1993 BMW 318i Baur TC4

1993 BMW 318i Baur TC4

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We’ve reached a point where the BMW E36 has probably dipped about as low as it will go in terms of value, with exception of some mint M3s on the upward tick and the exclusive M3 Lightweight. Most of us are familiar with all the different models of this range, including some of those which did not make it to US shores, like the Touring. This 318i Baur TC4, however, is a different proposition altogether. The relationship between BMW and Baur goes back a ways. Baur is a coachbuilder based in Stuttgart, Germany that has been collaborating on BMW convertibles since the 1930s. Their targa variants of the E21 and E30 3 series helped them gain notoriety, but they didn’t stop there. When the E36 3 series debuted in the early 1990s, Baur decided to try something different.

What you see here is a rarity amongst modern day automobiles, the four-door cabriolet. From the side profile, you’d be hard pressed to figure out this was a convertible of some sort, with fixed door frames and a canvas roof which would fold discreetly behind the rear seats. This 318i Baur TC4 is claimed to be the first on US shores. While it wouldn’t be an easy claim to verify, it is probably valid, as a little over 300 of these unique open-roofed sedans were made.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 BMW 318i Baur TC4 on eBay

1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SE Cabriolet

1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SE Cabriolet

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In the last few years, the Mercedes-Benz lineup has grown substantially. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any bigger, along comes the S-class Cabriolet. While the myriad of SUVs that Mercedes sells are responses to growing trends in the marketplace, the S-class Cabriolet is a revival of an old theme, the car you see here: the 280SE Cabriolet. The 280SE Coupe and Cabriolet were the swan song of the W111 chassis, with production of the 3.5 V8 variant lasting through the summer of 1971. This restored 1970 280SE Cabriolet for sale in Chicago is fitted with a 4-speed manual gearbox, an option not often seen on these grand tourers.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SE Cabriolet on eBay

1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SL with 6,600 miles

1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SL with 6,600 miles

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Probably one of the most clichéd cars ever, the R107 was everywhere in the 1970s and 1980s. Probably it is because it lived a long enough life that a child could be conceived in it, then sent off to college and Mercedes-Benz were still selling them on their showroom floors. From Magnum, P.I., to Dallas, to Knight Rider – even Wonder Woman drove one of these. I’m still trying to piece together how she afforded a $32,000 car (over $140,000 in today’s dollars) on a government salary. What that left us with today is a market full of used R107s that are harder to get rid of than free kittens. Go jump on Craiglist and search ‘Mercedes SL’ and you’ll find listing after listing of these parked in front of nice but clearly dated homes with phrases like ”time to let her go” and ”I have the original hardtop too!!” I usually don’t even bother looking at R107 ads anymore but this one caught my eye. The rare color of Cayenne Orange and a sparse 6,600 miles had me curious. So if you aren’t tired enough of seeing R107s for sale, let’s check this 1977 450SL out in North Carolina.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SL at G and S Motors

Land-locked Drop-top- 1988 BMW M3 Convertible

Land-locked Drop-top- 1988 BMW M3 Convertible

South America has been in the news quite a bit recently, if you haven’t been paying attention. But when you think about South America today, you’re probably thinking of the upcoming Olympics, perhaps the Zika virus, or if you’re well versed maybe the crumbling country of oil-rich Venezuela. Maybe you watched the Top Gear specials and you saw Argentina, Bolivia or Chile appear on your screen for the first time. One country you probably don’t consider is Paraguay. Paraguay sits alongside more famous Bolivia as one of the two land-locked countries in South America. It’s also one of the countries which attracts the least tourism in the West, a legacy of a government that adopted isolationist policies following its independence from Spain in 1811. It’s relatively tiny, too – with a large percentage of the 6 million inhabitants focused in a small area around the capital of Asunción. The top two exports Paraguay is known for are soybeans and frozen meat, and most of those go to neighboring giants Brazil and Chile, along with some to Europe. In short, it’s a religious, agrarian, isolationist country with no ports. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some with money. And those with money have bought cars in the style of the West. In fact, it might just be the best place to buy…an E30 M3 Convertible?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M3 Convertible on eBay

2005 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG

2005 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG

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Those of you regular readers of GCFSB probably know that I mostly write about Porsche 928’s. Today I have something different, albeit quite similar. Much like the 928, the SL55 is ostensibly a grand tourer and is powered by a V8 of the same displacement as the 928 GTS. Both cars also share a very similar interior layout, with most of the controls located in a sloping and raised center console. Both cars are also beloved by Jeremy Clarkson, who spoke favorably of the 928 in one of the final episodes of Top Gear, and who personally owned an SL55. Describing his SL as a swiss army knife, Clarkson pointed out that the SL can act as a grand touring car if so desired, but can also be turned into a roadster in 16 seconds thanks to a retractable hardtop.

This Designo Graphite 2005 SL55 stood out to me for multiple reasons. The beautiful Designo color combination and interior upgrades, the unique Alphard wheels, and the low mileage differentiate this SL55 from the others currently on the market. The Designo options on this car would have likely added an extra $8,000 onto the $120,000 base price for the SL55. Such options would include a full leather interior (dash, door panels, rear storage compartment, roll bar, and top lid), alcantara headliner, suppler leather on the seats, and black birdseye maple wood trim. This was a huge improvement over the mostly MB Tex and vinyl interior on a standard SL55. Basically, it is a combination of the higher quality finishes available on the SL600 with the more flashy design of the SL55, a win-win in my opinion.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG at Greater Chicago Motors

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