1986 Mercedes Benz 300E

It seems like just yesterday I was handing over the keys to my Audi S4 Avant to a happy buyer, thus setting me off on my journey to find my next vehicle. In reality, yesterday was actually late April. Here we are in the dog days of summer and I’ve yet to pull the trigger on a new ride, but not for lack of trying. I’ve driven a number of cars over the past couple of months, some new, some used, and I still have yet to feel that magic connection that I’m looking for. I’ve crossed cars off my list that I’ve long lusted after, E46 BMW M3/E36 M3, and some that I wasn’t a fan of until recently, 540i/6, E30 325i. Though I was rather dead set on getting my first BMW, I’ve been seriously considering a Mercedes lately. On the upside they’re more affordable in this current market, on the downside it’s really hard to find a desirable model with a manual transmission. So, when I came across this 1986 300E with a 5 speed manual the other day, I was immediately intrigued. When I saw that it was just 45 minutes away from me, I picked up the phone and got in touch with the seller. He told me that he had a buyer coming to check it out but if the sale fell through he would let me know. It was a long shot, but wouldn’t you know it, the car remained available and I went to check it out yesterday.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes Benz 300E on Craigslist

Continue reading

Wagon Week: 1995 BMW 530i Touring

Yesterday I wrote up a very clean ’94 525i Touring for sale here in California with only 76,000 miles on the clock. Right after I save that piece I ran another search for E34 wagons and came across this example for sale in Waco, Texas. Though it is the same color, it differs in a number of ways from the first car and I thought it would make for an interesting would you rather sort of question to round out my Wagon Week posts.

More often than not I have trouble deciding between two cars that are very similar vs. ones that are very different. Throughout the course of my recent car shopping adventures I’ve looked at everything from the new M235i to a 911 SC Targa, the latter mostly just out of pure curiosity, lord knows I can’t afford one. However now that I’ve narrowed my search down to 5 different cars, all from the same manufacturer and all sharing design traits, I’m finding it even more difficult to make a decision. I think choosing between an old Porsche and a new BMW would have been far easier than choosing either an E34 or E39 5 Series. Harder still would be to choose between the car you see here and the 525i Touring I posted yesterday.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 530iT

Continue reading

2011 BMW 1M

Few cars in recent BMW history have generated as much buzz and excitement as the 1M did upon it’s launch. Journalists gushed over the great performance, the return to a smaller and less complicated package, and how this car was spiritual successor to the E30 M3. That was heady praise, and by all accounts, this car deserved it. Dropping the big brother 3.0 twin-turbocharged inline-6 into the smallest chassis available meant this was sure to be a performance machine, and while the price was high for a 1 series, overall pricing on the model wasn’t terrible. While many fans (including myself) started counting their pennies, it was all for naught; BMW only imported a limited run which quickly sold out. This created a premium for these performance specials, pushing second hand/dealer holdout pricing quickly towards and even above M3 levels. Many of the total 6000 plus that were produced have been squirreled away, awaiting their certain appreciation by speculators; and with only 740 reported to be imported to the U.S., this is certainly guaranteed to be the case. When they do come up for sale, it’s a bit of an event, so it’s neat to see a clean Alpine White 1M for sale today on Ebay:

Year: 2011
Model: 1M
Engine: 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged inline-6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 22,455 mi
Price: $58,900 Buy It Now

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 BMW 1M on eBay

378 Horsepower 414 lb-ft of torque with Dinan Stage 2 Kit!

Locally owned car with clean Carfax.

The 2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe seats four passengers and is available in a single trim level. Standard equipment includes 19-inch alloy wheels, high-performance tires, automatic and adaptive xenon headlights, heated mirrors and windshield washer jets, cruise control, automatic wipers, automatic dual-zone climate control, 10-way manual sport seats with power-adjustable bolsters, a tilt-and-telescoping M sport steering wheel, leather upholstery, Alcantara faux-suede interior trim and a premium sound system with a CD player, auxiliary audio jack and HD radio.

The Premium package adds auto-dimming mirrors, eight-way power front seats (with power-adjustable lumbar support, driver memory functions and manual thigh adjuster), interior ambience lighting, Bluetooth and an iPod/USB audio interface (the latter two items are available separately). The Convenience package gets you rear parking sensors, keyless ignition/entry, a navigation system and the iDrive electronics interface. Stand-alone options include heated front seats, advanced iPhone connectivity, satellite radio and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system.
Powertrain and Performance

The BMW 1 M Coupe is powered by a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-6 that produces 335 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. A temporary overboost function allows for 369 lb-ft at full throttle. This power is sent to the rear wheels through a standard six-speed manual transmission.

Navigation System, Convenience Package (Anti-Theft Alarm System, Comfort Access Keyless Entry, and Online Information Services), Premium Package (Auto-Dimming Mirrors, Auto-Dimming Rear-View Mirror, BMW Assist w/Bluetooth®, iPod/USB Adapter, and Lumbar Support), BMW Apps, Harman Kardon Surround Sound System, Heated Front Seats, Park Distance Control (Rear), Smartphone Integration, and Xenon Headlights. Confused about which vehicle to buy? Well look no further than this wonderful 2011 BMW 1 Series M. This fantastic 1 Series M is the car with everything you’d expect from BMW, and THEN some. Call for more details.

With only one previous owner, this automobile is ready for you.This is a smoke-free automobile.There is no damage evident on this vehicle.This is a garage kept vehicle.The engine on this vehicle is running properly.This vehicle has no known defects.The exterior of this vehicle is extra clean.Extra clean interior. Absolutely no rips, odors or abuse.The tires on this vehicle appear to have no wear at all.The mileage represented on this vehicle is accurate.There are no signs of prior damage on this vehicle.There are no noticeable dings on the exterior of this vehicle.This vehicle has a smooth shifting transmission.All power equipment is functioning properly.

Like some of the other tuned cars we’ve featured, I’m not sure that the Dinan mods will add anything to the value of this car. They may make driving a bit more entertaining but were I speculating on keeping this car long term with the anticipation of increase in value, I’d probably revert back to the stock configuration. Many of these cars were modified pretty quickly to make them even more of a hot rod, so it’s not surprising to see both the Dinan upgrades. As with other Dinan upgrades, these should be factory supported so if you wanted to leave them I doubt it would present an immediate problem. To me, the only issue with this car is the mirrors which appear to be painted the signature color for this car, Valencia Orange. I have to lump myself firmly in the “I don’t get it” camp on this one but it should be an easy enough fix. Otherwise, the car looks pretty much unfettered by issues and mostly new as it should given the lower miles and collector status.

My guess is that there are plenty of enthusiasts that are sitting around kicking themselves for not buying these when they were brand new, though many dealers tacked on their own surplus to the original $50,000 MSRP. At $59,000, this car is no bargain, but seems to be in line with the asking price for these cars. The 1M is the only E82 that I see that I think “Yeah, that looks right!” but for that price there are a lot of other cars I’d rather have. Keep the miles low and the condition pristine, and you could have an investment-grade car on your hands. To me, that’s a shame because the joy in these cars – much as with their E30 M3 great grandfathers – is driving them, not hoping that they’ll be worth more money some day.

-Carter