We are over a year into the all-new Mercedes-Benz G-Class and to the surprise of no one, they literally can’t make enough of them to meet demand. It makes sense, as the G-Class is used as a form of currency in the state of California, both monetarily and socially, and they don’t ride like old farm trucks anymore. So as soon as a new one hits the lot, it is usually snagged up within a day or two. That I expected. What I didn’t expect is now that we are well over a year in, prices are still as crazy as ever. Let me explain.
Month: June 2020
As I’ve covered before, Audi made some strange moves in the early 1990s in terms of nomenclature and pricing strategy. The best example for this is undoubtedly the sticker price. In late 1994, the ‘new’ BMW M3 rolled into dealer showrooms in the United States. If you selected no options, you paid roughly $38,000 and got a bunch of pretty reasonable standard features and a 240 horsepower inline-6, some fantastic seats, and the best handling this side of a race car. If you moved over to the Audi side of the showroom, the top-tier offering in their small chassis was the 90CS quattro Sport, which cost about $3,500 less admittedly. However, you got a slow-revving 2.8-liter V6 rated at 172 horsepower. Okay, they had different missions. And the Audi was really intended for inclement weather. Why, then, were heated seats and washer nozzles extra? And why was the sky sack extra? It’s not like this was a stripper car. This was the equivalent of a $60,000 plus dollar car today! To draw it into much sharper contrast, the base price of today’s RS3 – which sprints from 0-60 in under 4 seconds – is $56,000. They apparently got the memo that heated seats should be standard, too.
So you (or I) could make a strong argument that the 90CS quattro Sport was a better built car than the E36, and in many ways, it was. But from and enthusiast’s standpoint, the decisions that went into the launch of the B3 and B4 cars were exactly what caused Audi’s early 90s sales problems. Don’t blame 60 Minutes. They were too soft and not luxurious enough to really justify their price. Good looking cars? Sure. But Audi fixed the issue with the A4 – tightening the looks up in a more aggressive package, adding a touch more (perceived, mostly) sport with turbocharged powerplants, and dropping the base price substantially. A base A4 2.8 quattro in 1996 rolled out the door at roughly $28,000, and at that price point, it’s no surprise that it was a lot more compelling to consider. Today though? Well, these 90s are pretty hard to come by at all, so when a great condition example comes up for sale, it’s more exciting to see than an A4 and always worth a look:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Audi 90CS quattro Sport on eBay
Looking through today’s BMW lineup, where everything has a million M badges to accompany the gazillion horsepower, I’ll be honest – little excites me. The M2 is pretty awesome, and a properly equipped 4-Series is a nice looker, but most I have trouble distinguishing from the Kia lineup. So it’s nice to head back in time a bit to something that’s both unique and understated at the same time. Of course, you’ll also want rear-drive only, and a singing naturally-aspirated inline-six.
Today’s Z4 has all of those things. In front is the N52 inline-six, here rated at 261 horsepower and 232 lb.ft of torque. For those counting, that’s a bit more horsepower and nearly the same torque as the S52 had only a few years earlier, and N52 has a lighter alloy block. They sound great, too. The E86 was rear-drive only, too. And rare? You better believe it. We’ve all grown accustom to the unique looks of the M Coupe and its resultant low production numbers. But the 3.0si barely sold better. Just over 2,100 were sold here in just two model years, a few hundred more than the M variant. You’re not likely to see them cruising down the road in your commute, in other words. And while the looks are polarizing, I think they’re rather pretty. The best part? They’re also pretty affordable.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 BMW Z4 3.0si on eBay
The 996 Porsche 911 Targa is a model that sometimes I forget even exists. They always catch me off guard when I see one come up for sale for the pure novelty of them and you paid around $10,000 more when new for a 16-square-foot view of the open sky. It also turned the rear glass into a hatch, which is an interesting configuration given the engine is in the rear too. Now that we are well over a decade into the glass roof Targa cars, many are shying away when purchasing these. Why? Well, the sliding glass roof is a precision instrument to say the least, and those precision instrument break and cost precision instrument money to repair. Seriously, if your power Targa roof stops functioning, you are looking at some invasive procedures by specialists who you should be happy are willing to do the job.
Still, while not fun to maybe buy, they are very fun to look at. Especially when one has 4,600 miles, is finished in paint-to-sample Atlantis Metallic, and even has even rarer Magnolia leather. Get ready to exchange your pile of dollars for some old fashion pounds, because if you want this one, a trip to Nottinghamshire, England is in order.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Porsche 911 Targa at Parkway Specialist Cars
For as uncommon as the color purple is to see on a car, the Germans weren’t shy about using it. We saw that last week with Carter’s 1995 BMW M3, Volkswagen with Violet Touch Pearl, and Mercedes-Benz with Almandine Black Metallic. Granted those colors are very rare and often by special request, but we are at a place where its so popular that this is a standard color on the GT3 RS. Today, we have a 2002 Carrera 4S in Paint-to-Sample Viola Metallic that, in my opinion, looks amazing. The wide body of the 996 C4S in this color? Sign me up. Although probably not at this price.