1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16

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?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 on eBay

Motorsports Monday: Mecum Racing Porsches Roundup

As Rob mentioned in his Jade Green Targa piece the other day, we’re entering in quickly to auction season. Mecum, typically the purveyors of more muscle cars than European rides, nonetheless had quite an impressive lineup of signification Porsche race models that cover a few decades and many changes in the company’s history, so I thought it would be pretty neat to take a look at them. It’s very interesting to see over a relatively short period of time the many changes that Porsche’s motorsports programs have gone through.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Porsche 934.5/935 at Mecum Auctions

Motorsports Monday: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II

While the regular 190E 2.3-16 Cosworth had originally been intended to be a rally car, by the time the company got to producing the “Evolution” models they were fully embroiled in the DTM war of the late 1980s. Massive wings mounted trunklids, fenders flared, and engines roared to new heights of power. While most probably associate the E30 M3 as being the pinnacle of this period, the wildest road-going warrior was the 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II. Mercedes-Benz made 502 of these cars, replete with AMG-tuned motors and enough wings and flares to make an M3 jealous. It should be no surprise that these cars hold a special place in enthusiast’s hearts and they’ve led the market in value because of their very limited nature:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II on eBay

1990 BMW M3 Sport Evolution

There is nothing that I can say here that will matter at all. I won’t convince you that the E30 M3 is overpriced – maybe, compared to some of the other limited run homologation vehicles like the Sport Quattro and even the asking price on Paul’s 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II two weeks ago this Sport Evolution is downright cheap. Despite that, I could tell you that for the for the asking price of this car you could have a whole fleet of very interesting cars. Heck, you could buy a lesser E30 M3 and still have a huge chunk of change left over to buy many other vehicles and even maintain them. Some houses are less expensive than this car. College for most is less expensive than this car. The average worker at Walmart won’t make in a decade what the asking price is here. But none of that matters, because if you’re even still reading I’m just making you tread water until you can see more photos and drown in the eye-watering price:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 BMW M3 Sport Evolution on eBay

1989 Mercedes Benz 190E 2.5-16V EVO I

As I have mentioned previously, there are not many Mercedes models that I really lust after. Sure, there are models that I certainly wouldn’t mind driving if someone handed me the keys to them but very few that I really desire. The car you see here is one of those few, in fact it’s at the very top of the list. I would take this car over an SLS, C63 or even the new AMG GT any day because while those cars might be luxurious, pretty and insanely fast, they lack the uniqueness Mercedes and AMG were able to instill in the car you see before you. The 190E 2.5-16 was a rare car to begin with, but in 1989 Mercedes added the Evo I designation to the mix creating a new tier of rare for the brand. Only 502 of these fantastic machines were built and like the regular 2.5 liter equipped 190Es, none of them came to our shores. If you want to own what I consider the coolest Mercedes ever built, you’ll have to import one or move out of the U.S. I hear Portugal is quite nice almost year round.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Mercedes Benz 190E 2.5 16 Evo I

1993 Mercedes Benz 500E

For all my talk of fandom concerning older Mercedes models, there aren’t many that I would actually pony up the dough for. Sure I appreciate the W123 for the road warrior that it is and I’ve often day dreamed about enjoying a summer cruise in a Blue over White Leather W124 convertible but neither would satisfy my craving for speed and handling capability. My love of technical canyon roads and aggressive cornering is probably why I’ve always been more attracted to BMW than Mercedes and my fiscal responsibility is probably why I ended up in the middle with Audi. As much as I love brute power, I’ve grown fond of driving a slow car fast rather than a fast car slow up in the twisties. Bottom line is you can only do so many 80-140 mph pulls before the experience becomes boring or you get yourself locked up for reckless driving. But if ever there was a Mercedes that would pull me away from Quattro and Efficient Dynamics and manual transmissions, it would be the 500E.

To me, the rarity of this car is one of the most attractive things about it, only 1,528 were imported to the U.S. during its run. Equally as attractive is its ultimate Q-Ship status, as far as I’m concerned it is the finest example of a factory produced sleeper. Of course that makes sense given that the car was hand built by two of the world’s most respected automakers. Today it’s hard to fathom Mercedes collaborating with Porsche but back in the early 90’s it made a great deal of sense. Mercedes wanted a car to beat the M5 and V8 Quattro, Porsche wanted to show their engineered prowess could be applied to a four door sedan. Yes, I’m drastically over simplifying the whole project but there are those far more knowledgeable on the subject than I who’ve written about the car at great length.…

Apocalypse Now: 1988 BMW M3 Evolution II

We’re an odd group, enthusiasts. Normally you’d assume that we’d be excited to see each and every example of rare cars that pop up. Sometimes, even semi-rare cars excite us. Occasionally, it’s just a plain-jane base model that’s not often seen that will peak the interest of the masses. Yet the excitement usually isn’t there; instead, what results is a form of cyber-bullying as every keyboard warrior attempts to find each and every wrong detail with a particular example. It could be something from small details – paint chips, a scratch, a rust bubble to things that are downright esoteric; my complaint, for example, that the RS2 color “RS Blue” appear correctly on B4s instead of the more commonly associated Nogaro Blue. It could be omission of mechanical details, incorrect listing information, a slip of the fingers in typing in a VIN. Seriously, does it matter? Well, it does when it comes to top-dollar collector cars. In the case of today’s car, the second E30 M3 Evolution II in as many weeks here on the site, my microscope attention focuses on the wheels:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M3 Evolution II on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1988 BMW M3 S52

I’d like to try a social experiment if you’ll allow me; I’d take an E30 M3 listing and say absolutely nothing about it. My hypothesis is that it wouldn’t matter; the car would still generate lots of comments both positive and negative, outlining both the strengths of the E30 and the rapid appreciation of the market. The convergence of factors that has resulted in the M3 market as we see it today is the evolution of not only a naturally occurring timeline coupled with a increase of personal wealth vis-a-vis the ownership group juxtaposed with those who actually ponder ownership. This, in turn, can be viewed as in part the skeuomorphic racing details of the M3 coupled with the natural analogue interface of the E30 chassis. Immersion in the marketplace has resulted in datafication as we try to quantify the various appeals of the models and even sub-models, while the scalability of the marketplace seems to utilize fuzzy logic – models constantly morphing in and out of vogue as the relative price of ownership fluctuates. Modularity in the E30 platform has not helped but convoluted the matter. Coupled with the emergence of internet fora the M3 is the first truly viral car. The rapid influx of various examples in order to take advantage of these previously stated confluence of factors has resulted in, ironically, crowdsourcing in an effort to elicit an explanation:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 BMW M3 on eBay

Fake It ‘Til You Make It: 1986 BMW M3 Tribute

Let me go on record as stating that I personally have no problems with replica cars. Especially when you consider the price of exclusive originals or cars that are non-existent, tributes and replicas offer people the opportunity to see cars they would otherwise never get to experience. Several of the Auto Union Grand Prix cars, for example, have been built as exacting replicas of the originals that no longer exist; see them in the flesh, and they’ll make your spine tingle just as much as if Nuvolari or Rosemeyer had piloted them originally. But then there’s a secondary tier of making replica cars that are either just expensive or hard to come by; Sport Quattros, S2s, AMG and Ruf models as well as the exclusive RS have always been popular, and an increasing trend over the past few years has been replica M3s. Of course, when the real deal is only a few thousand dollars, making a replica isn’t economically viable. But prop the price up to near six figures, and suddenly the pain and expensive of creating a replica becomes not only popular, but perhaps even lucrative:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 BMW M3 Tribute on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 2002 Porsche 911 Turbo

If yesterday’s Koni Challenge 997 was a little too extreme for your Porsche dreams, you don’t need to look far for another stunning deal. We’ve talked a lot about what an incredible performance package the 996 twin turbo still is; over a decade on, even box stock these are still cars that perform at near exotic levels. Despite that massive performance, they’re available for a relative song – we’ve even seem some higher mileage examples dipping into the $30,000 range. Today’s example has been turned up as many have, now capable of 600 horsepower ripping pavement through all four wheels. That means your trumped-up Beetle can embarrass most Ferraris, Lamborghinis and some small airplanes for only $50,000. It’s so fast, not only the pictures but even the dyno readout is blurry from speed:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Porsche 911 Turbo on eBay