Rallying and Mercedes-Benz are terms that don’t seem to go hand in hand, but at the end of the 1970s, a most unlikely contender would emerge on the scene. The C107 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC 5.0. This homologation special would do battle in the 1978 World Rally Championship. Later, the car would become known as the 500SLC. What differentiated these from a normal C107 SLC? A brawnier V8 engine with 240 horsepower, aluminum hood and decklid and a small rear spoiler on the edge of the trunk. The 500SLC would bring to the fray a 4-speed automatic, replacing the 3-speed automatic that did duty in the 450SLC 5.0. Only 1,636 examples of the 450SLC 5.0 and 1,133 examples of the 500SLC would be produced, making this 500SLC for sale in California quite special.
Month: December 2015
Here is something we don’t come across everyday. Not only a very rare Porsche 959, but one of the original prototypes Porsche used for development testing of the components that would be fitted to these technological marvels. The ad below can tell you the specific history of this prototype so I won’t regurgitate that here, but the short version is that this prototype was involved in ABS and tire testing at the high-speed ring in Nardo, Italy. Once 959 production was completed and the prototype was retired from testing service it was returned to the Porsche factory for a full refurbishment before making its way to its first private owner. Its ownership history appears to be fully documented, with much of that history spent in collections in Japan, prior to its current availability. The 959, of course, is one of Porsche’s most historic cars, most famously for the way in which it challenged the Ferrari F40 for supercar supremacy in its day. The two car makers took very different approaches to their supercars with Porsche following its generally tack of combining the best of luxury, technology, and performance in a single package while the F40 stripped out seemingly everything to offer the purest driving expression Ferrari could manage in a road car. While never really the prettiest of machines, the 959 served as a testament to Porsche’s engineering capabilities and provided a testing bed for many features that would make their way to the 911 over the years that followed. The 959 prototypes, like the one seen here, were built off of the 930 chassis and used in a variety of development settings. Reportedly 29 total were built and it is believed that 10 have survived. For collectors with a keen interest in Porsche history, I would imagine the opportunity to have one of those prototypes would be tough to pass by.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Porsche 959 Prototype on Art and Revs
The Audi A4 Avant needs no introduction on these pages; an enthusiast favorite especially for those with families, the small wagon is a sharp looking, sporty package with plenty of practicality. Though not as numerous as the European market, there are plenty of configurations older models could be specified in too – from torquey and smooth 2.8 through 3.2 V6 models, to the whoosh-wonderful turbocharged 1.8T and 2.0T variants, there was also always the monster V6 twin turbo or V8 S4. Today we’re looking at two of the smallest engines, but that doesn’t make them less desirable. Indeed, for some Avant enthusiasts, the second of this duo – the S-Line Titanium package – might just be the best overall package Audi offered here. How does it compare to its father?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant on Hartford Craigslist
The automotive ‘Field of Dreams’, it seems these days that if you post it, they will come. Potential buyers (read: mostly tire kickers or keyboard warriors who pontificate about what they’d buy with when banks finally allow them to cash their internet checks) play the roll of Ray Kinsella, cutting through the field of vanilla cars, driven by a ceaseless desire to find their magical dream team. Playing the roll of ‘Topless’ Joe Jackson in today’s lineup is a 1990 BMW M3 – a car you could have gone to the driveup in to watch my topical movie. Now, truth told I’ve previously spoken about how fast convertibles don’t really make a tremendous amount of sense to me, and I have to point towards the E30 M3 Convertible as one particularly odd topless choice. What BMW did was infuse your normal 3 series with race-bred DNA, winding up the motor with the revtastic S14 and stiffening the suspension to handle all of your curb-hopping, door pounding action. And then, they chopped the roof off, adding 400 pounds to reinforce the chassis and utterly transforming the car from a potential podium to a potent pocketbook. Alright, that’s a huge exaggeration, but still, it just doesn’t make sense to me. It does, however, make sense to those who are happy to part with a fairly substantial chuck of change to jump into this pristine example:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 BMW M3 Convertible on eBay
Is there such a thing as a practical supercar? If there is, I’d have to suggest that the Audi R8 is perhaps the best representation of such a thing. First, let’s define if it’s a supercar. Even the base R8 has the sonorous and high-revving 4.2 FSi motor that has powered the B chassis RS products for the last few models. Rated at 420 horsepower and 317 ft.lb of torque, it’s enough to launch the somewhat heavy R8 from 0-60 in 4.4 seconds and a top speed just shy of 190 m.p.h.. As super sedans blur the lines between supercars and normal production cars, these numbers aren’t outrageous – but the R8 4.2 can run step in step in a Lamborghini Diablo, for example. Couple that with near perfect weight distribution and massive tires, and the R8 will easily out turn many marques of more mystique with its ability to generate the full gravity of the earth through turns – on street rubber. Yet this performance comes without the price that many used to have to pay for the luxury of speed; the R8 is happy to lounge around town at pedestrian speeds, bathing its occupants in comfort. And with all-wheel drive, it’s even usable year-round. Practical? Maybe it’s not the best choice for a family, but it’s certainly a driver’s car for those that love to drive in every condition. But perhaps best of all, it’s relatively affordable – only costing about the same as many Porsche 911 models: