Update 1/17/19: The E30 sold for $4,200.
Continuing on the custom theme, today’s post comes thanks to some unusual chassis combinations. Of course, BMWs – and particularly the 3-series – are no stranger to swapped motors. I’ve covered just about everything, from a M62’d E30 to the outrageous S85-powered Hartge H50 and, of course, the ubiquitous S50/2 swaps in E30s or E36s.
But today’s power overhauls come in the form of American V8s stuffed into the noses of Munich’s finest small sports sedans. While their personalities are quite different, both manage to pull off the swaps as relative sleepers despite the crazy changes underneath. So which is the winner?
Update 12/25/18: This Silver Arrow is listed as sold for $16,900.
Last weeks very special 1970 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.6 was one of the most interesting cars I’ve looked at in a while but one of our readers spotted something in the background. As you might have noticed, that something was a R129 SL500 Silver Arrow. Today’s vehicle isn’t that same car because that dealer doesn’t seem to have it listed for sale, but it is another very nice Silver Arrow so I figured that will work just fine. This one up for sale in Florida checks in with just a hair under 70,000 miles and honestly, has a very fair price on it. How much?
This is easily the most interesting new GT3 I have seen. I won’t say that it’s the best, but it definitely is the most interesting. It also is one of the most beautiful. Let’s start with the color: paint-to-sample Amethyst Metallic. I firmly believe it is one of Porsche’s most underrated colors. Released in the early ’90s it isn’t one we come across too often, even among the many PTS 911s we see these days. On the 964 it was a really good-looking color. On the 991.2 GT3 it’s simply stunning. I’ve seen a few different pictures of this car (I believe in previous posts from GRP) and it easily is one of the most striking available. Porsche has made some stunning greens, blues, and yellows over the years, but what makes Amethyst special is the way it is completely different from all of those. It’s unique and very pretty at the same time.
But this isn’t just a PTS GT3, as nice as that PTS exterior is. The interior too received significant extras.
Update 12/23/18: This 300D sold for $14,600.
The 1977–1981 Mercedes-Benz W123 with the naturally-aspirated OM617 5-cylinder doesn’t get enough appreciation in my eyes. Everyone loves the 1982-1985 OM617A, which is the turbocharged version, and rightfully so. Although, if you told me to pick one of the engine solely based on simplicity, I would probably pick the naturally-aspirated version. Yes, it barely has enough power to keep up with modern traffic with 115 lb⋅ft of torque, but no W123 is winning any races in 2018, no matter what the engine. There is a caveat however. In the 1977-1981 W123 with the OM617, you were cursed with the Chrysler automatic climate control system which has the same functionality as a pair of roller skates on a lake. When Mercedes updated the W123 in 1982, they realized their mistake and replaced it with a manual climate control system that, surprise surpise, still works flawlessly some 30 years later. You can’t have it all, I guess.
Today, I have an absolutely pristine 1979 300D up for sale in Poughkeepsie, New York with a hair under 53,000 miles. Painted in Topaz Brown over Parchment MB-Tex, this is one of the finest W123s I’ve come across recently and it has the story to back it up. Judging by the already fast and furious bidding, it is not going to go cheap.
Update 1/17/19: The white S6 listed as sold for $8,900.
If you weren’t paying attention, a few weeks ago we saw a record high price (since they were new) for a C4 Audi. It was a particularly impressive 1993 Audi S4 with a scant 12,000 miles on the odometer, and it sold for $33,000. If that sounds like a lot, I’d wager it was still a relative bargain. Find an equal contemporaneous M5 or 500E, and you’d likely have to add a “1” in front of that sales number to take it home.
So here we are looking at two turbocharged quattro sedans of the same ilk. Both are the revised S6, both are well presented, but both are also driver-quality, with far more miles than appeared on the S4. Which is the one to take home? Let’s start with the late build 1995.5 in Pearlescent White Metallic:
Update 1/17/19: This 135i is listed as sold at $18,000.
A few months ago I took a look at one of the best affordable driving packages from BMW in recent times – the E82 135i. The model I looked at was rare for a few reasons; clean, original 135is with a 6-speed manual are fairly hard to find, and on top of that the particular example was outfit in Alpine White and with the M-Sport package, plus it had the even more infrequently seen beige Boston leather interior. It was also fairly loaded and had lower mileage – all in all, a hard package to replicate.
2013 BMW 135i M-Sport
Well, I’ve come pretty close today. In some ways, this car may actually be a bit more desirable. Let me explain why:
Update 1/17/19: This car is listed as sold for $2,750.
As I’ve mentioned before, the success of the Audi A4 really opened the U.S. market to a whole lineup of cars we might otherwise not have been privy to. Undoubtedly the best way to consider that is by looking at the C5 A6 lineup. But first you need to remember that prior to its 1998 launch, the C4 reigned in 1996 at the top of the Audi sales ladder for the U.S.. However, the number of configurations you could get was shockingly small. You had the choice between front-wheel drive and quattro, and again between sedan and Avant. That’s it. Following the drop of the 2.2 liter turbocharged S6 for our market in 1995 and the 5-speed manual from the A6 lineup for 1996, your only “choice” if you wanted a mid-sized Audi was to begrugdingly select the rather stale 2.8 liter V6 rated at 172 horsepower and mated solely to a 4-speed automatic. It was competent, but boring. Actually, that sentence sums up the end of the C4 run here pretty well – and the market recognized that, snapping up only around 10,000 of the models each year.
Turn your attention to the C5 lineup and you suddenly see the array of options opened by sales success. First to launch was the heavily revised sedan for 1998. Now with the 30 valve V6, horsepower was up to a more respectable 200 and the transmission gained a gear, though it was still automatic-only. The Avant carried over from the C4 lineup unchanged for ’98, but the new sedan was enough to double sales of the A6. ’99 launched the new Avant and with it, again a surge in sales by 50%. That allowed Audi to bring over some more exciting options:
Update 12/12/18: This Kremer-modified 930 sold for $173,600.
I honestly don’t know where to even begin with this one. It’s so audacious that I think it’s best just to have a look at it first and then discuss it. But let’s at least lay out the basics: This began as a 1976 Porsche 930 Turbo delivered in Germany. It’s original color was the Ice Green Metallic exterior we see here – presumably sans graphics – with a leather-to-sample green interior. It was sent to Kremer Racing for their 935K package and the end result is the car we see here. I love just about everything about this 930. It’s kind of insane and perfect at the same time and fits very well into the crazy Porsche racers of the ’70s.
This Kremer-modified 930 will be up for auction this Saturday, December 8 as part of RM Sotheby’s Petersen Automotive Museum auctions.
Update 12/2/18: The manual 1981 5000S has been relisted with a reserve auction and opening $6,500 bid price. It bid to $5,100 last time around and I was surprised it didn’t sell. Based upon the other Type 43 sales recently, the current listing seems ambitious so we’ll probably see this one remain for sale for a bit.
Update 11/11/18: The 1980 5000S sold for $2,600.
I wasn’t particularly effusive with praise for the Type 44 Audi 5000S, although it was almost certainly the car which kept Audi’s doors open and lights on in the U.S. during the 1980s. Part of the reason that the Type 44 was so successful was that it was a major step forward from the Type 43, a car designed in the 1970s that felt…well, decidedly like it was from the 1970s. It was big, boxy, not particularly efficient and not particularly technically advanced – especially when compared to the model which replaced it.
However, there were some great qualities about the Type 43. It was the model that introduced mass turbocharging to Audi with the 200 5T, a de-tuned version of which would appear in the U.S. as the Audi 5000 Turbo. Audi used that idea to launch the Quattro a bit later, and the rest is history. The Type 43 was also quite a handsome car, though like many from the period its looks were hampered by the DOT-approved bumpers. Although well reviewed by magazines and offering class-leading features and technology, the Type 43 never really sold in great numbers. A total of 163,442 sold here between its 1978 launch and 1983, the last model year before the Type 44 replacements rolled into dealers. That was just a bit better than the C1 Audi 100 had sold here, a car with a less-than-stellar reputation. Clearly, the Type 43 spent most of its time erasing the memory of the C1, and consequently it is important as it laid the cornerstones for the more successful Type 44.
Today C2s are pretty hard to come across, though we do see a regular flow of them across these pages. Today’s examples are the more pedestrian (and more common to find) 100 horsepower naturally aspirated versions rather than the early Turbo. Still it’s a bit of a treat to get two at the same time, so here we go:
Update 1/17/19: Listed as sold for $3,400.
Update 1/2/19: Although listed as sold for $1,976, this ’86 4000CS quattro has been relisted again with no reserve. At last check, the seller is looking for nearly $9,000 on their site.
In a recent post discussing my ultimate Audi garage and what sedan I’d pick, I proclaimed that I’d take a 4000 quattro over a B5 S4. To many, that’s probably a strange choice. In many very measurable ways, the S4 is a superior car. It’s much, much, much faster, more comfortable, quieter, more efficient, and I could even see the argument that it’s more attractive. You can still buy parts for the S4 and you’ll have much more ‘street cred’ among most enthusiasts.
I, however, am not ‘most enthusiasts’. Indeed, if two people pulled up to a Cars and Coffee – one in a clean Nogaro Blue Pearl Effect S4 and one in a fairly used 4000CS quattro, I know which one I’d gravitate towards. I’d like to think I’m not alone, either. The 4000CS quattro was one of the best examples of “greater than the sum of its parts”. With only 115 horsepower on tap and fairly mundane roots in an economy car, you’d be right to not expect much. But the 4000CS quattro over-delivered in just about every way thanks in no small part to a healthy dose of DNA infused from its bigger, turbocharged brother.
Early in the month I took a look at a partially restored example and concluded that you couldn’t really expect more for the $4000 ask. That car has sold on, it would appear, but today another Zermatt Silver Metallic ’86 has popped up. Will the same hold true?