1995 Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG

These are strange times for the Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG. Once the breakthrough car of the official Mercedes-Benz AMG vehicles launch in North America, this is now a car that maybe isn’t quite a full blown collectible for what it is, but has some pedigree to be one. The problem with the C36 is that it didn’t have much fan fare when it launched because of its extremely conservative styling as well as the minor bump in power and performance. This led it to be forgotten about and ultimately into the hands of wrong people. You could find a well used example for well under $10,000 and if it was really beat up and rusty, $5,000 might take one home. Now, people want old performance cars with brand caché, even through their performance leaves much to be desired. The thing is, what happens to the examples that still have a ton of life left in them, but are far from the best example remaining? I’m curious to find that out with this 1995 up for sale in California.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG on eBay

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2005 BMW M3 Dinan S3-R Competition Package Individual

You and a million plus of your internet friends love the E46 M3. With a high-revving naturally-aspirated inline-6, near perfect weight distribution and timeless looks, how could you not? So how to stand apart from the crowd? Well, this ’05 might be just the right ticket. First, you’d want to source one of the elusive BMW Individual examples. Like Porsche’s Paint to Sample, these were custom-ordered Ms with near limitless options, and the E46 was the first to really exploit this before it was the popular trend. 58 Coupes were optioned in E36-spec Estoril Blue Metallic for the U.S. market, and admittedly it looks great on the newer generation too. This one goes one step farther with M Texture Anthracite Alcantara that is very infrequently seen in the modern Ms. Not done yet, it was opted with a 6-speed manual to sooth the Internet’s fears. For good measure the ZCP Competition Package was ticked on the order sheet. And to scare everything else on the road, it was then sent to Dinan where just about every conceivable option was fit. The resultant supercharged S3-R package was good for 462 horsepower. The seller describes this combination as a unicorn, and it’s pretty hard to argue with that assessment.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 BMW M3 Dinan S3-R Competition Package Individual on eBay

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1994 BMW 850CSi

Rounding out 2019, I’d like to take a look at one of my favorite cars. I came of driving age during the reign of the E31, and I still remember magazines taunting that the ‘M8’ would soon be with us. Of course, it never came – at least, not until today. But we still did get an E31 breathed upon by the Motorsports division in the spectacular 850CSi. The heart of the CSi was a special “S” motor. In this case, BMW Motorsport GmbH took the M70 and beefed it up seriously. Bored out to 5.6 liters and with compression bumped up and revised electronic programing, the resulting S70 took BMW’s V12 from 296 horsepower to 372 with 420 lb.ft of torque on tap. Macht schnell, indeed! But there were a host of other changes; offered only with a manual 6-speed gearbox, the CSi also got a quicker steering rack, Euro M5 brakes, shorter and stiffer springs, and M System II ‘Throwing Star’ 17? staggered wheels. A new body kit made the elegant E31 look much more menacing, too. Europeans even had the option of 18? M Parallels and, amazingly, 4-wheel steering.

In 1994, this car cost almost $110,000. Today that’s nothing, as you can spec a special-order M3 up to that amount. But back then? That was nearly the price of three M3s. These super coupes have never really come down in price, as like their contemporary the 928GTS, they have maintained an aura of unobtainium and sacredness to a generation of motoring enthusiasts. Just 225 made it to the U.S., and this is one of 14 Orient Blue Metallic (317) examples. I think I’m in love…

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW 850CSi on eBay

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2003 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG

Love, hate, or indifferent, red cars draw eyes. Sometimes that is a bad thing, like when you are doing 87 mph in a 70 mph zone on the highway. Other times it is a good thing, like when you are selling a car. I think the term “resale red” does carry a lot of weight because consumer studies have shown that people who drive red cars are looked at differently. Red is fast and aggressive, while the earth tones are a little bit more subdued and conservative. Only makes sense, but when push comes to shove, are you willing to actually pony up the cash for a red car? You can see where I’m going with this with today’s car, a 2003 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG up for sale in Florida. Just 30,000 miles and looks like it is dripping wet just sitting there. Anyone brave enough for “arrest me red?”

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG on eBay

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1972 BMW 2000 Touring M40

Is a classic wagon more your style, but you want to keep up with modern traffic? The BMW E6 Touring offers a unique look coupled with timeless style that will help to set you apart. They’re a favorite of mine for sure. But this one has ditched the original configuration and gone for a more modern stance with E30-sourced engine, wheels and a modern interior for a different type of resto-mod Touring. Does it stand the test of time?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1972 BMW 2000 Touring on eBay

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2014 Audi allroad

Audi’s C5 allroad wasn’t the first tall all-wheel drive wagon to hit the market; AMC claimed that crown with the Eagle well before Audi’s Quattro even hit the market. But it somehow defined the luxury do-anything segment and was unique in the German marques; Audi brought massive amounts of computational power, height-adjustable air suspension, a wide-body flare kit, twin-turbocharged power and even a manual gearbox. It was awesome. It was popular. But, it broke so much that even MacGyver was left stranded..

So when it came to the original allroad’s replacement for the B8 chassis, Audi dropped pretty much all the cool stuff. Gone was the manual, gone was the V6, gone too were the twin turbos and height-adjustable suspension. Audi simplified the recipe and based the newer allroad on the A4 Avant. Power came from the same 2.0T TFSI inline-4 mated solely to an 8-speed automatic found in the regular A4, pumped up the ride height slightly and added matte black fender lips and Voila! Miffy had a new ride to get to Nordstrom. Worse for some enthusiasts, the advent of the allroad came at the expense of the regular (and attractive) A4 Avant. Disappointed? Me too. But hey, every once in a while a good-looking one comes around…

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2003 Porsche 911 Turbo

Santa is here and he drives 2003 Porsche 911 Turbo painted in Guards Red. Okay, maybe not. But if he did, I think he’d go classy with a Savannah Beige full leather interior with dark burl wood accents, and of course, the navigation system as well. Wouldn’t you know it, that is what we have today. This 996 Turbo up for sale in Maryland is finished is said spec and the best part, just has 11,000 miles on it. Basically a brand new car and certainly looks the part. Naturally this won’t come cheap, but I’m really surprised at what the ask is on this one.

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1958 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

As much as all of us would love to be Jerry Seinfeld, causally trading the most historic air-cooled Porsches on a whim, the reality is that we’re not. But, as ever, I offer a potential solution. The Karmann Ghia gave you Porsche looks on a Beetle budget. Shortly after the Beetle’s arrival in America, VW’s new sport coupe arrived for the 1956 model year. Like the later Scirocco also built by Karmann in Osnabrück, Volkswagen based its model on the normal production line Beetle but the swoopy body came from the Italians – technically, borrowed from a Chrysler, actually. Those lines were notoriously complicated; outside of items that open, the body is one piece and constructed entirely by hand. The rear-engine, rear-drive 1.2 liter flat-4 air-cooled clatter wouldn’t get you anywhere as fast as the looks suggest, but then why are you in such a hurry?

About 400,000 were produced in total and they’re not impossible to find today. They’re also more affordable than really top-tier Beetles and early VW Vans, but more significantly you really do get exotic looks on a shoestring budget still. While getting into a fully sorted ’58 356A will set you back around $130,000 – $150,000, you can get into a beautiful early example of the Ghia fully restored for only a fraction of that price:

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1997 Porsche 911 Turbo S

The end is near for 2019 and the decade as a whole, so I figured we might as well go out with one last bang. Only this bang comes in some wild shades of green and ironically requires enough green to buy that would knock your house down. This 1997 Porsche 911 Turbo S is finished in Wimbledon Green Metallic over a Nephrite Green leather interior and needless to say, is one wild 911. I took a look at another 993 Turbo S a few months ago, from the same dealer no less, that was finished in Glacier White and had just 7,600 miles on it and was left wowed by that. This car? Almost certainly a 1 of 1 example given the colors. The miles? How does 532 sound? Total.

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2003 Audi RS6 6-speed

Throngs of U.S. Audi fans rejoiced when the news came that not only was the RS6 returning to this side of the Atlantic, it would be coming for the first time as an Avant. With nearly 600 hybrid horsepower on tap, it promises to be exactly the rocketship full of 5-door tech you’d expect from the company. But it will be interesting to see actual sales numbers after all the internet buzz dies down, because herein lies the problem with the RS6 Avant; if it is competing with the E63 S AMG Wagon (how could it not be?), it will sticker somewhere between $120,000 and $140,000 depending on options. Let’s just say that it’s safe to assume that’s out of the reach of most of the people chastising Audi all over the Internet for not bringing it here to this point.

So is there a solution? Absolutely. There was already a perfectly good RS6 offered here two generations ago. And if you’re willing to pony up roughly $40,000, you can have an Avant here. But today we’re looking at a sedan, because 1) they’re much more plentiful, 2) they’re much more affordable, and 3) this one is turned up and should offer close to the performance of the inbound model. The seller claims this car produces 620 horsepower and 750 lb.ft of torque. Oh, and I almost forgot quattro) it’s a 6-speed manual swap, too:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi RS6 on eBay

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