One of the more interesting things about the legendary Mercedes-Benz W123 chassis is the difference between the production numbers for the sedan, estate and coupe bodies. As you might have guessed, the sedan was the most plentiful at just over 75,000 units made from 1981-1985 as the 300D with the OM617 turbo diesel engine. Next up was the 300TD station wagon with a little over 28,000 units. Bringing up the rear is the 300CD with just 7,502 cars. The easy math here says that from every 10 300Ds, there is only one 300CD. That explains why you can go on your local Craigslist and find a handful of 300Ds, but the coupes? No where to be found. As a result, the demand and values for coupes have always been much higher than the sedan not only because of the rarity, but because they are cool cars and a pillar-less coupe is always classic. Today, I managed to find a really nice 1985 300CD up for sale in Florida and luckily, this one is a wonderful example.
Last week I checked out a really interesting 2001 Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG that was one of the better W208 AMG cars, but I still thought didn’t hold up to the brother W210 E55 AMG. I just thought it lacked a few things and I’m not just cherry picking little things, Mercedes really did short the CLK55 with equipment and less power. Today, I thought I’d check out the next generation, the C209, to see if anything improved and if they were on par with the W211 E55. Sad news, they were not.
I’ve been thinking about this car for a week now since I spotted it. It’s a poignant follow-up to the Canadian Coupe I wrote up last week. That car cleared just over $4,000 – even accepting the silly stereo upgrade, it was a great deal. I also said in that post that it was rare to see early cars and, as if on cue to disprove me, another all-original ’82 popped up. It’s too good to not look at!
In an effort to explain just why I love the Coupe so much, I took my GT for a drive this morning. I’ve owned it now for over 20 years, and despite having far too much abuse at various points in its life, it is still a car that thrills. It’s comfortable, quick, has plenty of room, turns head and makes great noises. It’s never failed to start. It is supremely adept in corners, egging you on to push harder. It somehow rides even better than my newer car in spite of set-to-punish track-oriented suspension. It’s beautiful simplicity still makes me smile, too. Sure, I was pretty amazed when my son folded down the sunvisor and the vanity mirror light turned on. After all, I don’t get into this car expecting all electrical items to work. But I do get a smile out of this car every time I drive it. What more could you ask for $4,000?
Update 7/15/17: Due to lack of payment, this Coupe Quattro has been relisted, again with a no reserve auction format.
Time to consider another Audi icon – the Coupe Quattro. Of course, it was quite hard to follow the original act, but in Europe alongside the RR Quattro 20V was the all-new B3 generation S2. Performance was about par between them, but they had intensely different character. The new car was safer, more quiet, more round, and a lot more practical. For while the original Quattro had always looked like it had a hatchback, it was the successor that actually had one.
Of course, in the U.S. we didn’t receive the S2. The Coupe Quattro made due with a thoroughly upgraded 2.3 liter DOHC 20V motor – the 7A. Deep in the middle of the recession and not fully recovered from Audi’s 60 Minutes debacle, the very expensive Coupe Quattro sold slowly. A total of approximately 1,700 of them were imported at over $30,000 each. Considering the cost, the performance was rather soft; the heavy Coupe sported only 164 horsepower and though it was smooth and reasonably quick on the highway, off the line performance was lackluster at best. Still, though the internet fora would have you believe otherwise, performance between the U.S. spec Coupe and original Quattro was pretty similar.
Options on the Coupe were limited to the Cold Weather package, 8-way power seats and Pearlescent White Metallic paint – all seen here on this ’91. ’91s also had the upgraded glass moonroof rather than the early steel panel, though they lost the infamous “Bag of Snakes” tubular header early models carried. ’91s also gained rear sway bars and are the rarest of the bunch, with only 364 sold in the model year and a further 58 traded as leftovers. Like the original, finding a good one is key – and difficult:
While the Audi Coupe is no stranger to these pages due to some ridiculous bias by a certain author (ahem), we rarely get the treat of looking at the first half of B2 production. But before it became the “Coupe GT” I so adore, the 2-door basis for the Quattro was simply referred to as the Audi Coupe.
Europeans got a choice of several engines, but in the United States options were limited to one: the WE 2.1 liter inline-5, rated at 100 horsepower. Mated to a wide-ratio 5-speed with economy in mind, these cars were decidedly not as sporty as the later KX- and especially NG-equipped GTs. Brakes were smaller, too – with 4x100mm bolt pattern wheels on the early models sharing duty with some Volkswagens. But the Coupe had a whiff of class that the VWs didn’t manage, and its upscale construction – when well maintained – meant these cars have serious staying power.
Early models, while numerically superior to late GTs, are harder to come across. Audi sold some 4,236 1982s – the Type 85 Coupe’s most successful sales year in the U.S.. However, ’81-’83 GTs are the least frequently seen on the open market here, so this one from Canada looks to be prime to import:
Update 6/23/18: After failing to sell last summer for $17,500, the seller of this pristine low mileage TT has increased the asking price to $18,000. With only 400 miles on the clock since last year, will it be a sale this time around?
This 2004 Audi TT 225 quattro represents an interesting comparison point to Rob’s Talbot Yellow 911SC from last night. First, the color – Imola Yellow bares a striking resemblance to the infrequently seen 911 shade, but like the tone on the 911 it wasn’t often selected on these TTs. It obviously has a similar overall shape to the 911, too. If you’re reading this, you’re probably not likely to be able to squint and see how alike they are, but to most non-car people, if you parked them side-by-side, they’d likely claim they were much more than distant cousins. I’d wager that most would probably prefer the TT, too – after all, it looks modern and new, still, unlike that ‘old Beetle’ design.
That a clean first generation TT still looks new some 13 years later is rather miraculous. Perhaps it points to a change in car designs; less revolution, more evolution. Consider for a moment that the TT concept (which went into production largely unchanged) toured the car show circuit in 1995 – only 6 years after the move to the 964 model by Porsche. Of course, it’s easy to see why Audi would only evolve the design of the TT. It was a hit off the bat, as pretty much everyone liked the snappy performance, the unique looks, the economic practicality of a 2+2 hatchback, the available all-wheel drive. So park a 2004 TT next to a 2014 TT, and though the design moved into a new decade, it didn’t change direction.
Because the TT has been ubiquitous over the past nearly twenty years in the marketplace, it’s often taken for granted that you can get one pretty much any time you want. News flash: you can get an air-cooled 911 of any variant, an E30 M3, a Bugatti EB110 – whatever – anytime you want, too. The difference? You and I can afford the TT.
I’ve said this before, but I want to reiterate it once again. The Mercedes-Benz W124 Coupe has quickly become the next classic Mercedes that everyone is searching Craigslist and their neighbors garages for clean examples to snatch up. For the longest time these were just another old Mercedes that was a really good car in its heyday but time soon passed by for newer cars. Well, now that it is very clear that cars like the W124 won’t be made again and the gold rush has started for the pillarless coupe. Some of these really nice cars, especially face lifted E320 Coupes, have been bringing five-figure prices regularly and there doesn’t seem to be a short of willing buyers — myself included. Thankfully, there still seems to be a few of these cars out there for sale that represent good value if you want to get in one of these. This example up for sale in Eastern Pennsylvania seems to be just that. Don’t get too excited though, this one is far from a showroom example.
People are usually pretty hot or cold on the Mercedes-Benz W140 Coupe. They followed up the massively successful and popular W126 Coupe and it’s not that these are bad cars at all, but it’s tough to follow-up something that was so great. I think lots of times people even forget about these cars because you don’t see them all that often. Mercedes made just over 8,500 of the V12-powered 600SEC/S600 Coupe/CL600 for worldwide sale over an eight-year production period so they are relatively rare compared to the V12 sedan that was produced to the tune of 36,000. Today’s car, a 1996 up for sale outside of Detroit, is one of the finest S600 Coupes I’ve seen come up for sale. The price? Well worth the asking in my eyes.
I don’t write about a lot of newer cars because honestly, I think outside of a few models, they are all pretty boring and soft. Today’s car, a 2011 Mercedes-Benz E550 Coupe, isn’t exactly the most exciting car in the world and it certainly isn’t all that rare. It is rather fast though with 382 horsepower that will get it to 60 mph in the high four second range. But that isn’t why I wanted to check out one of these. It isn’t necessarily what this E550 Coupe is, but rather what it isn’t.
So you want an affordable, distinctive yet practical car for your daily commute? Yesterday I suggested there might be more fun to be had for less money than the Golf Harlequin. Well, here it is: the Z3 3.0i Coupe. While the ‘clownshoe’ isn’t quite as spacious as the Golf, it does add a dose of practicality to a fun-to-drive and very unusual package. But while the market focuses on the M products, the more rare to find Z3 3.0i is an affordable option that will help you stand apart from the crowd.
Produced in Spartanburg in February 2002, this Topaz Blue Metallic example has seen better days, it’s got quite a few miles, and it’s an automatic. But that means it’ll be about as cheap as a clownshoe comes. Is it worth the price of admission – or, at the very least, is it worth the savings over a M?