1990 Mercedes-Benz 300CE

Last week I check out a CLK55 AMG and felt like it was missing something. Not only was it missing something but it had a different feel from Mercedes coupes of the past. I understand it though, it was a transition from an era of analog to a launch of much more modern renditions. From the W124 to W210, the W140 to W220 and even the W202 to W203. All those cars looked and felt significantly different. You saw the line in the sand when everything changed. But I can’t blame them nor should anyone else. Evolution is a thing with cars and if you don’t, you’ll be eaten alive by competitors. Suddenly your legacy buyers who have owned your cars for 25 years have jumped shipped for Lexus.

But the good thing is that you can always go home. And for a lot of people, the W124 is home. It was the perfect mix of old school Mercedes but you still got modern features. For some, the W124 coupe is that perfect home feeling.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 300CE on Hemmings

Model: 300CE
Engine: 3.0 liter inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 184,000 mi
Price: $6,500 or Best Offer

This 1990 Mercedes-Benz 300CE has 184k miles and is powered by a 3.0L 6 cylinder engine with automatic transmission. The W124-based coupe is mechanically sound and ready for a cross-country trip, with no rust. Recent maintenance includes a 4-wheel alignment, new front brakes, new front window switch, new full exhaust and oil change. The car was purchased new in California and is on owner 4. The car has a detailed mileage history and has been well kept over its lifetime.

Detailed Videos Available Here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtiAsXmWVVyIXwKyZ5KSqDCWdNO3LuJKV

The 300CE coupe was based on the W124 E-Class and has a slightly shorter wheelbase than its sedan sibling.

Eye of the Survivor: 1983 BMW 528e

It’s funny how priorities change. A decade ago, I would not have given a second look to a 528e. Growing up with a E28 M5 in the garage created both an appreciation for the E28 and the dichotomous dismissal of lower range vehicles. Sure, the M5-look 535is was cool, and alongside the M5 we even had a very nice ’85 535i that was a pretty good driver. But below that? No, I seldom gave the 533i, 528e or even 524td a second look on the road. Today, though? Even if it’s not a performance car by most standards, a survivor 528e is certainly worth a second look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 BMW 528e on eBay

2009 BMW 135i M-Sport

In my search for an E46 M3, there was a nagging voice in the back of my head. As I looked at high prices of nicer examples of the M3, the voice kept saying “what about the E82?” So, what about the E82? In 135i guise, you got some of the styling from the M3 in a smaller chassis even though, generally speaking, it makes the E46 look pretty huge. In overall length, the E82 shorter than even the E30 as amazing as that sounds. But the standard roof height meant that visually the 1 series looked slightly out of proportion. Dynamically, though, that S54 must be a massive trump card, right? Well, again, not so fast, as the N54 twin-turbocharged inline-6 lay under the hood. Sure, it was at a slight horsepower disadvantage, but it makes up for that 33 horsepower deficit with 38 lb.ft more torque – and unlike the S54, that torque is available from under 2,000 RPMs. The result is that at least on paper, the 135i can run step in step with the E46 M3 acceleration to 60, 1/4 mile and 100 are all within a few tenths of each other – certainly enough that the driver could make a difference. And properly equipped, the E82 is a pretty neat looking car, like this 2009 M-Sport package:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2009 BMW 135i M-Sport on eBay

1993 BMW 325ic

 

The majority of the E30 convertibles that I come across suffer from two common issues: they’re usually in very rough condition and they have an automatic transmission. The former is due to the neglect of owners who never thought they’d become a sought after classic and the latter is a symptom of the non-enthusaist buyers who took these things home by the boatload. There is no vehicle that reminds me more of smarmy, yuppie folks than the E30 ‘vert. At launch, this was the official car of the abundant 80s nouveau riche, perfect for whisking guys with names like Barry, Gordon, or Donald away from the office, and out to where ever they were summering.

By 1993 things had changed, Barry Gordon, and Donald were either broke, working the Asian markets, or quietly cruising along in a legitimate line of work. The the E30 sedan and coupe had died off in ’91, giving way to the larger, softer E36 body style. The convertible however, it clung to the 80s for dear life, soldiering on until 1993. This example is advertised as having had only one owner, I’d love to get their story on why they chose this car, and more importantly why they opted for the manual transmission. It’s very rare to see a a drop top BMW with a 3rd pedal, let alone a one owner car that appears to be in great condition, so you

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 BMW 325ic

1986 Mercedes Benz 300E

It seems like just yesterday I was handing over the keys to my Audi S4 Avant to a happy buyer, thus setting me off on my journey to find my next vehicle. In reality, yesterday was actually late April. Here we are in the dog days of summer and I’ve yet to pull the trigger on a new ride, but not for lack of trying. I’ve driven a number of cars over the past couple of months, some new, some used, and I still have yet to feel that magic connection that I’m looking for. I’ve crossed cars off my list that I’ve long lusted after, E46 BMW M3/E36 M3, and some that I wasn’t a fan of until recently, 540i/6, E30 325i. Though I was rather dead set on getting my first BMW, I’ve been seriously considering a Mercedes lately. On the upside they’re more affordable in this current market, on the downside it’s really hard to find a desirable model with a manual transmission. So, when I came across this 1986 300E with a 5 speed manual the other day, I was immediately intrigued. When I saw that it was just 45 minutes away from me, I picked up the phone and got in touch with the seller. He told me that he had a buyer coming to check it out but if the sale fell through he would let me know. It was a long shot, but wouldn’t you know it, the car remained available and I went to check it out yesterday.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes Benz 300E on Craigslist

1988 BMW M5

It’s been awhile since I’ve given any consideration to the E28 BMW M5. Not because they’re aren’t super cool either, they most definitely are, and will be fore the foreseeable future. For that reason I’ve been passing over M5 listings frequently, they’re too in style at the moment. The bubble in which they currently sit isn’t as bad as the 911 or the M3, but I think it’s fair to say that the M5 is over valued. People are snatching these things up left and right, adding them to their collections, and waiting for them reach retirement fund status. That’s a shame because not only does it screw with the market, it means these cars likely aren’t being driven as intended. That was most likely not the case with this example given that it has 190k on the clock. Whereas a potential buyer would hope that the majority of those miles were from easy highway driving, I hope they were were accrued on winding back roads.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1979 BMW M1 AHG Studie

While it’s safe to say that all of the legendary BMW M1s have an interesting history, some are a bit more traveled than others. It would be simple to suggest that modifying one of the few M1s produced would be sacrilegious, but in the 1980s anything was fair game in the tuning scene, and let’s not forget that the M1 was a bit of a flop originally. In fact, until very recently the M1 was generally overlooked as a future collectable; prices were higher considering the rarity and provenance of the original M car, but like the Audi Sport Quattro they enjoyed relative obscurity in the general public. So, it’s not much of a surprise that some were modified in period, and AHG was the most famous of the tuners of the M1. Taking the base car to the next level, they customized the interiors and upped the power nearly 30%, along with fitting aero tweaks that were a reminder that the M1 was intended for the track. Looking much like a street worthy Procar, the only thing that was missing were the celebrity race drivers and crashes. Not missing was the high price tag, something that’s back today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 BMW M1 AHG Studie on Hemmings

1985 Bitter SC 3.9

If you drew an imaginary line between the family trees of the C107 Mercedes-Benz SLC and the E31 BMW 8 Series, therein would lie the somewhat odd but quite interesting Bitter SC. Open the door, and it’s obvious that the Bitter was also the envy of the 1980s Maserati interiors which resulted in the perhaps even more ill-conceived TC by Maserati. But the level of luxury found in the Bitter speaks to a period when personal luxury coupes were all the rage, and most of them were equipped like the SC – full of wood trim, luxurious leather and electronic features, motivated just enough to pass the plebeian Golfs and Mercedes diesels that litter the Autobahn. Of course, in such a luxurious coupe you wouldn’t want to do anything as pedestrian as change your own gear – you’d have people who would do that for you, and Bitter was happy to oblige with it’s Opel (nee GM) derived drivetrain. History has treated these personal luxury coupes fairly poorly; the L6, the SLC and the Bitter SC all have languished in value while their higher-performance or topless cousins have accelerated away into the auction blocks. Perhaps that’s an unfitting tribute for what was a top-flight luxury coupe from the 1980s, one man’s attempt to match the mystique of legendary brands like Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz. It was a noble attempt, but as they say, it’s often lonely at the top:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Bitter SC 3.9 on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1993 Alpina B10 BiTurbo

Alpina has always struck me as one of the most thorough tuners in the world. Their research and development of engines, suspension and exhaust is second only to perhaps Ruf and AMG, thanks largely to their close associations with the factory. Inside the fit and finish of the cars is perhaps even better than they came originally; beautiful details that make the cars stand apart. And visually Alpinas have always been the best looking BMWs out there in my opinion; subtle aerodynamic tweaks, beautiful wheels and striking but tasteful “go faster” stripes that distinguish Munich’s best. But even amongst Alpinas there are special models, and the E34 B10 BiTurbo is one of them. Alpina took a normal 535i and made it’s own interpretation of what the M5 could be; instead of a high-revving twin cam S38, you got two turbochargers with enough torque to embarrass those boys from Affalterbach. Alpina achieved this through a full custom build; Mahle pistons, custom oil sprayers to cool the them, stronger connecting rods, sodium-filled valves and bespoke intake and exhaust systems – but then, Alpina’s never been shy about producing it’s own items. While all Alpinas are rare, the B10 BiTurbo was fairly popular; of the 1600-odd E34s Alpina built, a full 507 of them were B10s. There are quite a few kicking around Canada, but not many are in the U.S., making this 1993 example quite rare:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Alpina B10 BiTurbo on eBay

Wagon Week: 1994 BMW 525i Touring

 

When I come across clean E34 wagons like this one I always wonder what kind of life it has lived, what allowed it go all these years unscathed when so many of its siblings get destroyed by time. At 21 years old this 525iT has fewer miles on it than the majority of used cars from the past decade that we regularly feature. Don’t get me wrong, it’s no garage queen. 72,600 on the clock is a fair amount but compared to the majority of examples out there with more than double that figure under their belt, this is a very low mile car indeed. Aside from the attractive odometer reading the car appears to be in fantastic cosmetic condition inside and out. The Iceland Green Metallic paint over Parchment Leather is as classy as can be and quickly becoming my favorite combo for old Bimmers. Whomever this thing belonged to, they certainly babied it because the front seats show no sign of stress or wear. The rear seats and cargo area look like they’ve barely been used which is particularly unusual for these cars. I keep going back and clicking through all the pictures over and over again thinking I’m going to find something I missed. A tear in the carpet, a stain, a rip in the headliner, something that indicates that this car was used as intended over the past two decades. However there’s nothing there, no red flags, no catch. Just a damn fine example of a wonderfully designed wagon that is ready to serve for many years to come.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW 525iT on AutoTrader