1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL 5-speed

1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL 5-speed

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The R129 has always been my favorite iteration of the SL roadster. Softer and more modern than the classic R107 that it replaced, but still sufficiently angular that it doesn’t succumb to the awful jelly bean aesthetic of the late 80s and early 90s, the quintessentially Mercedes design remains attractive today; sporty and taut yet elegant and handsome. While most US buyers opted for the V8 500SL or the range topping and magnificent V12 in the 600SL, the car could also be had with an entry level 3.0 liter straight six, as found in this 300SL version. Already a relatively uncommon spec, this car features the especially rare manual gearbox, available only on six cylinder R129s.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL for sale on eBay

1995 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Mille Miglia

1995 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Mille Miglia

These days, Mercedes hasn’t released too many limited edition models outside of their in house tuning arm, AMG. Before the days of AMG proliferation, Mercedes would release a special edition model from time to time, such as this 1995 SL500 Mille Miglia. Built to commemorate Stirling Moss’s win of the historic 1955 Mille Miglia road race. This R129, available as an SL320 or SL500, was available only in Brilliant Silver Metallic, equipped with Evo II six-spoke polished alloys and a red and black leather interior complemented by carbon-fibre trim. The side fender grills were also given a rather unique checquered flag treatment that, upon close inspection, is a clever collection of chrome squares. This right-hand drive example for sale in the UK has covered less than 70,000 miles and is a great modern day tribute to a legendary period in Mercedes-Benz racing history.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Mille Miglia at Fast Classics

1999 BMW M3 Convertible

1999 BMW M3 Convertible

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The E36 M3 has a curious reputation. Not quite a legendary track machine like its predecessor, the E30, and not quite a sublimely complete driver’s car like its successor, the E46, the E36 is the awkward middle child of the M family. Even BMW themselves seemed only half-heartedly committed to the car in America, choosing to offer it here with a less powerful engine than its European cousin. The resulting antipathy felt toward the car by some M-purists, who regard it as little more than a 328i with M-badging, has kept values low on these for quite some time. As a result, many of the used examples you find on Craigslist have been bought cheaply and thrashed, crashed or otherwise abused.

Still, they are very good cars – torquey, well-balanced and offering a dynamic driving experience. It’s always nice to come across a low mileage example in mint condition that has been kept in stock form. This convertible in stunning Techno Violet is such a car.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW M3 Convertible on Hemmings

1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SL

1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SL

If it was sheer class you were after in the 1980s, there were few better options than the Mercedes-Benz R107 SL. This car lasted in production over an amazing 19 year span and aged rather gracefully, save for perhaps the requisite crash bumpers that appeared in the early 1970s on US models. The close of the 1980s would be the curtain call for this timeless roadster, with the final example, a Signal Red 500SL roadster, rolling off the line in early August of 1989. This 1989 560SL is painted in one of my favorite hues, Bordeaux Red over Parchment leather. With less than 20,000 miles from new, this is a strong candidate for the collector.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SL 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.

Click for details: 1991 BMW M3 Convertible

One-Off: 1987 Porsche 959 Cabriolet

One-Off: 1987 Porsche 959 Cabriolet

For fear of having three Porsche features in a row today, I’m going to go ahead with this post regardless. I typically avoid featuring air-cooled Porsches. The market seems saturated with them and values appear to be leveling off for run of the mill variants. In addition, as enthusiasts discover other Porsches that are more rare, such as the 944 Turbo, 968 and 928GTS, values increase for these cars and sometimes surpass their rear-engined counterparts. Those points considered, even though it isn’t fully air-cooled, you don’t see a 959 come up for sale every day. You especially don’t see the only example of a Porsche 959 Cabriolet come up for sale every day. When I first saw this car, it was like seeing a mirage. The transformation from coupe to convertible suits the lines of this 959 fairly well but I admit I did a double take upon seeing it. I knew this wasn’t an officially sanctioned Porsche. Perhaps growing up in the 1980s and seeing 959 bodykits on convertible Porsches reduced the wow factor a bit for me. Blame it on the crystal that aftermarket tuners were smoking back in that decade.

In any case, this one-off for sale in Italy came to be via an unfortunate accident back in 1998, when owner and Porsche racing driver Jürgen Lässig owned it. According to Top Gear, a company called Auto Becker in Germany purchased the wreck and went to work. What resulted is the work you see before you and comes replete with two windscreens (a Speedster version comes with the car which can be swapped in) as well as a hardtop made from the original roof. A US based collector once paid over three million Deutschmarks for this car after setting eyes on it at the Frankfurt Motor Show.…

1990 Porsche 944S2 Cabriolet

1990 Porsche 944S2 Cabriolet

I can remember vividly when the Porsche 944 Cabriolet first debuted. As a young child, I would eagerly await those car magazines arriving by post each month, giving me the opportunity to set eyes on concepts, spy shots, prototypes and all the newest models. When the first images of the 944 Cabriolet appeared, I felt like something was missing. The proportions somehow didn’t seem right, as I had been used to seeing this transaxle Porsche design in fixed roof form for years. The folding roof and rounded off rear end seemed a world apart. However, I think time has been kind to this design and it’s a very unique model that appeared at the dawn of a decade that would bring about some of the most drastic changes in Porsche history. This 944 Cabriolet for sale in California has a mere 12,000 miles on the clock and while the Linen Gray Metallic isn’t necessarily suited to this sports car, it doesn’t offend either, looking sharp sitting on those Gullideckel alloys.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Porsche 944S2 Cabriolet on eBay

1989 Volkswagen Cabriolet

1989 Volkswagen Cabriolet

There are few cars, past or present, that do not have a stigma attached to them. The Toyota Prius is for dope smoking activists who are under the impression they are helping the environment. Range Rovers are for trophy wives. Mustangs are for people who enjoy burnouts at Cars and Coffee and jump the median strip or crash into a crowd upon leaving the event. The Volkswagen Cabriolet? The stuff dreams are made of for high school girls and the official sponsor of sororities across the country. Right? Too harsh of an assessment? Well, if I was ever going to question my masculinity, I’d do it with this 1989 Volkswagen Cabriolet. In black over nicely contrasting white leather, the Snowflake alloy wheels and 5-speed manual gearbox set this one apart from the usual cruisers equipped with the 3-speed automatic. This example for sale in Florida is about to hit 80,000 miles and quite frankly looks like it just rolled out of the showroom. I wouldn’t mind tooling around in this drop top this summer.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Volkswagen Cabriolet on eBay

Feature Listing: 1999 BMW M3 Convertible

Feature Listing: 1999 BMW M3 Convertible

It seems as if winter decided to hang on for another weekend on the east coast of the United States this week. However, summer will be here before we know it and with it comes the desire for open top motoring. This 1999 BMW M3 for sale in Arlington, Virginia is on offer from the second owner who has had the vehicle in his possession since it was a year old. While the M3 Convertible might not be the first choice for the hardcore //M enthusiast, this one is perfectly suited for those lazy jaunts to the beach, especially since these E36 convertibles have more than adequate rear seat and trunk space for those weekend jaunts to the beach.

1999 BMW M3 Convertible

Tuner Tuesday: Porsche 968 Cabriolet Supercharged

Tuner Tuesday: Porsche 968 Cabriolet Supercharged

I’ve always been somewhat intrigued by the Porsche 968 Cabriolet. Before SUVs and sedans graced Porsche’s lineup, this was a bit of an outlier, a car more suited for cruising than its hardtop sibling, yet packing the same potent large displacement inline-4 under the hood. Someone decided to turn this formula up to 11 with this example we see here for sale in California. This 968 Cabriolet packs a supercharger, with an output of over 300 horsepower. Mated to the preferred 6-speed manual gearbox, this can make for some seriously fun al fresco motoring.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Porsche 968 Cabriolet on eBay

Feature Listing: 1987 BMW 325ic

Feature Listing: 1987 BMW 325ic

It’s very interesting to me to look back and compare the 1980s offerings from the big three luxury producers in Germany. In many ways, BMW lagged behind the competition early on. Audi launched the B2 chassis in 1980, and it revised the standards of the near luxury market for Germany. There were diesel and gas motors, two or four-door configurations, and even a wagon from sister company Volkswagen. But the real addition gearheads loved was the wide-winged turbocharged and all-wheel drive Quattro, the first of the hot versions that would come to the market for junior executives. Indeed, it was the Quattro that changed the future of the W201, as Mercedes-Benz changed the mission of the future 190E 2.3-16 Cosworth from rally to circuit racer. So, Mercedes-Benz had a track version of the W201, and it also set the standard in build quality. Bringing those reputations to the small luxury market meant a whole new class of clientele and the W201 was massively successful thanks to a bunch of factors. While VAG produced about 1.6 million B2 chassis cars between 1976 and 1987, an amazing 1.8 million W201s made it to market. Those successes put more pressure on BMW, and it responded.

The E30 was without doubt the sportiest of the three out of the box, and just like the B2 is was amazingly versatile. There were sedans and 2-door sedans, and BMW was able to match the Volkswagen Passat with a Touring offering. Hot shoes liked the addition of the Motorsports division M3, which not only met the challenge of the Quattro and Cosworth but exceeded it by nearly every measure. Build quality was great but performance was even greater. But BMW wasn’t done, as it took the versatility – and the small executive market – to a new level.…

1998 BMW M3 Convertible

1998 BMW M3 Convertible

From a performance standpoint, the E36 M3 Convertible may not be the most desirable BMW product produced. However, if you’re able to back out that this won’t be a car dominating your local track days, the E36 Convertible does offer quite a bit of M-car magic for your money. True the U.S. spec E36 M3 was detuned and mass-produced, but it’s still a great looking, sounding and fun to drive car. Drop your prejudice, and the M3 convertible is a neat package in many ways – plus, it is one of the more affordable ways to get into a M3. This particular model is well equipped and neatly optioned with the forged Motorsport wheels and a host of recent Dinan upgrades:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 BMW M3 Convertible on eBay

Twelve Cylinder Time Warp: 2001 Mercedes-Benz SL600 with 172 miles

Twelve Cylinder Time Warp: 2001 Mercedes-Benz SL600 with 172 miles

Anyone looking for a brand new 15 year old car? Here’s your chance to buy what must be the lowest mileage R129 generation SL600 in the country. With 172 original miles, this car is probably as close to new as you can find. The R129 began production in 1989 as a 1990 model, and lasted until 2002; a pretty typical production life for an SL. To celebrate the final year of production, and to pay homage to the brand’s racing heritage, Mercedes released the Silver Arrow spec SL. Available as an SL500 and an SL600, 1,500 cars were produced in total, only 100 of which were 600’s.

While this car isn’t a Silver Arrow, it is a second-to-last model year R129, and is fitted in a very desirable color combo of black on light grey. I spoke with a salesman at Mercedes of Cherry Hill who informed me that the car was purchased new there, and the owner stored the car with the hopes of it climbing in value and turning a profit down the road. Needless to say, that dude bought the wrong car. He probably paid in the vicinity of $140,000 for it, and I don’t even want to know what he sold it back to the dealer for. The good news is that we have the opportunity to buy the car, in virtually new condition, for around $90K off the original price.

Click for details: 2001 Mercedes-Benz SL600 at Cherry Hill Mercedes-Benz

2012 Mercedes-Benz SL550

2012 Mercedes-Benz SL550

The R231 Mercedes SL has been with us for about three years, and I have to say that it hasn’t grown on me at all. Neither the exterior nor interior aesthetics do anything for me. Having said that, I think the previous generation SL, the R230, is one of the best looking cars Mercedes has ever made.

Released in the U.S. market in 2003, the R230 spanned a relatively short production life for a Mercedes SL. Its predecessor, the R129, was produced for twelve years, and the R107 lasted for eighteen years. The R230 received a debatably successful facelift in 2009, which gave the previously rounded front fascia a more rigid appearance, and tweaked a few stylistic details both on the interior and exterior to give the car a more aggressive appearance. The facelift divided many Mercedes enthusiasts, but the general consensus was that the R230 was still a beautiful car.

Today I’d like to go over some of the details on this very attractive 2012 SL550. 2012 was the last year of production for the R230 SL, which was offered in three derivations for the U.S. market; the SL550, and the AMG-tuned SL63 and SL65 models. Not many AMG SL’s were sold in 2012, but there doesn’t appear to be a shortage of final year SL550’s. This particular one is finished in my favorite color combo of black on tan, and appears to be in great shape. With only 17,000 miles, this is about as close as you can get to picking up a brand new R230 generation SL.

Click for details: 2012 Mercedes-Benz SL550 on eBay

1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL-24

1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL-24

Some cars come and go, but the Mercedes-Benz SL has had staying power. Ever since the mid 1950s, this name has been going strong in the lineup, transforming from the original Gullwing coupe to a smaller hardtop two-seater, to the boulevard cruiser of the 1970s and 1980s and into the present day as a refined but capable luxury roadster. One of my favorite SLs was the R129 from the 1990s. It was no easy task taking over from the iconic R107 SL which had an impressive 18 year production run. This car was literally the face of Mercedes throughout the oil crises, recessions and the boom times of the 1980s, yet stayed fashionable all along. However, the new for 1990 300SL brought back an option to US buyers, albeit for a short time, that was lacking throughout the R107 production run: the manual gearbox.

Yes, you could order your 300SL from a US showroom with a 5-speed manual, making the most of a 3.0 liter inline-6 engine that was tasked with moving around 4,000 lbs. of car around. If you’re used to a V8 in your SL, performance is a bit underwhelming in this model, but given that only a few hundred R129s were sold in the US with a manual gearbox, the novelty factor is certainly there. This 300SL-24 for sale in Arizona is one of the nicest 5-speed manual R129s I’ve come across in my time at GCFSB, tempting for someone who absolutely must row their own.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL-24 on Craigslist Phoenix