Normally most of the Mercedes-Benz W108/W109 cars I look are at the M100-powered 6.3s and for good reason, they are really cool cars and the market on them is as hot as it has even been for them. Luckily for most of us, if you want a W108 or W109 and don’t want to pay a minimum of $35,000 just to have a seat at the table, you have some options. Today, we have one of those options. This 1971 280SE for sale in California is painted in the rare Arabian Grey and believe or not, has nearly 150,000 miles on it.
Just last night, a friend informed me he had “acquired an older BMW”.
“Willingly?”, I asked. He affirmed he had contractually agreed to this life changing experience. “What model?”, I furthered.
Now, supportive friend Carter probably should have nodded in approval. After all, the Z3 is great value for the money. They’re cheap to buy, cheap to maintain, and fun to drive. But what actually came out of my mouth was laughter. Not maniacal laughter, mind you, but just the uncontrollable mocking type that you immediately feel a bit bad about. Hoping to redeem the situation a bit, I prodded “Six cylinder…?” Nope. 4. I contained further laughter at this point, but I was grasping for straws. Meekly, I ventured “…..manual….?” hoping for some affirmation. “YES!” he happily retorted, glad to finally confirm a question of mine.
It’s actually a nice car, and it’s in great shape, and he paid almost nothing for it. But from the same period, BMW had some other affordable, fun to drive and even more potent options for enthusiasts. Take, for example, the M3 Sedan. Like the Z3, it was rear drive. Like the Z3, it has a manual, and they share some achitecture. But while the Roadster has a bit of a stigma that results in enthusiasts’ dismissal, the M3/4/5 has developed into a legend in its own right. Damn the fact that it didn’t have the more exotic Euro motor, if you want a cheap and pure driver’s car while still being able to comfortably transport 4 adults, they don’t come much better than this platform:
A few weeks ago I checked a wonderful Signal Red Mercedes-Benz 560SEC. I explained that on some Mercedes, red looks pretty good and suits the car well. Other cars, like sedans, red is a pretty tough sell for me. Encase you haven’t noticed by now, this 1991 300E that I am looking at today is painted in that same Signal Red. It is a very clean W124 that has under 100,000 miles and I really dislike it. Let me tell you why.
These ultra-low mileage cars always intrigue me in more ways than one. How have they held up after so many years of just sitting? How has the maintenance been handled despite only having a handful of miles a year? But this biggest thing I wonder is was it worth it, literally, to let the car sit and preserve its pristine condition. Today’s car, a 1994 Mercedes-Benz E320 Cabriolet that checks in with a little over 6,700 miles, isn’t your typical used car to begin with. I’ve covered the C124 pretty extensively and we’ve even featured some really nice examples here for sale. But for this 1994 for sale in New York, is it worth the giant price tag for the so little miles?
My recent coverage of the 5-series BMWs seems timely. Just last week, I looked at a 1982 BMW 528e. Since it’s been so short a time, I won’t reiterate the major highlights of the model again – click HERE if you’d like to read those details. So why look at what many consider the least excited E28 so quickly again?
Well, in part it’s because of what occurred this past weekend. If you weren’t paying attention, a stellar 1988 BMW 535i came up on Bring a Trailer. It was probably the most impressive older 5-series I’ve seen in a long time. So it was expected to bring pretty big numbers when the auction closed, and like looking through the picture gallery, it didn’t fail to disappoint. The final bid was $50,000 – unfathomable to this point for most of the E28 lineup.
Admittedly, the example I have today isn’t as nice. But it shares many things in common. First, it’s not a top-flight model, though again the Eta motor isn’t what many would prefer. So what does it have going for it?
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.
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.
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:
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:
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
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.