Tuner Tuesday: Supercharged 1995 BMW 540i 6-speed

Update 11/26/18: Although listed as sold at $7,100 last auction, this car is back again with no reserve and sold for $7,099.

Update 11/15/18: This E34 sold for $7,100.

After selling earlier this year from out Feature Listings, this built and supercharged “540i” is back on eBay with a no reserve auction and some slick new photos. Bidding is currently only at $5,600 with a day and a half to go.

In the early years of the 1990s, the writing was on the wall for the high-strung M88 derivatives. They were excellent motors, no doubt, but power levels were rising to the point where the M5 was no longer top trump. It enjoyed a small power advantage over cars such as the V8 4.2 quattro, true – with 276 horsepower and 295 lb.ft of torque, the Audi had less punch but more pull. But cars like the M119-equipped 500E changed the playing field; 322 horsepower was enough to overcome the S38 in the M5, but the big number was the 354 lb.ft of torque. That was nearly 100 lb.ft more than the S38 and it was more usable, too.

BMW wasn’t to be outdone, launching its own series of V8 for the 1992 model year. in 3.0 and 4.0 form, the modern aluminum motors dubbed the M60 brought new levels of power to the third generation 5. In fact, so potent was the 4.0 version that BMW decided the more expensive M5 was effectively redundant in the marketplace. The M60B40 was rated at 282 horsepower and 295 lb.ft of torque and and good enough to scoot the luxury car from 0-60 in 6.9 seconds even when equipped with a 5-speed automatic.

But there was a 6-speed manual option as well, and of course you could opt for the sport package that would give you better seats, springs and a limited-slip differential. These options turned the two-ton Teuton into an athlete. While this particular E34 started life as a 525i, it’s been given the full 540 treatment and then some, culminating in a Vortech supercharger for some serious punch:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 540i 6-speed on eBay

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Walter Payton’s 1979 Porsche 930


Update 10/28/18: This 930 sold for $324,500.

If you grew up in the ’70s and ’80s, or were an adult, or well, basically if you were alive and paid any attention to sports you will be well aware of Walter Payton. The long-time running back for the Bears and widely considered one of the best of all time, Payton was magic to watch on the field. He combined quickness with strength, hurdling and stiff-arming opponents out of his path. He also was a prolific receiver and upon his retirement lead the NFL with the most career receptions by a non receiver. While the Super Bowl winning ’85 Bears would go down as having one of the best defenses in NFL history, it was Payton who lead their offense as one of the tops in the NFL. He retired in 1987 as the leader in career rushing yards and all-purpose yards (both of which have since been surpassed) and passed away much too young from a liver disease in 1999.

This is the first sports car he purchased for himself after establishing himself in the NFL: a Silver over Black 1979 Porsche 930 that will be up for auction with no reserve this Saturday at the Mecum Auctions Chicago. This 930 has never left the Payton family as it was passed down to his son Jarrett after Walter’s death. It was one of the few cars Payton did not sell off and is reputed to be one of his favorites. It sits with only 9,950 miles on it. For the 930 collector and serious Bears fan it would be a must have addition to the garage.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Walter Payton’s 1979 Porsche 930 at Mecum Auctions Chicago

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1997 Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6

Update 11/11/18: This Jetta is listed as sold at $1,486.

Update 11/8/18: After being listed as sold for $1,977, this Jetta GLX VR6 is back on the market again for no reserve.

There’s something really special about the used Volkswagen market that you just don’t get with other cars. There are stories – stories of plans hashed over a few too many PBRs, stories of hard luck and bad decisions. A fair chunk of the time the cars appear with hurt feelings – or just “hurt” and “feelers” in Volkswese. Listings leap into “I was planning…” and proceed to outline a SEMA build-off from someone who clearly is neither Chip Foose, nor has the budget to be. Even when they’re not, hilarity can still ensue.

In short, you just don’t get the type of entertainment from a Porsche listing that you do from a VW. Today’s listing is a 1997 Jetta – but the seller assures us that this is “not your typical Jetta”. That must mean that everything works, it’s not rusting, and it has some residual value? I kid, I kid. What drew me to this listing, though, were two things. First off, Jetta GLX VR6s are getting harder to find, and this one both looked reasonably clean at first glance and was being offered at no reserve with a semi-useful description and set of photos.

But those photos are the key here. Not only did this seller manage to line up the Volkswagen to take pictures with signs indicating it’s pointing the wrong direction on a one-way, further investigation reveals that they’re not on a road at all – they’ve parked straight in the middle of a bike path. In front of a Meineke, which I’ll fully admit I was amazed to see was still a thing. But the coup de grâce must be the giant hanging “CHECK ENGINE” sign. Is there a more appropriate way to depict a dark green Jetta from the 90s?

Still, it is a VR6…

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6 on eBay

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1998 BMW M3 Sedan

This ’98 M3/4/5 sold for $19,750.

So the E30 M3 is probably out of your league, and clean examples of the E46 generation are getting more expensive by the day. The solution is still the E36. The Internet will make arguments all day long about how this car isn’t as special as the ones that came before and after, but the reality is that it’s still a M3. And you could make a compelling argument that it did (and still does) a better job of bringing sports car performance to a practical package that’s affordable to almost everyone. The S52 3.2 liter inline-6 doesn’t sound as great on paper as the race-derived S14, but it had two more peak horsepower than that strung out 4 we looked at yesterday. More telling was torque; 236 lb.ft at 3,800 rpms versus the Sport Evolution’s 177 lb.ft at 4,700 rpms. Yes, it was heavier; the curb weight of the M3 Sedan you see here was about 3,200 lbs. But the additional power made up for it, and the results should be no surprise. 0-60 was dealt with over 1/2 a second quicker than the Sport, a gap that was maintained right through the quarter mile.

And practicality? It’s no contest, really. Not only is the E36 safer, but the E36 added 4-doors to the recipe. Not to mention the costs to keep one running – check out the price of a S14 rebuild today, for example. Owning a legend often doesn’t come cheap, and in this case you the current bid on this 48,000 mile 1998 M3 is cheaper than what a proper rebuild of the race motor will cost you.

Then there’s the driving experience. Downgraded ///motor be damned, these cars are absolutely stellar to drive. I’ve driven each of the first three generations of M3 on track in anger, and the second doesn’t give up much to the bookends. It’s not as toss-able as the original nor as powerful as the third, but overall it’s right there. The steering is near telepathic, the shifting precise, the power band broad. It’s a deceptively good car and deserves far better than the treatment it’s currently getting, which is to mostly be ignored in the marketplace:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 BMW M3 Sedan on Bring a Trailer

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2003 BMW M3 Convertible

Update 10/15/18: This M3 Convertible sold for $22,100.

Like yesterday’s base 944, the M3 Convertible isn’t a car I spend a lot of time on. However, the recipe is hard to argue with; you get the beautiful lines of the E46 mated to the sonorous S54 with limitless sky over your head at the touch of a button. When this car was new, it was the fastest production 4-seat convertible available, though at nearly $60,000 it was hardly cheap. Fast forward to today, and it’s generally become the cheapest way to experience BMW’s gem of a motor in the ultimate development of the naturally aspirated inline-6.

Though I don’t write of them often, I do keep my eye on them from time to time. And today’s particular 2003 is a very special package. Presented in 400 Steel Gray Metallic over N5ZM Cinnamon leather, visually this car is quite a looker. Inside you’ll find a 6-speed manual, too, and a scant 34,866 miles on the odometer. Oh, and the auction is no reserve, too:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW M3 Convertible on eBay

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1970 Porsche 911T Coupe


Update 10/21/18: This 911T sold for $63,600.

This is a Tangerine 1970 Porsche 911T Coupe located in Malibu. It has a black leatherette interior, 123,042 miles on it, and is up for auction without reserve. Next to Signal Yellow, Tangerine (also called Blood Orange at times) is my favorite of the early Porsche colors that isn’t blue (it’s hard to have just one ‘favorite’). Tangerine is a color that is hard to pin down. In cases like the photos here, its red tones show up quite vibrantly and it almost looks like Guards Red. Truth be told I have many times checked out a 911 that looked like it might be Tangerine only to discover that it is Guards Red. The lighting in the photos just wasn’t very good. In other cases the orange tones stand out and you’re pretty sure you know what color you’re seeing, but ultimately it does look like a bright orange car and not everyone likes a bright orange car.

However, it is precisely this mix of red and orange that I find so appealing about the color. Under the right conditions it looks absolutely phenomenal. It is definitely not for the faint of heart, but I can think of few better options on any long-hood 911.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1970 Porsche 911T Coupe on eBay

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1988 Porsche 944 “GTS”

This Porsche 944 sold for $7,800

I don’t often look at plain 944s, especially late examples, for a reason. By the end of the run, the standard 944 was overshadowed by the introduction of the 944S and 944S2 with their twin-cam motors and even a Cabriolet. Of course there was still the 944 Turbo and for 1988, the pumped up Turbo S. Then there was the Special Edition and the 944 2.7. Nevermind that there was also the lightweight 924S Special Edition, too. In short, there aren’t too many reasons to look at a “normal” 944 from the late production run. But with 924 Carrera GT/GTS DNA pumped into it, this particular 944 is anything but normal looking:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 944 on eBay

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2010 Porsche 911 GT3


Update 10/15/18: This 911 GT3 sold for $135,000.

In truth I wasn’t sure I should post this Speed Yellow 2010 Porsche 911 GT3. I just posted a Speed Yellow GT3 a couple days ago so this is a little redundant. However, that was a 996, while this is a 997 and this one just looks so good that I was finding it hard to move on to other options. I figured if I was this interested, then others might be as well.

The other reason I ultimately chose to feature this one was in terms of market. As we’ve seen prices for the 996 have moved up. In some cases those prices even eclipse what you’d be asked to pay for a 997. So anyone looking at a GT3 would do well to consider both options. This is up for auction without reserve so it should give us a nice window into where the market stands. (We also don’t have to worry about an ultra-high reserve, more on that below.)

The 996 still is reputed to be the more pure of these two models, while the 997 is undeniably the better looking car. I like the 996 GT3’s looks, but there is a way in which that is relative to other 996 models. The 997 GT3 and especially the 997.2 like we see here is on another level. This particular example shows off its good looks incredibly well.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2010 Porsche 911 GT3 on eBay

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Unloved Hero: 1985 Audi 5000S

Update 11/11/18: This 5000S was relisted and is listed as sold again at $1,525.

Update 10/3/18: This 5000S sold at $1,325.

Back in May I took a look at a 1985 Audi 5000S. As I said at the time, the 5000S was just about as undesirable as an Audi got from that period for me. Most were boring color combinations with a boring 3-speed automatic and boring performance as a result. But, importantly, they existed. And without them, Audi probably wouldn’t have for our market.

Sure it would be exciting to look at a 1985 Quattro. But they only sold 73 of those. The 4000 quattro? 4,897 left dealerships. The GT? 3,586 were sold. In fact, if you combine all other Audis sold in 1985, you still come up short to the number of non-Turbo 5000s that left dealers. At nearly 40,000 spoken for, this car here represents the bulk of Audi sales and the bread-and-butter of the company’s appeal in the 80s. In fact, 1985 Type 44 sales were the most prolific of any Audi chassis from 1970 through 2000 in the U.S.. That was why the 60 Minutes sham had such impact on the company. By 1988, the number of Type 44s sold here was down to 10,000 from nearly 50,000 high point of 1985.

But in 1985 the “unintended acceleration” wasn’t yet a new item and these were still selling like the proverbial hotcake. So let’s take a look at this claimed low-mileage example and see if we can see some appeal today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi 5000S on eBay

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1956 Mercedes-Benz L319 Truck

Update 10/1/18: Sold for $5,456. That’s an expensive lump of rust!

Here is something I don’t normally see. This is a 1956 Mercedes-Benz L319 Truck up for bid in California of all places. As you can see, it is very old and very rusty. More on that later. The story with the L319 trucks and vans are they were a light commercial vehicle that were larger than a standard delivery van, but smaller than a conventional light truck of the time. The L319 is essentially the grandfather of the now very common Mercedes-Benz Sprinter that is still the go-to van for a number of industries. This 1956 in Chico, California has pretty much reached the end of its life span, but don’t put it past some trendy business to buy it and put flowers in the bed to take cutesy Instagram photos with.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1956 Mercedes-Benz L319 Truck on eBay

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