2006 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Estate

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?

Year: 2006
Model: E55 AMG wagon
Engine: 5.4 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 72,000 mi
Price: $31,500

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Mercedes Benz E55 AMG Wagon on AutoTrader.com

RARE!

1998 Mercedes Benz C43 AMG

Ah the late 1990’s, what a great time to be alive. I was in middle school, enjoying things like playing Quake II and Goldeneye 007, perhaps the occasional R rated movie if the right person was taking tickets at the local two plex. The US economy was booming thanks to a rapidly expanding industry related to a little thing called “the world wide web” and there were a whole lot of folks out there with disposable income who had no idea how to spend it. Like any good automaker, the folks at Mercedes-Benz worried about these youngsters with more money than sense and set about finding a way to capitalize on their new found wealth. The result was a juiced up W202 C-Class, the first car to be completely assembled by AMG and the first to feature a Mercedes Benz V8. The C43 AMG would set the stage for the next generation of AMG vehicles and without this car who knows if we’d have ever gotten the glorious C63 AMG.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Mercedes Benz C43 AMG on Cars.com

1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SEL

To round out my week of posts I thought it would be appropriate to post the top dog of the W126 lineup, the 560SEL. I found a couple pristine examples with rather lofty prices that I considered writing up but in the end it was this example that needs a bit of cosmetic love that captured my imagination. The seller notes that they’ve handled a number of issues and that the only concerns are the state of the hood, top and trunk paint and the A/C system needing service. Other than that, this Bavarian living room on wheels is ready for a whole lot more use, either as a daily driver or weekend warrior.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes Benz 560 SEL on Craigslist

1987 Mercedes Benz 560 SEC

The W126 380 SE I wrote up yesterday got me back on a Mercedes kick and I quickly came across this badass ’87 560 SEC. I’ve long thought that Benzes look best in black or white and I think this car in a garage next to yesterday’s 380 SE would be a perfect garage. The big white cruiser for you and your friends and then this black coupe for you and one lucky passenger. The back seat can accommodate grown adults if need be as only 3 inches was shaved off the W126 SE chassis and the large doors make for easy passenger entry and exit. However, I think the vibe of this car is best honored with two people riding in style up front. The 560 SEC was Mercedes’ statement car, the kind of vehicle reserved for the executive with a wild side. It cost more than its rivals like the Porsche 928S, BMW 635i and Jaguar XJS, something that I think actually helped it succeed. At this level of luxury there are those people will automatically assume the most expensive option is the best and I think in this case they would be right. I would rather have a 560 SEC than any other personal sport coupe from the era, even the M6. While I love that car, I don’t think it has quite the same presence as this black beauty and sometimes presence (though rarely) beats performance. Sure we couldn’t get our hands on a manual option here in the states but I honestly think that’s ok because it this car is more of a mean city cruiser than a country road carver. Besides, the 4 speed automatic in this was quite ahead of it’s time in that it had a topographical sensor that would let it know if the car was on an incline or decline.…

1985 Mercedes-Benz 380SE

Having recently written up a number of performance oriented vehicles I thought it might be a good idea to switch it up and do something different. I’ve had my eye on this super cruiser down in Naples, FL for some time now and honestly I’m surprised that it hasn’t sold already. The W126 is an absolutely timeless chassis, an 80s icon known around the world for its luxuriousness and durability. This example is finished in rare Glacier White paint over Dove Grey leather which cranks the Euro luxo-barge vibe up to 11. Personally I love it, more often than not you see these in black or grey, both of which are handsome but I much prefer this look.

This being an ’85, it represents the end of the first cycle of the W126 run in the States. The 3.8L V8 isn’t the most exciting power plant fitted to chassis, I’d have to give that honor to the M117 5.6L V8 found in the 560 SE that we didn’t get. Still, it is a capable motor that was able to move the hefty 380 SE up to a comfortable cruising speed with ease and isn’t that really the purpose of a car such as this? In a way I enjoy the fact that this was the only choice for U.S. buyers who wanted more performance than the 300 SD offered with its oil burning inline 5. Made things simple, you either got a diesel W126 because you truly didn’t need the power or you got a gas W126 because you did. Sure a whole lot of people snapped up grey market W126 cars during the 80’s and enthusiasts of my generation have benefited from the availability of federalized 500 SE and 560 SE models but clean ones are few and far between.…

2009 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG

Funny how the passage of time works when it comes to the automotive world. It seems like just yesterday that I looked at the C63 AMG as a completely unattainable car, the kind of ride that only Euro club bros with frosted tips and too much of dad’s money to spend would be be able to afford. However, thanks to our old friend depreciation, the smallest AMG worth owning is under the $30k mark, good news for those of us without a Scrooge McDuck vault of money to swim in.

$30k is the high mark for what I would consider a reasonable amount of money to spend on a car give or take a couple grand. These days you can get a whole lot of car in this price range, 1st gen Cayman S, E90/92 M3 and of course this lil hot rod from Stuttgart that houses a hand built motor. While I’ve long been a bigger fan of the M3 because of the availability of a 3rd pedal, a C63 AMG sedan always turns my head when one rolls by. Sadly they’re often piloted by people who should probably have the keys taken away, for their safety and the well being of the car. This example down in Texas has made it 86,199 miles, still looks quite fresh and I hope someone with a real appreciation and respect for the powertrain takes it home.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2009 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG on Cars.com

Wagon Week: 1995 BMW 530i Touring

Yesterday I wrote up a very clean ’94 525i Touring for sale here in California with only 76,000 miles on the clock. Right after I save that piece I ran another search for E34 wagons and came across this example for sale in Waco, Texas. Though it is the same color, it differs in a number of ways from the first car and I thought it would make for an interesting would you rather sort of question to round out my Wagon Week posts.

More often than not I have trouble deciding between two cars that are very similar vs. ones that are very different. Throughout the course of my recent car shopping adventures I’ve looked at everything from the new M235i to a 911 SC Targa, the latter mostly just out of pure curiosity, lord knows I can’t afford one. However now that I’ve narrowed my search down to 5 different cars, all from the same manufacturer and all sharing design traits, I’m finding it even more difficult to make a decision. I think choosing between an old Porsche and a new BMW would have been far easier than choosing either an E34 or E39 5 Series. Harder still would be to choose between the car you see here and the 525i Touring I posted yesterday.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 530iT

Wagon Week: 2005 Mercedes-Benz E500 Estate

When I first came across this listing I thought I had found an E55 AMG Estate at an incredible bargain, but after reading through the details (and a heads up from out trusty editor in chief) I found that this car is in fact an E500 wearing big brother’s name tag. I’ve seen E500 AMG Sports before but not ones doing a full on E55 impression. At first I was annoyed and was going to skip writing it up but then after thinking about the rarity of the Dark Green over Tan color way, the great sound of the AMG exhaust hooked up to any V8 and the low mileage, I decided this car deserves a helping hand in its search for a new home. The seller notes that it had  “very interesting prior ownership” and while that may sound ominous to some, I’m actually quite curious to know what it means. Maybe this was a Mercedes Benz exec’s weekend warrior, maybe the previous owner was a celebrity or maybe the car belonged to Guy Fieri. Hard telling not knowing I suppose, though I highly doubt it was the last option, I don’t think Dark Green is his color.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Mercedes-Benz E500 Estate on eBay

1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 with 48,900 Miles

The W116 has been a star on the rise in the Mercedes-Benz world; long unappreciated and forgotten, like most of the models in the company’s history a great recognition of the first “S” Class means that prices have been steadily increasing. The most valuable in terms of collectables really seem to be the 6.9 models, for obvious reasons. Perhaps the original bad boy super sedan, the 6.9 predated cars like the M5 by the best part of a decade. The recipe was simple: take a giant car and insert the largest possible motor. Due to low residual values in the 1980s and 1990s, though, finding a good one can be quite difficult – but today we have quite a gem:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 on eBay

2002 BMW 540i Touring

Stare at a BMW E39 estate long enough and I’m pretty sure you’ll forsake all other wagons, perhaps even all other cars depending on your level of longroof love. This car was just one of those times when the designers got it so right it’s almost scary. The artists over at BMW took one of the greatest sedan designs of all time and molded it into the greatest family hauler of its time. The seller goes so far as to say the 540i Touring is the best looking wagon ever made, now or then. He certainly has a point if you focus on the competition of the era but as far as best looking wagon of all time, I’d have to give that to the beastly RS6 Avant. I will however give the 540i Touring the silver medal without a second thought. The proportions on this car are wonderful and it looks good from any angle, the hallmark of a truly exceptional design.

The positives extend far beyond the appearance of the vehicle, it is equally as impressive inside and under its skin. The 540i Touring is powered by a 4.4 liter V8 churning out 290 hp and 340 lb-ft of torque, not too shabby even by today’s standards. The superb handling dynamics of the E39 sedan carry over to the estate which makes the car even more desirable. It is by no means a canyon carver but from what I’ve read these cars handle with far better precision than one would think, especially since the damn thing weighs in at 5,043 lbs. When you consider that torsional rigidity was increased over the E34 5 series by 40 percent, the reasoning behind the affinity for these cars becomes quite clear.  It’s a big steel caged missile that bests a car held in high regard for its handling capabilities.…