Last week I wrote up a tidy looking 190E 2.3-16, the boxy, 80s DTM-racing inspired version of the W201 from Mercedes that has never really gained the same kind of attention as its obvious competitor, the E30 M3. Perhaps that is changing, as more of these come to market in respectable shape. The general consensus among enthusiasts, however, seems to be that these cars are neither desirable nor fast enough to merit the higher price tags we’re beginning to see. (Once upon a time they were firmly in the sub-$10k category, whereas now sellers seem to want the mid teens and up for non-basket case examples.) But maybe the skeptics will be won over by a an imported 2.5-16 like this one?
Market speculation about M values is nothing new. Indeed, head back to the launch of the U.S. M5 and you’ll find evidence immediately. In Europe, the M5 launched for the 1985 market year and was so successful, BMW announced in 1986 they’d bring 500 of the M5s over. They immediately were all spoken for, and consequently when the production actually started in 1987, BMW made more – not a lot more, mind you, but the 1,340 produced for North America was nearly triple what was originally forecast.
Consequently, owners who felt the collector value of their M5 had been dashed by this glut of examples sued the company in 1991. Further, the model was relatively abandoned by all but the most devoted enthusiasts in the 1990s for bigger, badder and faster modern sedans. But today it’s back with a vengeance, with clean examples fetching more than what they were priced at new. It therefore makes a little bit of sense that someone would have gone through all of the trouble to mimeograph the transformative super-sedan’s blueprint onto a lesser example:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 BMW 525i on eBay…
I’ve been harsh on the R107 in the past. I’m still not in love with them but a 560SL like this one for sale in Oregon sure is softening my stance. This 1988 not only shows a little more than 10,000 miles, but it also has the ultra-desirable European bumpers and headlights. With this R107 you have the perfect mix of ultra-low mileage, incredible condition, rare parts with a collector market with money to burn. So how high will the bidding go for this pristine 560SL?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SL on eBay
Engine: 5.6 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 10,684 mi
Price: Reserve Auction
1988 Mercedes Benz 560SL
One of a kind 560sl with euro bumpers and headlights
OVER 80 Pictures Below!!!
If you are looking for a 560sl like none other, here it is. With factory Bosch European headlights and euro bumpers, it is the perfect touch to make this car stand out from the crowd. Also displaying walnut burl inlays on each door panel, this was a dealer add on. Please take a look at the pictures below if you have any question feel free to contact me.
Highly Optioned 560SL From The Factory
*10,680 Original Miles*
587 Cabernet Exterior paint on the car is incredible
275 Cream Beige interior is Stunning
Car runs and drives beautifully
Brand New Continental tires
Mechanical condition is excellent.
*Still has Original german soft top*
Hardtop is excellent as well
*Has the Original spare tire and Wheel*
The car does not leak any fluids.
Smooth and responsive shifting from the transmission
Front seats and door trim are original and in excellent condition
Carpet is clean.
The dash has NO cracks
All instrumentation and gauges function correctly: power windows, heater, a/c, lights, turn signals, horn, cruise control, radio, clock, temperature gauge and wipers work very well and as they should.
Early buyers of the W126 in America had to make do with the relatively anaemic 3.8 liter V8 in the 380SEL. Thirsty and underpowered, it was a bit of a disappointment. Meanwhile, European customers were offered the better performing 500SEL, which was powered a 5.0 liter version of the M117 block good for about 240hp. Although MB USA eventually relented in the face of demand and brought the car over by official channels, early Euro-spec examples pop up for sale in the US every now and again, since many of them made it over to these shores via the gray market.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 500SEL on eBay…
As I’ve said before, I usually try to stay away from regurgitation of material. However, there were a few reasons to look at this European specification M3 one more time.
I’ve recently featured a string of Canadian Edition E36 M3s with some sticker shock for fans of the traditionally affordable chassis. The first was a Hellrot model in August with a $35,000 asking price. That car, to my knowledge, failed to trade hands because though it was actively bid upon, the reserve was never lifted in the mid 20K range. The next stunner was the Individual Giallo car in September, which broke predictions at the $65,000 mark. I looked at another Dakar model in November hoping to capitalize on those high asks, with a reported sticker price close to $30,000. It, too, failed to break the reserve.
The traditional, and very valid, argument to paying high prices for these cars is that they’re essentially just a stock Euro model with a number attached to them. Why not just import a much cheaper and more plentiful example of those then? To that point I had twice looked at a non-Canadian Edition but European specification ’94.
This Mugello Red model originally came to our site in October, 2014. With about 83,000 miles and in generally good condition, it was certainly a unique and appealing alternative to the normal M3. It popped back up in June of 2016 with a few more miles, poor photography and a little more wear. It was also boldly offered with no reserve, though the auction ended with an “error in the listing”; eBay seller speak for the bidding not heading in the direction they were hoping.
Well, here it is again. This time, it is listed by the same seller as the Giallo car. It’s been cleaned up and has some great photography.…
The other day, Carter wrote up a gray-market, Signal Red 280SE. The Euro options and unusual color made for an attractive proposition, but that particular car had some mechanical needs making it a light project. This car, on the other hand, appears to be in need of no such work. Available in Europe but not sold in the US, the 280SE paired the 2.8 liter, six cylinder M110 gasoline engine with the short wheelbase version of the W126 chassis. While that might seem a small motor for such a large car, it made about 185 hp in Euro guise, a perfectly adequate, though certainly not blistering, amount of power. Like the US-spec 300SE/SEL, it might need a bit of shove at the low end, but once up to highway speeds it should cruise around capably.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 280SE on eBay…
If you wanted a V8-powered, short wheelbase W126 in America, you had one option: the 380SE. Unfortunately, the 3.8 liter M116 V8 under the hood was a bit of a dud. Thirsty and somewhat underwhelming, it was eventually phased out in 1985. From then on, US-based customers had to buy a long wheelbase 420 or 560 SEL to get a V8 in their S-class. The Europeans, however, got the 500SE, which combined the more impressive 5.0 liter M117 V8 with the shorter and (in my opinion) more attractive chassis. But it was never officially offered over here. Nonetheless, some of them made it to these shores via the gray market. Presumably that’s how this one ended up in Michigan.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Mercedes-Benz 500SE on eBay…
I promise that it was not my original intent to run a Canadian market car this today, but it’s pretty apropos for this morning’s coffee intake. The Canadian Edition M3 is no stranger on these pages; I’ve written up two of the original 45 in the past few months. First was the Mugello Red car which had undergone some changes for stock.. Second was the staggering Individual Giallo example which set what I believe may be a record price for a non-Lightweight car. Today #40 has come up for sale and seems to lie between the condition of the two cars. Presented in fetching Dakar Yellow, where will the price of this E36 end up?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW M3 Canadian Edition on eBay…
Though we’ve had a nice string of older Audis, it’s been a while since we’ve looked at a V8 quattro – but today’s is pretty special. First off, it’s one of the later 4.2 models. These cars were upgraded with a transmission cooler to help solve the early model automatic transmission failures. That, of course, meant all U.S. bound 4.2s were automatics from the factory. While that may sound like a downer, the 4-speed auto wasn’t a bad transmission and linked to the 276 horsepower, all-aluminum 4 cam V8 in front, motivation was never really an issue. Dynamically, these V8 quattros were also much better on the fly than the nose-heavy inline-5s, too. Not only was the engine a bit farther back, but the Torsen differential in the rear helped to give these cars a better power distribution. Of course, the cream of the crop were the 3.6 5-speed manuals – the only Torsen center, Torsen rear differential car Audi ever produced. Mate one with a 4.2 in a perfect color combination, sprinkle in some sport seats, and you have one pretty desirable package:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Audi V8 quattro on Boulder Craiglist…
No, it’s not a misprint. Though you may not have been able to buy an Audi 90 in the United States until the B3 in 1988, in the rest of the world the same model you could buy here as the B2 4000S/CS quattro was marketed as two different models – the basic 80 quattro, and the more upscale 90 quattro. Differences between the two were bumpers, lights, wheels, and interior options as well as different power plants. The 90 was closest to the more “loaded” U.S. spec 4000S/CS quattro, and in fact looking through this model you’d be hard pressed to see many differences – consequently, few even ponder importation of a European model. However, differences are there – so let’s go through them and see if this B2 is worth the steep asking price:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi 90 Quattro on eBay…
The Volkswagen Golf was a revolutionary design for the company. Dynamically, it took the Wolfsburg firm into the modern era, ushering in a period of compact front-drive, front-engine, water-cooled designs. That was a big step for a company which – to that point – had only produced rear-drive, rear-engine, air-cooled models. So, where did the technology to make that impressive (and successful) leap come from?
It came from the engineers at a recent acquisition of Volkswagen – Audi. We won’t go through the politics in this post of how that came to be, but in 1972, a completely modern design was launched replacing the DKW-based F102 chassis. The new B1 featured (you guessed it) a front-engine, front-drive, water-cooled motor. That motor – the EA 827 – would then find its way into the Golf, and the Golf’s transverse engine design would find its way back into Audi two years later in the Audi 50. The 50, while looking a lot like the Golf, actually was a different platform which then traveled back to Volkswagen in the form of the Polo. Confused? Well, you probably wouldn’t know much about this model, since it was never produced in great number, nor was it ever imported to the United States. But, as we know, models that never came here have a cult following and one has popped up for importation:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1976 Audi 50LS on eBay…
Yesterday, searching through bad 1980s movies to watch I came across the Orwellian classic 1984. I sat and stared at the image of John Hurt, slightly bemused that Orwell’s vision of the future was so dark, dire and complicated. Sitting at the end of a head-scratching 2016, 1984 seems in many ways to be such an easy time. Okay, remove the equally crazy politics of the period; telling my students that bombings in downtown London were commonplace when I was growing up confuses them, or that plane hijackings happened almost as often as mass shootings do today, nevermind the environmental and infectious disease disasters of the period. In 1984, you could buy a Volkswagen Jetta GLi for $8,500. Inflation corrected, that’s just below $20,000 – so still quite a deal in the grand scheme. Sure, today’s cars offer more luxury and convenience, and isolation from the driving experience. They are, without a doubt, safer in every measurable characteristic than cars in the 1980s. And faster? Also indisputable, as a new Jetta GLi turbo will positively wipe the floor with this A1’s performance. With only 90 horsepower on tap, you’ll struggle to best speeds most modern cars can do without the driver even blinking. Relatively speaking, this Jetta GLi is slow, loud, unsafe, and not hugely comfortable. Why, then, were they so much fun to drive?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Volkswagen Jetta GLi on eBay…
In a post I wrote for The Truth About Cars this past week, I covered a few E30 models that offer affordable and interesting visual and performance alternatives to the E30 M3. One of those models was the Baur TC2, the model which gave BMW a soft-top before BMW made its own in 1985. Of course, the E30 wasn’t Baur’s first foray into convertible 3-series models, though, as they had started with the E21 model. Baur only produced a little less than half the amount of E21s – 4,595 according to Petrolicious – as they did E30 models at over 11,000, but as importation of early 1980s cars was easier, it seems more common to see the E21 Baur than the E30 Baur. Though fitted as standard with no performance upgrades, this unique 1982 example remedies that with a turbocharged M20:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 BMW 323i Baur TC1 Turbo on eBay…
Another week, another Mercedes with a bunch of strange things that I try to make sense of. This handsome 1978 350SE located in Tennessee caught my attention with its slim euro bumpers and other little details that makes this car stand out from the rest of the pack. So let’s take a look at what makes this W116 so special and a little bit odd.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Mercedes-Benz 350SE on eBay…
You’re not going to buy this M3. It’s not because of lack of desire; certainly, a limited run European-specification Canadian Edition M3 is already a very hot commodity. Further upping the ante was the BMW Individual “Giallo” yellow color, slightly different than the standard specification Dakar Yellow. While that may seem like a strange choice, it was what the original buyer of this already very expensive ($60,000 in 1994, about $90,000 today) ordered – and that choice made this particular car the only out of production color in the run of 45. Obviously, since they cared a lot about their prized Euro M3, miles are super low and condition is effectively near perfect. But you’re not going to purchase this car, not because of the colors, or the miles, or the low production number, or even because it’s a Euro car. You’re not going to buy this E36 because the asking price is $65,000: