White Christmas Double Take: 1995 BMW M3

Update 1/25/2018 – the first of this duo has dropped in price from $19,997 to $17,997.

Recently I found myself looking through some old car literature I had amassed over the years. In particular, I was completely enamored with the brand-new E36 M3 when it launched on U.S. shores. I’m not sure why, but of all the E36 variants that were produced, that first-year M has always stuck out to me as the most desirable in the lineup. And now as these cars are on the verge of being considered “antique” and with the E30 market still silly (and the E46 market rising), these early Coupes seem like a great balance of driving, collector-potential and somewhat reasonable pricing.

I say ‘somewhat’ because sellers have steadily been raising the bar to the point where it almost feels like price fixing. When I looked for ’95s on eBay the other day, I started laughing – there were five listed, and their prices were all within $1,000 of each other – and none were cheap. So with that in mind today I’m looking at twin Alpine White ’95s. They’re almost identically equipped. They’re priced within $2 of each other. That’s not a misprint – only a small coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts divides the asks on these two. But there’s a huge difference in mileage; some 60,000 between these two. So clearly the one with lower mileage is automatically the better bet, right?

Not so fast…

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 on eBay

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Double Take 540i/6: E34 or E39? 1995 BMW 540i Sport v. 2003 BMW 540i M-Sport

My recent M5 v. Alpina B10 post took a look at two exotic versions of the E34. Of course, BMW offered their own alternative to the M5 late in the production cycle, as the introduction of the M60 V8-powered 540i produced nearly as much usable power as the more expensive M variant. Such was the success of the 540i that BMW initially judged the M5 dead in this market; it was removed from the U.S. in 1993 after slow sales and wouldn’t return until the new millennium.

As a result, the 540i flew the 5-series performance flag for two generations and still is very popular today. Especially in Sport versions, the E34 and E39 540is offered power, refinement and outstanding chassis dynamics in a package that was attainable for more people. So which is the better buy today – the first or second generation?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW 540i M-Sport on eBay

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1995 Mercedes-Benz SL320

After looking at the wild GT R with an asking price over $260,000, I thought I’d get back to something a little more affordable. This 1995 SL320 painted in Teal Blue Metallic checks in with a hair under 43,000 miles and is a prime candidate to drive everyday or stash away in the garage for those nicer days. The tried and tested M104 inline-6 engine is a great engine to live with and won’t cost you a mortgage payment if something goes wrong unlike the V8 and V12. But like anything, there is a catch, and this catch makes me bang my head against a brick wall.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Mercedes-Benz SL320 on eBay

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1995 Porsche 968 with 8,200 Miles

At the beginning of the 1990s, pretty much everyone was stepping away from twin-cam inline-4s. While they had been the rage in the 80s and “DOHC” was nearly as popular as Miami Vice, buyers demanded more power and refinement. Sure, you could make 200 horsepower from a high-strung four-pot; but making it tractable for daily driving, passing emissions, and reliable? That was another ball-game. As a result, most major manufacturers went to larger displacement 6- or 8-cylinder motors in their small performance cars.

Everyone, that is, except for Porsche.

Porsche dialed in the 944S2 a bit more with updated 928-inspired looks and a new ‘VarioCam’ adjustable valve timing on the 3-liter inline-4. Now with 237 horsepower and an impressive 225 lb.ft of torque, it roamed the sports car elite field like a small dinosaur. Porsche added another speed to the mix, but since this was a relatively expensive 4-banger coupe based on a twenty year old design, they didn’t sell particularly well. A total of 2,234 Coupes were imported between 1992 and 1995; the last year was the worst seller, with a scant 259 making the journey. This particular last-year example may just be the best one left in the country:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Porsche 968 on eBay

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1995 BMW M3 GT

While you’re no doubt familiar with the great lament of the de-tuned E36 M3 and the inflated price of the very limited Lightweight model, Europe enjoyed a full spectrum of Motorsport performance. One of the potent additions to the lineup was that of the M3 GT. Intended to homologate racing bits and aerodynamic tweaks for the E36, 350 limited BF99 examples were produced in early 1995. The motor was turned up to 295 horsepower with hotter cams, special oil pumps and Motorsport oil pan and revised computer controls. They also had stiffened and lowered suspension, a strut brace and a 3.23 final drive. Outside new spoilers front and rear increased downforce, and like the Lightweight the GT wore the M forged double spoke staggered wheels. Harder to spot were the aluminum doors the car wore to help keep weight down. All were painted 312 British Racing Green and featured Mexico Green Nappa leather interior with Alcantara bolsters, special Motorsports badging and carbon fiber trim.

They’re a very special and rarely seen variant of the E36 M3, and increasingly in this collector market that means a higher asking price:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 GT on eBay

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1995 Audi S6 Avant

After two clean 90s, it’s time to look at the much greater appeal of the turbocharged S6 Avant. Imported in even more limited quantities than the 90 quattro 20V, the wagon form of the C4 with AAN turbo power has been legendary since its inception. But with a very limited stock and a chassis known to pile on mileage with aplomb, clean and low mileage examples are few and far between.

So I’ll start off with admitting that this S6 Avant is not perfect; if anything it’s probably far from perfect by most standards. There’s body damage, a replaced hatch, the wrong wheels, a fair chunks of missing paint. It’s got 179,000 miles and is in need of a suspension refresh. It’s 22 years old, too, so you can bet it’s got some Audi idiosyncrasies. And with that, most of the 911 crew just tuned out.

But, and it’s a big but, it’s a S6 Avant. As such, it’s automatically worth investigating if it runs at all. And dig beneath the (admittedly somewhat ruined) exterior, and there’s a fair amount to like here:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi S6 Avant on eBay

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1995 Mercedes-Benz S500 Coupe

In my opinion, the W140 coupe didn’t age particularity well. That isn’t a huge knock on it because not a lot of cars from the early to mid-90s did age all that well. I think in some angels the C140 looks very handsome, not very offensive. But from other views, mainly the front profile like you see in the photo above, it all looks very odd to me. I totally get why I think it looks this way, you have massive flared fenders up from and a giant rear quarter panel in the back. This is all very good except for the fact that the 16 inch wheels don’t fill out these spaces. The car looks almost top-heavy to me. This of course can be fixed with a proper set of wheels and some suspension modifications. (I still regret not buying that car.) Then again, the main reason you bought this massive coupe is to relax, not worry about bending a $2000 wheel on a minor pothole. You can see the how much I think about this stuff.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Mercedes-Benz S500 Coupe on eBay

Year: 1995
Model: S500
Engine: 5.0 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 76,500 mi
Price: No Reserve Auction

· Mileage: 76,500 Color: White over gray exterior/Grey leather interior Owners: 5 Clean title and Carfax

· W140 series (last of the “because they could” big cars built by MB). Classic design coupe; rare, less than 15,000 total production from 1992 – 1998. Car spent the first 18 years in California and Florida.

· Legendary 5 liter M119 V8 engine (last engine to win overall at Le Mans for MB): 315 hp at 5600 rpm and 347 ft/lbs of torque at 3900 rpm. 4-speed automatic transmission/no shift problems.

· California/Florida car. No rust!

· Mechanically very sound. Superb driver. All maintenance up to date. ETB and main engine wiring harnesses replaced. Trans fluid changed. Engine partially overhauled at 66,000 miles (due to engine overheating). Engine very strong. No oil usage. Brakes serviced. Many major components have been serviced or replaced. Underside very clean. Michelin tires w/10,000 miles. Oil/filter changed every year before going into storage. Exceptionally clean and well cared for automobile.

· Complete service records starting 2011

· Exterior and interior very clean. Smoke free. Leather in very good condition. No dents or body repair. Original paint very shiny with minimal scratches/nicks. Front fenders and hood repainted (Not due to any accident – Top quality repaint). Carpets in very good shape (minor stains on driver side floor and in trunk). Wood in excellent condition

· All gauges/systems function: windows, door soft close assist, seat belt presenters, rear window shade, rear headrests (beginning clutch grind), rear back up guides, sun roof, air conditioning, radio (serviced OEM), rear window defroster, electronic side and rear view mirrors, rear hydraulic suspension

· Additional areas needing attention: headliner over rear seat is loose (minor flap with windows open, not detached). Rear head rests raise/lower mechanisms will need to be replaced soon; still work but beginning to make gear grinding sounds indicating gears are slipping. Passenger seat head rest not working. Rough idle issue that is not permanent; quick acceleration corrects it. Everything else works! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need to know more. Shipping is buyer’s responsibly. Deposit of $500 dollars required within 24 hours of purchase.

Mileage: 76,500. Clean title and Carfax• 4-speed automatic transmission/no shift problems.• California/Florida car. No rust!• Mechanically very sound. All maintenance up to date. Exceptionally clean and well cared for automobile.• Complete service records starting 2011• Exterior and interior very clean. No dents or body repair. Front fenders and hood repainted (Not due to any accident – Top quality repaint). • All gauges/systems function – see exceptions below.• Additional areas needing attention: headliner over rear seat is loose (minor flap with windows open – headliner is not detached). Rear head rests raise/lower mechanisms beginning to grind – clutch slippage. Passenger seat head rest not working. Seat belt presenters not working. Occasional rough idle at startup after 5 – 10 minutes. Eventually stops after hard acceleration. Everything else works!!”

When I first glanced this 1995 S500 Coupe for sale in Illinois, I thought I had a real winner. Very clean both inside and out, lower mileage and coming from a seller who knows how to properly photograph a car when they are selling it. Then I started reading the fine print. Things like ”occasional rough idle at startup” and ”engine partially overhauled at 66,000 miles (due to engine overheating)” started giving me second thoughts. On the inside, more things like seat belt pretensioners not working, headrests either dead or on their way out and a sagging headliner give me pause. It’s not like all of these things are a major deal, but it just tells me maybe this car wasn’t a number one priority to try to keep in exceptional shape. I totally understand though because the majority of people live with issues on their cars and it doesn’t bother them. But to me, these cars are what I’m into and ”occasional rough idles” keep me up at night.

What I’m interested to see is where the bidding ends up. I have no doubt that someone is going to fall in love with this car based on the outstanding photos and start bidding away, issues be damned. Nice C140s are becoming rare very and clean ones like this aren’t popping up as much as they used to. If I had to guess, the $7,500 to 10,000 range wouldn’t shock me because a lot of people have no problem throwing caution to the wind. At the end of the day, I guess whatever kind of risk you can stomach all plays into older car purchases, but I like to play it a little more safe.

– Andrew

1995 Audi S6

Watching the Goodwood Festival of Speed feed live this weekend yielded a bit of aural and visual treat for Audi fans as the quite rare S4 GTO took to the famous hill. As esoteric Audi racers go, it’s pretty high on the list – especially given the performance on tap. Basically, the defunct 90 IMSA GTO was selected to head to South Africa to race and replace some also defunct 200 quattros. But since the 80/90 weren’t sold in South Africa, instead of the B4 Audi utilized a C4 chassis. Prepared by Voldi and raced in the hands of Hans Stuck, the 700 horsepower all-wheel drive monsters were immediately successful and were run for several years. Although the car running at Goodwood was in the later Rothmans livery (it’s worth watching the clip here!), the original model was in Audi’s adopted racing silver of the early 1990s. This S6 immediately reminded me of it:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi S6 on eBay

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1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 Estate

I’ve gushed over the W124 Estate before and really can’t say enough about this wonderful vehicle. It has everything you really would need out a wagon, even in 2017, all while not breaking the bank when it comes to maintaining and repairing it. But like all cars that get old, finding a really nice one can become a little bit of a tough job because these were at the end of the day still station wagons. People bought them for their utility to use. I highly doubt the majority of the buyers out there treated these as a garage queens because lets face it, they had R107s and R129s for that. So when this mint 1995 outside of Boston popped up for sale, I had to take a closer look. But fair warning, the price on this one isn’t cheap.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 Estate on eBay

Year: 1995
Model: E320 Estate
Engine: 3.2 inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 87,975 mi
Price: $16,800 Buy It Now

1995 Mercedes Benz E320S W124 chassis station wagon, S/N WDBEA92EXSF338486, 744 Brilliant Silver with grey MB Tex upholstery, 3.2 litre in-line 6 cylinder gas engine, automatic transmission, power front seats, factory power steel sunroof, climate control, factory rear facing 3rd seat with 3 point seat belts, original owner’s manuals, one of 4,607 E320S wagons imported by Mercedes Benz North America in the final year of W124 chassis manufacture. Clear CarFax title history. To see additional photos, please send us a note and we’ll send a link to the complete photo file. Nationwide and international delivery arranged from our suburban Boston showroom. We reserve the right to end the auction early. For more information about Copley Motorcars, please refer to the “About Me” button in this listing. Telephone: 781.444.4646

This final year W124 Estate is probably one of the nicer ones I’ve seen in a while. The interior is nearly spotless and the crack-free, highly polished wood just really pops. The outside looks great without as much as a stone chip let alone any rust spots. However, it’s not a perfect car as the temperature readout on the instrument cluster is starting to fail. Not a huge deal, but it can be an eyesore every time you look down. I am also a little curious to see what the engine looks like as the M104 is known to have an oil leak or two, especially on the back of the head.

Now about the price. I totally get why Copley Motorcars is asking nearly $17,000 for this W124. There is without a doubt a buyer out there who had one of these when they were new or nearly new and just loved it. Then sadly, they probably traded it in on a W210 estate or even worse, a first year W163 ML and never felt the same way. This is a chance to relive those great times by filling the back of this wagon with supplies and the family golden retriever to depart to their vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard because they can afford such luxuries in life like buying a 22 year-old Mercedes-Benz station wagon for $17,000. This value for someone buying this one is far more than just the car itself. There is no way this is actually worth the $17,000 when you can find nice examples just like this one for less than half the price. It’s just the sellers trying to capitalize on someone trying to relive a memory of great times, whether they were driving or riding in the 3rd row seat. Now whether or not someone is willing to pony up a huge premium any time soon is anyone’s guess, but I wouldn’t bet against it.

– Andrew

1995 Audi S6

In my last C4 S6 post, I mentioned how the mid-year changes of the short run for the re-badged C4 made each one feel a little bit bespoke given that so few were sold. That’s certainly the case here, as the running changes manifest themselves in interesting ways on this particular 1995.

The most obvious of the items that can be seen is that this car wears the earlier 16″ Fuchs-made forged wheels more traditionally associated with the S4. These were replaced later in the run by the Avus design Speedline wheels the S6 (and most S models for the next few generations) wore, but early production S6s were delivered with the leftover Fuchs wheels. Which is more desirable varies by preference, but in this case I think the Fuchs work really well. Early cars also retained the infrared locking system (denoted by a receiver at the base of the B pillar) and the manual locking rear differential button in the center console. These were replaced later by a radio locking system and electronic rear differential, respectively, in the 1995.5 S6 refresh. But what also is interesting to me, and perhaps one other Audiphile, is that this car has the later closed headrests, unlike the S6 we saw last week.

At the end of the day, these minor differences matter little in what was otherwise a very desirable package no matter what parts Hans grabbed to install that groggy Monday morgen. Presented in semi-ignominious yet signature Emerald Green Mica with Ecru leather, this one nonetheless looks like a keeper:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi S6 on eBay

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