1988 BMW 325i Convertible

The beautiful M3 Convertible I looked at yesterday was a reminder that I often skimp on drop-tops entirely. On top of that, I’ve been ignoring one of the most popular options in the classic German car market – the E30.

Introduced midway through E30 production, the Convertible you see here was the first factory BMW convertible since the 1950s. It showed in the execution; BMW’s slick top folded neatly away under a hard cover, in stark contrast to Volkswagen’s Cabriolet which looked like it was sporting a neck support pillow in back. Little trunk space was lost in the execution, meaning you had a fully functional 4-seat convertible replete with storage for the weekend. Base price was nearly $29,000 in 1987, but that included leather sport seats, electric windows, anti-lock brakes, cruise control and an on-board computer. For the U.S. market, there was only one engine option, too – the M20 2.5 liter inline-6, meaning no “E” model and plenty of spin on the tach, along with 168 horsepower. This helped make up for some additional weight from the top mechanism and structural strengthening, resulting in around 3,000 lbs of curb weight. But while the E30 was the benchmark as a driver’s car, many more of these were used in a relaxed manner; top-down luxury cruisers to enjoy the sun:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 325i Convertible on San Francisco Craigslist

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2003 BMW M3 Convertible

Update 10/15/18: This M3 Convertible sold for $22,100.

Like yesterday’s base 944, the M3 Convertible isn’t a car I spend a lot of time on. However, the recipe is hard to argue with; you get the beautiful lines of the E46 mated to the sonorous S54 with limitless sky over your head at the touch of a button. When this car was new, it was the fastest production 4-seat convertible available, though at nearly $60,000 it was hardly cheap. Fast forward to today, and it’s generally become the cheapest way to experience BMW’s gem of a motor in the ultimate development of the naturally aspirated inline-6.

Though I don’t write of them often, I do keep my eye on them from time to time. And today’s particular 2003 is a very special package. Presented in 400 Steel Gray Metallic over N5ZM Cinnamon leather, visually this car is quite a looker. Inside you’ll find a 6-speed manual, too, and a scant 34,866 miles on the odometer. Oh, and the auction is no reserve, too:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW M3 Convertible on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 2004 Alpina B3S Cabrio

The prospect sounded promising, but I was left feeling lackluster at best about the 750 mile 2001 BMW 330Ci I wrote up a few weeks ago. Sure, it was nice and that interior certainly was to die for; so, too, was the basically as-new condition. But the 5-speed automatic transmission, coupled with the outrageous $32,000 asking price, had me thinking there were better options out there. So if I was in the $30K range for an E46, what are my options?

Well, obviously there are plenty of M3s to check out any day of the week, and I’ll be looking at one soon enough. But when our reader John sent through this seriously impressive Alpina, I couldn’t help but take a look. The B3 isn’t a model we often look at; in fact, I’ve only reviewed on prior, and it was a E36 chassis. The E46 took an unusual route for Alpinas; rather than a blank-slate motor, the Buchloe company selected the S52B32 from the U.S. spec E36 M3 for their basis. It was bored and stroked to 3.3 liters, netting 280 horsepower. In 2002, the “S” version of the B3 was released, with a bit more bore and a revised engine management and exhaust system. This brought the power to 305, 0-60 plummeted to 5 seconds and with a 6-speed manual you could come close to hanging with the M3. Why buy one, then? Well, the looks were a bit more discrete overall, and you could buy not only a sedan and Touring version, but an all-wheel drive one as well. Today, though, we have a lovely Cabrio with the 6-speed manual to check out:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Alpina B3S Cabrio on Autoscout24

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1993 Mercedes-Benz 600SL

Fall is officially here, so that means in roughly 11 days, we’ll be looking at about four feet of snow. (Florida and California residents excluded.) While there are still some sunny days left, why not enjoy them in none other than a V12 convertible from Mercedes-Benz. Truth be told, if you forced me to go buy a V12 Mercedes-Benz convertible, it wouldn’t take me any time at all the settle on the R129 with the M120 because that is the V12 that wouldn’t have me sleeping inside it because of how unreliable and costly it is. Granted, the M120 still isn’t an inexpensive engine to live with in the grand scheme of things, but compared to the M275 or god-forsaken M137, it is a far easier pill to swallow. Today, I wanted to check out a really tidy 1993 600SL up for sale in New York that has all the little goodies that makes it stand out from what you usually see from these early R129s.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Mercedes-Benz 600SL on eBay

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1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL

Around five years ago the values of the W113 Mercedes-Benz Padoga spiked pretty hard and kept climbing year after year. I totally get it because these roadsters are as classic as it gets and will never go out of style. The price for a really nice 280SL hovers around that $100,000 mark and can reach almost $260,000 for a perfect example while the lesser 230SL and 250SL can be had for a much more reasonable $50,000 if you so chose. This leads me to today’s car, a 1970 280SL up for sale in New Hampshire. This Pagoda is equipped not only with the rare factory air conditioning, but a 4-speed manual transmission. While all that is nice, why I really wanted to look at this 280SL is the price. No, it is not extremely high, but actually quite the opposite.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL on eBay

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1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL

If I had a dollar for every time I see the terms ”like-new”, ”showroom condition” or even worse, ”restored” when looking at a used car ad, I’d have a lot more cars. The overwhelming majority of the time these terms don’t apply to the car listed for sale and are just used by overzealous sellers just trying to drum up interest. I fight every urge to send them a sarcastic message saying that I didn’t know Mercedes sold new cars on the showroom floor with cracked dashes and stains on the carpets, but I resist. Either way, it ruins the term in my eyes because of how loosely it gets tossed around. Today, one of those cars actually deserves all those marketing terms because it is actually true. This 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL for sale in Texas was restored, is like-new and is certainly in showroom condition. However, if you want to own this car, I hope your net worth is in seven-figures. It is that expensive.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL on eBay

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2000 Mercedes-Benz SL500

I’ve been really itching for a convertible of late and specifically a Mercedes-Benz SL. Maybe it is just the nice weather or the want to start another project, but I always seem to be digging around for a R129, R107 or even if I’m lucky, a Pagoda. During my digging, I came across today’s car which would be perfect for a summer daily driver but believe it or not, I actually want it because of what it does with the top on. Yes, that means this 2000 SL500 has the panoramic hardtop option that turns the normal boring hardtop into a full glass roof that still people go nuts for. Myself included.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Mercedes-Benz SL500 on eBay

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1996 Mercedes-Benz SL320

Spring has sprung and convertible season is here. I type this as I look at my window to still see snow, but the calendar tells me it is officially spring so I’ll just go with that. What better way to start the warm seasons by picking up a relatively inexpensive roadster that won’t kill you in repairs/maintenance and maybe even make you a couple of dollars if you hold on to it long enough. If that is your goal, the R129 Mercedes-Benz SL320 might just be the perfect car. Fortunately, this 1996 up for sale in Maryland checks in with just under 94,000 miles and is a really good deal. How good?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Mercedes-Benz SL320 on eBay

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Feature Listing: 1998 BMW 328iC

By 1995, the BMW 325i had long established itself as the benchmark by which all other sedans were judged. Though it had only appeared in the United States for the 1992 model year, Europeans had access to the E36 as early as 1990. That meant they by 1995, the model was in need of a refresh and BMW was happy to oblige. But as the U.S. market was occupied by the M3 launch, the new non-M range-topper’s appearance would have to wait until 1996.

When the 328i did arrive, it was very much a case of ‘meet the new boss’; while not a fresh design, the light updates were met with more power to continue the 3-series’ reign at the top of the sales charts. The revised M52B28 was installed, and though it was more evolution than revolution, it was pretty good at spinning the needle thanks to 15% more torque than the M50 (207 v. 181). That meant real-world power and acceleration were at your hands, and matched with a manual gearbox the new 328i’s 0-60 time dropped into the low 7-second range. The changes carried over to the popular convertible range, which offered considerably more 4-seat sport than either the Audi Cabriolet or the E320 Convertible. At over $41,000 out the door, perhaps it should have, but then that price guaranteed that the drop-top 3-series would be prized by those lucky enough to order them.

Today, finding an E36 for sale isn’t very hard. But with the newest nearly 20 years old, finding a good one can be. These days, fewer and fewer appear like this very low mileage, well equipped 328iC:

CLICK TO EMAIL SELLER: 1998 BMW 328iC

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2017 Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet

Last week I checked out the unfortunate CL550 Cabriolet that made no sense to me in a number ways. Today, we have something that in practice is very similar to that car, but totally on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to quality. This is the Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet. The ultra-luxury S-Class convertible that rivals the Rolls-Royce Dawn in everything, including price. This Maybach S650 Cabriolet is a S65 AMG Cabriolet that keeps all of its power and adds another level of luxury and most importantly for this car, exclusivity. Just 300 of these cars will be produced by Mercedes and just 75 of them coming to North America. But for this price tag, is it worth it?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2017 Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet on eBay

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