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

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

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.