BMW took a big leap at the end of the 1980s and introduced some pretty extreme design language. First was the E31 8-series, a seeming quantum leap from the outgoing 6-series. That chassis pioneered, for better or worse, a tremendous amount of technical and electronic innovation for BMW. The 8s relied on a bevy of computers to control its chassis, electronic suite and engine. Side by side with the more famous Grand Tourer though was a diminutive roadster BMW produced based heavily on the E30 chassis. Instead of a heavy reliance on computer technology, the futuristic (hence Z for the German word for future – Zukunft) plastic bodied Z1 looked like a supercar even if it didn’t go like one. Park one next to a E30 convertible and you’d never know the two are related!
The Z1 was a complete departure for BMW; while they were not strangers to small cabriolets, their previous efforts were in the 1930s with the 315/1 and the 1960s with the 700. BMW went away from the idea of an integral body and frame to a separate chassis with removable, plastic body pieces. The idea was that the owners could replace the panels themselves to “repaint” the car with minimal effort. It was something the Smart car would be notable for – a car that launched a decade following the Z1. To get the paint to adhere to the bodywork, BMW had to partner with AZKO coatings to develop a flexible paint which they termed ‘Varioflex’, while the bodywork had to be attached using a unique elastic joint technique. The doors didn’t open out – they slid down into the supporting chassis structure. The underbody was flat, not only for aerodynamics, but the tray turned into a diffuser towards the back, assisting in sticking the rear to the ground as speeds rose. In front was nothing new: the venerable M20 from the E30 popped up here, too – but in the rear the Z1 was new with a multi-link rear axle of its own. This new design would later be incorporated into the E36. It’s interesting that with the Z3 BMW opted to go the opposite route and incorporate earlier E30 pieces into the rear of the /7 and /8. While performance was relatively leisurely, the Z1 nevertheless garnered praise for its innovation, unique design and great looks. They never made it to U.S. shores and only around 8,000 examples were ever produced, but a few have crossed the Atlantic now that they’re old enough to be more easily imported:
There was a point where it was very hard to find a clean Mk.1 GTI anymore, and consequently the values on them rose sharply and quickly. Predictably, the moment that occurred a bunch of really nice examples subsequently popped up for sale and have continued to emerge as the car has finally been recognized as a classic. Now, couple that scenario with the racing pedigree of the Quattro and sprinkle in a dash of ///Mania into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for some very expensive cars.
With only 664 originally imported to the U.S. and a fair amount dead, balled up in rally stages or repatriated to the Fatherland, the remaining cars that do emerge generally fall into two categories: well maintained examples that fetch high dollars, or needy chassis for the project-minded enthusiasts. Today’s car looks quite clean at first glance, and though it’s not a perfect example it does appear to be highly original. How does that affect its value?
I do love a good automotive ‘What if…’. What if Volkswagen brought all its cool models here. What if Audis were reliable. What if Porsche followed through on the promise of the 968 Turbo. Well, today’s example questions what would happen if BMW slotted all of its E9X M3 bits into the lighter, smaller chassis of the E82.
That was partially done with the 1M Coupe, though it retained ‘only’ a turned-up version of the N54. Auto Source Group decided that just wasn’t enough, and commissioned a build with the full assortment of M3 bits, including the EDC suspension and…more importantly…the 8,400-rpm 4-liter V8. And then they refinished in it San Marino Blue. The result? Wows throughout, including the pricetag.
The hunt for the affordable 911 continues, and I really have to say I for one like the early 996s. I know it’s an unpopular opinion, but the narrow-body simple design on the early 996 has aged pretty well overall – and these still draw my eye today. That’s helped when they’re an unusual color and equipped with the Aerokit bodywork, which is what we see here – in this case, this example is Mirage Metallic. It’s an usual silver that seems similar to BMW’s Cashmere, with lovely hints of gold undertone. I really like it! This one isn’t done though, as you’ll also find it only has 45k miles and yes, the IMS has been done. Let’s check it out!
For every bland S-Class that Mercedes-Benz produces to lease to some eye doctor in Ocala, Florida, every once in a while they’ll mix up something special for the ones in the know. Today’s 2008 S65 AMG is one of those. This is a “Designo Graphite Edition” that I did not even realize existed and probably wouldn’t believe either outside of seeing it listed on the window sticker for a cool $9,765. What is it? Graphite paint, Corteccia and Charcoal AMG leather, a heated steering wheel, matte natural oak wood trim, and an Alcantara headliner. All in addition to the loads of goodies that already comes standard on a 2008 S65 AMG. Add it all up and you’d find a sticker price when new of $210,265. Bonkers.
Sometimes I feel like I’m having car déjà vu. Granted I look at cars for sale seven days a week and sometimes they blend together, but I knew that there probably weren’t two 2021 Porsche 911 Carrera S examples out there finished in Radium Green. Thankfully we have helped keywords and tags, and wouldn’t you know I did take a look at this car back in April 2020. However, the photos are very similar. So similar that they are identical. But this listing says the car now has 13,500 miles (up from 4,900) and the price has actually gone up $11,000. What is going on here?
In terms of contrast between the 997.1 Porsche 911 Turbo and the 997.2 Porsche 911 Turbo, it is very clear – at least when it comes to comparing the cars with the gearboxes that only have two pedals. A few days ago we looked at the 997.1, it has a regular five-speed automatic transaxle with a traditional torque converter. It is slow, it is soft, and it sucks a lot of power. However the clouds cleared once the 997.2 came around and the Tiptronic box was replaced by the snappy seven-speed PDK gearbox. All of a sudden it isn’t a penalty to only have two pedals in the footwell; the 6-speed cars physically can’t shift faster than the PDK car. Yes, I know it isn’t all about 0-60 times and being the fastest, but PDK was a game changer for the 911 Turbo. Even better when talking about a 997.2 Turbo S, which is what we have up for sale today.
For those who aren’t immediately familiar with iDing Power, you’re forgiven.
The M3 GTR launched in 1994, and the United States did (technically) see it in the form of the Prototype Technology Group-run team in IMSA race series. The same year in Japan, iDing Power revealed the plans for their turned-up E36 M3. They had acquired an early production second generation model; production started for the E36 M3 in February, 1992 – and the particular example you see here was produced on February 3, 1993. iDing then added a plethora of unique touches, from upgraded suspension, wheels and brakes, special interior items, and some body modifications. By “some”, of course it’s hard to look past the W201 190E-Evo inspired rear wing and massive tacked-on flares. iDing also took the S50B30 European motor, rated at 286 horsepower stock, and modified it to a claimed 330 horsepower. iDing widebodies are pretty rare finds, with a claimed 17 produced.
Today’s car we’ve seen before; I wrote it up back in 2017 when it was still in Japan. It was also the prototype test car, apparently, and is highlighted on the company’s history page.
Tuner Tuesday: 1993 BMW M3 iDing Power S3
Well, it’s traveled across the sea to Wyoming and an additional 1,500 miles since we last saw it, and it can now be yours again…for a price.
Following up on the M760i, it seems relevant to look at an M535i. There’s a huge disparity in the “M” branded models between the E24 and E28. While the M6 and M5 co-existed in the United States market, they did not in Europe. This left the M635CSi to be the equivalent of the M6, as the latter was only marketed in North America and Japan. But the same was not true of the M535i. This model was sold as a more affordable alternative to the M5 in Europe: most of the look of the Motorsports model but without the bigger bills associated with the more exotic double overhead cam 24 valve M88/3. Instead, you got a 3.4 liter M30 under the hood just like the rest of the .35 models. The recipe was a success, selling around 10,000 examples in several different markets – but never in the U.S..
Instead, the U.S. market received the 535iS model. The iS model was specific to the North American market and gave you the look of the U.S.-bound M5, with deeper front and rear spoilers, M-crafted sport suspension and sport seats. It, too, was quite popular – between 1987 and 1988, just over 6,000 examples sold in the United States alone, and of those, a little more than half were the preferred manual variant. One of the nice aspects of the 535iS was that if you enjoyed colors other than black you were able to order the lesser model in any shade you wanted, unlike the North American M5.
Today I found an M535i that popped up in…well, shall we say an unusual setting. Let’s take a look:
The 997 Porsche 911 Turbo is quickly becoming a car to buy and hold, and recent prices are reflecting that. I think it might be a little bit of “rising tide lifts all boats” now that GT3 prices are shooting up along with basically every other 911, but there is an argument to be had for these pre-facelift models being total bargains compared to the GT cars. I don’t think I am alone here, and prices for the 997 are never going to be any cheaper.
Today’s car, a 2007 up for sale in Indiana, is a paint-to-sample example finished in Nordic Gold Metallic with a Special Cocoa leather interior. Not exactly a silver-over-black model we are all used to, but surely something you can live with given this will likely be a reactional car. The catch is, I hope you won’t miss the clutch pedal.