1994 Mercedes-Benz SL280 5-Speed

Hey there. This is something different. What we have today in a 1994 Mercedes-Benz SL280 up for sale in the heart of London. If the car being a 5-speed manual didn’t raise your eyebrows, how about I tell you it is actually left-hand drive as well? According to this dealer, the car was originally delivered to Monaco, which probably explains why it only has 35,000 miles. However, a quick check of the UK MOT shows consistent tests starting in 2005, so this one was booted from the beautiful ̶t̶a̶x̶ ̶h̶a̶v̶e̶n̶  vacation spot long ago, probably for being far too plebeian. Naturally, my gear were immediately turning seeing how this would be an ideal import to the US. However, once I saw the price, I threw in the towel rather quickly.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Mercedes-Benz SL280 5-Speed on eBay

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1994 Porsche 911 Speedster

The 964 Porsche 911 Speedster is still one of those models that I can’t believe Porsche actually produced. In a time when the company was strapped for cash, they went through the trouble of engineering a bunch of new parts only to produce 936 examples. Maybe it had something to do with 427 of them going to the US for big profits? One would think they all would be sold with the traditional 5-speed manual gearbox given this was a homage to the original Speedster and that is overwhelmingly the enthusiasts choice, but believe it or not, a handful of them were made with the 4-speed Tiptronic automatic gearboxes. Perhaps they had some leftover as the 964 production was wrapping up or some kind of market research said it was a good idea, but either way they are out there. This example up for sale in Japan is exactly that.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Porsche 911 Speedster at Garage 911 Japan

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1994 Alpina B6 2.8/2

The Alpina B6 continued from the E30 generation in the new E36 chassis in 1991, while the last of the prior generation cars were still in US showrooms. Alpina took the basic M50 and shape of then-top-of-range 325i and upped the ante; they bored the displacement to 2.8 liters, stuck Mahle pistons, a special exhaust, Bilstein shocks, 17″ wheels, and the normal assortment of aerodynamic tweaks and interior details to create the B6 2.8/2, which could be had in coupe or sedan form. With 240 horsepower on tap, it offered M3-level performance two years before the E36 M3 debuted.

While these are the least potent of the E36 Alpina variants, they’re still quite special and very rare – just 40 coupes and around 180 sedans were produced before the B6 3.0 replaced it in mid 1993. This particular example, though, comes via Japan and is already imported to the US – if you’re willing to pay:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Alpina B6 2.8/2 on eBay

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1993 BMW M3 Coupe

For some time, there was a giant gulf in between European-spec cars and U.S. spec cars. Granted, part of that divide still exists today if the large assortment of cars that do not make it to these shores, but at least enthusiasts can rejoice that at last – for the most part – performance versions that are available in Germany are very close to the same that we receive here. One of the last notable cars to exhibit the large divide was the E36 M3; while Europeans enjoyed over 280 horsepower from the individual throttle body S50B30 in 1992, the later released U.S. spec M3 carried an entirely different motor with some 40 horsepower less. Though the S50B30US is certainly a great motor by itself, the knowledge that the “better” version existed across the pond somehow took a bit of legitimacy away from it for a lot of fans of the marque. Also differentiating the European versions were better floating rotor brakes, better glass headlights, better lower and stiffer suspension; you get the point. We could bang on all day about how the US-spec model was pretty much as quick as the Euro cars, is a lot cheaper to run, and is…well, you know, already here. But when a Euro car pops up for sale, I still take time to take notice, and it’s hard not to notice this Dakar Yellow ’93:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 BMW M3 Coupe on eBay

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1994 Volkswagen GTI 16V

While the step up to the Mk.3 added a fair amount of size – and accompanying weight – to the Volkswagen Golf, the GTI emerged with the much more potent VR6 engine borrowed from the Passat and Corrado. While admittedly the power and the exhaust note was very appealing, and in hindsight the third generation Golf looks positively tiny compared to cars today, I have always lamented the loss of the what I consider the best GTI – the 1990-1992 16V model.

But, what if that model had continued? Well, it did – just not in the U.S.. What we have here is a 1994 GTI 16V from Europe. Replete with Recaro interior, blacked-out rub strips and fender flares, beefy wheels, and dual-chamber headlights with foglights. But the best part is under the hood, where the 9A lived on as the ABF. With Digifant engine management power was up to 148 at 6,000 RPMs, while torque remained at 133 lb.ft but again higher in the range. One of these gems has turned up for sale on Ebay:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Volkswagen GTI 16V on eBay

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1994 Porsche 911 Speedster

The 964 Porsche 911 Speedster has always been a cool novelty, but that doesn’t mean it is only that. I think these stayed true to the original 356 Speedster compared to Turbo-bodied 3.2 Carrera-based 911 Speedster, 997 Speedster, and 991 Speedster that is basically just a GT3. Porsche also blessed the US market with the fixed-back lightweight seats that were in the 964 RS for that extra feeling over the 964 Cabriolet. Only 936 examples were produced, with 427 Speedsters heading Stateside. These pop up for sale from time to time, but most are tucked away in collections given their rarity and the aircooled boom. This example up for sale in California checks in with 34,000 miles and some odd little custom touches that makes Porsche so unpredictable at times.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Porsche 911 Speedster on eBay

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1994 BMW M3

Okay, the messy M3 Lightweight was too much of a heavy lift, and the ’94 M-Design – while cool – really isn’t an M car. So where to look if you want a collector-grade E36 today?

Well, I think this is a good starting point. What at first glance may just seem like another silver M3 is revealed as something more special if you consider the date: 1994, in this case. Since there were no US ’94s, that automatically means it’s a European-specification car, with the stronger motor, better lights, and better brakes. Sweet! And it’s in the US already! Double sweet! Throw in that it’s got under 60,000 miles, Hurricane cloth Vaders, and an affordable entry price point (relative to some others we’ve looked at, at least) and this one seems a winner:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW M3 on eBay

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Diet M3: 1994 BMW 325iS M-Design

Just prior to the launch of the E36 M3 for North America, Canada got a special run of European-specification M3s. However, they weren’t alone in terms of custom E36s available. 1994 also saw the United States get a pretty unique, and quite limited, E36 model.

It was the 1994 325is M-Design. Fans call it the M-Tech, and it was very similar to the Clubsport Coupe that was available in Europe.

While underneath this was basically a stock 325, it was still pretty special. It included nearly all the items that the M3 would have outside of the motor and brakes. You got the M-Tech body kit, mirrors, steering wheel and shift knob, along with the Anthracite M cloth (0506). Many (if not all) were painted Germany’s racing color – Alpine White. Additionally, the M-Design included a cool set of 17″ BBS 2-piece wheels. They were referred to as Style 29s, but were actually a multi-piece version of the forged BBS RG wheel. A limited run of only 150 (according to fans, BMW isn’t sure) were produced by BMW Individual with a $4,700 premium on the base price of the 325iS. What does that translate to today?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW 325iS M-Design 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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1994 BMW 850CSi

Rounding out 2019, I’d like to take a look at one of my favorite cars. I came of driving age during the reign of the E31, and I still remember magazines taunting that the M8 would soon be with us. Of course, it never came at least, not until today. But we still did get an E31 breathed upon by the Motorsports division in the spectacular 850CSi. The heart of the CSi was a special S motor. In this case, BMW Motorsport GmbH took the M70 and beefed it up seriously. Bored out to 5.6 liters and with compression bumped up and revised electronic programing, the resulting S70 took BMWs V12 from 296 horsepower to 372 with 420 lb.ft of torque on tap. Macht schnell, indeed! But there were a host of other changes; offered only with a manual 6-speed gearbox, the CSi also got a quicker steering rack, Euro M5 brakes, shorter and stiffer springs, and M System II Throwing Star 17? staggered wheels. A new body kit made the elegant E31 look much more menacing, too. Europeans even had the option of 18? M Parallels and, amazingly, 4-wheel steering.

In 1994, this car cost almost $110,000. Today thats nothing, as you can spec a special-order M3 up to that amount. But back then? That was nearly the price of three M3s. These super coupes have never really come down in price, as like their contemporary the 928GTS, they have maintained an aura of unobtainium and sacredness to a generation of motoring enthusiasts. Just 225 made it to the U.S., and this is one of 14 Orient Blue Metallic (317) examples. I think I’m in love…

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW 850CSi on eBay

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