I Love the 90s? 1990 Mercedes-Benz 500SL

Last week Craig looked at a really nice early R129 500SL. Today’s car is another early R129 500SL, but as you can probably tell, this one is a bit different. This 1990 for sale in Orange County, CA comes from an era where you actually had to paint a car to change its color. It’s a rolling piece of 1990s car culture and it hasn’t aged particularly well. I compare it to a nice house that hasn’t updated the kitchen in 25 years. It’s not that the workmanship is low, it’s that time has left it behind. Now of course with any custom car, it’s priced way too high and has some strange things going on with it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 500SL on Orange County Craigslist

Year: 1990
Model: 500SL
Engine: 5.0 liter V-8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 85,730 mi
Price: $13,995

A unique, one of a kind, customized Mercedes-Benz SL500. This car has new B.F Goodrich tires, rebuilt suspension, all new shocks and struts, new conv. tan top, and all original leather tan interior. This auto was customized by Santini with AMG bumpers and trim, Lorinser wheels, and the PPG Harlequin, Vibrance PPG-VM, green to purple paint that changes color as lights hits at different angles. Custom electronics offer remote starting, door and window operations, and remote convertible top opening.

At first glance, I thought this car was customized basically right off the lot. It has all the period correct items like the chameleon paint, early R129 AMG bumpers and sideskirts, Lorinser wheels and remote everything. But upon closer inspection, this car has the 1996-2002 side vents on the fenders. 1990 to 1995 R129s have three squared slots but in 1996 those were swapped out for two slots that were rounded. So if I had to guess, the paintwork and probably all of the other modifications didn’t happen until at least 1996.…

Slippery When Wet: ex-Jon Bon Jovi 1994 Mercedes-Benz S500

New Jersey: Strip malls, used car lots and Bon Jovi.

Somehow these things lead me down a convoluted path to talk about a 1994 Mercedes-Benz S500. What’s the connection?

From the title, you’ll know of course this is not just any W140. It is a W140 once owned by Jon Bon Jovi, and now it is for sale in New Jersey. At a secondhand used car lot, across from a strip mall. Bingo!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Mercedes-Benz S500 on eBay

2001 Mercedes-Benz SL500

The Mercedes-Benz R129, in my opinion, is in that limbo stage where a it’s not fully a considered a classic yet, but it’s starting to be eyed up as a future collectible for the right models. In typical SL fashion, the chassis ran a staggering 12 years from 1990-2002 which saw many face lifts and engine updates. Seeing as there was a giant difference in technology between 1990 and 2002, the first R129 that rolled off the line and is a lot different than the last R129 that did. Today’s SL for sale in California is towards the end of the production cycle and takes advantage of almost all Mercedes had to offer at the time.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Mercedes-Benz SL500 on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1991 BMW 850i

Yesterday, Craig took a look at a very nice and quite affordable E32 750iL. These cars have traditionally been one of the most affordable ways to get into a V12 sedan, and consequently coming across a generally well sorted one that doesn’t require an extensive amount of service is difficult.

But the M70B50 also found its way into the replacement for aging E24. The revolutionary E31 signaled a leap forward in sophistication, refinement and styling from other period BMWs. Minus small details, it still looks reasonably fresh today; something that can’t be said of many 1980s-era designs. The three-quarter view above, for example, is mimicked closely by BMW’s own current 4-series today and the Audi A5. Yet as with the E32, the E31 has been the gateway into V12 Grand Tourers for many with aspirations loftier than their bank accounts. Finding a pristine, early 850i isn’t an everyday occurrence, so this one was certainly worth a look. It didn’t hurt that it’s been breathed on by Dinan, either.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW 850i on eBay

Roll the dice? 2003 Mercedes-Benz G500 with 318,000 miles

I have an affinity for vehicles that have hit the moon milestone (238,900 miles) while looking like they’ve done so with relative ease. For this 2003 G500, it has already hit the moon and is halfway home on the return trip. I think people have an irrational fear of higher mileage vehicles because they’ve either been with been with cars that didn’t age well or they’ve been told that higher mileage automatically means “bad”. There is some merit in that the more miles a vehicle has, the greater the risk of things failing, but I believe that you get out cars what you put in them — which a few exceptions, of course.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Mercedes-Benz G500 on Los Angeles Craigslist

1993 Mercedes-Benz 500SEL Limousine

Limousine conversions can go either way. The way I enjoy them are the factory conversions which Mercedes-Benz calls the “Pullman”, a term carried over from railroad cars that were built to be relaxed in. Their fit and finish is totally perfect, which makes sense because these cars were usually built for heads of state like Boris Yeltsin Vladimir Putin to be the ultimate in chauffeured transport. On the other end, companies have taken the standard production car, sliced them in half, lengthened them, stitched them back together then added their own interiors in the passenger compartment. These cars were mostly used as shuttles for kids to puke up their Jägermeister on the way to the prom. Today’s 500SEL for sale outside of Boston is one of those types of limousines. Yea?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Mercedes-Benz 500SEL Limousine on Boston Craigslist

Feature Listing: 1991 Alpina B12 5.0

I was quite lucky as a teenager to have some pretty serious metal from Bavaria to cut my teeth on. My father had gotten quite into 1980s BMWs, so we had a few 6-series and even a M5 in the house. But it was the “family” car that I liked the most, believe it or not. That family car was a pretty special one as it was an E32 735i 5-speed. The manual in the large body car might be a bit of an aberration, but as a whole package the E32 was a great car. It was fantastic to drive and felt much lighter on its feet than the size would indicate. It was comfortable, too, in either front or back posts, with rich smelling leather, a modern climate control system and a great sounding stereo. It was a car which ate up highway miles with ease, and outside it was quite a looker, too. It managed to look both more substantial and much better proportioned than the E23, finally integrating the mandated bumpers well into a design that was market leading. In fact, the only area I ever really felt our E32 could have used some help in was to have a bit more motor.

Of course, BMW offered a revolutionary motor in the 750i. It was the first of the big three luxury brands to make the leap to a modern V12, and the M70B50 was a pretty impressive motor on paper. With 300 horsepower from 5.0 liters, it was nearly 100 horsepower north of the M30 mill in our 735i and smooth as silk. As the years progressed though, the M70’s power was nearly matched by the lighter M60 and there was somehow a loss of exuberance about the V12 as a new run of V8 motors proved the impressive mainstays.…

Feature Listing: 1999 Mercedes-Benz CL500

In many ways, modern executive sedans – especially the top-tier fully loaded examples fit for the Wall Street elite – have become appliances. They ooze of technology, features and exclusivity but to me the designs have all become too similar. On the surface I can tell the difference between the S-Class, the 7-series and the A8, but they’re really birds of a feather with few distinctive differences. In many ways, leveling the playing field between the big three has resulted in a homogeneous market place full of leisure suit wearing, rhinestone-studded Elvis impersonators. Some may be slightly better looking than others, and some may do a great job. But like a Vegas show that’s run its course, would you really want to own one out of the service warranty when the budget conscious construction, mega complicated electrical systems, suspension and drive train items start breaking? ‘Thank you very much!’, but I’d prefer to look to history for a lesson on how to do it right.

I remember well when the W140 Mercedes-Benz launched. It was a big deal back then, because as they have always the S-Class models represented the absolute best engineering available. The W140 externally was an evolution of the W124 design more than an update of the W126 in my eyes, though the visual similarities were no surprise as Bruno Sacco was at the pen of all three. While the design wasn’t revolutionary, it did bring Mercedes into the current trend and in its own way is handsome. The W140 also pioneered many electronic systems into the large executive market, including cutting edge ABS and Anti-Slip technology, Xenon headlights and near silent interiors thanks to glazed windows. While Mercedes-Benz continued to offer a large coupe version of the platform, unlike the previous generation the C140 featured a completely revised body that made the large 2-door imposing and impressive.…

1990 Alpina B12 5.0

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Well, folks, I have a new all-time favorite E32. Last time I made that claim it was a beautiful black on black example with M-Parallels and a nice front spoiler. I’ve long been a fan of Alpina’s recent B7s and think they’ve made the last two generations of 7-series much more attractive. Same thing here, with the often-frumpy E32 getting the full Alpina treatment with more power, a great front spoiler, and the classic striping. And the wheels, the evergreen, always gorgeous 20-spoke wheels. The 5.0-liter V12 gets much more than just a chip treatment, with higher-compression pistons and lots of valve work bringing the power from 300hp to 350hp. Lots of show, lots of go, this is a kickass 7-series.

Click for details: 1990 Alpina B12 5.0 on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 2006 Hartge H50 – REVISIT

Two S85 V10 swapped 3 series in a week? Sure, we can do that! The crazy Hartge-modified H50 built on a base 325 is back and now for sale on eBay. The “Buy It Now” is the same $105,000 asking price as last winter, and with no new photos still this one is still a bit of a head scratcher in a few ways – especially since you can grab a S85 V10 M5 in the $20K range now. But it’s rare, it’s fast, and I’m sure there are still a host of people who’d like it – I’m just not sure at this price, though.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Hartge H50 on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site December 14, 2014: