1977 Mercedes-Benz 200D

What if I told you that Mercedes-Benz made a W123 slower and less powerful than the 240D? Thankfully it was never sold in the US, but the 200D does exist. It came in at 54 horsepower and 83 lb-ft of torque, which is impressive that the engineers thought this was adequate for the year 1977. My whole thing is that I don’t care if cars are slow, I care if cars are dangerously slow. When you get stuck on hills, that’s not fun. When the car doesn’t have enough power to merge into oncoming traffic, that is a problem for everyone. So a Sunday evening drive out in the country, sure. Any kind of commuting or highway? Not a chance.

This example up for sale Oklahoma City now only checks in with the impressive 54 horsepower and 83 lb-ft of torque, but also has the steering wheel on the right side. An odd ball to say the least.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Mercedes-Benz 200D on eBay

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1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 Euro-Spec

While the M5 may have the notoriety of being the first serious super performance sedan, it’s easy to forget that Mercedes-Benz really started the trend. As early as the 1930s, Mercedes-Benz was building some of the fastest large cars in the marketplace. They were expensive, complicated, and beautiful works of engineering. It took a while post-war for both the marketplace and the company to come back to full strength, but two cars created in the midst of an international oil crisis I really think point towards the character of their respective companies. First was BMW’s hard-edged, barely disguised racer for the road, the 3.0CSL – which we sort of just looked at. It was expensive, relatively lightweight, stunning to look at and pretty quick to boot – a sporting nature that would carry through to the current generation of BMWs, still considered the benchmark in sporting sedans. On the other side of the fence was the 450SEL 6.9; who else but Mercedes-Benz would put the largest production V8 into a sedan when there was a gas crisis? If the 3.0 shouted about it’s racing prowess, the Mercedes was subtle and understated. Indeed, option number 261 even removed the displacement badge on the rear, and outside of that you’d only see hints of the car’s performance by the bulging tires and slightly more showy exhaust. But stomp on the loud pedal and the best part of 290 horsepower was on tap for you – and this was 1975. Remember 1975? It was when the base Corvette had 165 horsepower and if you wanted to just break 200, the L-82 was your only option at 205 horsepower. A full 40% more powerful, the Benz was the match for sports cars of the day in a straight line but offered extreme luxury at the same time:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 on eBay

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1977 Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera

Early Porsche 911 Turbos are a sight to behold. A raw and dangerous car if there ever was, which is a major plus for some, but also can be a turn off for those who have to provide for their families. No, I’m not talking about crashing and dying, but rather when it comes time to pull the engine and split the case for a rebuild. That will put you out on the street real quick if you don’t have the cash set aside. Generally, unless you are getting an absolute steal of a deal on buying one, this is not a car you want as a project. It is much cheaper and faster just to spend the money to buy a completed example and be done with it. If you want an early 3.0L Turbo Carrera model like this one up for sale in Texas, start looking. Just around 700 came to the US for the model year, and I’m willing to be much less survived given how many crashed or cut up for racing duty.

As you might of noticed, this is not your typical earth tone color 930. Although they did have some really great colors from the production line, Signal Green was not one of them, so a color change was required. Still, is it worth buying? Or maybe spend your piles of money elsewhere?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera on eBay

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1977 BMW 530i

Being an Audi fan, I’m aware of what a bad reputation can do to cars. In the 1970s, Audi gained a reputation for unreliability and poor electronics; perhaps justified, considering the many stories that people have about early Audi 100 ownership. However, it’s a haunting reputation that nearly 40 years on they’re still trying to shake. It looked as if by the early 2000s they had done so, but now a generation on, the cars from the Y2K generation have their own problems and have bred more discontent generally from enthusiasts on the outside looking in. The result is that it’s damn near impossible to find a nice condition Audi from the 1970s, and in just a few years we’ll see the same thing with 1990s Audis, too.

Where am I going with this, considering this is a listing for a BMW? Well, the early E12s had their own problems, but notably that was an issue in the U.S.. That’s because to meet U.S. market regulations, the E12 was made slower and more ugly. Large 5 m.p.h. bumpers were fitted, and compression on the M30 was dropped to meet lower fuel standards. Additionally, to burn off hydrocarbons to meet emissions regulations, the 530i was fitted with thermal reactor manifolds. They did as their name suggested, though the reaction unfortunately many times was with the internals of the engine – warping heads and frying valves. It was a debacle which spelled the death of the 530i, reborn as the 528i in 1979. Coupled with rust issues that this generation BMW had, it’s now quite hard to find an original U.S. spec 530i. Yet here’s a lovely one with some nice mods:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 BMW 530i on eBay

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1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9

The holy trinity of M100-powered Mercedes-Benz cars, the 600, 300SEL 6.3, and 450SEL 6.9, are not for the causal or faint of heart owners. The buy-in is expensive, the parts are expensive, the labor is expensive, everything is expensive. These are not cars you can stick in the corner of the garage under a cover with a battery tender hooked up only to drive it once a month, if that. They all use extremely complicated suspension systems that will leave you weeping if you walk out in the garage and see the car suddenly resting on its rocker panels. Despite support from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, lots of parts have been no longer available for many years and aren’t coming back, so your only hope it to pray that it doesn’t break and if it does, hope it can be rebuilt. There is a very small, but passionate group of owners of these cars in the M100 club, but their membership is decreasing as the years going on as younger generations aren’t interested in spending sometimes five-figures for routine repairs on these cars.

If you are brave enough to dip your toe into the world of dry-sump engine lubrication and doors heavy enough to slice your fingers clean off if they get caught in them, then the 450SEL 6.9 is where you want to start. Full disclosure, I own a W116 chassis, in non-6.9 trim, so I am a bit biased on these, but also extremely realistic as I’ve worked on a 6.9 extensively and lived to tell about. The hydraulic suspension system is sturdy, but again, very pricey if something goes wrong, and the same can be said for the 6.9 engine itself. The non-6.9 bits are some of the best materials you could ever ask for in a car, sans the god-forsaken US-spec HVAC, so it is for sure a give and take situation. Buy a well-sorted example and stay diligent with the maintenance, it won’t be so bad. However, buy a project and have fun explaining to your wife and kids why Santa won’t be visiting your house this year. Thankfully the car I’m looking at today, a rare European-spec 1977, looks to have all the major things looked after and is it relatively good health. The thing is, I don’t think the owner wants to let go of it. At least for not what I think it is worth.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 on eBay

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1977 Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera

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.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera on eBay

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1977 Porsche 911S Targa

A couple days ago I featured a 911 that had undergone a bit of a transformation into what we might best describe as an off-roader. I thought it seemed like a potentially interesting project, but in its present condition seemed somewhat incomplete. The pricing also didn’t seem great all things considered.

Here we can look at something similar though nearly the opposite. This is a Burgundy Metallic 1977 Porsche 911S Targa and unlike the 911S Safari, as it was dubbed, this one appears in nearly original condition, was under long-term ownership, has very low mileage, and looks pristine. At its best, this is what a mid-year 911 can look like. As I noted in the Safari post, the general lack of desirability of these models makes them good candidates for unique projects. With this one maybe we’ll see just where the market presently lies for an original example.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Porsche 911S Targa on eBay

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1977 Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera

This one checks a lot of boxes. I won’t call it perfect and there’s certainly some questions, but the car itself as it presents here should prove quite desirable. Here we have a 1977 Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera. I’m not 100% sure on the exact color since we aren’t told what it is, but I think it’s Signal Green. That’s a great start in and of itself since I love these early Turbos and that’s a great color for any Porsche. The interior is a fairly standard black interior, though it is fitted with sport seats. If you’re looking for one of Porsche’s very unique tartan or pascha interiors from this period, then this one won’t fit that bill, but a standard black interior isn’t bad either and everything looks in good shape. I should point out that this 930 has been fully restored; we aren’t looking at an entirely original example, but that restoration looks to have been of high quality. So while this isn’t one of those rare as-it-left-the-factory examples it still shows as an example that will transport you back to the days of its original production. We can only hope it’ll drive as good as it looks.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera on eBay

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1977 BMW 525

Update 4/14/18: After not selling last year for $7,300, this beautiful E12 is back up for $9,000 Buy It Now this Spring. Will Amazonitgrün Metallic be not only the sign of warmer temps, but also more money?

This probably seems strange at first, but to me this 1977 BMW 525 is the perfect counterpoint to yesterday’s Jetta. Like the Jetta, this Euro-specification 525 is on the low-end of the totem pole in the production scale of even the early E12 5-series. Granted, the introduction of the M30 into the E12 did up the power over the early E10 4-cylinder models; however, in 1977 this M30B25 produced 145 non-fuel injected horsepower – only 15 more than the 520i. The early 5s didn’t have much in terms of luxuries that we’ve come to associate with the benchmark sedan, either – they were fairly basic. But just like yesterday’s Jetta, this 525 located in Bulgaria is worth a long look because of the beautiful condition, which is enough to draw you back to a more simple time:

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1977 Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera

I have somewhat of an obsession with these cars. There’s obviously a certain degree of obsession that applies to all of us here at GCFSB – whether writers or readers – but I mean this specifically in reference to the 3.0-liter 930. I can’t even really say why that is. I’ve never driven one or sat in one; I’m not sure if I’ve ever even seen one, at least, not any time recently. By all indications from those much more familiar with them than me, the later 3.3-liter 930 is better. It’s more refined, more powerful, and just a generally all around better performer. There also are a lot more of them so prices are much lower for all but the final year model. Yet here I am: show me a ’76 or ’77 930 and I will stop in my tracks to go over the whole thing.

The only thing I can say for sure about this obsession is that I definitely think the earlier whale tail Turbos – rather than those with the tea tray – are better looking. Functional or not, I’ve never really liked the look of the tea tray spoiler, whereas I think the whale tail fits the 930’s lines just about perfectly. The tea tray makes the 930 look clunkier while the whale tail makes it look lighter, which of course it is! If you add the Turbo graphics available at the time, then I’m completely on board. Perhaps someone else will understand this obsession. I don’t know. Either way, here we have another one up for sale and it looks quite good: a Silver Metallic 1977 Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera, located in San Diego, with black interior and 40,035 miles on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera on eBay

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