1984 Mercedes-Benz 280SE

For as many really cool cars that I take a look at that have price tags north of $50,000 and a lot of times even $100,000, there are still some cars out there for almost no money at all and not because they’ve been sitting at a bottom of lake and/or running on two cylinders. Case in point, today’s car, a 1984 Mercedes-Benz 280SE. This is a German-market car that was never sold in the US and is as bottom of the range as you can get in the W126 hierarchy. Cloth interior, manual climate control, manual rear windows, and a not-so-powerful (but trusty) inline-six gas engine. Still, this is bottom of the barrel price for what looks like a really clean car. How can you say no?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 280SE on eBay

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2006 BMW 330Ci ZHP Performance Package

The success of the Motorsport derived versions of each generation of the venerable 3-series mean that it’s both easy and a natural choice to concentrate on them in the used market. But BMW has also offered some pretty special non-M models in the 3-series lineup, and the 2003-2006 330i. Much like the M3, the 330i was available in 2-door coupe and convertible no surprise there – but the 330i was also quite popular as a sedan and the E46 M3 never came in that configuration. If you ticked the ZHP Performance Package box, you paid an additional $3,900 on top of the premium for your top-of-the-line 330i. While that was no small amount of change, what that amount resulted in was actually quite a bargain.

Developed by BMW Individual, you got a plethora of performance details throughout the package. Outside, M-Tech body pieces adorned the car front, sides and rear and blacked out trim replaced the chrome. So too were M-branded special Style 135 18″ wheels, with tires to match the width of bigger brother M3. Lower and stiffer suspension was met with more negative camber, special reinforcement and control arms. The engine was upgraded too, with unique cams and a revised engine map resulting in 10 more horsepower, but the ZHP was more than 10 hp quicker off the line thanks to a shorter final drive and a 6-speed manual borrowed from M. Performance wise, the ZHP split the difference between the 330i and M3 in acceleration and cornering, so it really was a performance package to live up to its name. Inside, too, many special details adorned the ZHP – from small items like lightly revised gauges with special needles to unique shifter, steering wheel, seat fabric and eggcrate dash trim. Just like the S-Line Titanium Package Audis, these more potent 330is have a cultish following who proudly claim they’re not only special, but one of the most special BMWs made:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 BMW 330Ci Coupe ZHP Performance Package on eBay

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1997 Mercedes-Benz CL500

I hate to go on a run of W140 Mercedes-Benz Coupes, but I couldn’t pass this one up. This is a 1997 CL500 up for sale in Victoria, Australia is finished in the lovely shade of Aquamarine Blue. It surely isn’t the traditional black/white/gray, and in the grand scheme of things, I think that is a good thing. While I love my Brilliant Silver Metallic, sometimes you just need a little color. Aquamarine thankfully isn’t garish and is looks pretty good in my eyes on such a hefty car such as the C140. This car being in Australia also means a few things. One, it is a European-spec, which is a always a good thing. But that also means it is right-hand drive. So your options are limited in countries you’d want to own this car in unless you are a giant fan of blindly merging onto the highway because of this massive C-pillar on this car.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Mercedes-Benz CL500 on Benz World

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2006 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

There seems to be a very vocal group of people in the car world that really love green cars. I adore them as well, so much so if given the choice of choosing a color, I’d think I’d go with a dark green. For whatever reason, there just aren’t a ton of green cars out there running around. Probably because the millions of dollars car companies spend on market research says people don’t want green cars, and I do see their point. Its not that companies don’t produce green cars, but rather they don’t produce them on the same level as the silver, gray, black, and whites. So I have to ask, do people love green because its an aesthetically pleasing color on cars? Or rather because it is rare to see and people want things that aren’t so common? Like the little girl says on TV selling taco shells, “¿Por qué no los dos?

This 2006 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S for sale in California is a green lovers dream. Forest Green Metallic on the outside, Palm Green leather on the inside. Extra goodies include 19″ lobster claw wheels, heated sport seats, park assist, Bose audio, and more. Where do I sign?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S at Rennlist

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2004 Volkswagen Passat GLX TDi 4Motion Variant 6-speed

Earlier this week I just about broke my neck to catch a second glimpse at a car which probably went unnoticed by nearly every other driver out there. It was a new what appeared to be a B8 Passat Variant, and you don’t have to know a lot about Volkswagens to know you haven’t seen one recently – or, probably ever – on these shores since VW dropped the large wagon from its lineup after 2010. Is this an indication they’re coming here? Unlikely, at least according to VW. With the Atlas and Tiguan relatively fresh and still selling like proverbial hotcakes, along with the many iterations of the Golf Sportwagon available, there just is no need. More likely than not, the car I saw was part of a VW testing program which makes sense since I live very close to one of the importation ports.

So that leaves fans of the larger VW wagon to clamor over older examples. So back we go fifteen years to a B5.5 again! This one, like the last, is a silver example from 2004. Also just like the last, it’s a manual and all-wheel drive. But unlike that rare factory 1.8T 4Motion manual, this one is a home brew, mating a 1.9 TDi out of a Jetta, a 6-speed manual from Europe, and a GLX 4Motion chassis into a neat and thrifty all-wheel drive combo that was never offered here:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Volkswagen Passat GLX TDi 4Motion 6-speed on eBay

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2008 Porsche 911 Carrera S

Its officially SEMA week and that means seeing all the crazy creations that show up in Las Vegas that you never thought were possible. That is probably because it is not, and really just slapped together and pray it stays that way for three days while sitting at some companies booth to draw attention. In all seriousness, it is fun to see some professional mechanics poke around SEMA cars to see what cars are actually built well, and others that maybe need a little more tweaking. Today’s car, a 2008 Porsche 911 Carrera S up for sale in Florida, was a car built for the Toyo Tires booth at SEMA 2016 and as you can see, is pretty wild. Problem is, it is probably a little too wild. At least for their asking price.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 Porsche 911 Carrera S on eBay

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More Than Just a Tribute: 2001 Audi S4

On the other end of the spectrum from Audi’s U.S. spec B5 S4 was the monster which left me, and most fans of the marque, frustrated. That’s because Audi skunkworks quattro GmbH partnered with corporate acquisition Cosworth Engineering to create the legendary RS4. The same 2.7T motor from the S4 suddenly developed not 250 horsepower, but 375. Arches flared. Mouth was firmly agape. Seats were huggier. Wheels were bigger. Suspension was lower. It was wagonier. It was all around a better car in virtually every way.

So it should come as no surprise that its lack of importation didn’t stop enthusiasts from trying their own hand at the mods. And because of the turbocharged nature of the B5 S4, it was a little bit easier to achieve similar results to Audi. So here we have a B5 RS4 ‘Tribute’, but one that not only added the OEM body pieces and turned up the motor. Because under the hood hides not 375 horsepower, but punched-out 3 liter V6 churning 700 horsepower – at the wheels, mind you. Welcome to ‘The White Beast’:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S4 RS4 Tribute on eBay

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1968 BMW 2002

To me it’s always a bit interesting to talk about peoples’ motivations in getting a particular car, especially so when that car is a classic. For example, consider my Audi GT versus a Quattro. These days, if you can find one a mint condition Audi GT will set you back around $6,000 – $8,000 for the very best examples we’ve seen. That amount may get you a wreck of a Quattro, but likely not a particularly drivable one and certainly one you’ll be chasing parts and rust on for a decade at least. In terms of driving experience, the GT is out of the box 90% of the Ur-Quattro experience for 90% plus of the time. Brought to a show, many non-Audi folks could probably not tell them apart. Yet, in terms of value gap, the iconic Quattro far outstrips the classic GT. We see it in other areas, too – for example a 73 911S versus a 77 911S, a E28 535is versus a M5, or even a 325is versus an M3. If you’re smart with your money, choosing the lesser example may not get you the headlines, but stretching your budget to get into a less serviceable iconic car is not likely to bring you more happiness, only more headaches. So while a plain-Jane 1968 BMW 2002 may not get all the price of the Turbo or even the tii models, it’s certainly worthy of consideration:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1968 BMW 2002 on eBay

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2010 Porsche 911 GT3

The 997 Porsche 911 GT3 is sort of in the middle of an interesting phase right now. They aren’t new enough where buyers are desperately demanding them as the latest and greatest, but not old enough where it would be considered a classic. On the flip side, one could argue that these were timeless cars from the beginning and would always be in demand from the first day on the lot until 50 years from now. I don’t disagree with that, but I’d argue that Porsche spit out so many different GT cars after launching the 997 GT3, that these are sort of overlooked when it comes to shoppers who are willing to spend north of $100,000. The interesting part is that some early 997.1 GT3 examples are selling well under $100,000. The make it even more interesting, you can find 997.2 GT3s for under $100,000 if you are willing to compromise on color. However, today’s car probably isn’t going to be a compromise for anyone.

This 2010 GT3 up for in Colorado is finished in the lovely Speed Yellow and has a ton of options like Carbon Ceramic brakes, the Sport Chrono package, hardback yellow seats, yellow gauges, and a bunch of little things that all add up to a very big price tag. It comes in with just 27,000 miles on the odometer and looks every bit the part. Thing is, are you willing to spend a premium on the now two generations old GT3?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2010 Porsche 911 GT3 at Porsche Colorado Springs

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1990 Porsche 944S2

While cars like the Audi Quattro and BMW M3 may have popularized boxy flares with their racing credentials to back it up, in my eyes no one pulled off the muscle-bound economy look better than the Porsche 944. The addition of several inches of width and wider wheels to the 924 chassis meant an entirely new feel that mingled with supercar lines instead of Volkswagen lineage. Simply put, they were the most sensual looking German car in the 1980s, and that got even better late in the run with some subtle aero additions that enhanced and updated the look. The smooth Turbo bumpers and rear diffuser carried over to the S2 model, along with some lovely “Design 90” wheels that were also highlighting the 964 model. As Porsche moved to a full update of the watercooled transaxle cars with the introduction of the 968, the outgoing 944S2 even adopted the new “bridge” spoiler design from the not yet introduced model.

Turbo looks without the associated power wasn’t an unknown quantity for Porsche, but the 944S2 was no slouch in its own right. Powered by the M44.41 3-liter inline-4 that had been enlarged from the double overhead cam 944S motor, the 208 horsepower wasn’t as much as the 968 would sport but was still awfully close to what the original 944 Turbo had produced in power. Better yes, with instant torque the S2 was, and still is, a very entertaining drive. Hardly cheap, on paper they were not immediately the smart choice for a sports car buyer in 1990 and 1991, as twin-turbocharged monsters from Japan were all the rage and often less expensive than the best part of $50,000 a 944S2 would cost you. With only around 3,600 imported to the U.S., they’re a bit rare to see but offer great Porsche build quality, performance and even practicality in a very attractive package:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Porsche 944S2 on eBay

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