1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 Estate

Last week I checked out the ultimate Mercedes-Benz W124 Estate in the E60 AMG. It was everything and more in a wagon that not only laid down impressive power numbers even for today, but shows its longevity with nearly 250,000 miles on the setup. Of course, this all came with a hefty price tag of nearly $75,000. Today, I have a another W124 Estate up for sale in California that is a little tamer in the power and styling department, but surprisingly isn’t as inexpensive as I thought it might be.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 Estate on eBay

Forbidden Fruit: 1992 Volkswagen Passat G60 Syncro Wagon

As we saw in last week’s Quantum (née Passat), underneath the Volkswagen was almost all B2 Audi. They had borrowed Audi’s full quattro setup in the Syncro model until 1988. That was the same year that the G60 supercharged engine had debuted in the Golf in Europe, but it wouldn’t be until late 1989 and the new Corrado model’s introduction that the G-Lader would become better known on these shores.

The PG G-Lader devoted to the Rallye, G60 and third generation Passat Syncro wasn’t the most powerful unit VW of the time period at 158 horsepower and 166 lb.ft of torque (the 3G 16V version in the Golf Limited had 50 horsepower more), but the combination of these items seemed awesome at the time to U.S. fans because, of course, in the midst of VAG’s early 90s sales slump they opted not to bring the package here. Like the Corrado, based on Mk.2 underpinnings the Passat’s engine configuration had moved from longitudinal in the B2 to transverse in the third gen, meaning that Audi’s quattro system remained unique to that brand. The Golf’s transverse engine placement precluded use of the Audi longitudinal design, which used output shafts and mechanical differentials. Instead, Volkswagen turned to Austrian company Steyr-Daimler-Puch for development.

Noted for development of four-wheel-drive systems and probably most recognizable for the Pinzgauer military vehicle, Steyr’s solution to the transverse problem was to utilize a viscous coupling similar to the AMC Eagle. However, while the Eagle’s system was all-wheel drive, all the time, Volkswagen’s system would only engage when the front wheels slipped. The Passat added new electronic features to the range topper, too – including anti-lock brakes and an electronic differential lock, and the new shape dropped the drag coefficient to .31.

The best part about the G60 Passat, though? You could get one in wagon form:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Volkswagen Passat G60 Syncro Wagon on Seattle Craigslist

1991 Mercedes-Benz E60 AMG Estate

Every time I have looked at a pre-merger Mercedes-Benz AMG car it seemed to come to us from AMG Japan. What that means is that car would a leave Germany as a regular Mercedes-Benz until it hit Japan where AMG Japan, LTD. would modify these cars both cosmetically and with performance upgrades. You can always recognize an AMG Japan car by the crazy amount of wood that was added to the car and the AMG Japan plate that riveted in somewhere on the car. Were these”real” AMG cars? Technically, yes. AMG Japan official subsidiary just like AMG North America was. As special as these cars are, I always felt they weren’t as ”true” as the pre-merger cars that were built in Affalterbach. Maybe because I see them come up for sale way more often than cars built in Affalterbach and sometimes they are missing important engine modifications. I don’t know if that means that more were produced or maybe Affalterbach built cars don’t trade publicly as much. Luckily, I ran across one of those Affalterbach built cars for sale and what a car it is.

This is a 1991 E60 AMG Estate. This car started life as your standard W124 300TE until it was sent to AMG not once, but twice, to make it what it is today. This wagon has a M119 6.0 liter V8 and a boatload of other AMG parts to go along with it. The best part about this car? The original VIN was actually X’d out and replaced with an AMG-specific VIN that begins ”AMG124” instead of the standard ”WDB124” that every other W124 begins with. This is quickly shaping up to being my favorite car of the year.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz E60 AMG Estate on Mobile.de

1986 Volkswagen Quantum Wagon

The lineup of unlikely VAG survivors continues today with this second generation Volkswagen Passat, of course badged the “Quantum” for the U.S. market. This model replaced the lovely and popular Dasher model which had been available in several configurations. Briefly, the new B2 continued that and if you’ve ever seen a 1982 Quantum 2-door hatchback in person in the U.S., you might be alone. The model was dropped quickly, though continuing on was the Variant (VW-speak for wagon) model. And because the underpinnings were shared with the B2 Audi, things started to get pretty interesting for the upscale VW. And, confusing.

Volkswagen was happy to tout the Quantum as the sole “German engineered Grand Touring car sold in America that was available as both a sedan and station wagon and came equipped with a 5-cylinder, fuel injected engine, front-wheel drive, power assisted rack and pinion steering, four-wheel independent suspension AND cruise control”. You don’t say, VW? Seriously, I think they could have left a few modifiers off that description and it still would have been true. The weird part is that the upscale Volkswagen actually tread on the toes of its even more upscale competition – the Audi 4000. Though early 4000s had the 5-cylinder available as an option, when it came to the mid-80s Audi saved the inline-5 only for the quattro models and Coupe GT/5000 front drivers. The 4000 grabbed the engine from the GTI, instead. But you could still get a 5-cylinder Quantum, and you could get a wagon version. Heck, you could even get a Syncro version of it, but only as a wagon!

Here’s where things get even more confusing. The 5-cylinder is usually associated with the moniker “GL5” – the upscale sedan with alloy wheels. And indeed the base Quantum Wagon in 1985 came with the 1.8.…

2001 Volkswagen Jetta GLS VR6 Wagon

For me, the Jetta got a lot more interesting when it came to the fourth generation. That’s mostly because the Mk.4 came in a myriad of variations. Sure, there was no coupe as there had been in the first and second iterations. But I’d gladly trade the odd two-door sedan for what did come to the U.S., as the Golf Variant finally arrived here as the Jetta Wagon. Engine choices were plentiful, as well; the base 2.0 continued on, but there was the torquey and tunable 1.8T, the thrifty 1.9 TDI, and…of course…the 2.8 liter VR6, Volkswagen’s party hat since 1992.

Mild revisions in the late 1990s gave the VR6 174 horsepower and 181 lb.ft of torque. In most Jettas, the VR6 had been paired with the “GLX” package since the prior generation. They were fully loaded with electrical accessories and leather interiors in an attempt to bring the economy sedan closer to near-luxury models. But since the GLX and VR6 came with a serious premium on the Jetta – almost $6,000 over the base price of the 2.0 GLS Wagon – Volkswagen offered a de-contented GLS version of the VR6. I remember a friend purchasing one when new and excitedly showing it to me. There it was – a Jetta which looked pretty much like every other Jetta, but with a VR6 under the hood. It had smaller 16″ wheels, cloth interior, and…like pretty much every other basic Jetta…an automatic.

So, two days after the last cheap and interesting spec Jetta, here we are again. This one is in a very interesting configuration, as well. It’s a GLS wagon – so, cloth interior and no sunroof, but it was selected with the VR6 motor and is mated to a 5-speed manual. Talk about a sleeper!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Volkswagen Jetta GLS VR6 Wagon on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1995 Mercedes-Benz ”E36 AMG” Estate

I’m a really big fan of OEM+ modifications on cars. Something always feels good about grabbing a part from a higher trim level or even another model and seamlessly adding it to your car to make even better. Lots of times it is something small like a piece of trim or a grille. Other times you go totally crazy and swap in an entire engine from another car. That is what we have today with this W124 Mercedes-Benz Estate up for sale in Atlanta. What started life as an already really nice E320 with the M104 3.2 liter inline-6 was swapped out the M104 3.6 liter inline-6 from a C36 AMG to make a pseudo E36 AMG Estate. As you might have noticed, that wasn’t the only thing that was changed on this wagon.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Mercedes-Benz ”E36 AMG” Estate on eBay

1985 Mercedes-Benz 240TD

I’ve been using my 1983 Mercedes-Benz 240D with a 4-speed manual as my primary driver for over year now and really enjoy almost every aspect of it except for one big thing: It is ungodly slow. The North American spec 240Ds were blessed with a conservative 67 horsepower and 97 lb⋅ft of torque when new and after 35 years I’m going to guess it lost a few precious ponies. This results in me using the accelerator pedal as an on-off switch the majority of the time. Don’t get me wrong, around town the car is totally fine. On the highway? I’m traffic’s worst nightmare. If I am at the front of the line at a stoplight and the speed limit on the road is 55 mph, I might as well be hauling a car full of puppies to the pound because that is how people look at me. It takes somewhere in the 15-20 second range to accelerate to 60 mph depending on the grade of the road and Peggy in her minivan on her way to soccer practice has no patience for me.  Other than that, everyone loves the car. But what if the 240D was even slower? Say hello to the 240TD.

This German-import 1985 240TD up for bid in Arizona is equipped with everything my 240D has, including the same 4-speed manual gearbox, but with the extra weight of the wagon. You can see where I am going with this. Thankfully, this W123 estate is actually nice enough where you can pick and choose your 0-60 mph battles and not feel bad if you hold someone up for an extra second. Although at the current price, is it worth it?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 240TD on eBay

1990 Mercedes-Benz 230TE

Last week I looked at a really cool 1992 Mercedes-Benz 250TD that was an European import that I’d love to own to rack up the miles. Today, we have another European-spec W124 estate although this one is still in Europe and has the steering wheel on the other side. This 1990 230TE resides in Northern England and as you might have noticed from the photo, this wagon wasn’t used as the workhorse that most were subjected to.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 230TE on eBay.co.uk

2001 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Estate

A little over a month ago I looked at a 1999 Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Estate that, thanks to Canada’s 15-year import law, was ready to be enjoyed by our friends to the north. Today, I have big brother E55 AMG Estate that looks to be literally fresh off the boat from Japan. This 2001 shows 47,000 miles and looks to be missing the most important W210 characteristic: rust. Although much like the W211 AMG Estate, you’ll pay a premium for that extra cargo room.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Estate on eBay

1992 Mercedes-Benz 250TD

After Mercedes-Benz blessed us in North America for so many years with the W123 300TD, in both turbo and non-turbo versions, you would think they would do the logical thing and carry that on into the W124 era. Sadly, Mercedes gave us a small taste for one year only in 1987 with the 300TD powered by the OM603 that was a turbocharged inline-6. Little did we know at the time that the 1987 300TD would be the last diesel Mercedes estate that North American would get and probably ever get. We had plenty of options for gas versions, but the oil burners would never return. Thankfully, this seller in California gave us all one more example for us to enjoy and what a treat it is.

This is a 1992 250TD up for bid in California painted in Blackberry Bornite Metallic that was imported from the Netherlands. That color look familiar? It is powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.5 liter inline-5 diesel engine with a 5-speed manual transmission, patterned cloth seats, manual windows and almost zero options. Could there be a more perfect wagon for some?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Mercedes-Benz 250TE on eBay