If you’re a regular reader of this site you’ll know that I’m a big fan of the E36 M3 and have absolutely no problem saying so. Where haters see the blandest, most under powered M3 in the history of the nameplate, I see a perfectly proportioned bridge between the go kart E30 and the upscale E46. I came of age during the E36 years and though they were few and far between in my neck of the woods, I was well aware that they were something special. Of the two body styles offered during the ’95-’98 production run I prefer the sedan, mainly for the increased sleeper look but also for the daily drive practicality. However I am fond of the coupe as well, especially a well kempt car that hasn’t been stanced, tracked, thrashed or otherwise tampered with. This ’98 coupe in Estoril Blue Metallic over Dove Grey leather is an excellent example of an unmolested car and with just 119,000k on the clock I think this E36 represents the reasonable end of the M3 spectrum.
I’ve written up a couple Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG wagons in my time with GCFSB; even got fooled by a E500 doing a damn good AMG…
Ah the late 1990’s, what a great time to be alive. I was in middle school, enjoying things like playing Quake II and Goldeneye 007, perhaps the occasional R rated movie if the right person was taking tickets at the local two plex. The US economy was booming thanks to a rapidly expanding industry related to a little thing called “the world wide web” and there were a whole lot of folks out there with disposable income who had no idea how to spend it. Like any good automaker, the folks at Mercedes-Benz worried about these youngsters with more money than sense and set about finding a way to capitalize on their new found wealth. The result was a juiced up W202 C-Class, the first car to be completely assembled by AMG and the first to feature a Mercedes Benz V8. The C43 AMG would set the stage for the next generation of AMG vehicles and without this car who knows if we’d have ever gotten the glorious C63 AMG.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Mercedes Benz C43 AMG on Cars.com
To round out my week of posts I thought it would be appropriate to post the top dog of the W126 lineup, the 560SEL. I found a couple pristine examples with rather lofty prices that I considered writing up but in the end it was this example that needs a bit of cosmetic love that captured my imagination. The seller notes that they’ve handled a number of issues and that the only concerns are the state of the hood, top and trunk paint and the A/C system needing service. Other than that, this Bavarian living room on wheels is ready for a whole lot more use, either as a daily driver or weekend warrior.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes Benz 560 SEL on Craigslist
The W126 380 SE I wrote up yesterday got me back on a Mercedes kick and I quickly came across this badass ’87 560 SEC. I’ve long thought that Benzes look best in black or white and I think this car in a garage next to yesterday’s 380 SE would be a perfect garage. The big white cruiser for you and your friends and then this black coupe for you and one lucky passenger. The back seat can accommodate grown adults if need be as only 3 inches was shaved off the W126 SE chassis and the large doors make for easy passenger entry and exit. However, I think the vibe of this car is best honored with two people riding in style up front. The 560 SEC was Mercedes’ statement car, the kind of vehicle reserved for the executive with a wild side. It cost more than its rivals like the Porsche 928S, BMW 635i and Jaguar XJS, something that I think actually helped it succeed. At this level of luxury there are those people will automatically assume the most expensive option is the best and I think in this case they would be right. I would rather have a 560 SEC than any other personal sport coupe from the era, even the M6. While I love that car, I don’t think it has quite the same presence as this black beauty and sometimes presence (though rarely) beats performance. Sure we couldn’t get our hands on a manual option here in the states but I honestly think that’s ok because it this car is more of a mean city cruiser than a country road carver. Besides, the 4 speed automatic in this was quite ahead of it’s time in that it had a topographical sensor that would let it know if the car was on an incline or decline. This allowed for impressive engine braking when coasting downhill and smooth starts without using the brake pedal when going uphill. Just one of the many pieces of technology that we take for granted today that was pioneered on the W126 chassis.