Nearly six months later, this 190SL with the crazy IUZ-FE swap is still for sale with a new price of $169,000. If you are keeping score at home, that is $10,000 more than what it was previously listed at. Bold strategy.
File this one under the category of something you don’t see every day … or ever. I know you are probably wondering why I am looking at another 190SL when I just recently featured one, but as you can judge by the title, this isn’t your standard 190SL. Somehow, someway, this classic 1962 Mercedes roadster is powered by the 1UZ-FE 4.0-liter Lexus V8. Even more, it is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission and a limited-slip differential. All of this work looks factory, as factory as a 1962 car with a Lexus V8 can look, and performs just as well. I’m still trying to wrap my head around this one and I imagine you are too.
I’ve been accused of ignoring the E30 325ix. True enough, I’ve flatly declared that I’m much more an Audi fan from the period. But the BMW was a pretty interesting development from Munich, and as these are still market darlings, it’s certainly worth taking a look.
While BMW wouldn’t launch the U.S. spec ix until 1988, Europeans were introduced to the concept in 1986. Unlike Audi’s quattro system which utilized a rearward driveshaft tacked on to a front-wheel drive transmission output shaft, BMW mated a transfer case and two viscous couplings, which effectively were front and rear limited-slips. This was very different from Audi’s contemporaneous system, which relied on the driver to lock the rear and center differentials that were otherwise open. The 325ix was able to be mated to an automatic transmission long before Audi would do so in the small chassis. BMW’s system was also more rearward biased, with 67% of the power being sent to the back wheels. While still more prone to understeer than a standard 325i, it was less so than the Audi.
Then, of course, there was the power difference. Because of suspension and other changes between the front-drive and quattro Audis, the system added about 225 lbs to the curb weight, while BMW claimed the ix system added around 150 lbs. Since both cars made use of otherwise standard engines, the advantage was again with the BMW. The M20B25 cranked out nearly 170 horsepower, some 40 more than the NG 2.3 inline-5 shared in the 80/90 quattros. The only real external differences between the 325i and 325ix were the addition of the color-matched fender flares and rear spoiler, slightly higher ride height and 15″ BBS mesh wheels, and the simple addition of one “x” behind the normal designation. Weren’t times so much more simple?
Were it not for the four rings on the front, it would be pretty easy to mistake the Audi 100 Coupe S for any number of other late 1960s – early 1970s GT cars. There’s a loose resemblance to the the second generation Mustang, for example, but a much stronger link to cars like the Datsun B210 and original Toyota Celica. Too pedestrian for you? How about the Fiat Dino, Jensen Interceptor, Ferrari 365 GTB/4 and Aston Martin DBS? Indeed, there were many coupes that shared the relative same profile in this era, though truth be told it’s not likely that you’ll mistake the Audi for a Ferrari once the curves beckon. Underneath, the Coupe S was – after all – a C1 Audi, not known to be the best drivers out there but good cars on the highway. With 113 horsepower, even with the 4-speed manual you won’t win any drag races. However, it’s a sharp looking and rarely seen classic, with only a handful in the Western Hemisphere (there are 5 known in the U.S., for example, since they were never imported). That makes this Audi even more rare to see on these shores than a Sport Quattro, for argument’s sake. Though it’s not as desirable, there is nonetheless a fanbase that love these very pretty early Coupes:
Here we have another 1997 Porsche 911 Turbo S. The final climax of the air-cooled 911 and quite rare. This one is not a ridiculously low-mileage garage queen like the last Turbo S I featured. While it’s hard to call any twenty-year-old 911 reasonably priced at almost $300K that’s pretty much exactly what we have with this one. Of course, there are reasons for that reasonableness. In this case, a touch over 80K miles and an engine rebuild account for the discount. Even so, is it worth it? It’s still around $100K more expensive than a low-mileage non-S 993TT and you likely could buy 2 of those if you allowed for comparable mileage and condition. Such is the cost of rarity.
When it rains, it pours. For a vehicle that North American only saw 192 of, I have come across three W211 Mercedes-Benz E55 Estates for sale in less than three weeks. Last week it was a 2005 in The Hamptons that needed some help and the week before that it was an even rarer 2006 also in New York that was replaced by a Ferrari FF. Today, we have another 2005 that is up for sale in sunny Jacksonville, Florida that thankfully looks to be in prime shape. This S211 painted in Brilliant Silver Metallic checks in with 145,000 miles and thanks to a few little Mercedes software tricks, has some nice little features that I don’t see all that often.
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:
I like a certain degree of completeness so why not go ahead and bookend things? This Black 1977 Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera resides at the other end of the 930 spectrum from the 1989 930 I featured on Monday. It isn’t from the first year of 930 production so this isn’t the perfect comparison, but since it is from one of the first two years when the 930 utilized a 3.0 liter turbocharged engine without an intercooler it still provides a glimpse into the model’s early days.
Looking at them both you could easily mistake one for the other. Their dimensions are the same even if the ’89 has gained a couple hundred pounds so you won’t notice much there. The most obvious difference is the rear spoiler. Porsche modified the 930’s spoiler in ’78 so as to accommodate the new intercooler that would feed air into the larger 3.3 liter engine. It has much more pronounced wings, which has garnered it the name tea tray compared with the whale tail of the 3.0 liter models. The fog lights too are different as they became integrated into the front bumper. We notice the same difference when comparing the 911SC and 3.2 Carrera.
While the outside is quite similar, the differences in the interior are much more apparent and show the evolutionary changes of the 911 in general over this time. We find a similar evolutionary development under the skin. Naturally power increased and with it came larger 4-piston ventilated disc brakes. The 930 now could stop as well as it could go. And, of course, in 1989 Porsche fitted the 930 with the G50 5-speed transmission, the biggest change these cars had seen since their displacement increase in 1978.
For every Craiglist-special Mercedes-Benz R107 out there with its average condition and crazy price, there is one R107 that is actually worth the money. You wouldn’t believe the number of 450SLs and 380SLs I dig through day after day with phrases like ”Great condition” and ”A real peach” only to see they have tires on them from 1996 and the canvas top is full of mold. I chalk it up to nearly two-thirds of the 300,000 R/C107s built ending up in North America over the unheard of 18 year production run. Combine that with their durability and most people treating them like some sort of investment, and you now have a market flooded with R107s. As the baby boomers hit retirement and their three-bedroom ranch house has a for sale in the front yard, so does the SL in the garage. The overwheling majority of the time they are over priced (in my eyes) and there just aren’t many buyers out there for them. The W113 Pagoda is a much more attractive car and the R129 is a much more livable car with its modern amenities. You are left with the R107 right in the middle with its giant bumpers, four eye head lights and underwhelming performance numbers. However, there is a beacon of light for the R107. This car is none other than the 280SL 5-speed.
Update 12/11/18: After a year on the market – no surprise given the $25,000 asking price from January 2018 – this Euro-spec 323i kitted out with BBS attire has moved apparently from Virginia to Texas and been relisted with a new seller. The photos and description haven’t changed (right down to leaving the original “I drove the car to VA” and the original seller ‘Mike’s number) other than the mileage now listed as 119,999 and the price has dropped from $25,000 to $19,323 today. It could be a fake listing and the price is still high enough that it probably won’t sell, but 323is come up for sale here so infrequently it was worth another look.
It’s easy to lament the U.S. bound 320i. Powered by a fuel injection M10, it managed to kick out only around 100 horsepower in the early 1980s and felt like a disappointed follow-up to the fantastic 2002tii, which was lighter and sported 130 horses. While the smart-looking Bracq-designed E21 ticked the right 3-boxes and scaled his vision down well, the U.S. bound models got the unfortunate impact bumpers that made them look heavy and unappealing. It was like a cute kid wearing orthodontic headgear; you were pleased to meet them, but couldn’t help but feel bad for the way they ended up looking. Sure, there was a sport version of the 320i towards the end of the run, and it looked better because…well, it had BBS wheels and everything looks better with BBS wheels, but aside from that the U.S. 320i was the relatively forgettable holdover until the E30 redeemed the small sporting sedan range here.
But in Europe?
How do we explain the 930? It’s appeal seems both undeniable, but also uncertain. It’s raw and powerful and appeals to all of our childish sensibilities. It’s kind of a Hot Wheels car come to life. In some cases you might really think that’s what has happened. But we’re grown now and not everyone wants a car with a massive spoiler and bulging rear fenders. All of that power requires your full attention in a world where paying attention has become a novelty. But there are times when I look at one – and I’m sure some of you do as well – and can’t think of why I might want something else.
Here we have a triple black 1989 Porsche 930 Coupe with 80,457 miles on it. This comes from the final year of 930 production, a significant point for those in search of one of these turbos since it was the only year Porsche equipped them with a 5-speed manual transmission rather than the previously utilized 4-speed manual.