Tuner Tuesday Mega Tuner Showdown: Dinan v. AMG v. Treser v. Alpina v. Ruf

I’m always a fan of the showdown posts; no surprise, since I think I’m the only one who does them here! While it’s nice to highlight one car at a time, I’m just a fan of the opportunity costs; considering what my money could go towards otherwise. Plus, though we see comparisons of new cars in magazines and online fora, it’s not often that we have comparos including nearly 40 year old cars. While I usually highlight this type of comparison in my 10K Friday posts, today is a bit different and I believe the first time I have a showdown on Tuner Tuesday. I’ve rounded up a quintet of neat cars that are all modified from stock by some of the most famous tuners of the 1980s; which is the winner?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Audi Quattro on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC AMG Widebody

If you want a recession-proof 1980s investment automobile, you want an E30 M3 or any original 911, right? Well, while that might be a smart idea, there’s consistently been one car that’s been worth even more than those market stars; make that the 3-pointed star. When I was a young man in 1987, Road & Track ran a top speed competition between some poster pinups. At that time, I was a super fan of the Porsche 959 in particular, and I was pretty confident before opening the magazine that the technological wonder from Stuttgart would thoroughly outperform the competition, which included a Lamborghini Countach, a Ferrari Testarossa and twin-turbo GTO, a few modified 911s and…a Mercedes-Benz sedan? Yes, it was that test in that magazine that cemented two names into my brain; one was the stunning and surprise winner of the competition, the illustrious “Yellowbird” Ruf CTR which bested Porsche’s own supercar by an amazing 13 miles an hour, and the boxy E-class from Affalterbach – faster than the pinup Lamborghini Countach and million-dollar GTO and just bested by the Miami-Vice superstar Testarossa. Though I don’t know for sure, I’d wager that single test did more for the reputations of Ruf and AMG than any other single article or event. Since that time, the AMG products from Affalterbach have enjoyed a near-legendary status amongst German car fans, but even amongst them there are special models – the 6.0 “Hammers” and the W124 and W126 Widebody models:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC AMG on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC Koenig Widebody

I was watching a very interesting piece about mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders last night; a trend which started in the 1980s, some people have been thrown into jail quite literally for the rest of their lives for being involved – even in a minor role – in the war on drugs. In drew into sharp contrast the dichotomous nature of the 1980s, where as a society we declared that drugs were a horrible thing while simultaneously celebrating a community of music, art and even Wall Street that was built around them. In some aspects, one can see that dichotomy in some of the tuner cars from the 1980s, and I think that the mega Mercedes-Benz products are a great example. Starchy, upright and conservative, Mercedes-Benz used to be the standard by which engineering was measured; the automotive bar for luxury automobiles. Yet, at the same time, various tuners took them and turned them into monsters; lowering the suspension, fitting giant wheels and motors, they transformed the conservative Republican into a Punk Rock idol. Some of these creations are more celebrated than others; AMG, for example, has a near faultless reputation which is backed even by Mercedes-Benz themselves, who decided to buy them later in life. Others are…well, not so highly regarded, such as the numerous Koenig specials that were created from otherwise unassuming ’80s Benzs:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC Koenig Widebody on Autoscout24.it

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Tuner Tuesday: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC AMG 6.0 Widebody

There were a few things missing from the earlier Alpina E21 post; notably, some of the details of the car were missing like the all important unique engine, suspension, and documentation that would help support the story of its existence. The same cannot be said for this car. Let’s go down the list of what makes this car really and truly special. First, it’s one of the last of the classic 560SECs made. Already these cars are appreciating in value, but this car also has quite low miles at only 37,500 covered since new. That low total is matched by near perfect condition inside and out. But the real value lies in the modifications; super tuner AMG, on its way into the Mercedes-Benz fold, went out with a roar with the M117/9 6.0 32 valve V8 pushing nearly 400 horsepower. While that may seem trite today, the numbers produced by the AMGs in the 1980s were enough to get your into the halls of true supercar royalty. Additionally, this car features with wild widebody kit, massive 3-piece BBS/AMG wheels and some wicked interior alterations. On top of that, there’s documentation to support it – does it get more collectable in the AMG world?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC AMG 6.0 Widebody on eBay

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1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC

While I’m sold that it’s worthwhile in most cases to buy a top condition car from a careful one owner home with a spotless record and no miles on the clock, there’s something that’s at least romantic about the idea of restoring a lesser example back to driving quality. In the case of some older German metal, this is certainly possible; it’s not necessarily the least frustrating way to do things, but one can take a certain amount of pride in resurrecting a car from neglected status back to the road. Today’s example is a great case in point; a W126 Mercedes-Benz is a well build, solidly engineered thing of beauty. Add the pillar-less SEC coupe to the mix and the end of the run 5.6 V8 and it’s a great combination, only heightened by the right sprinkling of AMG and Euro bits. And with a low “Buy It Now” price, this 1988 has me dreaming of a winter project:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC on eBay

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Sonderklasse Pair: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC vs. 1994 Mercedes-Benz S500

Mercedes-Benz just released a new CL coupe and I must say, as compared to many of the new designs coming out of Stuttgart, this was one of my favorite ones as of late. From the rear angle, this is a decent looking big coupe. The AMG version is a bit fussy for my tastes, but the new S-Class Coupe does a pretty good job of carrying on the gracefulness of earlier S class coupes. Rewind a few decades, and it’s possible to enjoy some classic pillarless coupe motoring on a budget. First up is this low mileage 1994 S500 coupe for sale in Florida in classic silver on black leather.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Mercedes-Benz S500 Coupe on eBay

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1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC with Custom ICE

1986 Mercedes 560SEC ICE1

In 1986 the big two door coupe from Mercedes, though flashier than its four door brethren, rarely would be seen in bright colors. Unlike some of the unique shades coming on the Benz cars today from the factory, particularly some of the special order Designo branded cars, the W126 cars rarely saw ultra bright eye catching colors. It is because most SECs you see are black, grey, dark blue, white and rarer red, that this canary yellow SEC really stands out. Obviously this isn’t a factory paint job, photos suggest this car was white, but that doesn’t diminish what a coat of bright paint does to the normally iconic, but subdued lines of the great SEC.

The color on this car was part of a makeover that also includes an extensive audio system. The system features Eclipse and Soundstream parts. It always amazes me at how, like cars themselves electronic equipment can provide a look that evokes a time period and the equipment in this car is no exception. The seller states the system was installed in the early 1990s, I would’ve pegged it at right about 1995. Flipping through some of my car audio magazines from that time and pricing some of the equipment there is no question the creator took the best that Eclipse and to offer and through it at the car. There is easily multiple thousands of dollars of parts alone from when they were new. It is too bad that the seller doesn’t show a build sheet with all the model numbers of the included parts, because certainly the speakers, which are hidden, are also upgraded. The seller says that all the equipment works as it should. The seller alludes to this being a display car, but doesn’t state whether it was for a manufacturer, car audio shop or what. If it was a display/demo car one would hope the install quality was high.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes 560SEC with Custom ICE on eBay

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10K Friday Sonder Edition: 280s v. 300SEL v. 560SEC v. S420 v. S600 Coupe v. S430 v. CL500

It’s pretty amazing when generations of cars come together in value; right now, there are 4 generations of Mercedes-Benz S-class models that all seem to hit market for around the same amount. From the beginnings of the “Sonder” Class Mercedes with the W116 through the W220 cars that are only just over a generation old, there’s a tremendous amount of luxury available in these super sedans and coupes. So what would be your choice? We’ll go by age this time, starting with the W116:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1975 Mercedes-Benz 280S on eBay

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1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC

If you “ran for the hills” screaming “My eyes! My eyes!” after yesterday’s 500SEC Convertible, I wouldn’t blame you. It was a shame what was done to an otherwise classic car, and outside of the AMG body kit and Euro bits it didn’t really look worth salvaging; certainly, not at a quarter million miles for $25,000. In an attempt to redeem the dignity of the stately Mercedes-Benz brand, then, here’s a much better alternative; a completely stock 1986 560SEC in a rare color combination – Smoke Silver with Henna interior:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC on eBay

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