1990 Mercedes-Benz 560SEL Hearse

I have said this before and I guess I will say it again, just when I think I have seen it all, something else surprises me to no end. What you are looking at today is a 1990 Mercedes-Benz 560SEL modified into a hearse to resemble a small, ornate Japanese Buddhist Temple. To my surprise, this W126 isn’t in Japan. It is Raleigh, North Carolina of all places where it will be up for auction at the Raleigh Classic Car Auction. I have many questions and not a lot of answers, so let me try to make sense of what is going on with this wild thing.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 560SEL Hearse at Hemmings

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Tuner Tuesday: 1990 Alpina B11 3.5

Update 7/8/18: The seller has dropped the price from the original $29,000 ask to $24,900 today.

I’ve shown in several recent Alpina posts that you really need to watch what you’re buying. As it’s still possible to get all of the parts from Alpinas and even replica dash plaques can be forged, it’s the details that help to establish that you’re barking up the right tree.

The last E32 Alpina we looked at was the replica B12 5.0. While it looked the part and featured correct Alpina parts, it was not an original build – something that makes a difference in the pricing. Yet that didn’t slow down bids the second time around, as a slick picture gallery and glaring omission that it was a later build from parts netted a $23,600 sale. For a non-original E32, that was seriously strong bidding. For example, we had featured a real B12 5.0 with very low mileage in pristine condition for $29,900 in 2016.

Today we have another E32, but this time it’s the lower-spec B11 with the M30-derived 3.5 liter inline-6. Looks wise, there’s little to differentiate these two models. While the E30, E28 and E34 models usually steal the headlines, I absolutely love the brutish look of the even larger 7 adorned with the signature Alpina treatment. So is this B11 the real deal, and is it a better deal?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Alpina B11 3.5on eBay

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2001 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Estate

A little over a month ago I looked at a 1999 Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Estate that, thanks to Canada’s 15-year import law, was ready to be enjoyed by our friends to the north. Today, I have big brother E55 AMG Estate that looks to be literally fresh off the boat from Japan. This 2001 shows 47,000 miles and looks to be missing the most important W210 characteristic: rust. Although much like the W211 AMG Estate, you’ll pay a premium for that extra cargo room.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Estate on eBay

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Another Alpina Alumnus: 1989 Alpina B10 3.5/1

Update 2/18/18 – the Buy It Now option dropped from $28,500 to $18,000. What a deal!

Lucky for us, we get to continue the string of great-to-see Alpina E34s today with this B10 3.5/1. Unlike the BiTurbo from last week, the 3.5/1 made due with a naturally aspirated form of the M30. Still, head and software changes netted over 250 horsepower, and with the suspension and aerodynamic tweaks you’ve come to expect from Buchloe these were anything but pokey. Best of all, because they’re not the more extoic twin-turbo version pricing is a lot more manageable in general.

But several of the last Alpinas I’ve written up have also had major credential problems. So is this one to consider collectable, or is it another clever copy?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Alpina B10 3.5/1 on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday E30 Showdown: 1986 Alpina C2 2.5 v. 1987 Hartge H26

We last got to look at a modified E30 through the disappointing realization that finally after years of trying to sell with different dealers, the car listed as an Alpina C2 2.5 was just a very convincing replica. But as noted, the car was clean and wore a lot of really expensive Alpina bits – so while the price tag of $22,800 seemed high for a replica, it was in some ways amazingly justified.

So what happens when the car in question is a real Alpina? We find out when we look at an actual Alpina C2. The asking price in that case was nearly double at $39,500. And when you factor in that the C2 is one of the less desirable E30 Alpinas out there, that’s drawn into sharper contrast.

So here we are again with another Alpina to consider, but it’s not alone. One of our readers spotted a Hartge H26 – an even more rare to see variant of modified 1980s E30. And to kick the rarity up a few notches, both are 4-doors instead of the usual 2-door sedans. So how do they compare in terms of pricing, and are these cars all that they seem?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Alpina C2 2.5 on eBay

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Mystery Solved?: 1987 Alpina C2 2.5

Back in February, I took a look at very hot item in the marketplace – a clean, European-spec BMW E30 modified by Alpina.

Or, at least that was what was claimed.

Further research pointed out some problems. I found it to be a car I looked at two years ago in 2015, then listed as a 1986 C2 2.5. The VIN was transposed incorrectly, but the stranger item was that the year was wrong. Stranger still was that a tremendous amount of the car didn’t seem to work. Yet it was a lot of Alpina for the money even as an automatic, as it was relatively clean and priced well below other similar E30 Alpina asks.

Well, here we are some ten months later and it’s popped up in a new listing with a new seller. We’ve seen that before, so no big surprise there. As I started to look through the listing, though, I was struck by just how lazy it was. Okay, there were new photos, but none of them were detailed. The VIN is filled in with “1”s. Then I got to the text, which is a near-carbon copy of the last listing. I say near for two reasons – one, the current listing cut and paste the prior listing….twice. So, halfway through the details, you start all over again!

But perhaps that was done to distract you from the one detail which was added to this listing. Cleverly stuck in after the copying of the prior listing, just before all the fees you’ll need to pay, was a second change and the line which finally answers the questions about this car:

Note this is an Alpina clone with correct Alpina numbered engine.

That’s a pretty frustrating statement to bury in the end of the listing. The ad listing has, for the last several years, maintained how rare this car is and they’re just now getting around to admitting it’s not a real example? That’d be understandable if the owner just figured this out, yet they’ve continued to list the car as a legitimate example outside of that one line stuck in there. Despite this it still looks like a nice example and appears to wear a lot of expensive Alpina items, but this is certainly a case of caveat emptor.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Alpina C2 2.5 Replica on eBay

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1999 Mercedes-Benz SL73 AMG

The mighty Mercedes-Benz SL73 AMG: A car that can’t be mentioned without saying the word ”Zonda” in the same sentence. Less than 100 of these monsters started life as a regular SL600 with the M120 6.0 liter V12 and were shipped up to the AMG factory for some special touches and an increased displacement to 7.3 liters good for over 540 horsepower. The eponymous 7.3 liters were so good that they made their way in the Pagani Zonda and the rest was history. With so few of these cars made, if they ever come up for sale, they usually don’t go for cheap nor stay for sale long. Now that this 1999 is available for sale in California, it’s time to take a close look at this thing while we can.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 Mercedes-Benz SL73 on Hemmings

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1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC AMG Widebody

2017 marked the 50th anniversary of AMG that was celebrated through the year with various events and press pieces. As a result, lots of AMG cars young and old came out of the woodwork for sale. All of a sudden, a clapped out 1995 C36 with faded paint is a desirable car that people are fighting over. You take the good with the bad and today we have, I think, one of the good. It’s a desirable 1989 560SEC for sale just out of Leeds, England. What started life as your standard W126 coupe was transformed into a 6.0 AMG monster … I think.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC at Motorhub UK

Year: 1989
Model: 560SEC
Engine: 5.5 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 16,767 mi
Price: £109,995 ($145,237)

 

******* FACTORY 560SEC AMG 6.0 HAMMER WIDEBODY LHD 1 OF 50 EVER PRODUCED WORLDWIDE *********** Left-hand drive, Metallic Black, Costing in excess of $200k when new, just 50 of a projected run of 100 cars are believed to have been completed pre-merger by the AMG factory. Utilising their own 385 bhp DOHC 6.0 version of MB’s big V8, along with suspension and interior upgrades and the stunning body modifications, AMG created what is, even today, regarded as one the most desirable and easily recognizable factory modified modern Mercedes. , High Spec Includes, Full Black Upgraded AMG Recaro Leather Interior, Wood Capping Including Door Cards, AMG Steering, Amg White Dials, Electric Seats, Heated Seats, Memory Seats, Climate Control, Air Conditioning, CD Player, Cruise Control, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, Central Locking, AMG Upgraded Suspension, AMG Sports Exhaust, Full Wide Body BY AMG Factory, AMG Split Rim Alloys, Fresh Imported From Japan From A collector, Japanese Service History, Recently Recommissioned, No Expense Spared,, Very Rare And Collectible Model,, £109,995

This car is a classic AMG Japan creation. This car left Germany as a regular 560SEC and at some point in its life was transformed into what you see today. That equals lots of AMG parts and even more wood. If you see a modified Mercedes from decades past and it has an extreme amount of wood in it, it is almost always from AMG Japan. Everything looks really great and is no doubt a really stunning car.  But, I see a problem under the hood. Everywhere in the sellers description and everywhere on this car it is labeled as a 6.0, but it is clearly stamped on the valve covers as a 5.6. Now, I can’t prove this isn’t a 6.0, but it is very easy to add a bunch of stickers and badges to a car while it is not so easy to add AMG valve covers. You can make the call.

Vintage AMG stuff is extremely hot right now so seeing this one listed for sale for over $145,000 doesn’t surprise me at all. Is it worth that? In my opinion, no way. I understand these cars are selling for big money, but it seems like a giant risk to me. Lots of these pre-merger cars have little to no documentation as to where they came from, who did the work and what exactly is in the car. I feel like these cars are bringing big money because they are rare, they look cool and there is some sort of speculation going on that values will just keep rising on them. While I agree on the first two points, I can’t say I see these ever being multiple six-figure cars. I look at it this way: A really nice regular 560SEC you can pick up for $20,000 and it will probably keep it’s value for a good while. So is this car, with a bunch of body work, interior treatment and what may or may not be a 6.0, worth another $120,000?

– Andrew

1991 Mercedes-Benz 300TE 4Matic

A little over a month ago Craig looked at a nice 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300TE 4Matic. Today’s vehicle is another 1991 300TE 4Matic, although this one has a little different backstory. This Ice Blue Metallic W124 estate for sale in Central Pennsylvania is actually a Japanese market car that made its way to Canada before heading to Pennsylvania. This means it has some cool options and a slightly different look than what you are used to seeing. Now before you get too excited, there are some things about this specific 300TE that I’m not too crazy about. Let me explain.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300TE 4Matic on eBay

Model: 300TE 4Matic
Engine: 3.0 liter inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: (186,000 km) 117,000 mi
Price: $4,299 Buy It Now

This beautiful Mercedes 300TE 4Matic has been a daily driver in Nova Scotia and Pennsylvania since 2014. It is a super rare Mercedes. They are just a great car and is still the car I drive to and from work. I have also driven it long distances without issue. This car’s import VIN is WDB1242901F202795.

It is in very good condition on both the inside and outside and has never been in a wreck of any sort. There are 3 noticeable spots from rusting and they are ALL shown in the pictures: Under front driver’s side headlight and again behind the taillight on same side, and a small rust spot on back door. Overall, the body shows little wear for a 1991. The paint is in very good condition. A new clear coat was done in 2013. There are no dents in the car and there are few, if any, noticeable dings. The interior needs a good, professional cleaning and we will do that before delivery. This interior is so far superior to the leather they used to put into these cars. It just holds up. Blue in color, there are no rips, tears or major stains and the wear on the seats is minimal.

There is no cracking in the dash! And the veneer wood detailing is in pretty good shape and all there.

This is our 10th used Mercedes and I must say, the W124 models are the most durable and well-engineered Mercedes we have ever had. This particular model is often considered the series (following the W123) that began the Mercedes engineering revolution. Anti-lock brakes, 4Matic AWD (very hard to find), the steel cage, etc., all reflect the W124’s uniqueness. That is why they are SUPER hard to find — especially in the 4Matic. I am not super fond of the anti-locks, as they are GREAT, but a little “rumbly”.

I have turned off the 4Matic (under the hood/easy to do) during the non-winter months as the rear-to-front balance of the car doesn’t really need it. I also replaced the tires in Fall 2016. I would say they have a good 85% tread wear left. I do drive this car a lot and will add miles until sold.

The car is metric, so it measures everything in kilometers. The car currently has 117,000 original miles, or 186,000 kilometers. Some people replace the dash to reflect mph but, IMO, keeping this car in as close to original condition is is important for resale. The only element that is not original is the stereo.

The car has a VERY slow hydraulic leak. The leak is coming from a spot just below the reservoir through one of the hoses and is too hard for me to reach, so I have just topped it off every few weeks.

I have replaced only with Mercedes or Mercedes OEM parts/fluids. It comes with the ORIGINAL manual and fuse tester/diagnostic meter that I use to calibrate the car every couple months.

As you can see, it has the rear-facing seat in the back. Works properly. Also, windows, sun roof, seat and other electronics work. The antennae is a little bent and therefore I disengaged the “raise/lower” function to avoid any breakage. Nonetheless, it still works.

This vehicle is a dream in snow. No issues at all plowing through a foot of snow with total control.

The V6 engine runs great. It does require a minute of warmup in the winter. Also, I have added fuel injector cleaner to every other fill-up of premium unleaded gas. The car gets almost 20 mpg. Not great, not bad. It is a tank, so where that has some advantages, it does operate a little less fuel efficiently. It has great highway passing ability and can easily hit 100mph if that is important to you.

We are the third owners and simply need a larger second car. Only reason for selling. We get so many comments on this car. It really is a great car.

Please look carefully at the pictures and ask any questions. I can help coordinate pick-up once fully paid. If your transporter wants to pay when they arrive, they will need to wait for me to ensure the form of payment will clear.

The pictures were taken before I switched the car to a PA registration in order to sell in the states. Thus the NS plates.

I have priced this car VERY reasonably. The starting price reflects the car we put into her. Please ask me anything you like about this car. Nothing to hide. When we brought it back from Nova Scotia, the car never touched the ground. Hauled with a full carrier, not a two-wheeler. It has been well cared for, never abused, never driven in big cities with lousy roads and lousier drivers, off road or on the beach, or without a cover or garage to sleep in.

I am listing the car locally as well and may sell.

The really cool part about this car is the interior. Blue cloth is present where you’d normally find MB-Tex or leather and the pattern is really nice. It has a distinct 90s look that is really appreciated when done right. It does need a really good cleaning but nothing that a days work can’t fix. This car also has the highly sought after W124 euro lights as well as the manual climate control system.

Now the bad news is, this car has some issues. The seller says it requires being warmed up in the winter which could mean anything. Secondly, there is a hydraulic fluid leak from the SLS system somewhere that isn’t an easy fix due to the location of the leak. There are also some other little things like a bent up antennae and some foil tape used to cover up something on top of the coolant overflow tank. But this big thing here is the rust. The driver’s side front fender has reached the point where metal is totally missing and a hole has formed. That’s not too big an issue and could be fixed with a new fender but the real concerning spot is under the taillight. Sooner rather than later that entire piece of little metal will be rusted away. Ideally you need to cut that entire piece out to stop it fully, but it’s delicate and time-consuming work.

This $4,299 price tag is fairly reasonable if the 4Matic is functional like the seller says it is. At least the ad is honest and upfront about all the work you are probably going to need to do immediately if you plan on keeping the 300TE for any good length of time. I’m really tempted by this on myself, but that rust is probably a deal breaker.

– Andrew

2001 Mercedes-Benz E430 4Matic Estate

For all my fellow American readers, you’ll have to sit this one out today as it’s forbidden fruit — at least until 2026. What we are looking at is a 2001 Mercedes-Benz E430 4Matic Estate. This isn’t all that exciting on the surface as the E430, 4Matics and estates aren’t particularly rare by themselves, but combine all three and it’s far from a common build. Of course, North America was denied this combination but fear not if you wanted a fast all-wheel drive wagon, the Audi B5 S4 wasn’t a bad substitute. This V8 S210, for sale in Japan, is up for sale for a shocking low price and the best part about it is that it’s free to apply for Canadian citizenship.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Mercedes-Benz E430 4Matic Estate on Benz World

Year: 2001
Model: E430 4Matic Estate
Engine: 4.3 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 146,035 km (90,741 mi)
Price: $4,000 CAD ($2,961 USD)

For sale is my 2001 S210 430 4matic 145,000km.
Silver on black leather interior. No sunroof, auxiliary heater
Close to mint condition.
New Mobil1 oil change, fleece filter, air filter,
fuel filter, front and rear brake pads and hoses, front and rear diff oil, roof antenna rubber, lower windshield moulding, windshield washer pump, rear nozzle, blower motor resistor/regulator. Transmission fluid and coolant and water pump changed 20,000km ago. Needs nothing.

For what I can gather, this is a really nice example even with the 90,000 miles. W210s aren’t regarded as being the most durable cars Mercedes has ever rolled out but this one looks like it’s held up just fine. Inside, this car looks fairly well-equipped with the Comand system and power folding mirrors but no sunroof or parking sensors. The most important thing about this wagon is that it doesn’t appear to have any rust because once you start seeing rust, it’s a losing battle. Just to top it off, it sounds like the seller completed a bunch of recent maintenance and repairs to make sure this car is ready to go.

It looks like this seller is a Canadian ex-pat living in Japan seeing as the asking price is listed at $4,000 CAD. In my opinion, that’s a great deal seeing what you’re getting. Nice examples of these usually sell for a few thousand more than what the seller is asking. If you were to import this to Canada, getting it to Vancouver is around $1,000 and Toronto you are looking at $1,500. So if you are looking for a fairly unique V8 wagon for not a lot of money, it’s tough to beat this deal – presuming you have somewhere to register it!

– Andrew