Just when I thought I’ve seen it all! What we are looking at is a 1977 Mercedes-Benz 300D that somehow was transformed into a strangely proportioned coupe. According to the seller, the body was modified by removing the rear doors, moving fuel tank and fuel door two feet forward, and extended the trunk lid two feet. Try to wrap your head around that. On top of that, this car already exists and Mercedes made of ton of them! Unless this car was modified right in 1977 when it came out, it made no sense why someone would do this. But here it is, in all its mis-proportioned glory. Just to make it even stranger, it is powered by a 1983 OM617 Turbodiesel engine. Let’s take a look:
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
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
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
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: