favorite cars in the W123. It’s not often that I see a Moss Green car come up for sale and even better, the interior is green as well.
Engine: 3.0 inline-5
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 186,000 mi
I have owned these cars for over 10 years. I scour the country daily for them and of all that I have ever owned this is the coolest most unique 300CD. It might have been a one off special order. I have never ever seen the color combination in a turbo diesel. Moss green with green interior. The car is completely original and the paint is exeptional. It shines as new and there are only two dings that I can find. Quarter sized and likely removable. The paint is 100 percent original. No accidents ever. The rims have no curb rash and the tires are matching with plenty of tread. The glass is all original and excellent with the exception of the rear window. The defrost has left a green blob at the bottom. Not visible when driving but from the outside is noticeable but not crazy offensive. I would change it. The interior is nearly flawless with the exception of two wood pieces readily available on eBay. There is also a small tear in the armrest easily repairable and the window switches are worn. I will include two switches that are mercedes and in excellent shape. I cant overstate how nice the car is. The last one I sold for 20k was not as nice.