All posts tagged Grey Market

1979 Mercedes-Benz 350SE

With our resident Mercedes-Benz expert Paul out of the country, we’re going through a bit of a classic Mercedes-Benz drought here at GCFSB. I’ve tried to fill in a few gaps, but the reality is that Paul has a knack for finding the best examples of the stars from Germany. So until he comes back, you’ll have to make due with our admittedly second-tier examples, two of which we’ll feature today and both of which at W116s. A bit later, Jeff has written up the top of the heap 6.9 that’s in need of some attention, but right now I have a one of the lesser examples – a 1979 350SE. It doesn’t have the big motor and it’s not the long wheel base, but it’s a slick Euro model which appears clean – so certainly worth a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Mercedes-Benz 350SE on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC Convertible “AMG”

If you missed Paul’s MerCamino earlier today, I’ve got another strange conversion for you. The 1980s were a heady time for “tuners”, some of which made some downright odd creations and others of which took existing really good cars and just…well, made them worse. One of the best ways to wreck a good car is to chop the roof off, and making cabriolet or roadster versions of coupes seemed to be a sure tuning bet in the 1980s. We got convertible versions of the Quattro, Porsche 928, BMW 6 series – heck, even the Ferrari Testarossa wasn’t immune. But if you wanted luxury and sun for 4, of course you needed a Mercedes-Benz 500SEC convertible. And while you’re there, why not throw in some AMG bits. “What?”, you say, “But I’ve never seen one!” Search no more:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC Convertible on eBay

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Grey Market Special: 1987 Mercedes-Benz 230CE

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If I had access to an uncle working the marine transit route from Germany to either coast, I’d likely end up with a crapload of cars I didn’t actually need. That’s what I think of when someone imports a classicly-80s kitted-up W124 coupe, complete with everything that puts it on the same level of a similar-era Hyundai: crank windows, cloth seats, and horrible Antera alloy wheels. I am conflicted, though, since I have a condition known as “Hot for Heckblendes,” in which any car’s issues are tossed aside should they be sporting a period-correct trunk garnish. Don’t ask me to explain it – I’m sure you all have some weird turn-ons that I don’t want to know about, either. For $6,000, you’re really just paying for the privilege of driving a slower, older version of the same car we got here – but wait until people see that Heckblende!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Mercedes-Benz 230CE on Seattle’s Craigslist

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Tuner Tuesday: 1983 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC AMG

About a month ago I wrote up a AMG-modified grey market 500SEC that scared people with it’s chromed Pentas, blacked out windows and questionable history. But perhaps if you can get by the again all-caps ad copy, this cranberry-colored grey market 1983 will be the one for you. Sporting the requisite AMG bits and period correct color-matched wheels, this 500SEC certainly looks the part – and the Moby Dick sized stack of receipts may mean this is the not-so-white whale you’ve been looking for:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC AMG on eBay

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1993 BMW “M550CSi” – M5 with S70 V12 6-speed swap

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In my post about last week’s 2JZ swapped M5 many questioned why you would go through the expense and difficulty of swapping in the Toyota unit, or at least that it was downright sacrilegious to do so. Perhaps I have a looser sense of how to do things the proper way, but I certainly can recognize that the 2JZ unit is capable of higher levels of power than the original S62 V8 was for less money, and that at least makes some sense to me even if I wouldn’t do it. When I first came across today’s E34 M5, I was initially struck with awe, but as I’ve sat wondering what to write up about this car, that awe has slowly turned to a bit more confusion. The reason why is fairly straightforward – some enterprising individual has taken a quite nice Euro-market E34 M5 (great start) and swapped in the equally great S70B56 V12 from a 850CSi along with a 6 speed manual transmission. Take a look for yourself at this monster:

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Year: 1993
Model: M5
Engine: 5.6 liter V12
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 76,000 mi
Price: $20,000

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 BMW M5 S70 swap on Willz.Ca

Model: 1993 European M5 chassis
Chassis: WBSHC91090GD63011
Build Date: June 1992
Mileage: 76,000 miles
Colour: Black
Motor: 5.6L 850 CSi engine (S70B56) conversion
Interior: black leather mechanical sports seats, leather stitched center console and door skins
Transmission: new 6 speed manual
Traction Control:
Brakes Front: 2-piece, 355 (14″) rotors UUC 4 piston aluminum calipers
Brakes Rear: vented 328mm (12.9″) rotors
Wheels: 17 x 8 forged system II
Tires: 235-45 and 275-40 Dunlop Sport 5000
Features: front strut bar, HR springs, uprated sway bars, UUC short shifter, Eisenman stainless exhaust, in dash CD
Options: single air bag, ABS, rear deck wing, rear window shades, E code headlights, clear blinkers, Motorsport door handles
Comments: Hand built custom driveline by Brett Anderson from Koala Motorsport, Cleveland OH. Sold and registered as 1993. Self-leveling not removed – still functional. New EDC shocks all ’round. Quaife LSD.

As I said, initially I thought “Holy beep that is awesome!”; seeing that monster V12 in a real M car is sort of like 1995 got all sorts of better. But then I sat on it and thought about it some more, and came away confused. The S38 is a pretty strong motor and this car didn’t have many miles when it was yanked from what I can tell, so there’s that question. Then, the replacement motor is that awesome 5.6 V12. Well, at least it was awesome in 1995, but my main question comes from the result. That V12 is effectively two inline 6s, meaning you have double of nearly everything in the engine bay. On a 20 year old car, that’s not always a good thing – especially those early computers, which seem to have hiccups.

Then there is the second main question when you look at the performance. Sure, the S70 has a healthy bump of torque over the S38, but only 70 horsepower more than even the lowly 3.5 – bump up to the optional 3.8, and those numbers are closer. Then there’s the question of availability; it’s not like the S70 is a cheap motor to come by, so this was intentionally done at great expense. Further, unlike the all-aluminum M73, the M70-based S70 has a big old iron block, so you’re throwing off the balance some. While I have no doubt this car is a blast to drive and looks fantastic, I am left scratching my head a bit. Still, like the Supra-powered E39, I’m happy that someone went through the effort and created what would have been the ultimate handbuilt M-car. And it can all be yours for less than the price of most E39 Ms…

-Carter

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