Tuned cars from the 1980s were never particularly discrete, nor were they cheap or easy to come by. Tuners like Treser, in an effort to get more power out of the notoriously non-tunable CIS injection system that adorned nearly all German cars in the 1980s, got creative by taking a 928 fuel distributor for the V8 motor and sticking it on the inline-5 turbo unit. Others, like AMG, took the biggest motor they could build and stuck that into a bunch of different cars. Ruf turned up the boost on the 911 range by moving the turbocharged flat-6 into narrow-body cars. But none of this came cheaply, nor were these tuned cars always the most reliable. When it came to the period of electronic fuel injection, though, things started to change. The first chip-tuned cars also had some bad habits; my father’s chipping 944 Turbo, for example, runs quite rich and if you engage the cruise control, the computer believes you want to go 170 m.p.h. and plants the throttle wide open. But they’ve become increasingly reliable and almost a given; plus they’re cheap. On a car like my 1.8T Passat, you can get a reflash of the ECU with programmable modes for around $500; it can be done in just a few moments, and adds somewhere in the vicinity of 50 horsepower and 80 lb.ft of torque. As such, if you really want to go wild in a tuned car these days, simply changing the ECU to a hotter map isn’t enough. No, if you’re someone like Ruf, you’re still pushing the bounds – or, perhaps, compressing them:
Of the contemporary Mercedes models, the SL55 AMG is certainly among my favorites. The lines on this car are about as good as it gets for the time period and few Benzes pulled off the double oval headlights as well as the SL did. It is a true testament to the quality of the design that the car still looks fresh even though it’s 12 years old. For me a big part of that formula are the Type V “Turbine” wheels. These have always been my favorites on the R230 cars, they’re equal parts opulence and performance, much like the car itself. An SL55 AMG is one of those cars I will forever aspire to own, if only for a brief period of time because I know the kind of road trips it would inspire me to take. Long jaunts for no apparent reason other than to enjoy the drive and end up at an enjoyable locale, that’s the kind of thing these cars are built for. Could you use one as a daily driver? From a reliability standpoint I’m sure you could, the 5.4L supercharger V8 has proven reliable over the years. I’d certainly have no problem pulling this thing out of a garage every day but in some ways I think that’d defeat the purpose of the car. It’s a purpose built cruiser with loads of power, it begs to be driven hard on long stretches of road. My guess is the seller would agree given that they’re the 3rd owner and the car has just 30k on the clock.
I’ve written up a couple Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG wagons in my time with GCFSB; even got fooled by a E500 doing a damn good AMG impression on one post. I don’t know what it is about this car that keeps bringing me back to it. I’m not really much of a Mercedes guy. I prefer my fast wagons wearing four interlocked rings. However those three letters found on the trunk (and unfortunately the license plate frame) always catch my eye and earn the car a second glance.
Maybe that’s what I like about these souped up mid-aughts family haulers. If you don’t know what to look for, you don’t know what you’re looking at. That could be said of many wagons with a ferocious power plant but in the case of the E-Class I think it is particularly true. With its country club profile, dopey four headlamp front end and lengthy rear you could be forgiven for thinking these cars were nothing special. I suppose that until they’ve heard the supercharged V8 at wide open throttle most folks wouldn’t think it is, even after you point out the thick AMG steering wheel, quad tip exhuast and AMG wheels. That’s fine as far as I’m concerned, more E55 AMG wagons for those of us in the know. After all, these are rare cars that were only sold through a direct to your driveway order process. It appears that this example which was delivered to Woodland Hills, CA has remained in excellent condition over the 72k miles it has covered so far. The question is, has it been so well cared for that it necessitates the $31,500 asking price?
Model: E55 AMG wagon
Engine: 5.4 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 72,000 mi
At age 10 I was really into collecting die-cast models from Maisto and I vividly remember picking up a 1/18 scale version of the car you see above. As a 10 year old a model of a bright yellow roadster with a functional folding top seems pretty damn cool but only a few short years later after seeing a real one I found myself thinking “that car is so lame.” Of course it was completely due to the circumstances in which I saw the car (tacky retirees at the wheel) and the fact that my automotive tastes had begun to shift towards overwrought Japanese vehicles. If only I had realized in my youth what I have realized now, the R170 SLK is a pretty nifty little car and holds an important place in Mercedes Benz history.
With it’s folding steel convertible top the first gen SLK was quite the head turner in it’s debut year. Mercedes sold 55,000 of the retro-futuristic roadsters worldwide and it snagged the title of North American Car of the Year from Car & Driver in 1998. Weighing a respectable 3,036 lbs. and featuring a 185hp supercharged inline-4 engine, the SLK 230 Kompressor moved from naught to 60 in 7.2 seconds which for the olden days of the late ’90s was pretty good. It marked Mercedes’ return to making a light little roadster with a four cylinder engine, something they hadn’t done since the glory days of the 190SL. I think it’s safe to say that had the SLK not been successful, Mercedes may not have figured out that it’s ok to put smaller motors in their cars when it suits the chassis.
Almost immediately after the C class was introduced for the 1994 model year, plans were being drawn up for its successor, the W203, which wouldn’t appear until the turn of the century. When it debuted, the styling was a bit of a departure from the old W202 C class, with headlamps adapted from the W210 E class style for this smaller package. The car was panned for it’s interior that seemed a bit low-rent in comparison to its predecessor and a level of quality that seemed out of sync with what the marque stood for. Nevertheless, this was a popular car for Mercedes-Benz, with over two million sold over the course of seven model years. In 2003, Mercedes dropped their 1.8 liter supercharged four cylinder into the C class sedan to form this car, the C230 Sport Sedan. This example for sale in Miami is one of the rare ones equipped with the 6-speed manual gearbox.
It’s been two decades since Mercedes-Benz absorbed AMG as their in-house tuning firm. Each year, more and more fast Benzes have appeared with the infamous badge on their posteriors, tipping off that extra juice under the skin to the casual observer. One AMG model that I feel went a bit unloved was the C32 AMG. Sandwiched between two V8 AMG C class models in the US market (the W202 C43 and W203 C55), the C32 offered more punch via the way of a Kompressor, or supercharger, as was the case with a number of AMG and non-AMG models in the Mercedes lineup at the time. A lot of early W203 C classes, including the C32, have been run hard and put up wet, but this C32 for sale in New Jersey appears to have led a fairly pampered life by the looks of it.
For some reason, the US market seems to prefer vehicles with a trunk rather than a rear hatch, unless, of course, the car in question is jacked up and has power to all four wheels. Case in point the Mercedes-Benz C class Sport Coupe. Brought to the US market in 2002 in an attempt to reach a larger share of the compact luxury market, it wound up leading a short life in the US market, being withdrawn from the lineup in 2005 and replaced this year by a C class coupe with a more traditional trunk. These C hatchbacks were introduced at a time when Mercedes-Benz reliability was waning, as many less than satisfied owners new to the marque found out. Offered with the supercharged (Kompressor) four cylinder engine or the 3.2 liter V6, both engines could be had with a five speed automatic or 6-speed manual. This C Sport Coupe for sale in Texas has Kompressor engine and, thankfully, the 6 speed manual gearbox. In addition, this car has extremely low mileage for a vehicle that isn’t terribly collectible.
Introducing the 2002 Mercedes-Benz C230 Kimpressor 2 door coupe! This is a one owner, very well maintained vehicle with only 34k original miles. It runs and drives like new! Still has a new car smell. It is equipped with options such as power windows and power locks, power mirrors, A/C with dual zone climate control, dual front and side airbags, cruise control, AM/FM radio with cassette player, 6 disc CD changer, keyless entry and more! All the options function accordingly! The four cylinder, 2.3L engine runs very good and the 6 speed manual transmission shifts smoothly into gears. The black exterior is very good and healthy condition and the gray cloth interior has been kept very clean.
The first Mercedes-Benz SLK I drove was a 1999 SLK230 with the AMG package, similar to the roadster we see here for sale outside of Philadelphia. The car really surprised me, but it didn’t have anything to do with the speed or handling dynamics. I was baffled how Mercedes could build a sporty looking two seat convertible that felt and handled almost exactly like the 1998 C230 sedan I owned at the time. I shrugged it off at the time and reminded myself that I wasn’t in a BMW and instead focused on the positive, such as the car’s relatively rattle free ride, decent low end torque from the supercharged 2.3 liter four cylinder engine and electrically folding steel roof. Fifteen years has passed since these small cruisers first went on sale in the US, meaning they have turned into quite the bargain for people who want a bit of style at a discounted rate.
SUPER CLEAN 2001 SLK230. Clean Carfax, low mileage. This vehicle has been very well maintained. Completely detailed inside and out. Vehicle runs and handles great. Comes equipped with: 17″ alloy wheels, fully automatic power hard top, auto-dimming rear view mirror, home-link universal garage door opener remote keyless entry, and more.
The asking price of $15,995 is a bit much, even considering the mileage is on the low side and the car has the AMG package. Realistically, this is a $12,000 to $13,000 car all day long. Also, a manual transmission Mercedes appeals to fewer people in the US than Europe, even if it’s a sportier model. One more big obstacle for this SLK is that you could easily procure a late model R129 SL500 for similar money. I think we all know which drop top Benz most of us would rather have.…