1995 BMW 540i 6-speed manual

I constantly find myself waffling back and forth between preferring the BMW E34 to the E39, or the other way round. Both cars so well thought out and as time goes on I suspect that proclaiming on better than the other will only get more difficult. The older a car is, the more consideration it gets for classic status. The E39 5 Series has already achieved that to some degree and final models only rolled out 12 years ago. Does the E34 have the edge right now simply because it is older? Personally, I don’t think it’s the time that has passed that makes the E34 a classic, so much as the era that ended with it. I look at the E34 as the last holdout of the old guard. The round headlights, the forward tilting hood, the exterior lines, all true classic BMW. At this point both the 3 Series and 7 Series had a more modern, squared off look. Perhaps most importantly, the headlights were now enclosed, gone was the iconic side by side design. If there is one little detail that I can point to that makes a BMW a classic, that would be the one. It also happens to be the reason that the E34 typically comes out on top when I’m thinking about which body style I would rather own. I love a lot of things about the E39 5 Series, the headlights are not one of them.

Click for details: 1995 BMW 540i on Pelican Parts

Continue reading

1995 Mercedes Benz C36 AMG

I’ll get this out of the way right off the bat, this car has a salvage title. I’ll get this out of the way as well, I don’t care. For what the seller wants for the car, and what you could likely get him to come down to, you’d be getting enough car for the money that a salvage title shouldn’t matter. The way I see it this is a car you buy and drive into the ground. It is not an investment, it is not a collectors item, it’s a W202 Mercedes that happens to be an AMG car. Even if you paid what the seller is asking I think you’d be getting a fair deal. The car appears to be in great condition now and depending on what earned it a salvage title, this could be a real steal, especially with a little big of negotiating. Salvage title cars are really hard to sell these days, given that everyone has access to the internet, and has seen those commercials with the smug Fox. I agree that 9/10 it is a bad idea to buy a salvage title vehicle, but there are exceptions, and this might just be one of those.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Mercedes Benz C36 AMG

Continue reading

2002 Audi S6 Avant with 6-speed Manual Conversion

Pretty though it may be, it was not the appearance of this Ming Blue Metallic Audi C5 S6 Avant that won me over. I think pretty much all C5s look good, Avant or Sedan, 2.7T or RS6, they’re all visually pleasing in my book. No, the reason I’m writing this car up is because the seller has equipped the car with a 6spd manual transmission. The automatic Audi stuck us with here in the United States probably didn’t seem so bad when it debuted, but in 2015, the 5 speed ZF 5HP24A can go suck an egg. These enthusaist focused machines deserve 3 pedals, shame Audi didn’t feel that Americans did when they sold it new. On the upside, it seems more and more folks out there are stepping up and plunking down the money to make the change to a manual. While it’s not the most expensive procedure in the world, it’s by no means cheap, especially if you do it the right way. It seems this is one of those jobs where no expense was spared, as the parts list below reads like an Audiphile’s Christmas list.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi S6 Avant on Audizine

Continue reading

2003 Mercedes Benz SL55 AMG

Of the contemporary Mercedes models, the SL55 AMG is certainly among my favorites. The lines on this car are about as good as it gets for the time period and few Benzes pulled off the double oval headlights as well as the SL did. It is a true testament to the quality of the design that the car still looks fresh even though it’s 12 years old. For me a big part of that formula are the Type V “Turbine” wheels. These have always been my favorites on the R230 cars, they’re equal parts opulence and performance, much like the car itself. An SL55 AMG is one of those cars I will forever aspire to own, if only for a brief period of time because I know the kind of road trips it would inspire me to take. Long jaunts for no apparent reason other than to enjoy the drive and end up at an enjoyable locale, that’s the kind of thing these cars are built for. Could you use one as a daily driver? From a reliability standpoint I’m sure you could, the 5.4L supercharger V8 has proven reliable over the years. I’d certainly have no problem pulling this thing out of a garage every day but in some ways I think that’d defeat the purpose of the car. It’s a purpose built cruiser with loads of power, it begs to be driven hard on long stretches of road. My guess is the seller would agree given that they’re the 3rd owner and the car has just 30k on the clock.

Click for details: 2003 Mercedes Benz SL55 AMG on MBWorld.com

Continue reading

2003 Audi S8

Like so many of us, my interest in Audi’s super sedan started with the film Ronin, in which the car takes center stage during one of the greatest chase scenes of all time. Prior to seeing the film I had zero interest in Euro luxo barges with big motors. I thought the bulletproof 750iL from Tomorrow Never Dies was pretty badass, but it wasn’t a car that lusted after because I knew real ones didn’t come with rocket launchers. Following that first viewing of Ronin however, I was obsessed and to this day the D2 S8 is still my favorite Audi to carry the badge. I appreciate the refined D3 and its Lamborghini sourced V10, as well as the current D4 models with their insanely high tech features and the biturbo V8 power plant shared with Bentley. However, sometimes a brand just does it right the first go round and I think that’s the case with the S8. The svelte styling would have you think the car comes in at less than the 4,000 lb curb weight, a number which is achieved with the much ballyhooed Audi Space Frame. Much has been made of the aluminum frame of these A8/S8 cars over the years and while I think it’s certainly cool, I don’t think it’s what makes these cars so special. For me it is the overall design language and appearance that puts the S8 above the competition.

Click for details: 2003 Audi S8 on Cars.com

Continue reading

2009 BMW 328i X-Drive Touring M-Sport 6-Speed

If you asked a random person on the street which was more rare, an E91 wagon with a manual transmission or an Audi R8, I guarantee you that the majority of folks would say the R8. They would of course be wrong because an average of 1,500 wagons came to the U.S. annually with a estimated maximum of 5% being manuals. That lumps this example in with rare gated manuals like Ferrari F430s or Aston Martins. Of course most people look at this car and just see another AWD wagon suited for life in a mountain town. In my opinion, that is a big part of the appeal and though it’s not nearly as powerful as an Audi S4, I think these M-Sport package cars are equally as special. I have yet to get a chance to drive on with a manual but I know how well they handle and as someone who owned a B7 S4 Avant, I have to say the BMW was more enjoyable for spirited driving. Sure, you don’t get the V8 wail like you do with the S4 or an AMG wagon but the venerable 3.0L I-6 can sing a pleasing song with the right upgrades, particularly an M-Sport exhaust and headers.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2009 BMW 328i X-Drive Touring on Craigslist

Continue reading

2008 BMW 750Li

Check out that booty! Not all that bad right? That’s because the post LCI (Life Cycle Impulse) E65 7 Series was far better looking than the early “Bangle Butt” models. The ’05-’08 cars had larger more rounded grills, completely re-styled headlights and they got rid of the god awful light strip on the trunk as well. Inside the changes were not as apparent, most of them addressed quality concerns, though they still didn’t fix the much maligned iDrive system. In addition to featuring an outdated, clunky navigation unit, this final year E65 750Li features a 4.8L V8 that gets sub par fuel economy. The motor produced 360hp/360 lb-ft of torque which would be fine if the thing didn’t weigh in at 4,905 lbs. At this point you might be asking yourself why I’m writing this car up given all these negative aspects. Well despite it being a gas guzzling beast with archaic tech, I still think these cars, this one in particular, represent a great value in the used luxury market.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 BMW 750Li on eBay

Continue reading

2005 Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG

Orion Blue Metallic, that’s what the paint is called and the main reason I decided to write up this Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG. One of the other reasons is that I’ve always felt this car was overlooked due to the its successor being the tire slaying C63 AMG. Those cars continue to fall in pice but it will be a few more years before they reach the bottom of the depreciation curve. The C55 is already close and will likely drop down a little further in the next couple of years. If you enjoy the “double bubble” headlight style of the W203 then this car has to be at the top of your list as it is the most aggressive looking one you could buy. What I find appealing is that even in AMG form, it still retains a clean sleeper look. Were it not for the matte black Vertini wheels, I think this car would be able to fly way under the radar, a bonus when you’ve got 362 hp on tap. If I were to take this home I’d probably swap them out the wheels for a nice brushed aluminum multi spoke from the AMG catalog, but I have to admit the concave style does add a certain badass element to the car. I think that has to be one of the most appealing things about the C55 AMG, it can be made to look like a mundane country club classic or a aggressive Autobahn animal. All you need to do is change a few minor things to tip the scales in either direction and I have to say, this car strikes a nice balance between the two.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG on eBay

Continue reading

1998 Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG

The Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG is one of those cars that I never cared for all that much. A V8 stuffed under the hood of a compact sedan sounds like fun, but in this case it always seemed like Mercedes failed to execute what was a great idea on paper. Though it was significantly more powerful than the E36 M3, it didn’t garner the same respect in its heyday and not much has changed. I’m fine with the understated appearance, there are few things as fun as driving a sleeper Benz but I think this car is just too bland for my tastes. The most aggressive thing about it is the mono block AMG wheels, the exhaust note is just as toned down as the styling, fine for a normal Benz but this is an AMG, let that V8 sing! I wonder just how much more popular this car would have been if it had a raucous exhaust note like the C63 that eventually followed. Of course a big part of why the M3 was more popular despite being less powerful is that the M3 could be had with a manual where as the C43 was auto only. It was, however, a stout 5-speed gearbox borrowed from V12 models that was supposed to learn a drivers habits and improve the driving experience, so I suppose there is is some credit due there.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG on Cars.com

Continue reading