There is always something satisfying about the Mercedes-Benz W123 chassis. Even more so when it is preserved like today’s example. This 1979 240D up for sale in Florida is finished in the wonderful Caledonia Green with matching hubcaps and a light beige interior. The odometer says 68,000 miles but I usually only trust these odometers as far as I can push them; though, all things considered, this one might actually be a low-mileage car. It’s all roses until you see the price.
I’m all for discovered “barn finds” or whatever hot term you want to use as it brings new life into a car that was probably written off and forgotten. Although everyone loves a good story, most of the time there is a good reason why these cars were stashed away and not heard from. Most of the time it is mechanical issues that become untenable due to time and/or money constraints, along with busy life getting in the way. Today’s car, a very special European-specification 1979 Porsche 930 Turbo, doesn’t have much of a backstory from what I can find, but oh boy does it have potential. Or so I thought.
As you might have noticed, this isn’t a stock 930. The front bumper was the first giveaway, then you look out back and see a giant intercooler with the lovely letters of “ANDIAL” tacked on it to. The selling dealer says this is now a 3.4-liter car with a RUF five-speed transaxle, and the crude drawing on the shift knob seems to confirm that. Even cooler than the Pasha sees is the custom mount housing an adjustable boost gauge, which I’m sure was absolutely terrifying to play with. So at this point I’m thinking “Cool. Just pull the engine, give it a full service, and drive it as-is.” Not so fast. This one might be a very hard pass for even the most extreme owners.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Porsche 930 Turbo on eBay
Was last week’s 1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 too much of a project for you? Yeah, I don’t blame you either. That was a little too far gone for most pallets. However, today we have a much less intensive project.
This is a 1979 Mercedes-Benz 300TD. The legendary wagon that will never fail unless you let it sit for years and the fuel turns to mush. If you thought that was really specific, then you are right. For as good as this car looks in the photos, it supposedly does not run and hasn’t been started in two years. You might be saying how does that happen, but the Bentley Bentayga in the background probably helps to explains it. Still, this car looks really good and is claimed to have just a little over 46,000 miles. Is it worth the gamble?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Mercedes-Benz 300TD on eBay
When I think of homologation specials, there are all sorts of models that instantly pop into my head. Of course, being an Audi fan, the Sport Quattro is a great example of the insane Group B era. Of course, Group C spawned a whole series of special cars, from the RS200 and Lancia 037 to the Porsche 959. There’s the special 924 Carrera GTS, as well – a car few remember outside of Porsche circles, and one that’s often forgotten even by them. Then there’s the great period of DTM specials – the “Evolutions” of the M3, 190E and V8 quattro that proved Darwin was right, and we just looked at the later 80 Competition. Of course, you can go back even further and look at one of the most special cars ever created – the original Ferrari GTO – to see a very special homologation of a race car. But outside of the big headlines, there are plenty of small production run cars that were created to jump through loopholes, and returning to my original Group B example, we can see one neat car that was created in order to run in World Rally. It’s not a car you’d expect though – it’s the quite heavy and long Mercedes-Benz C107. Mercedes took steps to make it rally worthy, including lightweight aluminum panels in front and back, and of course upped the power with a new aluminum 5.0 V8:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC 5.0 on eBay
Because it’s an early 1980s Porsche and the model ends with “Turbo”, it must be automatically unaffordable, right? Not so fast. While the air-cooled market has lost some of its forced-induction steam as of late, few would consider the 930s out there “cheap”. But there is still plenty of value in the transaxle marketplace; and from early 928s to the fledgling 924 Turbo, automotive journalists are pegging these cars as the ones to buy before they, too, head upwards.
The 924 Turbo, or 931 internally, was a huge upgrade from the standard 2.0 924. The addition of a KKK K26 turbocharger and 6.5 lbs of boost did the best part of double the power in Europe – even in U.S. trim, an impressive 140 horsepower was available. Yet they developed a reputation as expensive to run and finicky; when later, equally powerful normally aspirated 944s and even more potent 944 Turbos came along with fewer drawbacks, the 924 Turbo fell into relative obscurity. Today, find a good one though, and it’s a recipe for an instant classic collectable: