Tuner Tuesday: 2007 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG RENNtech Laurence Gartel Art Car

Tuner Tuesday: 2007 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG RENNtech Laurence Gartel Art Car

I’ve seen art cars in the past but today’s combination might take the cake. This 2007 SL65 AMG is the creation of a man who is considered a pioneer of digital art, Laurence Gartel. Gartel has done work with the likes of Andy Warhol, major household brands, celebrities, NASA, the Grammys and of course unique cars. This latest art car is none other than the torque monster itself, the W230 SL65 AMG. Of course, just being a regular SL65 isn’t enough. This SL was sent to RENNtech in Florida and came back with an always mind-blowing 670 horsepower and 840 lb·ft of torque thus probably making this the fastest piece of rolling art out there.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG on eBay

Year: 2007
Model: SL65 AMG
Engine: 6.0 liter twin-turbocharged V12
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 95,464 mi
Price: Buy it Now $39,500

RENNtech SL 65 AMG Art-Car by Laurence Gartel

Mercedes-Benz R230 – SL65 AMG
M275 – 6.0L V12 AMG Engine – up to 670HP | 840LB-FT

Equipped with following RENNtech Upgrades:
– ECU Upgrade
– V3 Digital Lowering Module
– Carbon Fiber Rear Decklid Spoiler
– 10.2 Deep Monolite Forged Wheels Finished in Gloss Purple. Front: 20″x9.0″; Rear: 20″x11.0″
– Brake Upgrade with Custom Painted Calipers in Aquamarine
– Fully wrapped by Laurence Gartel, official Artisit of the 57th Grammy Awards
– 041U – Designo Graphite Paint underneath Wrap

Milage: 95,464 (04-13-2017)
Laurence Gartel | A Digital Art Innovator
– Considered the Pioneer of Digital Art
– Created the first digital art-ad together with Andy Warhol for Absolut Vodka
– Taught Andy Warhol how to create Art via Amiga Computer
– Official Artist of the 57th Grammy Awards. Created official Artwork and Invitations
– Created Artwork for Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears
– Official Artist of the Newport Jazz Festival 2015
– Created Groundbreaking Artworks for the NBA, Walt Disney, Forbes, Coca-Cola and Phillip Morris
– Artist of the 2015 NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission (MMS)
– Art Car Conversions include: 1957 Lincoln Premiere Convertible, 1959 Cadillac Fleetwood, Tesla, Scuderia Ferrari and Rolls Royce
– His Art was exhibited at: Museum of Modern Arts, Joan Whitney Payson Gallery, Long Beach Museum of Art, Princeton Art Museum, Norton Museum of Art, National Museum of American History, Bibliotheque National and Monaco International Film Festival

I’m not art aficionado by any means but Laurence Gartel is actually a name I’ve run across before.…

Ending Soon – What We’re Watching

Ending Soon – What We’re Watching

I’ve got my eye on another interesting and diverse set of affordable no reserve auctions this week. Take a look and feel free to chime in where you think cars will end! Let’s get things rolling with this BMW E28 with only a few hours remaining:

Click for Details: 1987 BMW 535is

This 1987 BMW 535is is definitely on the driver-quality side rather than a show piece; but all the important bones are there and the rust-free claim is worth its weight in 1980s Bavarian metal, anyway. Overall, though there are some obvious needs, for a 200,000 mile car it looks reasonably tidy and so far bidding is only at $2,500.

Click for Details: 2002 Volkswagen Jetta TDi Wagon

In an era of Volkswagen production that saw a sharp upswing in quality and performance, who would have guessed that the second most desirable model in the used market (outside of the R, obviously) is a Jetta Wagon with the diesel motor? Unlike its bigger brother Passat TDi Variant, the Jetta could be had with a 5-speed manual and they’ve developed a cult following. This one ticks the right boxes with lower miles, what appears to be good condition and the ALH/5-speed manual combination in a wagon, so bids are nearly at $7,000 with a few hours to go on the no reserve auction.

Click for Details: 1997 BMW M3 Sedan

After yesterday’s polarizing M3 Lightweight, we’re back to normal series production (and lower prices) with this still desirable M3 Sedan. In -3/4/5 configuration, these have quickly become the preferred weapon of choice for the practical E36 lover. In Artic Silver with Dove interior, this one isn’t stock, but with under 100,000 miles and in good condition, it looks like a solid investment at under $9,000 at time of writing.

Click for Details: 2000 Audi S4

An interesting, and more potent, counterpoint to the M3/4/5 is the Audi S4.…

Tuner Tuesday: 2006 RUF RT12S

Tuner Tuesday: 2006 RUF RT12S

In a strange comparison to earlier’s 500SL 412, here’s another matte black car. It, too, is German. Outside of that, the two share little in common.

That’s because unlike the Mercedes-Benz which was primarily a piece of marketing, this is from the workshop of Alois Ruf. And Ruf’s cars are all about performance. So even though this 997-based turbocharged RUF RT12S is over a decade old, it still produces more power than the current 911 Turbo. Over 100 more. It’s faster, too – get the launch just right and mash the gas, and RUF claimed you’ll hit 60 m.p.h. in 2.8 seconds. When Road and Track tested it, the R12 did a standing mile in 28 seconds at 187.5 mph. In the time it’s probably taken you to read this first paragraph (35 seconds), the RT would be past 200 on its way to the 224 mph top speed. Yet it wasn’t just about raw speed; like all RUFs, it was beautifully built and full of exquisite detail work on par with leading manufacturers.

But while the speed is certainly impressive, it’s not the reason why I decided to feature this car…

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 RUF RT12S on eBay

2003 Audi RS6 with 23,100 Miles

2003 Audi RS6 with 23,100 Miles

If yesterday’s post on the Audi 4000CS quattro represented the genesis of my love for the brand, if I’m honest the C5 RS6 was the start of where I started to question the choices of Ingolstadt’s design. It wasn’t that the RS6 wasn’t a hugely impressive car; though they seem pretty new still, this amazing ride is over halfway towards being considered “vintage” in some states. 14 years has passed since the original owner plunked down the heady $80,000 for what was briefly the world’s fastest production sedan. Audi brought two turbochargers to the Cosworth-built 4.2 liter V8 party, offering 450 horsepower, sub-5 second 0-60 times and a car that would easily bump into its 155 mph regulated top speed – and it came to America!

Consider, for a moment, that in 2002 when this car was ready for launch, the car that had existed 15 years before that was the very 1987 4000CS quattro I wrote up yesterday.

It was a monumental leap for the company into the throes of the top-tier performance sedans, but alas, it was a war of escalation that hasn’t stopped since. Audi has already announced that the new RS6 will have a gazillion horsepower and may even come here. In response, BMW has promised to up the new M5’s power to no less than whatever Audi produces, plus 50. To me, though the newest and biggest and baddest sedans are certainly mind-boggling, none of them really appeal to me in the same way the 4000CS quattro did. The 4000CS quattro had been a car I could conceptualize owning downstream of the original owner (maybe I’d even be the second owner?), but the RS6? It’d have to be many years and many ownerships before I could even hope to own one. And then, did I really want a seriously complicated car that hadn’t been well maintained?…

2011 BMW 1M Coupe

2011 BMW 1M Coupe

I’ve been on a bit of a yellow kick as of late, but even I was surprised when I came upon this BMW 1M. To date, I had not seen a BMW Individual painted 1M Coupe and to spy one in Dakar Yellow seemed especially amazing. Even more amazing was the price; despite only 35,000 miles on the clock, this E87 seemed priced to move at only $50,000 – some $20,000 less than other examples on the market. It was clearly worth a bit of further investigation…

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 BMW 1M Coupe on eBay

No Reserve Rocket: 2003 Audi RS6

No Reserve Rocket: 2003 Audi RS6

While BMW’s M5 has been the benchmark for performance sedans since its inception in 1985, there have been plenty of challengers along the way that have really pushed the limits of sedans to new levels. The Lotus Carlton, for example, completely changed what going fast with 4-doors meant in the early 1990s. With twin turbochargers slapped on an otherwise unassuming inline-6, the bespoilered and wide-wheeled Opel packed 377 horsepower and could hit 180 m.p.h. flat out in 1990.

That meant the next generation of super-sedans would have to up their game, and constant brinkmanship ensued; the 3.8 upgrade to the E34 M5 hit 335 horsepower. The 500E packed 322, and Audi’s C4 S6 Plus matched that amount. They were still short of the Lotus, though, and playing catch up. Moving into the late 90s, power levels started to go crazy.

The C5 S6 launched in 1999, now with 335 horsepower. The same year, Mercedes-Benz entered with the E55 AMG at 349 horsepower. But both paled in comparison to the new E39 M5 with 400 horsepower – the undisputed king of super-sedans at the time. That would change in 2002 when Audi’s quattro GmbH launched its newest creation. With help from Cosworth Technologies, the new RS6 sported two turbos on the 4.2 liter V8 seen in the S6. The result was an impressive 450 horsepower driven through all four wheels. Giant wheels filled massive flares, at the front huge gulping intakes fed the intercoolers, and special exhaust and gills popped up everywhere. It was the new super-hero sedan and the result was…well, fast. The limited nature and performance potential of these RS6s have meant they’ve retained greater value than the normal C5 range, though they’ve been in steady decline. Today, we get to test the market on a well used example – where do these C5s sit today?…

2010 BMW 535xi Touring M-Sport

2010 BMW 535xi Touring M-Sport

It’s been a while since I last updated you on the trials and tribulations of E61 ownership. And, there have been a few exciting events which pertain to this car. Some of that comes down to learning about the quirks of ownership. For example, the iDrive system has a habit of notifying you of problems well after they’ve occurred. Like the E46, the E61 utilized the ABS speed sensors to calculate rotation of the wheels to determine if you’ve got a flat tire. So, if you..say…swap wheels and forget to notify the car that you’ve done so, it gets very unhappy (but, not immediately – only a few miles down the road will it tell you something occurred). Navigating the menus to find specific items can be laborious, but with time it gets better and you start to figure it out. But the electronic nannies don’t end there; the “IBS” – Intelligent Battery Sensor – proved to be anything but intelligent, as it malfunctioned and decided that the car shouldn’t start. It took a lot of internet diving to determine that simply unplugging the connector would fix the problem. Of course, that sensor is directly under the drains for the sunroof, which unfortunately seem to have a habit of randomly leaking (and, according to the never-wrong internet, are almost always the cause of the woes with the IBS).

Then there’s the service warning.

Say your 11 year old car uses (read: leaks) a little oil. Fine, no problem, top it up. But the E6x FREAKS OUT that you’ve lost a little oil and basically tells you you’re about to grenade the motor. Except, it doesn’t do this when you first start the car. No, because the N52 carries some 7 quarts of synthetic it waits for the oil to warm up prior to notifying you there’s a problem.…

2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupé Edition 1

2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupé Edition 1

It’s been awhile since I’ve featured a new car and today’s car is a good enough reason as any. Mercedes-AMG rolled out the W205 C63 S Coupe Edition 1 as a road going tribute to the same car that competed in the 2016 DTM championship. This is great if you are one of the few people in the United States who actually watch the DTM but 99% plus of the people you come across will think you just went a little crazy with the yellow vinyl. But I guess if you are the kind of person who both has the ability to and wants to drop $94,000 on a C-Class you don’t really care about others’ thoughts.

 CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupé Edition 1 on eBay

Feature Listing: 2000 Audi S4

Feature Listing: 2000 Audi S4

Circuit Paul Armagnac probably isn’t a name which is familiar with you. It’s not even a particularly famous race track, if I’m honest. But the city where that track is located will be suddenly make sense in the context of this post – Nogaro, France. It was the name of that small city in Southwestern France that was made famous when it replaced the moniker “RS Blue” in Audi’s go-faster lineup. The result was a color synonymous with speed, though few fans of the shade know the origination of the name. Blue was, of course, the racing color of France, so in a departure from the typical country-color orientation, Audi popped the obscure name onto its purpley-blue missiles starting with the B5.

That the tone had previously been assigned only to Audi’s skunkwork quattro GmbH (recently renamed Audi Sport) S6 Plus and RS2 was an indication of the sporting potential of the new S4. Power came from not one, but two KKK turbochargers feeding a 250 horsepower 2.7 liter V6. That power was delivered via a 6-speed manual transmission through all four wheels utilizing a center Torsen differential and rear electronic locking unit. Though the new S4 was neither the first fast Audi nor the first to wear the “S4” badge, it was a departure in that it was the company’s first attempt to really take on the M3 head-to-head. It was comfortable, quiet, and quick in all conditions, and while it may not have been a huge threat to BMWs on the track, in the real world the S4 was arguably a superior car:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Audi S4 on eBay

Feature Listing: 2006 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG

Feature Listing: 2006 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG

Bonkers.

That’s what the engineers at Mercedes-Benz went on the W220, apparently. They were not content with already have a very potent sedan in the supercharged S55 AMG (which featured the same supercharged M113 as yesterday’s E55 by the end of the run, but kicked up to 493 horsepower) or the ultra-luxurious S600 that had a 5.5 liter twin-turbocharged V12 that made the same horsepower as the S55 but even a bit more torque.

So, they combined them in 2005.

The result was the S65 AMG, which with the punched out M275-AMG 6.0 liter twin-turbocharged V12 produced a simply outlandish 604 horsepower and 738 lb.ft of torque. That was enough to propel this 5,000 pound sedan from 0-60 in 4.2 seconds. And while that sounds really quick (and IS really quick), that was not where the S65 excelled at accelerating. It was really on the fly that the numbers started to tumble as the speedometer rose; a quarter mile was dispatched in 12 seconds. No fancy launch program, no trick dual-clutch gearbox, not even really enough tire to transfer that power to the road despite the massive 275-35-19 treads in the rear. This was just pure, unadulterated Victorian-era power. The real number that stands out isn’t the top speed, because like all other sensible German sedans from the time period it was maxed at 155 m.p.h., but how quickly it got there: 21 seconds – 2.3 seconds ahead of a Ferrari 575. If you’re counting, that was about the same amount of time it took an early 1980s Volkswagen diesel to hit 60. And you were able to achieve this speed in what was effectively a modern Swiss chalet, comfortable, quiet and full of all the modern technical features you’d expect from the automotive equivalent of a Brookstone catalogue. But it was expensive, topping $180,000 before the few options you could select – yet today, these physics-defying super executives can be purchased by mere mortals:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 2002 Audi S6 Avant 2.7T 6-speed

Tuner Tuesday: 2002 Audi S6 Avant 2.7T 6-speed

Just last week I was baffled by a C5 chassis swap. The seller took a 2.7T twin-turbo motor, a 6-speed transmission, and an Audi A6 Avant to create a unique package. However, in some ways its mission was lost to me; why not just buy an Allroad manual for half the price, or get the nicer S6 Avant with more and better go-faster bits? To answer my question, our reader Andre posted a response with the link to this car. Again, we have a C5 Avant with a 2.7T 6-speed swap. The price is pretty similar. But the base vehicle this time is the S6, with lightweight aluminum panels, flared fenders and bladed doors, great interior and a host of RS6 bits. Does this one accomplish being desirable and justifying the swap better?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi S6 Avant on Seattle Craigslist

Tuner Tuesday: 1990 Alpina B10 BiTurbo

Tuner Tuesday: 1990 Alpina B10 BiTurbo

While I’ve recently covered quite a string of impressive Alpina models, the reality is that all of them leave me a bit wanting. It’s not that they aren’t lovely, or full of incredible and beautiful detail. It’s not that they’re in bad condition, misused or abused. It’s not salvage titles, accident history or even poorly presented advertisement. No, for me, it’s what you get for your money. I understand the nature of exclusivity and certainly the Alpinas offer that. They, for the most part, also back up that exclusivity with well-engineered increased performance, so while the appearance package helps to set them apart, few Alpinas are posers. But when the asking prices for aftermarket E30s are $50,000, $60,000 – even $90,000 dollars, for you not to question the sanity of the market would be seriously worrysome. That’s especially true since you can get Alpina’s arguably most impressive product from the same period for less:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Alpina B10 BiTurbo on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300CE AMG Mosselman Twin Turbo

Tuner Tuesday: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300CE AMG Mosselman Twin Turbo

There is a fairly substantial problem with pre-merger AMG products: documentation. At this point, the newest of the pre-merger cars are on the verge of being considered antiques in many states, and with Mercedes-Benz takeover of the Affalterbach company, much of the documentation of the early models production numbers is lacking. They’ve often changed hands multiple times as styles and tastes have changed, and the paperwork accompanying their builds isn’t always present. Further complicating this was the model that AMG followed. Unlike, say, a Ruf BTR, there was no specific mold to most of the AMG products. Instead, individual taste and monetary resources determined how many of the à la carte options would be tailored to your individual Mercedes-Benz. Also unusual was the AMG authorized dealer-installed model, which meant that you could get an authentic AMG install in California, for example. You could also apparently claim your AMG heritage with as little as three accessories installed, leaving a broad interpretation of what makes a “true” AMG build. Lastly, the popularity – especially in recent years – of AMG products means that there are a plethora of replica kits and pieces that are available. And, at first glance, this W124 would seem to be the product of just that – replete with “custom” AMG seatbelt covers and an ill-fitting C126 hood conversion, for example. But this W124 is much more:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300CE Mosselman Twin-Turbo on eBay

2003 Audi RS6 with 11,000 Miles

2003 Audi RS6 with 11,000 Miles

Outside of some with virtually limitless resources, you can’t go back in time when it comes to cars. Many enthusiasts try, and a few really devoted individuals succeed, in recreating the youth of a car’s life. But to do so, especially on newer cars, is pretty hard. Outside of the material costs of paint, leather and in some cases wood replacement parts, there is the Achilles’ heel of our modern society in general – plastics. New cars have become so heavily reliant on plastics because they’re strong, easily formed to special shapes, and lightweight relative to other products. But, as with the rest of the car, they get old; wear items in the interior of the car are often the most recognizable signs of use and time, but under the hood there’s a plethora of plastic heating up and cooling down. Top that with modern motors with turbochargers and extreme heat load as well as the increasing amount of refinement (read: sound deadening) buyers demand, and the time bomb of slowly decomposing plastic in your super sedan means that reconstructing a heavily used example may ultimately be impossible, but is certainly at least improbable.

That means that if you want what was a top-flight super sedan from a generation ago, you’d be looking for the lightest use possible. And when considering an Audi RS6, few if any come to the market with less use in miles than this one:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi RS6 on eBay

Feature Listing: 2009 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet

Feature Listing: 2009 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet

If I’m honest, I was a bit disappointed with the Larz Anderson Auto Museum German Car Day. The main reason why was that in some ways it turned in to a new car show, with basically brand new models turning up on the lawn. As an enthusiast, I’m torn in two different directions by this. The positive side of me says that I should embrace all enthusiasts irrespective of their origin. After all, if I walked in to a dealer today and purchased a brand new M4 I’d feel pretty proud of it too. But the cynical side of me says sure, but I can drive down the road to the dealership an see the exact same car. It wasn’t just BMWs, though – there were brand new Audis, Volkswagens and Porsches present too. In fact, the number of new or very close to new cars seemed to outweigh the number of cars more than 10 years old. Am I just a curmudgeon? Perhaps, and considering I showed up in a relatively new car maybe its hypocritical of me to question other’s presence there. But it seems as though, in part, the generation of enthusiasts that is currently emerging in this soundbite, disposable world is just looking for what is newest and flashiest. Want to go fast with the top down? It doesn’t come much flashier than the 911 Turbo Cabriolet.

But I’m not talking about this 2009 Turbo Cab. No, I’m talking about the brand new 991.2 Turbo S Cabriolet. With 580 horsepower on tap, there isn’t much outside of a S1000RR that can keep up – and if you’re in launch mode, you can leave the bike behind off the line. It’s full of technical highlights and gadgetry that will make any silicon valley executive proud to call it their ride of choice.…