My ongoing search for a clean E46 M3 continues, and despite the relatively high number produced it does indeed seem more difficult to track one down than it probably should. Early cars are typically more suspect, with many owners, dubious modifications and higher miles. Additionally, my criteria for getting into an M3 is admittedly limiting. The car must be a manual gearbox, and given that I have a preference for some of the more expressive colors like Laguna Seca Blue and Phoenix Yellow, that seems to be more difficult. But in my search I happened upon an unexpected gem that threatened to turn my head from the Crayola-toned early examples; for the most part, I’ve ruled out the later M3s because they demand higher asking prices and there seem to be less in wild colors. This car stood out for not only being the last model year of the E46 M3, but also because it was a ZCP car. Though I’ve sworn I’d never voluntarily buy into another black car, the ultra dark midnight blue hue of Carbon Black Metallic is compelling enough to consider. Add low miles, careful ownership and some discrete modifications from the best in the business to the recipe and this appears to be one of the nicer E46 M3s on the market.
All posts tagged Supercharged
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
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Mercedes Benz E55 AMG Wagon on AutoTrader.com
RARE! 2006 AMG E55 WAGON-SUPERCHARGED! Perfect condition. Always garaged. Blue Tooth technology Extended warranty All scheduled maintenance, All records, Always garaged, Excellent condition, Factory GPS system, Fully loaded with all the goodies, Looks & drives great, Mostly highway miles, Must see, Never seen snow, New tires, No accidents, Non-smoker, Seats like new, Still under factory warranty, Title in hand, Very clean interior, Well maintained
Well, the easy answer is no, this car isn’t worth what the seller wants for it. I don’t care how rare sub-100k mile E55s are, I wouldn’t spend over $30k on one. For that kind of money you can get into this car’s successor, the E63, which is said to be more reliable, is certainly more powerful and has more modern creature comforts. It has the vastly superior 7-speed automatic that makes the car quicker than the E55 even though it produces less torque. It also did away with the much maligned Sensotronic braking system in favor of Pre-Safe which caused far fewer headaches for Mercedes. With that in mind, I would approach the seller of this vehicle with an offer of $26 to $27k which will probably be met with a laugh but one must remain steadfast in their bargaining. Unless those awful sheepskin covers are hiding 100% mint condition seats and this car has had absolutely every little thing that goes wrong with a W211 E-Class replaced, I just can’t see how this car is worth what the seller wants for it. Given the interior build quality during this era these cars are quite prone to annoying little failures which add up quick. Can you live with a malfunctioning window regulator or squeaky glove box while hot rodding around town? I couldn’t.
These cars have to be properly sorted to be fully enjoyed and even if this one is, I’m still not convinced it’s worth what the seller is asking. It is all well and good that the car has new tires, has always been garaged and the 72k on the clock has been racked up mostly on the highway (seems like they always are with these cars) but those things don’t add up to more than $28k in my opinion. I can see where the seller is coming from, he has a rare car, beloved my enthusiasts that has lived a pampered life in Southern California. What are not taking into account is that thanks to our old friend depreciation, the heir to the throne is within the same price range and given the choice between the E55 and E63, I’d go E63 every time. Still, if you could get the seller down into the mid to high twenties, I think the E55 is a wonderful option for shocking people who think they’re looking at a ho-hum wagon.
Depreciation: it’s a wonderful thing if you’re a German automobile fan with an affinity for a good bargain. What was once an astronomically priced vehicle could be firmly within reach thanks to the passage of time and a reputation for wallet draining repair bills. Of course the latter is the reason many people still steer clear of used German vehicles, even in today’s world where any question you need the answer to is just a Google search away. Nobody should be afraid to work a car these days, unless it’s so new that you can’t do anything without a computer or you’re completely helpless when it comes to wrenching. If you have the space, tools and the time, there’s nothing you can’t do. I say all of this because I know that right off the bat people will point out that the W220 chassis S-Class is a big scary car with little mechanical demons lurking in its bones just waiting to wreak havoc on your bank account. While it did have its issues, it was actually rather reliable and parts for these things are very easy to come by, even the AMG examples like this one. Sure there is a learning curve when it comes to working on over engineered vehicles but it’s really not as daunting as armchair experts would have you think. Between brand-specific fora and YouTube there’s plenty of information out there to keep you from loosing sleep over things like a vanity mirror door break or armrest failure.
The tradeoff for taking the plunge seems well worth it, especially with pristine examples like this one. The seller’s pictures of the gorgeous Designo Espresso don’t do the color justice which is too bad because the right setting would show off just how much this paint pops. Early morning light along the Hudson, now that would have been the way to go. Even with some glare the car still looks great, a testament to just how nice this color is. What he did do a good job of was taking pictures of the very clean interior with those cozy looking Light Brown Nappa Leather seats. It’s hard to see some of the special details included in the Designo Edition from the photos, such as the extended leather (it even encircles the floor mats!), the Alcantara details and the lovely Elm trim. I have only been in one W220 S-Class and I was riding in the back, reclined with the massage function going and let me tell you, it’s everything it’s cracked up to be and then some. Of course this is the S55 AMG and behind the wheel isn’t a bad place to be sitting either. The 493hp, 5.4L supercharged V8 will take you and 3 willing participants to 60mph in 5.5 seconds. Even by today’s standards those numbers are impressive and this is a 4,260 lb car built in 2003 that you can generally get for under $20k. Just think, you could have this and some sort of two seat canyon carver with plenty of money left over to cover replacement parts for less than a Lincoln MKZ.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Mercedes Benz S55 AMG on eBay
From my perspective, watching auctions like Barrett-Jackson has always been a bit of detachment from reality. The numbers thrown at cars over the past decade are simply unfathomable to most and somewhat laughable at the same time. The frenzied auctions for economy cars with truck motors in them have been staggering; simply being witness to the Hemi ‘Cuda insanity was astonishing. In many ways, it strikes me as a historian much like the famed “Tulip Mania” in 1600s Netherlands. Speculation on the value of tulips reached the point where a single tulip bulb was worth around 10-15 times the average worker’s salary. For a flower. The resulting semi-insanity ended up partially ruining the Dutch economy, though it was not solely to blame and leaves out many other events that transpired. To me, watching shows like “Antiques Roadshow” often raises similar issues. In particular, recently the show has revisited older shows to display updated appraisals. In general, nearly all of the speculated values a decade on are lower, sometimes significantly. There’s one area that isn’t though – the Asian market, which if anything is much stronger than it was a decade ago thanks to the surging Chinese economy. For some time, the focus on muscle cars eclipsed the old money; very special coach-built pre-War cars used to be where the go-to value was. And while the E30 may be a flash in the pan with people lamenting when they could have bought an example for $10,000 that’s now worth 4 times that, consider this: in 1956, someone bought a Mercedes-Benz 540K special roadster for $2,167 (about $18,600 today). The last one that sold cleared $7.85 million dollars. How’s that for a good investment?