1997 Volkswagen GTI VR6

After its unceremonious and unexplained exit from the U.S. market with the introduction of the third generation Golf in 1993, the GTI came roaring back in a big way for the 1995 model year. Sure, it was bigger, bulkier and well…roundier, but it came with a bunch more gusto thanks to the addition of the VR6 motor as seen in the Corrado and Passat models. While the single-overhead cam, twelve-valve head lacked the race-bred feel of the Mk.II 16V, the new motor more than made up for it with the addition of two more cylinders. Good for 172 horsepower and 173 lb.ft of torque, it swept the hot hatch from 0-60 in 7.1 seconds and produced a 15.5 second quarter mile at over 90 mph. But much like the original, the GTI was more than the sum of its numbers, with drivers enjoying the great 6-cylinder soundtrack which accompanied the waves of usable torque.

Of course, like all VWs from the period, it was expensive. Really quite expensive. A base GTI VR6 rolled out the door in 1995 at $18,875, and with a few options it wasn’t difficult to breech $20 grand. Correct for inflation and that’s around $34,000, or around the same money as a lightly used Golf R will set you back today. Yet that was still only a little more than half the money that it would take you to grab a same-year M3, which offered only a bit more motivation and cornering prowess. Catch the pesky BMW driver off-guard, and they’d be unlikely to easily out-drag you. So you could either look at this model as a really expensive Golf or a really cheap BMW. That was what the legendary GTI had always been about, and this was a resounding return to form and continuation of the brilliance that was the GTI 16V, even if they felt (and, looked) completely different:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Volkswagen GTI VR6 on eBay

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1997 Mercedes-Benz S500

Ever hear the saying “Buy the seller, not the car”? I know that might be difficult sometimes given the circumstances of this hobby we indulge in, but I can get on board with it. Sometimes you think you’ve found the right car, then you show up and it has an empty french fry box from McDonalds with a coupon for a free ice cream cone that expired in 2003. You try to look past it, but you know maybe this wasn’t the most well looked after example that is out there. Then on that rare occasion, you’ll bump into an owner that is absolutely fanatic about their car and suddenly everything makes sense in the world. Today, we have one of those owners.

This 1997 Mercedes-Benz S500 up for sale in New York has everything. All the maintenance done, all the service records, low miles, photos that show every angle, the window sticker, everything. This person loves their car and actually took more than two seconds to make the ad to sell it. Walk me with in this rare moment where you can actually enjoy seeing a for sale ad.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Mercedes-Benz S500 on eBay

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1997 BMW 540i Sport

This week I ran across this early production 540i Sport package car. It’s interesting for a few reasons. First, I’ve always really liked the clean look of the early sport package cars with either the turbine Style 32 wheels or the multi-piece BBS Style 19s as shown on this example. Something really worked for me about this wheel on this body style. An early 540i Sport, it’s missing some of the later additions I covered on later 540s, but still carries the aforementioned 17″ wheels and M-Sport suspension. However, this car is a bit different than the usual one that you’ll come across.

Having covered only 61,500 miles in its life, it’s almost completely original. It sounds strange to trumpet that, but most of the 540i Sports seem to be modified – even slightly. This one just looks like it’s got tint. And everything is there – it’s a California car with all original literature. It also doesn’t have the standard sport seats that would have accompanied the sport package. It was ordered in Arctic Silver Metallic with black leather comfort seats, but it’s got the all-important 6-speed manual transmission. Here, the pre-facelift orange directionals and less fussy taillight design work in harmony with the lack of body kit and beautiful exterior hue. Is it a winning combination?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 BMW 540i Sport on eBay

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1997 Alpina B6 2.8 Touring

While some other aftermarket tuners such as Ruf and Renntech offer turned up versions of the already potent cars, Alpina operates slightly differently – filling in the voids of models not offered by the manufacturer. There are plenty of examples of this, and if often seems to be misunderstood; Jeremy Clarkson’s review of the Alpina Roadster is probably the most notable case. A slower, softer, automatic version of the hardcore roadster certainly doesn’t make a lot of sense at first glance. But what Alpina does is give enthusiasts the opportunity to enjoy the performance that BMW offered in a slightly different package that sometimes outperforms the original platform car. One of the notable missing gaps in the BMW lineup in the mid 90s was a faster version of the E36 Touring; building off the earlier B6 – effectively, Alpina’s 4-door M3 challenger built between 1992 and 1993 with a bespoke engine and typical Alpina upgrades, the company later launched the Japanese-only market B6 2.8 Touring. Produced between 1996 and 1998, only 136 of these small wagons were produced, again utilizing the 240 horsepower bespoke Alpina motor, special wheels and interiors, Alpina’s own body kit, exhaust and suspension. They were available in 3 colors only; red, green, and silver:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Alpina B6 2.8 Touring on eBay

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1997 Mercedes-Benz S500 Coupe

The Mercedes-Benz W140 Coupe is growing on me. Especially when they are done as well as today’s car. This 1997 S500 Coupe up for sale in Costa Mesa is painted in the ultra-bright Imperial Red and most importantly, the 18″ three-piece AMG wheels. The interior is take it or leave it beige leather, but it does make up for it having just a little over 25,000 miles. Time to buy in on the C140? Probably not this example given the asking price. Let me explain.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Mercedes-Benz S500 Coupe at Private Collection Motors

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1997 Porsche 911 Carrera S

I don’t know about you, but I love white cars. Not cream, not pearl, but as white as the giant glaciers in the Swiss alps. Well wouldn’t you know, I just happened to stumble across a 1997 Porsche 911 CS2 painted in none other than Glacier White. It has everything has everything to that made the 993 so great and then some. Widebody rear end, 18″ Turbo Twists, painted hardback sport seats, matching white gauges, and more. Even better, this example has just 58,000 miles. Everything is perfect then, right? To a lot of people, not so much. Let me explain.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Porsche 911 Carrera S on eBay

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1997 Porsche 911 Turbo S

The end is near for 2019 and the decade as a whole, so I figured we might as well go out with one last bang. Only this bang comes in some wild shades of green and ironically requires enough green to buy that would knock your house down. This 1997 Porsche 911 Turbo S is finished in Wimbledon Green Metallic over a Nephrite Green leather interior and needless to say, is one wild 911. I took a look at another 993 Turbo S a few months ago, from the same dealer no less, that was finished in Glacier White and had just 7,600 miles on it and was left wowed by that. This car? Almost certainly a 1 of 1 example given the colors. The miles? How does 532 sound? Total.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Porsche 911 Turbo S on eBay

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1997 Mercedes-Benz CL500

I hate to go on a run of W140 Mercedes-Benz Coupes, but I couldn’t pass this one up. This is a 1997 CL500 up for sale in Victoria, Australia is finished in the lovely shade of Aquamarine Blue. It surely isn’t the traditional black/white/gray, and in the grand scheme of things, I think that is a good thing. While I love my Brilliant Silver Metallic, sometimes you just need a little color. Aquamarine thankfully isn’t garish and is looks pretty good in my eyes on such a hefty car such as the C140. This car being in Australia also means a few things. One, it is a European-spec, which is a always a good thing. But that also means it is right-hand drive. So your options are limited in countries you’d want to own this car in unless you are a giant fan of blindly merging onto the highway because of this massive C-pillar on this car.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Mercedes-Benz CL500 on Benz World

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1997 Mercedes-Benz E300

I’m sure I’m not the only person who wants both an analog experience in my car along with having the ease of DIY on most everything, but also wants modern tech and these crazy new safety features called airbags. Case in point, my Mercedes-Benz W116 and W123 are both simple enough that I can diagnose and fix almost anything on the entire car in my home garage, but their main safety features are headrests and a padded steering wheel. If you go to the other end with a newer Mercedes-Benz diesel, you see cryptic messages on your infotainment screen saying the car isn’t going to restart unless you fill the tank up with AdBlue fluid, but hey, at least the car will literally steer itself in between the lane lines while you are frantically Googling on your phone what the hell AdBlue fluid is. So is there a happy medium? Well, I think I have one option.

The W210 is a very fine chassis in my eyes. Granted, I’m biased as I own one, but they are seemingly sturdy cars as long as you keep them away from constant moisture and salt. All the gas engines in car are equally as fine, but thankfully the US market was blessed with a gem of a diesel, the OM606. This 3.0 liter inline-six replaced the OM603, which replaced the OM617, so we have good lineage here. It was available in turbo and non-turbo, with today’s car I want to look at, a 1997 E300, being the non-turbo. Much like Mercedes diesels of past, this one has a lot of miles, but probably also has good years left in it as well.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Mercedes-Benz E300 on eBay

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1997 Porsche 911 Turbo S

To many, there is no higher predator on the Porsche 911 food chain than the 1997 Turbo S. It was everything all packed into a single car. Only 182 examples made it to the US and they were all very expensive as you might of guessed. Most had a sticker price of over $150,000 in 1997, which in 2019 money is north of $240,000. After your tax and all that good stuff, you are out the door at nearly a quarter of a million dollars. That was more than a Ferrari F355 Berlinetta at the time, but its apples and oranges and you can see where values for both of these cars are at today. This example up for sale in Ohio is finished in Glacier White over Cashmere Beige leather interior and has just 7,700 miles on the odometer. The price? This or a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan’s Upper East Side?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Porsche 911 Turbo S on eBay

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