It’s hard to fit into the regular lineup all of the various neat German vehicles from diverse brands, so admittedly I end up focusing on ones that really spark my interest. That leaves big gaps in coverage, and one such gaffe is certainly the Volkswagen T-series. The first three generations were based upon the Type 2 platform and rear-engine configuration, which left plenty of space for a slab-sided apartment on wheels. But Volkswagen continued the feat with the T4. The engine moved to the front and was water-cooled, transverse and in most applications driving the front wheels. But like the T3, the T4 was also available in syncro configuration with all-wheel drive.
However, while the T3’s viscous coupling sent power forward with twin locking differentials for each axle, the T4’s front-drive transverse layout meant that it needed to employ a system similar to the Golf platform. That meant a viscous coupling to transfer power rearward when slip was detected, with some T4s also having a manually locking rear differential to assist in really sticky situations. While not the go-anywhere mountain goat the T3 could be, it was a neat configuration not offered in the States. Further, you could get a plethora of engine choices at the same time the EuroVan was solely offered with the 2.5 inline-5 gas motor. Case in point is today’s 2.4 liter AAB. While not more powerful than the 2.5 gas motor, the 10 valve inline-5 diesel was a lot less thirsty and offered 77 horsepower and 121 lb.ft of torque at low revs. Here it’s hooked to a manual transmission and already imported to the U.S.:
Update 8/18/19 – this 500SEC sold for $4,600.
I still get wishy-washy on the Mercedes-Benz W140 Coupe. Sometimes I think it looks great, other times I think it looks very odd. Yes, a lot of that has to do with the wheel and tire combo, but maybe my argument is that it shouldn’t come down to what wheels and tires a car has to determine if it looks good or not. The reason this comes up is because I came across a very interesting 1993 500SEC up for sale in Florida for a couple of reasons. First, it is painted in the very rare Nautical Blue Metallic. Second, it only has 98k miles on the odometer. Lastly, it is relatively cheap. Although that is probably for a reason.
Be still, my beating heart. One of my favorite vehicles of all time in one of my favorite colors. This is a 1993 Mercedes-Benz 500GE. You are probably saying “500GE?”, and yes, that would be correct. Somehow Mercedes stuffed the M117 V8 into the engine bay of the G and drove Mercedes technicians insane. The 500GE is extremely rare, and believe it or not, was only offered in one color: Amethyst Blue Metallic. There is nothing really blue about it, this G is purple. It is a much darker purple than Bornite Metallic and that is totally fine with me because I love it. This example for sale up in The Netherlands comes in with 135,000 miles and looks like it has about half that. The price? About what you’d expect.
One of the biggest challenges we face when contemplating cars from a distance is that it’s difficult to judge a book by its cover. We’re at the mercy of the images and what the seller is willing to disclose in order to form a judgement. I’d like to think that most of the time we get it right and spot items that are perhaps warning signs to a larger problem. But, perhaps inevitably, we definitely have gotten some wrong. That brings us to today’s car, which Andrew wrote up back in 2016:
1993 Mercedes-Benz 300CE
Andrew felt at the time that it was a very clean example with a reasonable price. And, as luck would have it, one of our readership took the plunge and bought the car without a PPI. But it didn’t go quite as one would hope the story would, as it turned out there were some undisclosed problems which popped up. Today the car is back for sale with a lot of the heavy lifting done and some more stories to add to its pages:
I’m always curious to take a look at pre-merger Mercedes-Benz AMG cars when they come up for sale and today’s car, a 1993 600SEL, is one of those cars I don’t see all that often. Normally, when these V12 W140 cars made their way to AMG or another tuning house like Renntech or Brabus, the factory 6.0 liter would be converted to a 7.0, 7.2 or 7.3 liter. It only made sense, as the M120 is as a robust a V12 as they come, and the profit margins that were probably built into these conversions when these cars were still new made it all worth it. I’ve looked a S70 AMG before with a dubious past and like today’s car, it was actually built at AMG Japan. The thing is, this isn’t a S70; it is still just a 600SEL. So what is going on here?
Just the other day on my ‘Distinctive Drivers’ page – a Facebook group that looks at unusual automotive finds – I stumbled across a ’92 Honda Accord 5-speed. Here was a rather sedate, base model Accord; yet, because of the rarity of seeing such a car, and its recent complete disappearance from the marketplace, there’s an odd desirability for what was otherwise just an average sedan.
The same holds true today. Here’s a Euro-market Audi 80 TDi. The B4 chassis was nearly a stranger to us and is fairly infrequently seen these days; not many were sold here, especially when compared to the B5 A4 which followed. There were only two configurations they came in; all were 90s, and all shared the 2.8 V6 either driving the front or all four wheels. The 80 had been discontinued after ’92 for the U.S. and it didn’t appear as a B4 here, as there was no 90 model in the ’92 season officially.
But in Europe, of course, the B4 included the 80 model, which was the cheapest Audi you could buy – so they sold quite a few. Engines varied quite wildly from the U.S. models; there were 1.6 and 1.8 models which ranged from 70 to 125 horsepower, then 2.0 models running right up to a high-output variant of the 16V we saw in the GTI and GLI. There was the tried and true 5-cylinder we saw in our 80, and then there were a few V6s – the 2.8 seen in the U.S., but also a lower output 2.6 model for better economy. But if you wanted real fuel savings, you opted for one of the two diesels – the 75 horse 1.9TD or the 89 horsepower 1.9TDi:
Recently I took a look at the ultra-exclusive 968 Turbo S. With only 14 produced as far as anyone can tell, they are just about as good as the 968 got:
1994 Porsche 968 Turbo S
I say “just about” because, of course, there was an even more special model – the Turbo RS. This was the ultimate front-engine 4-cylinder Porsche, and it was intended just for racing. Perhaps ironically, Porsche introduced the 968 Turbo RS first and then brought the Turbo S to market in order to homologate the RS for racing. They were intended to compete in the ADAC GT series, and Porsche developed two different models – one for sprints, and one for endurance. At least one car went on to travel to the famous races of Le Mans and Sebring, but although these Turbo RSs were the ultimate 968 they were never developed fully to win races. Four were produced; one red ’92, one yellow ’93, one blue ’93, and one black ’94. That’s it.
Almost completely forgotten by nearly everyone including Porsche, one of the four Turbo RSs is for sale today:
Let’s head back to some rarities we never received in the U.S.. Now, the V8 quattro did come here, as did (briefly) a manual version. However, U.S. manuals were not only few in number, they were solely 5-speed and hooked only to the lower-output PT 3.6 from the late ’89-90s and a few ’91s. By the time the revised ABH 4.2 launched, Audi had dumped the manual option for North America; if you wanted to row your own in a fast quattro, your option was the S4.
In Europe, though, the S4 could also be mated to a 4.2 V8. And instead of 5-speeds, those cars got the 6-speed manual gearbox. That combination would go on to be the highlight reel of the S6, S6 Plus and early S8s, too. But a few select V8 quattros with the 276 horsepower 4.2 got that 6-cog manual, and our reader John spotted a very clean example:
Following up on the 1993 Mercedes-Benz 300CE Sportline from a few weeks ago, I thought I might look at another chassis that the Sportline option was available on, the W201 190E. For the model years 1992 and 1993, the 190E Sportline featured the M103 2.6 liter, suspension lowered by 21 mm, stiffer springs and shocks, 7 x 15-inch alloy wheels with wider tires (205/55 R15) and the seats from the much more expensive 2.3 16-valve model. Like the W124 Sportlines, a nice little package if you didn’t want to commit to the top of the line models. Even better, the 190E Sportline was offered in a 5-speed manual if you didn’t want the 4-speed automatic. This 1993 up for sale in Texas unfortunately isn’t the manual, but is one of the nicer examples I’ve seen in a while. Problem is, it is mighty expensive.
On to another special edition of the Porsche 911, but this is one of the few not marketed directly at U.S. customers. We recently saw the 50th Anniversary Edition 911, but it’s far from the first time Porsche has produced a model to commemorate production birthdays. In 1993, Europeans were treated the 30th Anniversary model. Dubbed the ’30 Jahre 911′ by the factory but popularly known as the ‘Jubilee’ or ‘Jubi’ model, a basic 964 Carrera 4 was fit with Turbo flares and wheels, special colors and special interiors. Sound familiar?
Code M096 was selected for a planned 911 examples, but only 896 have been accounted for – the vast majority of which were originally sold in Germany. The Jubilee was available in several different exterior colors; Polar Silver Metallic wasn’t surprising to see as an option, but most Jubilees were Viola Metallic as seen here. Titanium details such as the shift knob topper and parcel shelf numbered badges helped to further distinguish the cars. Inside over 80% received Rubicon Gray interiors, the rest had Black. Of course, if you’re looking at the same picture I am above, you’ll note this ’93 has a red interior. So what gives?