1990 BMW M5

1990 BMW M5

From the “Cars that need no introduction” file, witness the M5. So ingrained into the halls of automotive Valhalla is the M5 that it seems as though there was never a time without one. Yet while there were fast sedans that predated the Motorsport 5-series, the reality is that this was the blueprint which all subsequent fast sedans (tried to) emulate.

If you look up “benchmark” in the dictionary, the M5 should appear as an alternate definition.

But enough of the hyperbole, hoopla and heady praise. You know the details of what makes this car great. So what makes this particular one special?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 BMW M5 on eBay

Litmus Test Double Take: 1988 BMW M5 and M6

Litmus Test Double Take: 1988 BMW M5 and M6

Neither the E24 M6 nor the E28 M5 need an introduction on these pages. Legendary even when new, they both captured the imagination of generations of German car enthusiasts and established the benchmarks for sedan and GT performance in period. Both went through a relatively long downturn in value, as well. And today, as each has moved firmly into classic status and the market ///Madness continues, each has increased in value considerably over where they stood a few years ago.

But with so many shared components, which is the one to get? While a lot of that boils down to personal preference, more so than ever it’s also dependent on your budget. We’ve seen asking prices for nice examples of each chassis hovering between $50,000 and $80,000 depending on mileage and condition, and with a hot market there’s no letup of good ones to choose from.

But what I have today is not the best examples of each. Both are higher mileage and neither is pristine. However, the real draw here in both cases is a no reserve auction format, giving us the opportunity to really see what’s what in the M market today.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay

Feature Listing: 1987 Porsche 911 Turbo

Feature Listing: 1987 Porsche 911 Turbo

Yesterday we presented a very nice 993 twin-turbo and in that post I spoke of my conflicting desires between those beautiful 993s and the original Turbo, the 930. So let’s turn our attention to the 930 as this presents us a nice opportunity for comparison. This triple Black 1987 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe is offered by the same seller as the 993, which means the condition of the car is good and the price sits on the more reasonable side when factoring in condition and mileage. As we’ve discussed quite a bit on these pages the 930 market definitely has moved downward for all but the best cars, but the desirability of the model itself remains strong. There are a lot of them out there with sub-$100K price tags so it takes very low miles or rare colors/options to really attract notice. I do think that makes this the tougher sell of the two cars, but for someone like me, whose heart remains strongly tied to these iconic ’80s Turbos, that allure might be too strong to overcome, tempting us toward the dark side.…

GCFSB Alumnus: 1992 Volkswagen Corrado SLC with 28,000 Miles

GCFSB Alumnus: 1992 Volkswagen Corrado SLC with 28,000 Miles

When originally I saw the link to this listing, I was unsurprised. Coming across a 28,000 mile pristine Corrado should be a cause for celebration among Volkswagen fans, but it has almost become expected from the seller Luxsport Motor Group, who currently has no less than three pristine and original Corrados in their inventory. That number includes currently one of the two Corrado Magnum prototypes I wrote up in May, but they’ve also had a string of amazing G60s and SLCs. Still, this early 28K SLC looked pretty familiar to me….

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Volkswagen Corrado SLC on eBay

1988 BMW M5 M30 Turbo Swap

1988 BMW M5 M30 Turbo Swap

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Typically the legendary S38B35 is an engine that gets swapped into other BMWs, now out of them, but today we’re playing opposite day with this No-Effs-Given E28 M5. A little while back it received a turbocharged M30 transplant which is a pretty common setup for E28s – just usually done on more pedestrian models than the extremely rare M. A unique aspect to this auction is that the S38 comes with it, so you have the opportunity to ride the turbo monster as long as you please while retaining the prospect of putting the numbers-matching engine back in eventually. Even so, any hopes of originality are long gone after they spray coated the floor rooting out some rust, replaced the wheel and shift knob with anachronistic wooden parts, and spray painted the homebrew center console to accommodate auxiliary gauges. The one thing that I actually do think is original, contrary to the seller’s claim, is the black interior. With all seats, door cards, and interior trim in black, and miles instead of km, I think this may well be one of the 31 US M5s with black interiors (more than 2 the seller thinks they made, but still an extreme rarity).

This M5 has been hacked and sprayed to the point that it will forever be valued more like an E28 rather than the second-rarest M car. It looks pretty darn good from the outside, albeit modified with later wheels and yellow lenses, and the S38 alone could recoup a serious chunk of the purchase price. It’s already into 5-digits with a long time left on the auction and looks like this basket case M5 with its heart in a box will still pull decent money.

Click for details: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay

1989 BMW 325i AC Schnitzer

1989 BMW 325i AC Schnitzer

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Thanks to a Road & Track tuner feature, AC Schnitzer (along with Ruf, TechArt and HPA) was one of the first tuners to really catch my imagination. Big chunky 5-spokes and wings fore, aft, and midship were plenty to turn middle-school me into a daydreaming Autobahn master. In this day and age and much like the cars they tune or the pop stars we are force-fed, aftermarket design has become a caricature of hyper-stylized aggression. There was a time, however, when bodykits and wheels were subtly aggressive extensions of classic designs. This 325i sedan is exactly that, having received a bodykit, exhaust, wheels, and suspension that make it look more like an appetizing foreign model rather than a crazy tuner cartoon. Originally a Euro model that was imported to Japan and then Florida, it’s covered 43k miles on the road and nearly half that amount in shipping. The automatic is a bummer, but with so few miles and such beautifully restrained modifications it can be forgiven. The exhaust and suspension will help make the drive more exciting (as long as it doesn’t have the sad sound of good exhaust droning across an auto trans’ overly-smooth revs), and the bodykit and wheels will put a smile on any BMW fan’s face. Eventually a manual swap and some engine mods would help it keep up with its appearance, but for now it’s a very cool E30 that won’t break the bank.

Click for details: 1989 BMW 325i AC Schnitzer on eBay

1991 BMW M3 Convertible

1991 BMW M3 Convertible

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In these dark days, E30 M3s even well above 100k miles can crest $50k, a baffling amount of money. The craziest thing is that the E30 M3 isn’t even that rare. Nearly 17k were produced, some three times more than were required for homologation and three times more than the E28 M5. There are certainly rarities within the M3 family, from the Evolution I and II models to Cecotto, Ravaglia, and Europa Meister editions. And then there were these convertibles, of which about 800 were released over three editions from 1988 to 1991. This car comes from the final and most-produced batch, whose S14 now produced 215hp instead of 195hp. You’re going to need that extra power to move the incredible 400 extra pounds the convertible is saddled with. We talk about severe driving penalties associated with convertibles, but I have to imagine this is one of the most egregious examples. With just 21k miles covered and rare to spare, the seller is hoping for $130k to pass this M3 to the next climate-controlled secure location.

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1995 BMW M3

1995 BMW M3

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In start contrast to yesterday’s very clean but crack-pipe-priced Friday Fail M3, we have a well-tuned, low-mileage E36 M3. The yin to yesterday’s yang, this black 1995 coupe has mild engine mods including a Jim Conforti chip and intake while the suspension modifications are a bit more extensive, dropping it low over the lightweight Fikse wheels. With just 89k miles, it hasn’t traveled that much more than the white devil and is in nearly as good of shape – it’s just not being advertised as the ridiculous creampuff investment that the looney toons at Earth Motors were hocking. With a reserve auction and Buy It Now right under $16k, this is a clean and fast M3 that epitomizes their performance value right now.

Click for details: 1995 BMW M3 on eBay

1988 BMW M5

1988 BMW M5

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I have no false hope that my 225k-mile E28 M5 is going to follow the low-mileage examples into the upper-five-figure price range, but it is fascinating to see where the mere mortal examples are ending up. The wrong-wheeled rustbucket I wrote up a while back almost hit $13k on its auction, a number almost as shocking as the $60k M5s on eBay. This E28 is hardly the dumpster-dive of Mr. Rusty, but the blemishes are plentiful. The clearcoat is failing on the roof, it has the classic 80’s bumper waves and dash cracks, the driver’s seat is conspicuously omitted from pictures, and the engine compartment has some surface rust showing. On the flip side, the trunk’s carpet set is complete, which will make you then envy of a plurality of the owners on mye28.com (me included). It sounds like it runs well and hasn’t been outright abused or neglected; it’s just a rare car that looks to have lived a pretty average 28 years. The reserve is still on with bids up to $14k. Compared to the rust-bucket, where will a high-mileage, 6/10 E28 M5 land?

Click for details: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay

1991 BMW 325i

1991 BMW 325i

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After the super, extremely, silly low mileage of the gold 325i I posted the other day, we now have a high-mileage black example, this time with the orders of magnitude-better 5-speed manual, that looks perfectly maintained. If you want a blank-slate E30 to perhaps eventually make your own choices on, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better middle ground than this. Nothing’s out of place or modified other than a couple minor 325is upgrades. The perfect daily driver, your first E30, and/or a car to gradually improve and modernize, this looks to be the Goldilocks of the breed.

Click for details: 1991 BMW 325i on eBay

1988 BMW M5

1988 BMW M5

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Here’s a fun market check as the E28 M5’s ascent follows the E30 M3 north. There isn’t a ton of history listed on this M5 other than it was owned by a BMW dealer who spared no expense keeping it nice. After just 93k miles, that care shows. Every electrical item is said to work perfectly, while the few aftermarket choices appear well-chosen. The suspension has been redone with Koni, while an interesting brake upgrade helps slow the fastest sedan in the world (in 1988). E34 brakes appear in the back, which is a common choice, but the owner has managed to get Porsche units up front with drilled rotors. There aren’t any big power upgrades, choosing to let the S38 do its best while making it an overall better-handling car. All of this adds up to an E28 M5 that is very nice but not perfect or all-original.

Click for details: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay

1989 BMW 325is

1989 BMW 325is

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It’s Sunday, and as we dig through the winter weekends watching the anticlimactic wrap-up to the NFL season we can start daydreaming again of spring Sundays filled with curvy dry roads, loud exhaust, and practicing our heel-toe. This 325is is well set up to be a weekend warrior, not overdone despite almost no stone unturned. It has a host of interior and exterior modifications that would probably look delightfully subtle were it not for the gold-centered wheels. The Shadowline and Euro bits highlight a monochromatic body while an Alcantara-heavy interior with recovered Corbeaus looks like a great place to be, both comfortable and functional. There’s no crazy performance gains here, just a mellow cocktail of chip, exhaust, and redone suspension to help this 325is really exploit its E30ness.

Click for details: 1989 BMW 325is on eBay

1988 BMW 325ix

1988 BMW 325ix

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I’m always interested in clean examples of the 325ix. Rare to begin with, their all-road capability means they’ve often experienced crueler conditions than a standard E30. This example has covered an amazing 248k miles but is a hard-to-find manual coupe. The engine was replaced about 1k miles ago with another M20B25 that has 120k total miles but recently had a top end rebuild. The interior looks good all things considered, with cracked but not ripped seats and an intact dash. The exterior was recently repainted after the common rust areas were professionally repaired, letting the Delphin Gray give off its great subtle luster. With axles and other maintenance items done within the last 50k miles, this seems like the right kind of high-mileage car to pursue, especially given the rare specification.

Click for details: 1988 BMW 325ix on eBay

1984 Volkswagen GTI

1984 Volkswagen GTI

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The Volkswagen Mk1 GTI is quickly ascending the classic car ranks and dragging what used to be the most fun performance value available into a serious investment. We’ve seen nice examples come from Windy City Motorsports before, but today’s GTI comes from one of the owners personal garages and features an impressive lineup of modifications. The updates are mostly period-correct, and while they remove any claim to originality, they come together for a beautifully impressive package.

After buying the GTI from its original owner, the seller stripped it down and repainted it, opting to remove the fender flares. Most people want to make their sports cars wider, not narrower, but I can’t argue with how great the gold BBS RSs look on a clean body. Lots of other parts were smoothed out too like shaved side reflectors and fender antenna, with tidy Euro bumpers and a Zender roof spoiler yielding a GTI that is somehow even crisper than the outstanding factory appearance Giugiaro blessed it with. The interior is similarly spruced-up 80s with a suede headliner, all-new carpeting, and serious-but-clandestine stereo upgrades. The main performance upgrades are in the suspension, but to call the original 8V engine untouched would ignore the considerable work done replacing pretty much every auxiliary item, gasket, and line.

With just 52k miles, this would be a big-buck GTI no matter what. The well-chosen and comprehensive upgrades come together for a beautiful GTI with enough small touches to keep even the most die-hard VW fan poking around in awe for hours.

Click for details: 1984 Volkswagen GTI on eBay

2007 Mercedes-Benz SL65

2007 Mercedes-Benz SL65

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One of the things I’ve liked about moving back to Washington State from the SF Bay Area is that seeing rare, expensive cars is special again. Living next to the most expensive zip code in the country meant that pretty much every luxury car was the top-of-the-line model, from BMW M5s and Alpina B7s to Audi S8s and RS7s to Mercedes-Benz E/S/CLS/SL/ML/G/GL63s and 65s. I got desensitized and disdainful, scowling at the 80 year olds puttering around El Camino Real with 500-600hp on tap. The Mercedes AMG 65 models always caught my attention with their gunmetal wheels as the main giveaway besides the badges, a nearly $200k car just hanging out next to the yoga studio and completely unnoticed by the general public.

Well, they were roughly $200k when new. Depreciation hits them harder than their (transmission-limited) 738 lb-ft of torque and now this twin-turbo V12 GT is roughly a third of its original price. They’re not the most attractive roadsters, but it’s certainly a more balanced design than the “umm… copy-paste-update new shape here!” look of the current R231 SL. This R230 looks a bit more classic in black on black and has the Panoramic Roof option on the folding top so you can see the sky without exposing yourself to the commonfolk. Carbon fiber puts a performance veneer on the interior, but this will never be a canyon carver. It’s a 604hp highway bomber, and hopefully having covered fewer than 12k miles will keep scary-expensive maintenance on the V12 at bay for a while.

Click for details: 2007 Mercedes-Benz Sl65 on eBay