1992 Mercedes-Benz 230CE Sportline

Yesterday I looked at 1992 Mercedes-Benz 300E for the pure fact that is it the Sportline option that is pretty rare. Though Mercedes made about four billion W124 300Es, it feels like almost none of them are Sportline. Well, when it rains it pours, because I happen to come across the even rarer 1992 230CE Sportline. Before everyone rushes down to the comments and starts typing ”If only it had a manual transmission!”, hold your fingers, because it does.  We North Americans were not graced with this model and surely never in the 5-speed even if it had come, so this one is a rare bird to say the least. Somehow, this 230CE Sportline is up for bid outside of Chicago. I just wish it was a better example.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Mercedes-Benz 230CE Sportline on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 190E Tommykaira M19

Update 3/6/18 – What appears to be this same car from July 2016 has appeared on San Francisco’s Craigslist with a $15,000 asking price but little more information. Thanks to our reader Jeff for the spot!

The last time you probably heard the term ‘Tommykaira’, it was ripping around a digital racetrack on Gran Turismo in the late 90s. The name Tommy Kaira was legendary in the JDM car scene in the 2000s with heavy hitter Nissan Skylines and even their own car that got them a place in the Gran Turismo video game series. But before becoming all that, they started off by dabbling in the world of Mercedes-Benz. They took the regular W201 190E and W124 300E and added their own speical touches to the engine, suspension, body work and wheels before reselling them to the Japanese market as the Tommykaira M19 and M30E . Very rarely do I see them for sale because of their relatively low production numbers but recently this M19 has come up for sale a few times on eBay in Yokohama, Japan. So let’s take a closer look at this JDM Baby Benz.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 190E Tommykaira M19 on eBay

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GCFSB Alumnus: 1982 BMW 745i

In a star-studded lineup from the 1980s, the BMW E23 certainly seems to be always the bridesmaid. I’d wager that even the E21 is more popular than the first 7-series, and that’s saying something. It doesn’t help that the 7, while bearing a resemblance to the other great Paul Bracq designs from the period, never quite seems to be in the right proportions – especially in U.S. form. But today’s example isn’t a U.S. spec model, it’s the more desirable and much more pleasant to look at European model. On top of that, it’s the turbocharged M102 under the hood, cranking out 252 ///Mvious horsepower and 280 lb.ft of torque to match. That was enough to propel the heavy, automatic 745i to 60 mph in the mid-7 second range and 137 mph flat out – numbers that made its competition envious. It’s got lower mileage, condition is great, and overall it appears to be a very nice example. The rarity and obscurity of the model in some part outweighs the less desirable nature of the large chassis among collectors. Yet this car has failed to sell for not one, not two, but now going on five years.

So what gives? Well, there’s only one reason that a car doesn’t sell, and it’s price. The seller of this car has had it for sale on and off again since 2013. We last looked at it almost exactly one year ago:

1982 BMW 745i Euro-spec

Perpetually, bidding runs out of steam between $5,000 and $6,000. That number seems far short of what the seller is hoping for, but we never learn much about what that amount is. A few weeks ago, the seller tried Bring A Trailer. The result? $5,000 in bids. So here we are again, a bit like Groundhog Day, with a new auction for this very nice example of an early 7:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 BMW 745i on eBay

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1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16

The Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16V is quickly becoming one of those ”snatch one up while you can” cars. Much like it’s rival E30 BMW M3, these are becoming hot buys in terms of driving enjoyment and collectibility. They aren’t quite at the level of the E30 M3 where people are pulling them out of the bottoms of lakes and selling them as-is for $12,000 yet, but probably in the next few years we’ll get to that point. That’s probably why this 1986 is still for sale in San Diego. Well that, and a few other areas of this car certainly need some attention.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 on San Diego Craigslist

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Regan-Man: 1979 BMW “645 CSi Turbo”

Update 5/28/18 – further price reduction from $23,750 to $19,990.

Update 4/19/18 – I can’t say that I’m very surprised the price hike to nearly $30,000 didn’t work, and this 645i has dropped back down to $23,750 – still $900 strong of the original ask.

Update 1/22/2018 – After not selling last Fall for $22,850, the seller of this unique period 6-series turbo is now asking $29,850.

I really love how these cars sometimes send you down the rabbit hole. What attracted me initially to this E24 was that it was a European-spec car and it had a pretty high asking price at nearly $23,000. Alone that wouldn’t be enough to warrant a post, especially given that from the first photo I glanced at, it doesn’t look spectacular.

But there’s a lot more than meets the eye when considering this car, and it has a lot more to do with the personality behind it than the current condition.

The name Albert Mardikian probably doesn’t mean much to you. Mr. Mardikian is a partner and the Chief Technology Officer behind ReGreen Organics, a company which deals with a lot of shit, for lack of a better term. I’m not being flippant. They’re an organic solid waste management company.

And it is in this capacity that Mr. Mardikian’s philosophy is particularly interesting when considering this car. He proclaims that he has a “passion for bettering our world”, yet his past would seem to have little to do with environmental improvement. That’s because in a past life Mr. Mardikian was also the proprietor of Trend Imports. Ring a bell? If not, perhaps a perusing of the Tom Cruise movie Rain Man would help you out. Mr. Cruise’s character’s subplot – an importer of exotic cars held up by the EPA – is based upon Mr. Mardikian. Because if you were in L.A. in the early 1980s and you wanted a gray market car, Trend Imports was where you went. And just like the main character in the movie, Mardikian got in quite a bit of trouble for the Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Rolls Royce and other models he imported by skirting EPA emissions laws.

Though his troubles with emissions laws dated back to 1981, Mardikian continued to be the turn-to source for ultra-exotics in the early days of importation. He also built custom convertible versions of some of the most famous 80s icons – Mercedes-Benz 500SECs, Lamborghini Countachs, Ferrari 512BBis, Porsche 930s. How about those replica Daytonas for Miami Vice? Mardikian. And he made more more neat creation – he married the turbocharged M102/6 from the European version of the BMW E23 745i with the slinky shape of the E24, creating his own “745CSi Turbo”:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 BMW 645CSi Turbo on eBay

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1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16

The more I stare at the 2.3-16, the more I realize just how right Mercedes-Benz got it with the design of this car. The starting point was already a good one. The stock 190E, with its restrained, angular good looks and taut lines, brought Mercedes’s design language out of the 70s and firmly into the 80s. But the flared wheel arches, revised valences and rear deck spoiler found on the 2.3-16 turn the staid W201 into a car that looks ready to go racing. Which it did, first as a rally car and, when that didn’t work out, at the DTM. Power came from a version of the M102 2.3 liter four pot engine – later enlarged to 2.5 liters in the European market – breathed on by British tuning company Cosworth. But despite the looks and pedigree, the 2.3-16 has never attracted the same kind of attention or following as its obvious competitor, the E30 M3. The market for these is pretty spotty. They don’t appear very frequently and when they do, many of them have been battered and broken by neglectful owners. Still, every now and again a really nice one pops up.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 on eBay

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1980 Mercedes-Benz 230TE

For many, the W123 remains the definitive Mercedes-Benz. With an iconic silhouette, invincible build quality and well-deserved reputation for durability, these cars can still be spotted on the road today, serving as daily drivers and usable classics. In fact, there’s a mint condition 300D in smoke silver that I see driven around my neighborhood on a regular basis. Looking like it just rolled out of a showroom, the owner is a young professional who I would guess is in his mid-thirties. Now that is a man with good taste. The estate bodyshape adds a useful amount of cargo space in the rear, making it the perfect choice for a stylish trip to the beach (or the lumber yard). To the uninitiated, they might just look like old wagons, but prices for mint examples can quickly reach into the high teens.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Mercedes-Benz 230TE on North Jersey Craigslist

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Feature Listing: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16

Creating the W201 series was a monumental undertaking for Daimler-Benz. Design and prototyping ran through the early days of the 1980s as the company spent 2,000,000,000 DM in development costs for the small chassis to compete against the 3-series. This amount included construction of a new factory in Bremen to help produce the W201. Bruno Sacco, head of Mercedes-Benz styling in the late 1970s and early 1980s, created a compact rendering of the S-class formula which worked well. The chassis brought new refinement to the small executive market, with multi-link independent rear suspension and anti-dive front suspension, along with increased levels of sound deadening and lower wind noise from the aerodynamic design.

Mercedes-Benz wasted little time demonstrating that the new “Baby Benz” was, indeed, worthy of the three-pointed star. The culture within the engineering department was still very much funded with an open checkbook, so no stone was left unturned to created a sedan of unparalleled quality and without compromise. To prove this point, shortly after its introduction Daimler-Benz took three of the newly launched, high-performance 190E 2.3-16 variant to the Nardo test track in Italy. At a time when not many family sedans were able to exceed much more than 110 mph, the diminutive Benz topped 150. But it wasn’t just for a moment; over ten days, the W201s lapped Nardo at a fevered pace, conquering world records in distance over time. First fell the 25,000 km World Record time, then the 25,000 mile one. Ultimately, along with a slew of class records, the 190E 2.3-16s averaged 154 mph for 31,000 miles – yet still returned over 10 mpg.

That achievement signaled the launch of a new level of small sedan performance which soon would be met with improved models from BMW and other marques. And while those subsequent models would go on to be more famous on the race track, the 190E made its mark nonetheless. Following the Nardo record runs, in 1984 Mercedes-Benz handed the keys for 20 identical 2.3-16s to all the Formula 1 stars of the day. The ensuing chaos was enough to make purists cry, but at least one driver who would soon become quite famous took the race seriously. Just like the W201, Senna’s victory at the Nürburgring signaled to the world that there was a new force to be reckoned with; one which quickly would establish itself as a new, higher benchmark.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 on Washington, D.C. Craigslist

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1991 Mercedes-Benz 230GE

Almost two months ago I checked out a 1991 G-Wagen that served Swiss Military well before passed on to civilian use for many more years of enjoyment and constantly explaining what the heck it is. Today’s Mercedes-Benz, and by Mercedes-Benz I mean Daimler-Steyr-Puch, is also a Swiss service vehicle. This one saw service with the Feuerwehr (fire department) in the small town of Stansstad in central Switzerland. From there, it looks like it ended up in the Netherlanders before finding a home with a collector in New Jersey. Unlike the Puch I checked out earlier, this 230GE isn’t a stripped-out spartan workhorse. It’s actually a nice place to be for a service vehicle.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 230GE on eBay

Year: 1991
Model: 230GE
Engine: 2.3 liter inline-4
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 121,869 mi
Price: Reserve Auction

Current owner is an avid collector of rare and unique vehicles and when he was contacted about about this particular G-Wagon he had to have it.

When you drive this vehicle, it is obvious to observed that it was fleet maintained as the motor and transmission shifts smooth between gears.

Steering and suspension also functions the way you would expect, and I personally would have no reservations about driving this vehicle daily for long distances.

Acceleration seems to be much improved over the Diesel model, but please don’t expect this vehicle to throw you back in your seat like a new Ferrari.

Very reliable vehicle.

Please note I believe the lights and sirens have been disabled, and I am not an expert of restoring these systems.

RARE !!!

Find another in this condition !!!

Very solid vehicle.

Log of service calls that this vehicle responded to is included and hand written.

So Cool !!!

Body has one small spot of corrosion under the paint is on rear driver side quarter-panel and is photographed (see photos).

Priced to sell !!!

This vehicle is at my shop, and gets more attention than the 1986 Ferrari 328 GTS, or the rotisserie restored 1968 280 SL it is park along side.

Everyone wants to know the story about this very unique G-Wagon !!!

Pre-Purchase Inspections encouraged at my facility.

In typical Swiss fashion, this truck looks extremely well cared for. Over 20 years of service isn’t kind on anything but this 230GE has held up great. I’m no expert on Swiss fire departments, but if I had to guess this was probably some support vehicle and wasn’t exactly running full speed to fight fires. The interior is super clean outside of some leftover equipment and the cloth seats are free from any heavy wear. The rear cargo area is all diamond plated which I haven’t seen before but if that works when carrying heavy gear I’m not one to argue against it. Outside, the paint shines bright and clean but there is some rust starting the bubble on the rear quarter panel. What’s interesting is that this W463 still sports snow tires with a couple of them being the great Nokian Hakkapeliittas so it’s probably seen some snowy roads in its life.

The bidding on this one will be interesting. Early W463 G’s are sought after much more than the W460/461 trucks and seeing as this one is already on US soil without having to deal with any import logistics, I can see this one being very popular. This fire service theme is cool and all, but the real value here is the creature comfort this offers. You can drive this truck everyday in total comfort and although it’s a bit underpowered with the M102, it’s still fine to drive without much planning. It wouldn’t shock me to see bids of north of $20,000 here and it’s hard to argue against that price.

– Andrew

Feature Listing: 1981 BMW 745i Turbo with 31,700 Miles

To go up against the established Alpha executive from Germany – the S-Class Mercedes-Benz – BMW’s engineers had to think outside of the box. It wasn’t simply good enough to mimic the go-to large luxury sedan. They’d have to outperform it, to be better than Stuttgart’s best. That was a tall order for the Munich firm, since its last truly large sedans were the 501/2 series cars; the Baroque Angels of the early 1950s. Though they launched at roughly the same time as BMW’s microcar craze, they were really holdovers from another era. The same wouldn’t work in the late 1970s, but primed with the success of their 5- and 6-series models, BMW was ready to face the challenge.

Though the E3 had offered a sizeable sedan, the new E23 really stretched BMW’s platforms. The new 7-seres was 6 inches longer overall, most of which fell in a longer wheelbase versus the E3. It was also wider by a few inches and lower, too. Paul Bracq again provided the styling and it was nothing surprising; it carried the torch of many of the design elements of the 3-, 5- and 6-series cars, and that certainly wasn’t a bad thing. But what BMW hoped would help to set it apart from the competition was technology and performance, along with a high-level of material quality in the cabin. Options included Buffalo leather, an on-board computer system, anti-lock brakes, heated and reclining power seats front and rear, and even an airbag late in the run; standard fare today, but way ahead of the curve in the late 1970s and early 1980s. BMW matched this technology with a thoroughly modern driver-oriented cockpit which made the W116 Mercedes-Benz competition feel immediately antiquated.

Where the E23 really established itself, though, was in keeping with the “driving machine” motto of the company. This was a performance sedan, and consequently BMW brought its turbocharger technology over to the E23. Launched in 1980, the new “745i” derived its name from the 1.4 multiplier for turbocharged displacement, and the M102B32 3.2 liter inline-6 cranked out an impressive 252 horsepower with 280 lb.ft of torque channeled through a 3-speed automatic ZF-built 3HP22 gearbox. It provided effortless highway cruising with a broad torque curve. With a full assortment of luxurious options, a driver-oriented design and pioneering turbocharger technology, these really were cutting edge sedans in the early 1980s:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 BMW 745i on eBay

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