Continuing on the theme of defacto M cars started with the South African 745i, today let’s look at the much more famous example of the 850CSi. 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.
Like the SA 745i, 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 BMW’s 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 that’s 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. With only 225 brought stateside, perhaps it’s worth considering importing this one?
One of the things I love about the W124 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is that it came in every shape and size. What I mean by that is that you could buy a sedan, estate, coupe and cabriolet. This is unique because it is the only generation that can boast such a fact. The prior W123 lacked a cabriolet and every generation after lacked the coupe and cabriolet. You might be saying that the CLK-Class is basically the E-Class coupe, but I don’t see it that way because the CLK was a mash-up of a parts both mechanically and cosmetically from the C-Class made to look like an E-Class, not a true E-Class coupe. Even when they literally changed the named to E-Class Coupe in the recent generations, it is still riding on a C-Class chassis. That leads me right into today’s car, a 1994 E320 Coupe up for sale in Connecticut, that has that classic facelift W124 look and checks all the right boxes if you are looking for a sleek and livable daily driver. The best part about it? It looks to be fully sorted and won’t take much to drive home with.
I don’t feature the 968 all that often. I do, however, tend to feature just about anything I come across in Riviera Blue. I simply can’t turn away from them. Here we have a 1994 Porsche 968 Cabriolet painted in that bright blue. This one also has the very desirable 6-speed manual transmission. Riviera Blue often is associated with the 993 and we rarely think much of it when it comes to other Porsches. But this 968 shows the color off almost as well and even if its sporting pretensions are not quite elevated to the same level as the last of the air-cooled 911s, I’m sure this one will have no trouble attracting attention in a crowd of Porsche enthusiasts. It looks in very good condition and the mileage even is pretty reasonable when we consider it is nearly 25 years old.
The 928 gets the vast majority of the love when it comes to Porsche’s front-engined machines and there’s very good reason for that. The 968 provides its own unique appeal and definitely creates quite an ardor among its fans. And relative to a ’90s 928 prices tend to be much more attainable.
Another M-Design! Iâ€™ve featured a string of these ultra-limited â€™94 325iS models built by BMW Individual recently. Today’s VIN ends in 478, produced 40 cars after the one I looked at last June. Visually equipped with most of what would become the M3 in â€™95, the M-Design is an interesting footnote in United States E36 production.
Of course, â€œinterestingâ€, â€œobscureâ€ and â€œBMW 3-Seriesâ€, when combined in the right proportions, usually equate to dollar signs in sellerâ€™s eyes. Asks on these cars often rival or exceed M3 prices. Crazy, right? Who would pay more than they would for a M3 to have less than a M3? Well, some people do. Recently a ZHP E46 coupe traded for $26,000. Scoff all you want, but clearly there is a market for the limited edition 3-series. But since some trade for high numbers, many sellers equate their 3 as priceless. Not the case today, as we get a true market indicator of where a driver-quality 325iS M-Design is valued at:
If some is good, more is better. A lot of times that is true, sometimes it is not. Thankfully, that saying applies when talking about V12 Mercedes-Benz. One of the most common modifications to the M120 V12 is taking that 6.0 liter and increasing the displacement to a 7.0, 7.2, 7.3 or even crazier 7.4. AMG was known to do this in small batches as well as other aftermarket tuners. One of those aftermarket tuners was Renntech. They would pump these up to 7.0 liters as well as modify other things like camshafts and surrounding parts. The result was somewhere over 500 horsepower and a price tag to make anyone do a double take. Today, we have a one of those 7.0 liter conversions up for sale in Kentucky in this 1994 SL. Even better, there are some AMG goodies on this car as well.
For such a relatively short-lived and obscure model in the U.S. market, the 90 model sure went through a substantial amount of changes. It makes nearly every model year unique in some way, and so few come to market they’re always neat to see regardless of the generation. The 90 replaced the 4000 for the 1988 model year with the upgraded Torsen-based quattro, the new B3 body and interior and the updated 2.3 NG 10V motor for the 88-89 model year, and was sold alongside the technically identical but less upscale 80 model for the same time. 1990 saw the introduction of the short-lived double-overhead cam 7A motor and some other minor changes, but scant numbers were brought over. Technically, there’s no ’92 90, but there are still some floating out there because…well, Audi. Then officially in ’93, the “B4” chassis arrived, with revised rear suspension, body bits and a new 2.8 liter V6. Even then, for the ’93-’95 B4 quattros, each model year was a bit different – surprising, given their very limited numbers. Available only in “CS” upscale trim, the 1993 90CS quattro, 1994 90CS quattro sport and 1995 Sport 90 quattro only combined for 2,855 examples. They’re pretty hard to find, though admittedly there are even fewer ’90-91 20Vs or ’92 80 quattros floating around.
Most of these cars were upscale and featured either the Speedline-made 10-spoke 15″ wheels or the later Ronal-made Votex 5-spoke design. A raised spoiler and limited badging were hallmarks of the later ’94-’95 sport models. Though generally not as desirable as the ’95 Sport model, the ’94 is more rare and just about identical to the ’95 model. So, when they arrive in near perfect condition with under 100,000 miles, the bids start rolling in for the devoted fans who love them:
I’ve featured the 911 Speedster quite a bit over the years. Enough so that these days they usually only catch my eye when there’s something pretty unique about them. While I like them a lot, and love the original 356 Speedster, there’s a degree to which they all blend together and are more or less the same: Black, White, or Red with very low miles and seemingly pristine condition. There’s little more to say than, “Here’s another 911 Speedster for sale.”
The version produced for the 964 is itself a little more unique. It’s narrow body reminds us much more of the original 356 compared with the Turbo-bodied 3.2 Carrera-based 911 Speedster. The color palette also appears to be more diverse, though that may be anecdotal rather than based on actual production. There are still plenty of Red, White, and Black.
This one shines through those colors like a beacon beckoning you to drive it. And driven it has been! Here we have a Speed Yellow 1994 Porsche 911 Speedster, located in St. Louis, with factory painted sport seats and 81,516 miles on it. 81K miles may not seem like much for a car that’s nearly 25 years old, but for the Speedster, a 911 always coveted by collectors, it’s a good chunk of mileage.
When I first came across this car, just like with Rob’s GT3 yesterday I was pretty sure I’d seen it before. The 1994 BMW 325iS M-Design was produced in very limited numbers, and this one was for sale after another I wrote up fairly recently with similar miles:
Diet M3: 1994 BMW 325is M-Design
However, a quick check of the VINs revealed they’re different chassis; this one is 386, produced 52 prior to the last one we looked at (438). So let’s refresh ourselves on what made the M-Design 3-series special.
Basically, this car was the precursor to the U.S.-spec M3. BMW teased its release with an American version of the Clubsport Coupe; you got the M-Tech body kit, mirrors, steering wheel and shift knob, along with the Anthracite M cloth (0506) and an Alpine White exterior. BMW equipped BBS RC 2-piece wheels with forged centers too. In all, it made for a pretty package even if it was no more potent than a standard E36. Fans claim only 150 were imported which seems about right, though BMW doesn’t have official importation numbers.
Last time around, though the condition was very good the general consensus was that an actual M3 was a better deal at the asking price. How about today?
Some of my favorite cars as one-off or special builds that you rarely ever see for one reason or another. These builds usually happen because of a special connection with the brand, most often thanks to spending a ton of money, that let you have certain modifications when ordering a car to be built. Some brands are pretty friendly and open with this kind of stuff while other brands will give you nothing and you’ll like it. Mercedes-Benz has always been very hush-hush with their special requests for customers so most people usually turn to aftermarket turners like Brabus or Renntech if they want something really special. If you do somehow get some special treatment from Mercedes, it usually isn’t found out about until the car comes up for sale because the kind of people who get special treatment from Mercedes don’t post about it on internet forums or Instagram. Today’s car, a 1994 E320 Cabriolet, is exactly that. Although this car has a long history with a little bit controversy as well. Get comfortable.
Almost every Mercedes-Benz E320 Cabriolet I look at falls into the category of a really nice to exceptional example of one. This makes sense as a the W124 Cabriolet was an extremely expensive car when new in 1994 at $79,000 that equates to about $132,000 in today’s money. I told you these were really expensive. As a result and maybe even a little bit surprisingly, people took care of these cars if they held on to them past the normal three to five years from new ownership cycle that cars are usually subjected to. I’m sure that had a lot to do with the W124 Cabriolet not following the same deprecation curve as almost every other mass-produced post-war Mercedes in history that results in poor Craigslist postings and/or time spent at a BUY HERE PAY HERE car lot with four mismatched tires. Unfortunately, this 1994 up for sale in Georgia seems to have suffered that fate.