We have 15 years of archives. Links older than a year may have been updated to point to similar cars available to bid on eBay.
Yeah I know…a BUICK? Stick with me on this one.
After a gap of a few years and a less-than-spectacular fourth generation, the Regal came roaring back with pretty modern styling in 2008 and the promise of more performance aimed at a younger crowd. This was in part thanks to its underpinnings, which were in no small measure based upon GM’s corporate partner Opel’s Insignia and the Epsilon II platform. It was a front-driver, it’s true, but option was a direct-injected 2.0-liter Ecotec inline-4 cranking out 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque; numbers in line with performance legends such as Audi’s original S4. You could even get a manual transmission! And you could get this turbocharged package for under $30,000 – far less than the traditional performance sedan.
Of course, it was still
an Opel a Buick, so they didn’t sell all that well. And dropping residual values meant that if you brushed a guardrail when it was five years old, the insurance company would probably total it. What to do with your totaled Buick then? Turn it into an Opel, of course…
The first generation X5 definitely will not go down as the best-looking BMW ever produced, but I’d argue that it’s also not the worst looking of the high-riding ‘activity’ vehicles out there. And in some respects, they make a lot of sense. Pull up next to a modern full-sized trunk in an E30 or similar vintage ‘mid-sized’ car, and you’re looking directly at running boards. The X5 offered 5-series driving style with a commanding road position, and while it wasn’t really an off-roader let’s be honest – very few of the millions of SUVs you see out there ever see more than a gravel road.
What the E53 did offer, though, was a cross-over to the Sport package available in the E39. Because of that, you could opt for the 3.0-liter M54 hooked to a five-speed manual, and unlike the E39, you could opt to get those two hooked to all-wheel drive. They’re hard to find, but one popped up with some neat mods and in a neat color combination. Is it worth consideration?
For some time, there was a giant gulf in between European-spec cars and U.S. spec cars. Granted, part of that divide still exists today if the large assortment of cars that do not make it to these shores, but at least enthusiasts can rejoice that at last – for the most part – performance versions that are available in Germany are very close to the same that we receive here. One of the last notable cars to exhibit the large divide was the E36 M3; while Europeans enjoyed over 280 horsepower from the individual throttle body S50B30 in 1992, the later released U.S. spec M3 carried an entirely different motor with some 40 horsepower less. Though the S50B30US is certainly a great motor by itself, the knowledge that the “better” version existed across the pond somehow took a bit of legitimacy away from it for a lot of fans of the marque. Also differentiating the European versions were better floating rotor brakes, better glass headlights, better lower and stiffer suspension; you get the point. We could bang on all day about how the US-spec model was pretty much as quick as the Euro cars, is a lot cheaper to run, and is…well, you know, already here. But when a Euro car pops up for sale, I still take time to take notice, and it’s hard not to notice this Dakar Yellow ’93:
Neither the E24 M6 nor the E28 M5 need an introduction on these pages. Legendary even when new, they both captured the imagination of generations of German car enthusiasts and established the benchmarks for sedan and GT performance in period. Both went through a relatively long downturn in value, as well. And today, as each has moved firmly into classic status and the market ///Madness continues, each has increased in value considerably over where they stood a few years ago.
But with so many shared components, which is the one to get? While a lot of that boils down to personal preference, more so than ever it’s also dependent on your budget. We’ve seen asking prices for nice examples of each chassis hovering between $50,000 and $80,000 depending on mileage and condition, and with a hot market there’s no letup of good ones to choose from. Today’s example is not the most pristine or low mileage on the market by any means, but it does balance that out with some desirable mods:
Where have you gone, 911 R? In terms of value, of course. The most heavily speculated Porsche 911 in a long time had a wild ride of instant value rise up to $600,000 and sometimes $700,000, only for it to crash and burn after Porsche announced a GT3 Touring with a 6-speed manual. Suddenly, we were seeing sale prices on 500-mile cars for only $35,000 over sticker, not $350,000. Still, there are few enough 911 R examples out there that dealers can collude to keep prices high, until a private owner needs money and decides making $50,000 for doing nothing is good enough. Today’s example, a car with 2,000 miles up for sale in Florida, still has a giant asking price.