2005 Mercedes Benz E55 AMG Estate

Hard to believe it has been over a year since the last time I looked at a Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Estate. Time flies when you’re having fun I suppose, but I came across this 2005 up for sale in California that caught my eye immediately. Its really not any different than every other E55 Wagon I look at, but I thought it would be interesting to see where the market is at on these cars now that we head into 2020 and Mercedes-Benz is thankfully still gracing us with AMG wagons that are fast enough to put most exotics to shame. So are these still commanding strong money? Or are they starting to soften just a little? I think I have one of the answers to that question.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Mercedes Benz E55 AMG Estate on Rennlist

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2008 BMW M3 Sedan

Looking for the sweet spot in M3 performance, practicality, and price? I think it might just be the E90 M3 Sedan. As clean E36 and E46 prices sharply rise and newer M3/4 prices sharply fall, the E9x curve seems to have turned into a plateau. Following on the heels of the popular S54-equipped model, BMW needed to step up its game. That step came in the move from 6- to 8-cylinders, as BMW Motorsport GmbH created 80% of a S85 V10. With over 400 horsepower on tap and 295 lb.ft of torque, the S65 represented a healthy increase over the S54. As with the E46, a Convertible (E93) and Coupe (E92) version were available, but BMW also reintroduced us to the M3 Sedan.

In my eyes, these are the ones to get. The M3 Sedan is quite a bit more rare than the Coupe; 5,867 were sold versus 15,997 2-doors. Of those, over 50% were either Jet Black, Jerez Black or Alpine White – so one with a bit of color is always great to see. Here we have one of the 483 pre-LCI Silverstone Metallic (A29) Sedans with NDH2 extended Novillo Fox Red leather and the all-important third pedal:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 BMW M3 Sedan on eBay

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2008 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG 40th Anniversary Edition

File this one under “never knew it existed”. Probably for good reason too, since Mercedes-Benz only ever made 40 of them. This is a 2008 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG 40th Anniversary Edition meant to commemorate the 40th anniversary of AMG. It was designed by the specialists of the AMG Performance Studio, which means it has absolutely no mechanical difference from the standard CL65 AMG. What it does have differently, is Alubeam Liquid Metal paint, AMG exclusive brown premium leather upholstery with diamond-pattern stitching, some 40th Anniversary badging, and a special “One out of 40” commemorative badge atop the central COMAND control stalk. Don’t we feel special now?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG 40th Anniversary Edition on eBay

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1994 Porsche 968 Turbo S Tribute

There are rare Porsches, and then there are rare Porsches. The 968 Turbo S is a car that very few will ever get to see and a fair amount of Porsche enthusiasts in the U.S. don’t even know exists. The ultimate streetable front-engined Turbo coupe from the end of the run, the Turbo S took the old 2.5 8V turbo inline-4 to new heights of power by utilizing the newer S2/968 3.0 block with the earlier 944 Turbo S bits on top. Power reached over 300, a healthy bump over the existing 944 turbo and 968 16v. But there were only a handful made – around 14 between racing and street versions, making it one of the rarest Porsches ever made. This means you’re not likely to see one anytime soon – making the prospect of owning this replica much more appealing:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Porsche 968 Turbo S Tribute on eBay

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2001 BMW Z3 3.0i Coupe

The conundrum of the Z3 is for me wrapped up in the model’s signature appearance in Goldeneye. There was lots of promotion for the new model; after all, the change from Bond’s signature Aston Martin must have been for a car worthy of such a distinction. Granted, Audi beat BMW to the punch when James sported twin Type 44s in The Living Daylights but the fanfare surrounding the leap to BMW was unprecedented. And, as it turned out, largely unwarranted. Despite the hefty amount of advertising and anticipation of the debut, the 1.9 liter light blue convertible barely appeared in the movie at all; in fact, only long enough for James to toss the keys to someone else. This seems to largely sum up how enthusiasts feel about the successor to the Z1; cute, but a little too soft and not very BMW. Of course, as the model progressed it became more in keeping with the brand – especially true of when outfit by the M division. The resulting M Roadster and especially Coupe versions of the Z3 have become hot commodities in the marketplace, but if you’re willing to forgo the Roadstars, quad exhaust and especially the M motors in the front, you can still get quite a bit of sport in the 3.0:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 BMW Z3 3.0i Coupe on eBay

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2005 Porsche 911 Turbo S

When it rains, it pours, I suppose. A few weeks ago I took a look at a 2005 Porsche 911 Turbo S that featured a paint-to-sample exterior and a Porsche Exclusive interior. Those words sound fine as your read them, but when you actually see the color combo that was picked, it might be a different story. Surprisingly, a fair amount of people actually like it and more power to them, it was different, I give you that. As luck would have it, another 996 Turbo S with a Paint-to-Sample color and a CXX interior popped up for sale, this time in Germany. As you can see, this one is a little more on the conservative side, but even more brilliant in my eyes.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Porsche 911 Turbo S at Ronny Pannhorst GmbH

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1989 Audi 200 quattro Avant

It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been well over a decade since I bid farewell to my Audi 200. It was never meant to be; I had always admired the turbocharged Avants and so when one came up for sale for an incredibly low asking price, I jumped.

Turned out it was more than just me that needed a jump. And it turned out that the 200 needed a lot more than just a jump; the clutch was thoroughly fried, as were the brakes, and the fuel system, and a few other odds and ends. I patched it together and we enjoyed a memorable run of events. Of all my automotive calamity stories, about 50% revolve around both of my big body Audis. The V8 created more hair-raising events (such as the time the throttle stuck wide open and in an effort to stop it I managed to set the brakes on fire), but the 200 wasn’t to be outdone.

There was the time I left the tollbooth on the Mass Pike. The car was running particularly well that day, so I gave it the beans leaving the gate. First to second and the nose was pointed at the sky! Surely, everyone must be saying “WOOOOOOOW!!!“, and it turns out they were because I had blown an oil cooler line and was crop dusting Sturbridge with a thick coat of atomized 10W-40. Another time the voltage regulator died, leaving me to switch various electrical items on and off to balance the charge between 11.5 and 14 volts throughout the 2 hour ride home from Cape Cod. It blew several tires while on the road, which admittedly probably wasn’t its fault but was exciting nonetheless. I found out that the ABS worked – well – in an ice storm on 95 one time as I passed a braking BMW on the hard shoulder. The coolant lines froze one day – a major feat, since there was at least theoretically antifreeze in them. It twice threw alternator belts, leaving me to drive home the length of Rt. 24 at 5am with no lights on. The air conditioner didn’t work. Actually, basically everything electronic didn’t work particularly well if I’m honest. The radio’s blown speakers weren’t enough to overcome the wind noise created by the necessity to have the windows down at all times if the outside temp was over 60. But the kicker? The kicker was that the brake lines collapsed, leaving the calipers to randomly seize partially closed. As a result, you had to go full throttle to maintain 50 mph which, as you read at the beginning of this passage, occasionally presented an explosive problem. I gave up eventually, unable to stomach this car consuming more of my money.

Sound charming? It was. But most of my issues probably would have been remedied if I simply had bought a better example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Audi 200 quattro Avant on eBay

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2006 Porsche 911 Carrera S

There is something really satisfying to me about a Porsche 911 in blue. I don’t think I’m the only one, as Porsche fans seem to go insane over any crazy that is in a bright shade of blue. So much so, they’ll gladly pay extra to spec them in Paint to Sample. As luck would have it, that is exactly what we have today with this 2006 Carrera S in Mexico Blue up for sale in Alabama. A first year 997 car, this one comes in with a heavy option list with a sticker price of over $108,000. Whats not to like, right? Well, it seems to have the same issue as the 993 I just looked at.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Porsche 911 Carrera S on eBay

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1998 Volkswagen GTI VR6 Widebody

Acclaimed as the original of the “Hot Hatch” market, the original A1 GTI gained weight before it even hit U.S. shores and never stopped eating. Each generation gained weight, options and complexity – and to make up for that, VW kept upping the power. From the simple 1.6 8V the original sported, it was up to 1.8 liters by the time it hit U.S. shores – then a few years later, gained 8 more valves, than another .2 liters in 1990, and finally made the jump to the narrow angle VR6 with its mighty 2.8 liters pumping out nearly double the horsepower of the original. Despite the changes, each generation has been revered by its own group of enthusiasts, and it’s rare to find original condition GTIs over 10 years old.

On its way out of production, VW sweetened the VR6 even more with the “Driver’s Edition” model in 1997. Red stitching, red calipers and special Speedline wheels made an appearance, and while the package was ’97-only it was more-or-less completely carried over to the ’98s. This particular ’98, though, doesn’t carry much of that original spec because it’s been thoroughly upgraded, stretched and restored to an impressive level:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Volkswagen GTI VR6 Widebody on eBay

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2016 Volkswagen GTI S Performance Package

Hard to believe though it may be, 2020 rings in the reign of what will certainly be the new benchmark for small hatchbacks – the Golf Mk.8. The Mk.7 redefined the driving dynamics and performance of the category with what is generally hailed as the best VW chassis to date – the MQB platform. So it’s time to start looking at these models as potential values while we wait for the next GTI to bow.

The Mk.7 introduced a new strata of GTI trim levels. The base was a S, which gave you the Tartan interior, the turbocharged 2.0TFSI motor cranking out 210 horsepower, LED foglights, Bluetooth and a 5.8″ touchscreen, 18″ alloy wheels and a review camera. In other words, it wasn’t exactly a stripped model, and as such it’d cost you over $26,000 to get into one. Moving to the SE got you leather and a sunroof, along with automatic headlights, premium Fender radio and rain-sensing wipers. The top-tier Autobahn package further added navigation, power seats, and dual-climate control – by which point you were knocking on the R’s base price if you had fully optioned out your GTI.

So the one to get was the S if you could live without a sunroof, since it gave you the best look and the most bang for a buck. But there was a secret – the Performance Package, which gave you a further 10 horsepower and a limited-slip differential in front, along with upgraded brakes. Click one more option – the Lighting Package – and you got adaptive HIDs. This Pure White over Titan Black/Clark Plaid cloth 2016 had just that set of options, and just 5,500 miles since new:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2016 Volkswagen GTI S Performance Package on eBay

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